New Delhi, Oct 4 (PTI): Army chief General Bikram Singh on Friday dismissed talk that a Kargil-like situation has developed in Keran sector in Jammu & Kashmir where around 40 terrorists backed by Pakistan Army are fighting with Indian 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 said when reporters asked whether a Kargil-like situation has developed in the Keran sector.
In 1999 Pakistan-backed irregular troops had crossed into the Kargil sector in northern Kashmir and occupied bunkers along the LoC, prompting a massive Indian air and ground offensive to repel them.
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 neutralised. 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 terrorists and their suspected Pakistan Army accomplices had occupied any army post or bunker.
“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 such kind of operations take time to complete as the incident has happened along the border and Pakistan Army posts are located very near.
“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 organised 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 terrorists, 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 the 3/3 Gorkha Rifles battalion was replacing a battalion of the Kumaon Regiment in the sector.
Army Headquarters in Delhi said the group of terrorists 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.