New Delhi: Only 3.43 lakh Army soldiers and personnel from the central armed police forces are posted in Jammu and Kashmir — contrary to the figure of 9 lakh quoted by many, including Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan — and a majority of them are deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) on anti-infiltration duties.
If one takes into account the figures of the Army personnel alone, only 1.68 lakh soldiers are posted in J&K — including in the hinterlands and along the LoC.
The overall deployment of security personnel in J&K hinterlands stands at 2.31 lakh, according to documents accessed by ThePrint.
Of these 2.31 lakh security personnel, 1.6 lakh is derived from the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), a significant number of which was deployed just ahead of the Narendra Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370 in J&K in August.
This apart, a total of 1.12 lakh security personnel are posted along the Line of Control — including over 14,000 from the Border Security Force.
Thus, the overall figure of security personnel posted in Jammu and Kashmir is 3.43 lakh — 1,68,440 being Army personnel.
“These personnel, both CAPFs and Army, are deployed for various purposes. These include giving security to important shrines like Vaishno Devi, Raghunath Mandir in Jammu, Hazrat Bal in Srinagar, government installations, counter-terrorism operations, keeping the line of communications open and the counter-infiltration grid at LoC, besides administrative and other works,” a senior officer told ThePrint.
“Of the entire number (3.43 lakh security personnel), nearly 50,000 troops are from the RR battalions (Rashtriya Rifles), posted in the hinterlands and they are spread throughout,” the officer added.
Figure of 7-9 lakh soldiers far from reality
It has often been claimed that 7-9 lakh security personnel are deployed in J&K — this meant nearly half of the 13-lakh strong Indian Army is posted in the region.
The most recent claim was made by former diplomat Mark Lyall Grant, who said 5 lakh soldiers were deployed in J&K to “implement a decision”. Grant, who has been the National Security Adviser to former British prime ministers Theresa May and David Cameron, was referring to the scrapping of Article 370.
All Indian governments have always refrained from speaking officially on troop deployment in J&K, but the documents, accessed by ThePrint, show that these figures are far from reality.
How many soldiers are posted in J&K hinterlands?
A total of 2,31,960 security personnel have been deployed by the central government in J&K’s hinterlands — it includes personnel from the Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Nagrota-based 16 Corps and CAPF.
The number includes about 7,200 regular soldiers, besides about 50,000 from the RR units, which are meant for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations.
Also deployed are a total of 1,60,560 CAPF personnel — largely from Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (not including the ones posted along the Line of Actual Control), Sashastra Seema Bal, Border Security Force, among others.
The other forces totalling the overall figure of 2.31 lakh are personnel from the Army’s Signal Corps, which looks after Army communications and tech intelligence, besides regular soldiers at Force Headquarters, Brigade Headquarters and the RR Headquarters.
The figure of 2.31 lakh includes personnel from the Engineers and Army Service Corps.
How many are posted along the LoC?
A total of about 1.12 lakh security personnel are posted along the LoC, which includes those deployed in anti-infiltration grids, air defence, Armoured Corps and Artillery Corps.
The figure includes personnel of the Signal Corps, RR, Engineers and the Army Service Corps.
According to the documents, Pakistan has deployed about 87,500 ‘regular’ soldiers, which include their commandos, along the LoC. ‘Irregulars’ also man the LoC, but their numbers are not known. ‘Irregulars’ are those who are not part of the Pakistan Army but operate along with the soldiers.