‘Conduct operations in most professional manner’, says Army Chief Manoj Pande visiting Poonch

General Pande visits Dhera Ki Gali and reviews anti-terrorist operation

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande visited Poonch on Monday and assessed the ground situation amid security forces' ongoing operation to track down terrorists behind recent terror attacks in Poonch. The Army chief advised commanders to conduct the operations in the most professional manner.

Tweeting about the visit, the Indian Army said, “General Manoj Pande #COAS visited #Poonch sector and was given an update on the prevalent security situation. #COAS interacted with commanders on ground, exhorted them to conduct the operations in the most professional manner and remain resolute & steadfast against all challenges.”

Search operations are on to locate terrorists in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. Defence Ministry officials are set to visit Rajouri and Poonch to assess the ground situation amid increased terror activities. Massive search and cordon operations continue, with local assistance, in upper reaches, forests, and other vulnerable areas.

The Army chief’s visit comes amidst probe into death of three civilians after they were picked up by the Army for inquiry on December 23. The Army has transferred a brigadier and three officers following the deaths of three civilians in Thanamandi, in the Rajouri-Poonch area, after five soldiers lost their lives in a terrorist ambush on Thursday. 

Earlier, a defence spokesman in Jammu said the army chief reached Jammu in the afternoon and immediately left for Rajouri-Poonch sector to review the operational preparedness and the prevailing security situation.

The officials said General Pande visited Dhera Ki Gali and reviewed the anti-terrorist operation going on in Surankote and nearby Rajouri district's Thanamandi forest belt for the last five days to neutralise the terrorists behind the dastardly attack that left four soldiers dead. The Army chief later flew to the 25 Infantry division headquarters in Rajouri and was briefed by the commanders on the ground about the overall security situation, they said.

Mobile Internet services remained suspended in both Poonch and Rajouri districts for the third day on Monday as a precautionary measure to check rumour-mongering and prevent miscreants from creating any law and order problem, the officials said. The services were suspended early Saturday following the killing of the three civilians.

General Officer Commanding-in-chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, General Officer Commanding of Jammu-based White Knight Corps, Lt Gen Sandeep Jain, and senior civil and police officers are camping in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch to supervise the anti-terrorist operation and maintain law and order.

The Army has ordered a thorough internal investigation into the deaths of the three civilians and said it is committed to extending full support and cooperation in the conduct of the investigation.

In a post on X on December 23, the Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) of the Indian Army said, "Search operations by the security forces are continuing in the area of operations after the incident of 21 Dec 23. Reports have been received regarding three civilian deaths in the area. The matter is under investigation. Indian Army stands committed to extending full support and cooperation in the conduct of investigations."

-with PTI inputs.

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