"Darkness and the timing" were the two factors that enabled the fidyaeen to inflict casualties on army during an attack on a garrison in Kupwara district last Friday, army chief Bipin Rawat was told on Monday.
Rawat straightway flew to the Panzgam garrison after his arrival in Srinagar on a two-day visit and heard from officers and soldiers the details about the fidayeen attack in which three soldiers, including a captain, were killed, and five others injured. Two of the three fidayeen were also killed in the pre-dawn attack.
"Officers and soldiers briefed the chief about the attack for nearly half-an-hour when he asked them how militants managed to get closer to the Living Area. Most of the soldiers cited darkness and the timing of the attack as major reasons for casualties on our side," an army official told Greater Kashmir on the condition of anonymity.
"The Chief ordered that strict vigil be maintained in the wake of inputs suggesting more such attacks during the summer months," he said.
The official said the army chief advised the officers and soldiers to "leave nothing to chance" as militants might try to sneak into Kashmir and carry out similar attacks.
"He also sought suggestions on how to prevent such attacks and praised the soldiers for facing fidayeen bravely," the official said.
Northern army commander Lt Gen Anbu accompanied Rawat.
After the visit to Panzgam camp, Rawat and Anbu visited 15 Corps headquarters in Srinagar, where a security review meeting was held.
GoC 15 Corps Lt General J S Sandhu briefed the army chief about the prevailing situation in Kashmir valley, army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said.
"The Army chief appreciated the synergy between various security agencies and complimented the troops for undertaking operations with firmness and resolve."
Rawat also visited the Army Base Hospital in BB Cantonment where he enquired about the health of the injured soldiers and wished them all a speedy recovery, the spokesman said.
"The Army chief impressed upon everyone to continue their positive engagement with the people and provide them assistance when required."