'Confident' of army in Keran, will intervene if necessary after operation: MEA

New Delhi, Oct. 7 (ANI): Ministry of External Affairs on Monday backed the armed forces in Keran Sector, who are currently in their 14th day of operation battling militancy and safeguarding the sanctity of the Line of Control, and said that the Ministry would intervene only after the conclusion of the Army's operation there, if necessary.

"We have repeatedly emphasized that the maintenance of the sanctity of the Line of Control is, for us, of primary importance. ...As with regard to the current situation, you are aware that our armed forces, who are responsible for ensuring the sanctity of the area that you are have referred to are undertaking appropriate measures. We have full confidence in their abilities to take those appropriate necessary measures and to address the challenges which have been posed to them. Therefore, at this stage, we will await the outcome of their efforts in this regard," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

"Right now, the challenge is to ensure that our armed forces complete their job. If, after the outcome of those efforts, there is a requirement for us to do things further ahead, we will do so. But, we can't do so while the activity is underway," he added.

Commenting on the follow-up of the talks between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Akbaruddin said that the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMO) of both countries are scheduled to talk telephonically on Tuesday, after which a meeting date will be decided.

On Sunday, Pakistani High Commissioner Salman Bashir said the reports that suggested Pakistan's involvement in the large scale infiltration in Keran Sector was 'baseless' and that it would be only proper for the authorities involved to deal with it.

Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee spoke tough on terror, during his state visit to Belgium, and said in an interview to Euronews: "Terrorist activities must be curbed. And state-sponsored terrorism can never be accepted. Therefore, repeatedly we are saying, please dismantle the terrorist outfits which are located in your (Pakistan) area."

The gunfight between the Army and the terrorists is still on. The Army is battling 30 to 40 terrorists who had infiltrated in the Keran sector.

On Friday, Army Chief General Bikram Singh assured that the terrorists will be flushed out the area soon, and said that the ongoing operation was under control.

"There is nothing like that. It was an infiltration attempt by about 30 to 40 terrorists; they attempted this infiltration at four or five places. We had information about it. They have been stopped, prevented, neutralized some of them and operations are on to flush them out," said General Singh, when asked that there are media speculations about the present situation in Keran Sector being another Kargil.

"No village has been occupied. It's an area where they have come in, we are dominating from all sides and the terrorists are holed up. It's a broken ground, it's very difficult terrain; they are stuck in that and we will take them on," he added.

Last month, when Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, it was decided to task the DGMOs of both countries o prepare a strategy for effective restoration of the ceasefire along the LoC. (ANI)

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