India

Cross-border firing to support infiltration by Pak-based militants

The Indo-Pak regression is complete. The ceasefire along the Jammu and Kashmir border is dead, and infiltration of terrorists appears to have resumed. Ceasefire violations by Pakistani forces along the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir over the last week could be an attempt to support infiltration bids by Pakistan-based terror groups, intelligence reports say.

Sources in the security establishment said when Indian troops retaliated against the firing from across the border, two terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed by the Border Security Force (BSF) in R.S. Pura area of Jammu. Intelligence inputs have indicated there has been increased activity across the border, sources said. Armed terrorists have been spotted with Pakistani forces very close to the border. The Valley isn’t quiet either. On Sunday, Indian Army personnel killed four militants in the Kalaroos forest area of Kupwara (see accompanying report). One jawan was lost in this action; another jawan who was wounded in a militant ambush in Keran area of the same district on Saturday has succumbed to his injuries at a military hospital in Srinagar.

Activity
The Pakistan Rangers, the counterpart of our BSF, have targeted more than 30 border outposts in the past few days, escalating their offensive against Indian forces and repeatedly violating the 2003 ceasefire. Sources said the heavy firing appeared to be part of efforts to back infiltration and there is a distinct possibility that terrorists are being pushed into India.

Indian security officials believe Pakistan’s strategists want to divert the people’s attention from domestic issues. In the run up to elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the drawdown of US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s military establishment could up the ante by making terror groups focus on Kashmir.

“There is information that at least two LeT terrorists have been killed by us. We have intelligence that the terrorists were fighting alongside Pakistani forces in the recent ceasefire violations,” said a source.

The BSF, which guards the International Border, has spotted armed terrorists very close to the frontier on at least three occasions in the past few days, leading to suspicions that more infiltration bids are being planned. “We have observed few people in civil clothes and armed with weapons moving very close to the international border in the darkness of the night. When we fired, they retreated. We presume they were militants because why would a civilian venture along the international border late in the night?” BSF Director General D.K. Pathak said.

Pathak said there had been no response to repeated requests to the Pakistan Rangers for holding flag meetings. The ceasefire violations began on August 16. On Saturday night, the Pakistani Rangers began firing at 25 border posts in R.S. Pura and Akhnoor areas at around 10 pm. The heavy firing came from Pakistan Rangers posts codenamed Jamshed, Labaik, Malane, Kaseera and Ghug.

Sources said the increasing infiltration attempts were part of a strategy planned by terror group with the help of the Pakistani security forces. Last year, terror groups in Pakistan held a meeting and decided to put the focus back on Kashmir after the US decided to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

According to intelligence reports, Pakistan-based terrorists are attempting to find new routes to push jehadis across the border. The traditional routes across the Line of Control are not the only points for infiltration any longer.

Intrusion
Sources said this is the reason for the offensive launched by Pakistani forces along the international border. After numerous ceasefire violations along the LoC last year, a report prepared by the BSF on the basis of intelligence reports indicated that infiltration bids along the international border could be made by terrorists backed by Pakistani security forces.

Sources said Sambha, Ramgarh, Narayanpur checkpoint and Kathua in Jammu are spots that are highly vulnerable to infiltration. Inputs further indicated that infiltration bids could take place along the border in Rajasthan and Punjab.

India shares a 3,323-km border with Pakistan, including the LoC. Sources said the latest intelligence inputs are alarming because 96 km of the international border is not fenced. “Most of the border is fenced. But there are still some vulnerable spots from where infiltration can take place,” said a BSF officer.

In order to strengthen the vigil along the border, the home ministry is in the process of setting up new border posts along the Pakistan frontier. Currently, there are 609 outposts and 126 new ones are expected to be built by the end of the year.

 

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