April 2004 News

Ceasefire May Not End Infiltration, Fears Army

15 April 2004
The Pioneer

New Delhi: The Army has expressed apprehension over Pakistan's declarations to stop cross-border terrorism and informed the top political leadership that even if ceasefire holds, infiltration is expected to increase in the next few months. Reviewing the security scenario and actual ground position in strife-torn Jammu & Kashmir, the ongoing Army Commanders' conference here also informed National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra that the terrorist training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) were not dismantled. Moreover, the Pakistan Army was fortifying its positions all along the Line of Control (LoC), sources said here on Thursday. The five-day conclave of the top Army commanders headed by the Army Chief took stock of the ongoing anti-insurgency operations and the strategy to counter expected high infiltration during the summer months. The political leadership was apprised of the Army's assessment that the terrorist infrastructure was intact in PoK and new structures were coming up across the LoC. The Pakistan Army was fortifying these bunkers to withstand retaliatory artillery fire by India. The Pakistanis used to fire at the Indian positions from these bunkers thereby providing cover for the terrorists to sneak into India. Many of these bunkers were targeted by the Indian troops and taking advantage of the five- month old ceasefire, the Pakistanis had turned them into concrete structures stocked with heavy weapons and ammunition, sources said. Moreover, Pakistan was likely to use infiltration as a tool and step the levels of violence in the state to pressurise India to give some concessions during the next round of talks between the two countries next month, the commanders felt. Not willing to take any chances, the Army was going full steam ahead with its operational plans in the state and was in the process of equipping its troops with the latest gadgets and weaponry. The commanders gave a green signal to the new inductions, including 3,50,000 ultra light and effective bullet proof jackets, a large number of ballistic helmets and night vision devices, Army officials told reporters. The futuristic ballistic helmets, now in use in many armies of the world, would be fitted with earphones and night vision devices to enable the fighting soldiers operate with relative safety in close quarter battle in insurgency areas like Kashmir and the North-East. The operational commanders urged the Army top brass to expedite the induction of night vision devices in Kashmir to detect infiltration. At present, there was a deficiency of about 3,000 such devices and the public sector Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) was urged to step the production, officials said. The BEL manufactures about 600 night vision devices a year. Many Army units engaged in high-risk missions were now being provided with high calibre automatic weapons, sniper rifles and communication systems.


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