Defence Minister & Army Chief in Kashmir

Srinagar, 18 Sep 2016.   It is another stab in the back by Pakistan through its backed terrorists groups. The terrorists reached the base, nearly 100 km from Srinagar, around 5:30 am, threw grenades and fired indiscriminately, causing the most deaths the army has suffered in a single attack in years.

The  three-hour gunbattle  left four terrorists  killed and 17 soldiers martyred. The terrorists who are believed to have crossed a canal along the Line of Control, cut through the fencing and infiltrated into Kashmir.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh visited Kashmir to take stock of the ongoing operations and review the overall security situation in Kashmir. They were briefed by the Northern Army and Chinar Corps Commanders Lt Gen DS Hooda and Lt Gen Satish Dua respectively at Srinagar on the Uri attack and the operation launched to neutralise the terrorists.

While three of the four heavily armed terrorists were eliminated within the initial fifteen minutes of establishing contact, the fourth was neutralized later and four AK 47 rifles and equal number of UBGLs alongwith other war like stores were recovered from them. Unfortunately, 17 soldiers have attained martyrdom in the operation. 13 of these soldiers died as they were trapped in the tents and shelters that caught fire due to the explosives used by the terrorists.

The Minister was briefed about the security grid along the LC and the hinterland also covering the deployment and employment of the additional forces that have been recently inducted into the Valley. The need for heightened vigil both on the LC and hinterland and to remain prepared for any developing was stressed upon.

There have been a number of infiltration attempts that the Army has foiled recently. It may be recalled that in the last one week itself, three such attempts were foiled in Kupwara Sector when four terrorists were killed and another group of four terrorists was eliminated in Poonch.

On being briefed about the internal security situation in the hinterland, the Army Chief reiterated the importance of complete synergy amongst all security, intelligence and other government   agencies to ensure calm and prevent the terrorists and other inimical forces from moving with impunity and intimidating the populace.

The Director General of Military Operations, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, said the terrorists were foreigners and there are clear signs of the role of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, whose chief Masood Azhar is based in Pakistan. The group had been involved in the attack on Pathankot air base in January during which 7 army-men were killed.

The terrorists had “items of Pakistani markings”, said Lt General Singh, adding that he had conveyed “serious concerns” to his Pakistani counterpart. Besides four AK 47 rifles and grenade launchers, a large number of grenades and food with Pakistani markings have been found in search ops.

Earlier the Army Chief also visited Uri to get a first hand account where he was briefed on the latest situation by the Commanders on ground.  Both  later met the casualties at the Army Base Hospital in BB Cantt.

Meanwhile the attack has also incurred the wrath of the world . The US “strongly” condemned the terrorist attack and said it was committed to anti-terror cooperation with India. “We extend our condolences to the victims and their families. The US is committed to our strong partnership with the Indian government to combat terrorism,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement.

High time Pakistan a confirmed terrorist state needs to be isolated on the international arena and just about time to give it back by India.