Srinagar: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley visited Kashmir on Wednesday to review the security situation in the Valley and the areas near the Line of Control, which are facing continuous shelling from Pakistan for the last three days. He asked the army commanders to maintain strict vigil along the LoC and stay prepared to give a fitting reply to the shelling.
A statement from the army said "Mr Jaitley lauded the valour, sacrifice and patriotic fervour of every soldier who is serving in these challenging situations for national integrity, saying the entire country is proud of them, the officials said.
Mr Jaitley's visit to the Valley comes days after the mutilation of two soldiers near the Line of Control in Poonch district. The minister had said their sacrifice will not go in vain and that the armed forces will react "appropriately".
A statement from the army said the minister -- who has been handling the defence portfolio since Manohar Parikkar returned to Goa as its Chief Minister -- was briefed on the current situation in the state and the steps being taken to restore normalcy.
He was also apprised about various measures to strengthen the counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LoC), where Pakistani forces have been indulging in shelling and attacks.
Over the last couple of months, Kashmir valley has witnessed a spurt in violence and terror attacks.
Two weeks ago, five policemen and two guards of a private bank were killed in Kulgam. The families of several policemen were also raided by militants. Last week, a young Kashmiri Lieutenant, Ummer Fayaz, was dragged out of a wedding he was attending, tortured and shot dead by terrorists.
Senior officers blame the current rise in terror activities to a groundswell of support since the five-month protests last year following the killing of Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani.
Anti-terror operations have been hobbled by regular interference by the locals, often helping holed up terrorists escape the security net. On the ground nearly 100 local youths have joined the ranks of terrorists.