"We are prepared to take on any challenge," General Officer Commanding of Army's 15 Corps Lt General Gurmit Singh told reporters. He was replying to question about reports that Al Qaeda may set up a base in Kashmir.
Top militants of al-Qaeda's central command had purportedly released a video calling on Muslims of Kashmir to "join jihad". It is perhaps the first time that Kashmir has been specifically targeted.
Lt Gen Singh said an effective counter-infiltration grid was in place along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Valley to prevent infiltration of militants from the other side.
"We have an excellent intelligence network and good synergy with Jammu and Kashmir police and other security forces agencies to deal with any kind of challenge," he said.
He said the situation along the LoC and the hinterland was "under control". Giving details of the anti-militancy operations, the Corps Commander said the security forces have managed to neutralise 63 militants in the first half of the current year.
"We have killed 40 terrorists including 17 from Lashkar-e-Toiba and 11 from Hizbul Mujahideen. 23 terrorists have been apprehended during this period," he said.
He said 140 weapons including 60 pistols have been recovered during the operations against militants in the Valley. The troops came in for praise from Lt Gen Singh for carrying out "professional operations" during which he claimed there had been no human rights violations.
Asserting that security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are alert to threats of al-Qaeda, Director General of Police (DGP) K Rajindra Kumar had on Saturday said that the state police along with central forces were prepared to handle any situation and thwart nefarious designs of militants.