The Army today vowed to hit back hard on the militants who carried out an ambush which killed six Assam Rifles personnel in Manipur's Chandel district on Sunday.
"In counter-insurgency operation it is a matter of initiative and opportunity. They have been able to get this opportunity but it is not long before we hit back and we will hit back very hard," Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, General Officer Commanding of 3 Corps, told reporters here.
The Army and Assam Rifles have been continuously running an intensive combing operation to trace the militants in the deep jungles near Indo-Myanmar border, where the incident happened on Sunday afternoon.
Refusing to divulge details of the operations before the media, Krishna said the search was on in the jungles.
"I can assure you no setback can ever dilute the resilience of the Indian Army. We are trained to be resilient. This type of casualties is a setback for everybody but it is also an opportunity to bounce back and bounce back with a bigger success," he said, adding strong action cannot be taken at the press of a button.
On the security situation in Manipur where 18 army personnel were killed in the same district last year in an ambush by NSCN(K) militants, the officer said, "After one year they have been able to get this opportunity but we will wrest this opportunity and initiative very soon".
Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh condemned the incident.
We stand united in the fight against insurgents and will continue to strive for furtherance of peace in the region, he said, adding those involved in such crimes will be severely punished.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had directed security forces to take "strongest possible action" against the militants involved in the ambush.
Meanwhile, the mortal remains of the martyrs were sent to their hometowns in two specially requisitioned Indian Air Force aircraft accompanied by a team of Assam Rifles personnel.
In a solemn wreath laying ceremony conducted in true traditions of the Indian Armed Forces, homage was paid to the six martyrs of 29 Assam Rifles.
Wreaths were laid by the Chief Minister, his deputy Gaikhangam and high ranking officers of Army and Assam Rifles based in Manipur.
CorCom, a conglomerate of proscribed outfits, in a statement issued to the media, had claimed that the ambush was carried out by them.
The deceased include a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and five jawans of the Assam Rifles.