Tuesday, 24 May, 2022
HomeDefenceWhy Pakistan is targeting Indian Army along LoC in Kashmir's Tangdhar sector

Why Pakistan is targeting Indian Army along LoC in Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector

With Neelum valley to its north & Leepa to the south, Tangdhar is surrounded by Pakistan from three sides.

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New Delhi: More ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts are expected in the Tangdhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir, which saw intense artillery firing Sunday by the Indian Army that targeted terror camps in Neelum valley of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, ThePrint has learnt.

Explaining the reasons why Tangdhar, located north of Pir Panjal ranges, is getting heated up, senior Army sources said it is the shortest route into Kashmir from PoK.

“Effort is on (by Pakistan) to push in as many terrorists as possible before the snowfall starts. They have a window of about one month to do so and hence more action would be there along the LoC. Tangdhar is the shortest route for the terrorists to sneak in,” a senior officer told ThePrint.

It takes about 4-5 hours for the terrorists to cross the Sadhna pass that runs through Tangdhar sector in Kupwara district.

“It is when the locals cross the Sadhna top that they think they have entered Kashmir,” the officer said, explaining that the journey takes local residents about 45 minutes by road.

Incidentally, the Mirage fighter jets carried out the Balakot strikes on February 26 by entering PoK through the Tangdhar sector.

Why Tangdhar was targeted

Army sources said there are two reasons why Pakistan targeted Tangdhar by violating ceasefire.

One reason, they said, was to push in terrorists. “There are about 300-400 terrorists being trained across the LoC. There are about six-seven launchpads in the Tangdhar sector and each launchpad has about 15-20 terrorists in each,” said a source.

The second reason, according to the sources, is that the Pakistan army wanted to “punish” civilians in the area.

The Kupwara region has been largely peaceful following the scrapping of Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government. When the government says schools are functioning in Kashmir, a majority of them are in Kupwara and Baramulla districts, said the sources.

“The civilians in the border villages are not Kashmiris but Pahari (people living in the Northern reaches of Kashmir) and hence they are being targeted.”


Also read: ‘Disappointing’: Pakistan Army rejects India’s claim of destroying terror camps in PoK


Tangdhar, an operational disadvantage for Indian Army

Shaped like a jetty, Tangdhar is surrounded by Pakistan from three sides. To the north lies the Neelum valley and to the south lies the Leepa valley.

On post-to-post ratio, the Army sources said, both sides are more or less on equal footing.

“In some places, they have posts on high altitude than ours. In some areas, Indian positions overlook Pakistani positions. So, if we take a collective outlook, both sides are on equal footing,” said an Army officer.

However, he added, the Indian Army is at an operational disadvantage when it comes to counter-terrorism operations. The terrain in the Tangdhar sector is heavily forested and rocky at the same time.

“The terrain does not give a clear line of sight when it comes to operational level. However, what happened yesterday proves that on a tactical level, we can easily target Pakistan army posts and terror launchpads with ease using the artillery guns,” said the officer, who did not wish to be named.

An old route for terrorists

Tangdhar is an old infiltration route for terrorists coming in from PoK. Sources said 25-odd terrorists were killed in the sector last year while attempting to infiltrate. Since the snowfall is heavy in this area, all attempts are made just a month-and-a-half before the snowfall begins.

It is located between Keran and Uri sectors — a hot spot for ceasefire violations and infiltration bids.


Also read: Army chief says 6-10 Pakistani soldiers killed, 3 terror camps destroyed in counter-attack


 

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