June 2003 News

Army Fine-tuning Biggest J&K Anti-terror Drive

4 June 2003
The Pioneer

New Delhi: The Army is in the process of fine-tuning its biggest ever operations against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir after getting the nod from the top political leadership. Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was apprised of the magnitude of the proposed operations by director general military intelligence (DGMI) Lt General R Khare and his team, comprising officers from the directorate of military operations on Tuesday. Mr Advani was also briefed about the current status of terrorist infrastructure, including training camps thriving in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). In fact, some of the camps were hardly 15 to 20 kms away from the Line Of Control (LoC), he was informed. The counter-insurgency drive, as explained to the political leadership, would entail more than 40,000 securitymen busting the hideouts of the terrorists belonging to various 'tanzeems' (organisations) in remote areas, sources said here on Wednesday. Moreover, the focus would be on going after the insurgents in these far flung and thickly wooded zones and force them to come down to populated areas. Once contact id made with the local population, real time intelligence would help the security forces target the terrorists, they added. The operations, to be carried out in the rugged terrain south and north of Pir Panjal mountain ranges, would also see the Srinagar based 15 Corps and Nagrota based 16 Corps interchanging roles to tighten the counter- insurgency grid. It would provide more flexibility to the operational commanders in going after the terrorists, sources said. Given the massive scale of the operations, the Army had already started internal readjustment and movement of troops in areas like Doda and Rajouri in Jammu division and some vital sectors in the Kashmir valley. Incidentally, the 15 Corps looks after the Kashmir sector while the 16 Corps is responsible for Jammu division. It was also learnt that the operations would be carried out in phases, with great emphasis on avoiding any collateral damage. Various agencies of the central and state government were working in tandem with the security forces in this regard, sources said. The proposed actions got a fillip after the Army's successful 'Operation Sarp Vinash' in Surankote region of Rajouri district in Jammu division last month. The large-scale operation saw the Army constructing helipads and an 18 km long road to ensure smooth flow of logistics to higher reaches of Hill Kaka touching more than 10,000 feet. 'Operation Sarp Vinash' was conducted by the Romeo force of the Rashtriya Rifles and specialised troops from some other units. The next operation would be in Doda under the command of Delta Force. Sources pointed out that the Corps commanders of 15 and 16 Corps, both of Lt General rank, were personally monitoring the ground situation and counter- insurgency strategy.


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