PM expresses concern over handling of Keran operation

Amid questions over the Keran incident, PM Manmohan Singh expressed concern over handling of operation in Jammu and Kashmir where Army engaged group of terrorists but nobody was found after 15 days.

New Delhi: Amid questions over the Keran incident, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed concern over the handling of this operation in Jammu and Kashmir where the Army claimed to have engaged a large group of terrorists but nobody was found there after 15 days.
Government sources said here that Singh expressed his concern over the handling of the operation to the Defence Ministry in a meeting this week.

This development comes at a time when there have been two incidents of attacks on Indian troops inside Indian territory in the past 10 months and ceasefire violations by Pakistan have become very frequent.

On the reasons behind the Prime Minister being concerned over the issue, they said a lot of "exaggerated claims" were made by formations about their success there but the encounter went on for 15 days and after it got over, the results did not match the claims.

The Defence Ministry has held discussions with the Army Headquarters on the issue in which details of the conduct of the operations were discussed.

The representatives of the Directorate General of Military Operations, which looks after such large-scale operations, were present during the meeting, the sources said.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon had briefed the Prime Minister about the incident whereas Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh had briefed Defence Minister AK Antony.

Soon after the operations started on September 24, Army authorities had claimed that 35-40 terrorists had infiltrated and around a dozen had been killed in the initial contact phase itself.

However, only eight could be killed in the operation that got over on October 8.

Questions have been raised over the operations by the local formation and the senior commanders there as several loopholes have been being cited in their conduct.

The four-day Army Commanders` Conference starting October 21 is also expected to discuss various aspects of the entire operation.