Tangdhar: Terrorist infiltration from Pakistan has come down by a large extent in Jammu & Kashmir, though there is no let-up in attempts being made by the neighbouring country to push terrorists and weapons into India, the Army has said.
“We have been able to stop infiltration quite substantially. However, there continue to be attempts made to push in terrorists and weapons,” 15 Corps Commander Lt Gen B.S. Raju told a select group of journalists in Srinagar over the weekend.
According to official figures, 27 terrorists have infiltrated into India so far this year, as against 130 in 2019 and 129 in 2018.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said higher deployment of troops, reshaping of the anti-infiltration grid, and use of technology have helped bring the number of successful infiltration attempts down in 2020.
However, even though infiltration has decreased, security agencies remain concerned about an increase in local recruitment by terrorists.
Battalions added, tech deployed
As reported by ThePrint in April, the Army put in place a new summer strategy at the Line of Control (LoC) to check infiltration, which increases as the summer begins.
This reporter travelled through the entire Kashmir region and along the LoC in the Tangdhar sector over the past week, and spoke to multiple sources about the different ways the security framework at the border has been bolstered.
At the beginning of this summer, the sources said, at least three more battalions were added to the LoC, thereby increasing the number of personnel available to guard the 343.9-km border in Kashmir that is protected by a 407.31-km fence.
“Earlier, there was a three-tier anti infiltration grid. The new numbers were added to the first tier, which meant it became very strong since larger deployment was done along the LoC fence,” a source in the defence establishment said.
Along with this, the Army has gone in for technology, though of the “basic and cheaper kind”, like cameras and sensors, which have been installed on the fence.
“There is no high-end technology that has been used but basic infrastructure has been put in place. This meant that the soldiers have better domain knowledge about what is happening in their area of operation,” another source said.
According to available inputs, Pakistan has pulled back at least 39 terror training camps from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) into its hinterland. However, close to 22 terror launchpads are still believed to be operating along the LoC.
“There are about 300 terrorists waiting to infiltrate. Attempts have been made but they are deterred by the new security grid system in place,” a third source said.
With the terrorists in the Kashmir Valley facing arms and ammunition shortage, attempts are being made to push the equipment using new areas and even drones.
“Attempts are being made to push in arms and ammunition through the Jammu region, and also along the IB (international border) in Punjab and even Rajasthan. Inputs also suggest that weapons are being brought from Uttar Pradesh,” a fourth source said.
The year 2020 has seen larger recoveries of arms and ammunition. However, the 15 Corps commander has withdrawn the point system — points earned by each unit for various operations help it earn citations and other forms of recognition — for such recoveries to remove any incentive for fake or orchestrated ones.
According to estimates, there are currently 207 active terrorists in the Kashmir Valley, and 90 of them are Pakistanis. While the official number for infiltration is 27, new intelligence inputs suggest 18 more may have reached South Kashmir along with M4 rifles.