October 2000 News

Pakistan upgrading mountain warfare training

23 October 2000
The Times of India
Dwarika Prasad Sharma

Jammu: The Pakistani army is upgrading its mountain warfare training infrastructure, sources said here on Monday. Apart from regular soldiers, sources said, select group of militants are being trained in mountaineering and high-altitude warfare. The new training plan is aimed not only at upgrading but expanding the skills of the existing mountain forces of Pakistan. The Pakistanis are also shopping for the best equipment and gear available in Europe for mountain warfare and snow survival. In September, a major-general and five colonels of the Pakistani army visited Siachen to make an on-the-spot study of the mountain and snow survival needs of the army to fit the new plan. ''The emphasis is on snow survival, indicating that the Pakistanis are planning to raise the stakes in Siachen, continue with their attempts to ''Siachenise Kargil'' and try to create more ''Kargils'' in the areas of Poonch, Rajouri, Baramulla and Kupwara,'' the sources said. In Poonch and Rajouri districts, Pakistani army attachments, hand in hand with armed militants, have made several attempts to raid and capture forward Indian posts. The Pakistanis have named these joint teams - BATs (border attack teams). ''The border raids are aimed at helping infiltration, boosting the morale of the militants and sending message that Kargil is not over yet,'' the sources said. A couple of months ago, Pakistani army laid down a patrolling track from Thang village in Nobra valley to the Siachen. The track, which at points ran three kilometres within Indian territory, was detected and the Pakistanis were compelled to abandon it. ''They have made a new track on their side,'' the sources said. There are reports that during the winter months, the Pakistanis will attempt to occupy a couple of heights within the Indian side of the Line of Control in the Poonch-Rajouri sector. The training of militants in mountaineering, mountain warfare and snow survival are Pakistan''s attempts at giving a new dimension to the militancy, but camouflaging any future Kargil-like incursion by the Pakistani army.


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