Army Chief hints at retaliation to Pak

Massive operation to flush out militants in Kashmir
Report by: 
4 May 2017

The Indian Army does not reveal plans before executing them, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said today, indicating possible retaliation to the Pakistan military beheading two Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

Replying to a volley of questions on whether the army will respond to the barbaric act, Rawat, without giving a direct reply, said the armed forces effectively respond to such actions by the neighbouring country. "We do not talk about future plans beforehand. We share details after execution of the plan," Gen Rawat said, refusing to elaborate further. Pressed further, he said: "When this kind of action takes place, we also carry out retaliatory action". He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event.

Vice Chief of Army Staff Sarath Chand on Tuesday had said the Army will respond to the dastardly act at "a time and place of its choosing". Defence minister Arun Jaitley had said the "sacrifice (of the two soldiers) will not go in vain" and the Indian armed forces will react "appropriately" to the "inhuman act" of the Pakistani troops. Sources said the army is weighing various options to respond to the beheading of a Naib Subedar and a BSF head constable by a Pakistani Border Action Team on the Line of Control on May 1. Asked about the reactivation of terror launchpads across the LoC which were destroyed by India during the surgical strike last year, Rawat only said the "counter-infiltration postures" have been beefed up.

"Terrorists are trying to infiltrate. Snows are melting, summer months have started. Like each year, infiltration will commence. We are taking measures. We have beefed up our counter-infiltration postures," said Gen Rawat.
Meanwhile, a massive search operation was today carried out by the Army at Shopian district in south Kashmir to flush out militants holed up inside homes. Helicopters and drones circled the air and more than 4,000 troops today fanned out across the district for the operation.

The operation targeting militants who have been hiding in the area and striking against security forces began in the early hours of the morning with security forces, comprising army, police and CRPF, marching into more than a dozen villages in the district, Army sources said. There have been no casualties so far. The operation in Shopian, about 55 km from here, was perhaps the biggest in more than a decade in the troubled Kashmir Valley, an army official said on the condition of anonymity.

Door-to-door search of houses, a practice stopped in the late 1990s, was re-introduced today. The troops asked all villagers to assemble in a common area so a proper search of their homes could be carried out. "We do not wish to have any civilian casualty and the measure was therefore required," said a senior Army official engaged in the operation. The cordon and search operation (CASO) followed intelligence inputs about the presence of militants, including foreign terrorists, in the area, an official said. However, no contact had been established with the militants so far.