Army Chief says Keran was infiltration bid, suggests Pak hand

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau and Agencies | Updated : 08 October 2013, 06:16 PM

Army chief Gen Bikram Singh on Tuesday sought to reject the perception that the Keran incident was on the pattern of Kargil intrusion of 1999, saying it was just an infiltration bid by terrorists but suggested the complicity of Pakistan Army in the episode.

He insisted that terrorists were not occupying any higher ground but sitting in a "nallah" (rivulet) near the LoC in Kashmir valley.

"It was a desperate infiltration bid, which has been foiled," Gen Singh told reporters here on the sidelines of the Air Force Day parade.

He was asked about the incident in Keran in Kashmir where the Army was engaged for the last 15 days with a group of 35-40 militants about 300-400 metres inside Indian territory having a supply-line to Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir, an incident which reminded about the Kargil intrusion of 1999 when Indian posts were occupied.

"A large number of (TV) channels have talked about this being an intrusion. It is not. If this was intrusion, the adversary would go and occupy dominating ground which is defensible," he said.

Seeking to downplay the incident, he said, "In this case, they were sitting in a nallah. Which adversary is going to dominate an area by sitting in the nallah?"

At the same time, he suggested the complicity of Pakistan Army.

"On the LoC, we are in eyeball-to-eyeball situation. It is impossible for the terrorists to do any activity without Pakistan Army's knowledge. There is no way that they can operate there without Pakistan Army... I am clear that no terror activity can take place along the LoC without Pakistan Army support," he told Times Now.

Asked about evidence in this regard, the Army Chief said the terrorists were provided cover fire to infiltrate in Keran from Pakistani posts.

The Army chief said that seven of the terrorists involved in the Keran sector had apparently pulled out from there and tried to infiltrate from other areas into Kashmir valley but were gunned down by the security forces.

IAF chief NAK Browne was also asked by reporters whether the Keran incident reminded him of the Kargil intrusion.

"Instead of saying that this is Kargil-type situation, nobody is coming or nobody is occupying anything. Be rest assured. The Army jawans are well trained and have adequate fire power," he replied.

"Because of the terrain and the situation there we do not want to expose our boys. The good part is that we have not lost any of our boys," Browne said.

Asked why the Army troops have not been able to recapture the positions held by the Pakistanis, he said, "Let us not hype the situation. There is a word called 'savlanuth' in Hebrew. The meaning of that word is patience."

In response to a question, the Army commander said infiltrating militants have always received the tacit support of the Pakistan Army establishment.

"We are almost on eyeball-to-eyeball and we can see each other. At such a point, when a large group of terrorists mean to say that that is happening without the complicity of the Pakistan Army? This is ridiculous," he said.

Lt Gen Chachra said most of the arms recovered from the area of the operation have Pakistan marking.

The senior officer said he visited the five soldiers injured in the gunbattle and also interacted with the officers and jawans on the ground.

"Their morale is high. The injured boys are recovering and there is no need to worry about them," he added.

First Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 01:05 PM
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