May 2001 News

1,000 Pak ultras ready to sneak into J&K

22 May 2001
The Pioneer

New Delhi: It's the infiltration season again in Kashmir. Intelligence sources say around 1,000 trained militants from Pakistan are ready to cross over into the Valley this summer. This will have a direct bearing on the ground-situation in the Valley in coming months, as the activities of the militants will increase with additional weapons and manpower. The Government-announced ceasefire has already given the militants an edge. This, by giving them sufficient time to re-group and rearrange their operations. The result: security forces and their local intelligence network have suffered heavy losses. About 175-200 militants have sneaked through the Kashmir sector and about 400 militants are believed to have entered through Jammu areas in the past four months, sources say. Sources in the armed forces reveal, the last four months have witnessed more than 500 incidents of firing along the Jammu border (at the international border as well as the LoC). Firing is resorted to by the Pakistani forces as a tactic to provide cover - by engaging the Indian forces - to the infiltrating militants. Firing was reported even on Tuesday from various sectors of the State, a BSF official said. Although the winter months are not conducive for infiltration, a good number of militants have already managed to sneak into the region from Pakistan, sources involved in anti-insurgency operations say. In the last four months, 70 militants have either been apprehended or killed while they were trying to enter the Indian territory through the Jammu sector. In the Kashmir sector 20 militants have been killed in similar manner. The Minister of State for Home Affairs ID Swami says that the Centre is aware of the situation. "We are aware of this problem which has active support from our neighbour. In the coming months the vigil along the border will be intensified and the fencing will continue on a war-footing." The Jammu and Kashmir action plan, formulated after a high level meeting held by the Ministry of Home Affairs in May, 1998, was for curbing the infiltration on priority basis. It continues to be so. However, despite the ceasefire announced by the Vajpayee Government, infiltration continues unabated with the active help of Pakistan. Officials in the armed forces are of the opinion that even the best of the best forces cannot check the menace totally. "We are sure of the numbers only when we catch the infiltrators. "However, the border terrain in the State is such that it is difficult for the forces to apprehend and detect each bid of intrusion as they tend to come in small groups every now and then rather than coming together," said a top ranking security forces official. There is nothing like "no intrusion time" in J&K, rather it is the graph which either dips or rises. "There has been no full stop till now to this and it continues to sustain the proxy war waged by Pakistan in the State," says Mr Prakash Singh, former Director General of the Border Security Force. Lt General Satish Nambiar, former DGMO of the Indian Army, echoes similar opinion and says that the infiltration continues and in today's context has given rise to an even more complicated situation. "The suspension of operations at the ground level has left our forces in a tight spot. Due to the ongoing ceasefire the forces have borne the brunt of the militants" attack as we are defensive. The information net of the security forces has also suffered as the militants have eliminated lot of informers," General Nambiar said. The security experts feel the intrusion will lead to a more explosive situation for the armed forces if the ceasefire is not done away with. Mr Brahma Chellany of the Centre for Policy Studies is of the view that intrusion is a policy decision of the Pakistan to keep the Kashmir problem alive to meet their requirements and unless the Indian establishment does not reply sternly, nothing will stop. India will have to take the ground realities into consideration rather than only bother about the international opinion. Interestingly, all the militant recruits coming to Markaz in Pakistan, have to attend a 21- day standard course called Dawa-e-Aama and a second more intensive three month course called Daura-e-Khasa. These courses prepare them to handle basic weaponry apart from training them in guerrilla warfare.


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