Udhampur: The “pro-active” strategy in the aftermath of the 2016 Uri terror attack will continue as the Indian Army has dominated Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, a top commander of the force said Wednesday.
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen D Anbu also said that over three times more casualties had been inflicted on the adversary last year.
“Pakistan and its ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) is directly involved in terrorism not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also in neighbouring countries, as without its support, training and strategy, terrorism would not have lasted so long,” he said after presenting gallantry awards at an Investiture Ceremony here.
The officer presented 39 Sena Medals and the ‘Unit Appreciation’ to 26 units for their outstanding performance in 2017.
On the Sunjuwan terror strike in the state on Saturday, he said, “It is the frustrated enemy (Pakistan) which does involve itself in such activities when it is not able to face us on the borders.”
“It is but natural that the enemy is on the receiving end and looks for the easier alternative. While immediately behind the borders we have strengthened ourselves and we are very well prepared, it picked up soft targets,” he said.
The officer said that you cannot have the same security like in borders at areas which are peaceful.
“I will not accept a single lapse on the border because it is supported to be protected. The Army spent almost Rs 364 crore on different things to build up the security of the soft elements on the LoC,” the officer said.
“We got our acts together as far as surveillance, sentry duty and drills and other things are concerned besides the intelligence,” he said.
The operations and the management of the LoC was quite complex, challenging and dynamic, and that over the past one year, things evolved continuously, Anbu said.
“We are working as per our strategy and will continue to do so. I want to assure you that we are not going to be cowed down by small incidents, ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attacks or other things. We are not going to derail from our main course of action,” the officer told reporters.
“We have adapted to it very well and in the whole year, we have dominated the adversary. It has been a pro-active action after the Uri incident and we have not looked back,” Anbu said.
Militants on September 18, 2016, had stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the early hours, killing 17 jawans and injuring 20 other personnel.
On the casualties suffered by Pakistan in the retaliatory action to ceasefire violations, the officer said, “You do not come to know what is the damage caused across the border because our adversary does not believe in accepting the casualties. We are in a very dominating position.”
Though some media reports suggest 192 fatal casualties were suffered by Pakistan along the LoC, the Army is not going to put a figure because of the simple reason that Pakistan has only admitted to 13 casualties, he said.
“However, through various sources, reports and assessments, it is three times more than what we have suffered. These are conservative estimates on our part, but it is much more,” Anbu said.
The officer said that the Army was prioritising security of small camps in vulnerable areas and those which need immediate attention.
“The government has also came up with certain funds and I am sure we will be able not only to have a physical fence but also technology assist it,” he said.
The officer the Army’s endeavour was to ensure “zero infiltration”.
“Infiltration does take place. We endeavour to ensure zero infiltration that is our job and we put our best effort,” he said.
The officer said that there was considerable reduction in infiltration, but the number of attempts almost doubled in 2007 compared to the previous year.
“This was the reason we were able to eliminate more (militants) last year. Their attempt is to keep the pot boiling,” he said.
The militants present at training camps and launching pads are being pushed into this side. If we take south and north of Pir Panjal, 185 to 220 are always present in south and 195-220 continue to remain in north, Anbu said.
“(A total of) 185-220 militants in the south and 190-225 militants in the north of Peer Panjal are ready for infiltration,” he said.
Speaking on ceasefire violations, he claimed 192 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Indian retaliation.
Meanwhile, commenting on the statement of politician Asaduddin Owaisi where he pointed out that that five out of seven soldiers killed in the recent attacks in Kashmir were Muslims, Lt Gen Devraj Anbu said that “Don’t communalize martyrs.”
Anbu said that those making communal statements over the death of soldiers obviously did not know the army very well.
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday had said that five out of the seven people killed in the attack at Sunjuwan military camp were Muslims. He had asked the people, who question the loyalty of Muslims and still refer to them as ‘Pakistani’ to learn a lesson from this.
“Enemy is frustrated and is trying for softer targets, when they fail at borders they attack on camps. Yes, youth joining militancy is a concern, we need to address this trend,” said Lieutenant General Devraj Anbu.
Gen Anbu claimed that social media is acting as a catalyst in brewing militancy.
“Social media is also responsible for increase in terror, it’s engaging the youth at a large scale and I think we need to focus on this issue soon,” he said.
“Those making statements don’t know the Army well,” said Gen Anbu, while reacting to Owaisi’s statement on the “silence on killing of five Muslim soldiers in Jammu base attack.”
He also said that Hizb ul Mujahideen (HM), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfits are working in unison.
“All three groups like HM, JeM or LeT are hands in glove whether it’s in valley or here. There is no differentiation; they keep jumping from one Tanzim to other. Anyone who picks up an arm and is against the state is a terrorist and we’ll deal with him,” he said, according to the report. (with PTI inputs)