Keran sector operation is 'localised', says IAF chief

The operation in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir against heavily armed militants was "localised", and the army is capable of dealing with the situation, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said here Friday.

The chief of the Indian Air Force also noted that frenetic attempts were being made from the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) to push in infiltrators before the onset of winter.

At a press conference here to mark the 81st Air Force Day, Air Chief Marshal Browne said there was a recent spurt in violence on the LoC. He said army chief General Bikram Singh clarified that there was no Kargil-like situation in the Keran sector.

"The passes will close down shortly. Frenetic attempts are being made to push in as many infiltrators," the air force chief said.

The Indian Army has been engaged in an operation against 30 to 40 heavily armed militants who entered the Indian side of the LoC in Keran sector of north Kashmir's Kupwara district Sep 24. The operation continued for the 11th day Friday. 

Air Chief Marshal Browne, who heads the chiefs of staff committee, said the operation in Keran was "localised" and "tactical", and some infiltrators have been cornered.

"Operations are ongoing. When over, the army will give details," he said.

Browne said the level of "activity" on the LoC varies from year to year. 

"Some years, there is more activity, some years less. This year also (there has been) little excessive infiltration. This is something the army deals with, on 24X7 basis," he said.

The air chief said the terrain in Keran sector has inclines and wide drains and the army is taking care to see that its men suffered minimum casualties.

"The army is highly capable of dealing with it," he said, adding that the air force does not get into such localised operations, but is involved in much bigger operations.

The Indian Air Force would provide any assistance sought by the army, he added.

Air Chief Marshal Browne said the cases of ceasefire violation have been far more this year than last year and that the sanctity of ceasefire must be maintained. 

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