New Delhi: Intelligence reports and satellite imagery of the line of control bordering Pakistan reveal that the country cleared all launch pads of terrorists in the run-up to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington last week – and then brought them back after his return.
“For several days, we got reports saying there are no terrorists at the launch pads waiting to infiltrate into India. It was very surprising because the period between May and October is when infiltration bids are made,” a senior army officer who has seen the intelligence reports said on condition of anonymity.
Khan met US President Donald Trump last week on July 22. For the first time, a Pakistani prime minister was accompanied by the country’s army chief, General Qamar Bajwa and spy agency Inter services Intelligence’s chief, Faiz Hameed. The assessment in Delhi is that Pakistan did not want any skirmish on LoC to spoil the high-level meeting, a first since 2015.
Fresh intelligence reports now indicate that 200 to 250 terrorists are back at the launch pads waiting to infiltrate into India, the army official added. The ceasefire violation in the Valley’s Gurez sector on Tuesday was an infiltration attempt, the army officer confirmed. “We could see two bodies (of terrorists) lying (there) ,” he said.
An intelligence official confirmed that the launch pads were vacated and the terrorists shifted to villages close to the line of control for the duration of about two weeks. “The border has become active again and we are expecting more ceasefire violations,” this person added on condition of anonymity.
Heavy artillery fire duels between India and Pakistan too escalated this week in the Tangdhar and Keran sector. In another ceasefire violation in the Sunderbani sector, one Indian soldier was killed.
At a press conference in Srinagar on Friday, Chinar Corps Commander, Lt Gen KJS Sandhu said Pakistan was continuing with its infiltration bids and was trying to “disrupt peace in the Valley.”
There was a spike in ceasefire violations after the Balakot air strike at a Jaish-e-Mohammed facility in February, soon after the attack in Pulwama, in which a vehicle laden with explosives rammed into a CRPF convoy, killing 40 troopers.
The border has come alive once again and the thinking in the Indian security establishment is that Pakistan will up the ante. “The assessment in Pakistan is that they had a good trip to Washington and are happy with Trump’s offer to mediate on Kashmir,” an Indian official said, asking not to be identified.
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