NEW DELHI – Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh has dismissed the suggestion that a Kargil-like situation has developed in Keran sector in Jammu and Kashmir where around 40 terrorists backed by Pakistan Army are fighting with soldiers and asserted that they would be flushed out soon. Gen Singh also made it clear that the terrorists have not occupied any Indian village along the Line of Control.
“It is nothing like that. It was an infiltration attempt by 30 to 40 terrorists,” he told reporters when asked whether a Kargil-like situation has developed in Keran sector. The Army chief said the militants attempted infiltration at four or five places and the security forces had information about it.
“They have been stopped, prevented. Some of them have been neutralized. Operations are on to flush them out. It is a matter of time,” he said. Asked whether the terrorists, backed by Pakistan Army, have occupied any Indian village along the LoC, Gen Singh said no such incident had happened there.
“There was nothing like that. You heard the (15) Corps Commander. He clarified that. No village has been occupied,” he said. The Army chief also denied that any army post or bunker has been occupied by the terrorists and their suspected Pakistan Army accomplices.
“Nothing like that. It is an area where they are coming. We are dominating them from all sides and the terrorists are holed up. It is a broken ground. It is difficult treacherous terrain. They are stuck in that and we will take them on. It is a question of time,” he said.
The Army chief said that such kind of operations take time to complete as the incident has happened along the border and Pakistan Army posts are located very nearby.
“These operations take time as terrorists have to be flushed out and we do not want casualties from our side. Also the post of Pakistan is just across. They can fire on our post as well. So, we will have to exercise all precaution in carrying out such operations,” he said on the sidelines of a function organized by National Disaster Management Authority.
Gen Singh said infiltration attempts by terrorists increase during this period of the year as snowfall would start very soon.
“Then it becomes very difficult to infiltrate. So, generally this has been the trend in the past as well. But yes definitely there is more infiltration,” he said.
The Army chief was asked about reports which suggested that three militants, who attacked a police station and an army camp in Jammu region on October 26, had planned to storm an Army public school in the area.
“No, I have not heard of this particular input. But the moment we get this input from intelligence agencies, we will share it with you,” he said
As the armed engagement entered the 11th day, there was sporadic exchange of fire but no fresh report of any casualty was reported, army sources said. Infiltration attempt took place when Army’s 20 Kumaon battalion was being replaced by the 3/3 Gorkha Rifles unit in the Keran sector.
The Army Headquarters in Delhi said the group of militants have been surrounded by the Indian troops on three sides.
Pakistani troops also fired from a forward post in the Neelam Valley in support of the infiltrating terrorist group on the night of September 26, the sources said.–Agencies