India to cut occupied Kashmir forces by 25pc

India will reduce its security forces by a quarter in occupied Kashmir, where a two-decade insurgency has declined in intensity, the country’s top home ministry official said on Friday.

Speaking at a university seminar on Kashmir in New Delhi, Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said the government was looking at cutting troops by “25 percent in 12 months from populated areas.”

“If we can manage with local police, that would be the most ideal situation, and this is one of the confidence-building measures that people don’t get harassed by the over-presence of security forces,” Pillai said.

“If peace comes, if violence is not there, people are comfortable, we can gradually reduce our presence and make sure that all forces are there only at the border for preventing infiltration.”

The presence of hundreds of thousands of paramilitary and army troops in occupied Kashmir, one of the most heavily militarised areas of the world, is seen by local politicians and observers as fuelling anger against rule from New Delhi.