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India well prepared to thwart possible terror attack: Defence Minister

Soldiers at a war drill during the Army Day Parade. Photo: PTI.

NEW DELHI / NAGROTA (PTI): Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said India is "well prepared" to thwart any possible terror attack in the backdrop of intelligence inputs that strikes could be carried out on "soft targets" in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit here this month.

"They (terrorists) may try to do something to create news. But we are well prepared," Parrikar said.

He was replying to a question about the statement by a top army officer that there were inputs about possibility of attacks on "soft targets" by Pakistan-based terror groups such as schools, religious places, military convoys and civilian areas in the militancy-hit state ahead of Obama's visit.

General Officer Commanding (GOC), 16 Corps, Lt Gen K H Singh said that 200 heavily armed militants were waiting in 36 launching pads across the Line of Control (LoC) on the other side of Pir Panjal range and there is every possibility that Pakistan might try to divert the fringe elements of the home- grown terrorist outfits on this side of the border.

"There are general inputs that terrorists might try to attack soft targets, including schools, religions places, army convoys and other civilian areas," he told reporters in Nagrota.

Asked if the killing of five hardcore militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) in a fierce gunbattle in Shopian district of south Kashmir was related to Obama visit, he said, "No, that (encounter) is a different thing."

He said the encounter showed the success of information gathering by the security forces.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a reception hosted by Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh on occasion of Army Day, Parrikar said Pakistan will have to put words into action for bilateral dialogue process to begin.

"Let things cool down at the borders also. If things are quite now, it is not because of Pakistan Army. It is because we reacted in a certain way when they fired first," he said, when asked about media reports from Pakistan that it's government plans to ban 10 terror outfits, including 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).

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