Army Chief Dalbir Singh visited the Northern Command in Udhampur and the Western Command, headquartered at Chandimandir, on Saturday to review operational preparedness in wake of surgical strikes across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir recently.
“Gen Singh arrived at Northern Command headquarters this morning and chaired a high-level meeting to review the situation and operational preparedness in Jammu and Kashmir, including along the Line of Control,” a defence official said.
The surgical strike, seen as a reprisal for Uri terror attack, was planned and executed by the Northern Command.
Singh also personally complimented officers and men who “successfully” targeted seven terror launch pads located in Leepa, Tattapani, Kel and Bhimbar, the official said.
The army chief interacted with senior commanders, including Western Command general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) Lieutenant General Surinder Singh, and exhorted them to continue to maintain highest vigil and alertness on the western borders. Earlier, he had visited the Northern Command.
A senior official of the Western Command said: “There is no troop mobilisation or deployment along the border, but routine army exercises are continuing.”
At present, it is Border Security Force (BSF) that is manning the International Border with Pakistan in Punjab. But no army official HT talked to has denied that an alert has been sounded to all forward posts and cantonments.
In the past seven days, Lt Gen Surinder Singh has twice reviewed security arrangements along the border. On September 23 and 24, he had visited forward areas in Jammu, Samba and Pathankot, where he interacted with field commanders and troops, besides meeting the northern army commander.
On September 29 – the day the news of the surgical strikes broke out in the morning -- the army commander embarked on a two-day tour to the Vajra Corps headquarters in Jalandhar besides forward locations in Gurdaspur and Amritsar to review the troops’ preparedness.
Sources had said the decision on the surgical strike was taken soon after the attack on the Uri army base on September 18. They said India was ready with contingency plans considering the possibilities that Pakistan may retaliate in the wake of the surgical strike.
It has been estimated that number of casualties was at least 40 on Pakistani side but there was no official confirmation.
The Army has also trashed reports in Pakistan about Indian casualties during the operation, saying one member of the special forces received minor injury while returning but it was not due to any enemy or terrorist action.
(with HTC inputs)