One of the great hits of Operation Sadbhavana, Indian Army’s ‘winning of hearts and minds’ programme for almost two decades, has been organising tours for children from remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the North Eastern states to various parts of India. No matter how tense the situation in the Kashmir Valley may have been, these tours have been very sought after. Even during June to August 2010, when even women and children were being instigated to pelt stones at security forces in highly organised campaign, a large group of school children enjoyed such a tour.
Often, many of children in these groups had never stepped out of their village or district. During the latest tour conducted by Romeo Force of Rashtriya Rifles, 23 children and two teachers from remote villages around Surankot in Poonch district, were taken on an 11 days educational tour to the Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. While in Delhi, they met, chatted and presented a painting to Army Chief, General VK Singh.