Fencing On International Border To Start Soon
21 September 2000
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: To intensify militant activities in Jammu region, Pakistan has diverted its attention towards International Border (IB) to infiltrate maximum number of trained militants, particularly foreign mercenaries. Presently about 1200 militants, majority of them foreigners, are active in the Jammu region and ISI has been desperately trying to increase their strength. This was disclosed by Corps Commander of Nagrota Corps, Lt General A S Khanna while talking to the media-men today. He said that Pakistan was hell bent to increase militant activities in South of the Pir Panjal range. ''After Kashmir, enemy is now making all efforts to import blood-shed in Jammu region'', he said, adding ''ISI is exploring every possible route to infiltrate maximum number of militants to this region''. ''We have arrested the trend of infiltration of armed militants into Jammu through IB,'' Khanna said, disclosing that 79 infiltration bids were foiled along the IB and LoC this year. Of these 52 were witnessed along LoC and 27 along the IB. About 113 militants were killed along the LoC in these attempts. ''Strength of militants in this region was between 500 to 600 in 1999 but now their number has gone upto 1000-1200'', he said. He asserted that steps have been taken to plug all infiltration routes of the militants. ''India will soon start fencing along International Border (IB) from Akhnoor in Jammu division to Punjab to arrest infiltration of armed ultras from Pakistan'', he said. According to him, ''fencing will be started by Border Security Force (BSF) and Army will supervise the entire operation along the IB from Sangam Post in Akhnoor sector to Punjab. ''It will be done at any cost even if Pakistan interferes in the operation,'' he said. Replying to a question about the reaction of Pakistan which considers the border line as a ''working boundary'', Khanna said it is IB by agreement duly signed by both sides. ''If there was anything wrong, they should have opposed it at that time. It is now clear that this border is IB.'' Regarding situation along LoC, he said activity along LoC had increased due to infiltration attempts of militants, multiple raids by Pakistan regulars on Indian defence posts and shelling. Earlier infiltration bids were maximum along the LoC falling under 15 Corps in Kashmir valley, but now these have increased more in areas along the LoC and IB falling under 16 Corps in Jammu division, he said. Referring to Pakistani troops build up across LoC, Khanna said it is not for any major offensive or major conflict with India. However, Pak army have suitably placed their artillery and other weaponry across LoC to continue their low level offensive like shelling, firing and raids, he said. Not only this, Khanna said Pakistan is also focusing to force migration of large number of Indian border villagers to PoK so that they could be used as guides, porters and new militant recruits. These villagers are lured across with various packages and monetary benefits, he said, adding they later face wrath of mercenaries as well as Pak Army and return to their native places. Listing achievements of the Army, Lt Gen Khanna said that 550 militants, including some dreaded terrorists, have been killed by the forces since January this year. Mr Khanna also appreciated role of the local police in on-going operation against militants. ''It is difficult rather impossible to eliminate militancy without the help of local police'', he said and felt satisfaction over the role of local police. ''Local police particularly SOGs of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda have played important role in eliminating large number of militants'' he said. He added that Army was able to kill 22 militants three days back only due to the co-operation and help of local police.