The attack on an army camp in north Kashmir on Friday once again underlined the need for security forces to be extra vigilant at a time when terrorists are desperate to make their presence felt in the state, a senior army officer said on Saturday.
Eleven security personnel, including a lieutenant colonel, were killed in the fidayeen attack.
The officer said, “Our strategy would be to increase vigilance levels and try to hit them before they can come in so deep.” He added that there would be a “serious problem” if terroris ts attack an army post, but the force didn’t let them get away.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh on Saturday said that the attack seemed to be a desperate attempt by terrorists to disrupt the third phase of elections in the state. “I want to assure the nation that these elements will not be allowed to succeed in disrupting the democratic process,” he added. Singh was briefed by senior officers on counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration measures in place.
Former northern army commander lieutenant general HS Panag said despite best preparations, the possibility of terrorists surprising the security forces would always remain.
“Since 2011-12, terrorists have not been bold enough to carry out such an attack in Kashmir. The message from them is that they are still around,” Panag told HT. He said sound counter-insurgency and counter-infiltration measures had been in place for years.
“The fact is such attacks are not unusual. But this has happened when the elections are underway,” Panag added. The army has a three-tier counter-insurgency grid in the state.
Meanwhile, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that the government would resolutely continue its fight against terror and its perpetrators. Terming the terror strikes in Kashmir as cowardly, he said the sacrifices made by security personnel would not go in vain.