In the wake of reports that Al-Qaeda has established a unit in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army on Saturday said it will give a "befitting reply" to any attempts by the terrorist group to start operations in the state.
"We will give a befitting reply by our deeds if Al-Qaeda starts its operations in Jammu and Kashmir," Lt Gen SS Dhillon, General Officer Commanding of the Army's 15 Corps, told reporters.
Asked to comment on media reports about Al-Qaeda forming a unit in Kashmir, he said there was nothing new in reports linking the group headed by Osama bin Laden with Jammu and Kashmir.
"Similar reports had appeared in 2002 and if Al-Qaeda starts its operations (Jammu and Kashmir), we will give it a befitting reply," Dhillon asserted.
He refused to accept that there has been a spurt in violence in the state but conceded there has been an increase in the number of violent incidents in Srinagar because of "media attention in the city".
"The terrorists continue to change their tactics. In 2004, they resorted to suicide attacks, keeping the security forces on tenterhooks. ast year, it was the time of car bombs and currently they carry out grenade attacks," Dhillon said.
In reply to a question, he said between 900 and 1,300 terrorists are active in the Kashmir Valley. "It may be somewhere near 1,300," he added.
Dhillion said the Army recovered 2,000 kg of RDX and 29,085 grenades during operations, and this had saved "many precious lives".
He said "overground workers" of terrorist groups played a key role in militancy and had "minted a lot of money during the ongoing turmoil".