Sanjha Morcha

Lt Gen Dhillon to replace AK Bhatt as commanding officer of 15 Corps


After successfully leading ‘Operation All Out’ against militants in Kashmir, general officer commanding 15 Corps Lt. Gen A.K. Bhatt will hand over command to Lt. Gen. KVS Dhillon.

Bhatt is credited for presiding over one of the most successful anti-militancy operations in a decade during which 248 militants were killed and five others surrendered. He had taken over the command of 15 Corps, also called Chinar Corps, in February 2018.

Army sources in 15 Corps told THE WEEK that Bhatt will be placed as a military secretary in army headquarters in Delhi. The new posting is seen as an acknowledgment of his excellent leadership in combating militancy in Kashmir, especially in the restive south Kashmir.

Under his command, the army also observed NICO (non-initiation of combat operations) against militants in the month of Ramzan in 2018. He also supervised the killing of 17 most wanted commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Muhammad, and Lashkar-e-Toiba, including those from Pakistan.

Sources told THE WEEK that Dhillon’s name has been cleared by the authorities concerned for the posting. He has served in Kashmir before in different capacities. He has commanded 7 Sector RR (Rashtriya Rifles) which is the lead anti-militancy force of the army in Kashmir and northeast.

According to sources, Dhillon’s appointment was made in view of his grasp of Kashmir situation and leadership qualities. His appointment comes ahead of the Lok Sabha and assembly polls and the proposed US withdrawal in Afghanistan.

Security agencies in Kashmir fear that the US withdrawal in Afghanistan could impact the situation in Kashmir. There is fear that militant groups could receive greater help from Pakistan and possibly the Taliban if the US pulls out of Afghanistan. Militant groups like Jaish could also rope in some of their contacts in Afghanistan for help in Kashmir. The army, however, is aware of the challenge as it has effectively thwarted repeated attempts by militants to intrude into Kashmir.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently told Rajya Sabha that the Centre was ready to hold assembly elections in the state after which the security forces, especially army, have increased vigil on the LoC.

The decision to handover 15 Corps’ command to Dhillon comes two months after the state administrative council, led by Governor Satya Pal Malik, cleared Dilbag Singh as the full-time police chief of J&K.