New Delhi: While the infiltration of terrorists has come down along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir sector, attempts are being made through the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Punjab, Army chief General Manoj Pande said Monday.
He also said that Kashmir is witnessing a new trend where local youth are being used by Pakistani proxy groups to give an “indigenous colour to insurgency”.
The terror groups are targeting non-locals, political functionaries and minorities in the Valley to spread sensationalism, he said.
General Pande, who took over as the Army chief last month, was speaking on the situation in Kashmir during an interaction with journalists at the Army Headquarters Monday.
He said the Army continues with its counter operations to fight the terror network.
Noting that infiltration has come down since 2019, he said it was due to the strong counter-infiltration grid in Kashmir along the LoC.
He, however, underlined that “there is an attempt” to infiltrate from the international border in Jammu and Punjab.
International border used to push narcotics besides weapons
While infiltration through the International Border has always been spoken about in Army circles as a reason behind the high number of foreign terrorists in Kashmir, it’s the first time an Army chief has publicly spoken on the issue.
General Pande said the International Border in Jammu and Punjab is being used to push in narcotics, apart from weapons and ammunition to cater to the terror infrastructure in Kashmir.
In October 2020, ThePrint had reported that attempts were being made to push in arms and ammunition through the Jammu region, and also along the international border in Punjab and Rajasthan.
Inputs also suggest that weapons are being brought in from Uttar Pradesh.
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How infiltration happens
In the past, sources in the defence and security establishment have alluded to infiltration from outside Kashmir. They said terrorists make their way into the Valley though trucks and other vehicles.
In November 2020, four suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, who were hiding in a truck, were killed in an encounter with security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Nagrota.
In the same year in January, three terrorists were killed and a policeman was left injured in firing near Bann toll plaza on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
However, Home Ministry sources refuted the allegations of infiltration given the 192-km long international border in Jammu is manned by the Border Security Force (BSF), which comes under the ministry. They claimed the BSF maintains a strict vigil along the border.
Last year in January, the BSF detected a 150-meter-long underground tunnel constructed by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district for terrorists to slip in.
Reports around that time had said the tunnel was the second such structure to be found beneath the international border in Hiranagar sector in 10 days, the fourth in Jammu region within six months and the tenth in the past decade.
Last month, the BSF had launched a drive to detect cross-border tunnels along the international border following a terror attack on a CISF team.
(Edited by Monami Gogoi)
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