July 2006 News

Pak 'cracks Down', Infiltration Figures Speak Otherwise

21 July 2006
The Indian Express

New Delhi: Notwithstanding Islamabad's claim that it has cracked down on militant infrastructure in PoK and despite a consolidated effort to beef up border defences on the Indian side, figures speak strongly for themselves. Infiltration by militants into J-K across the LoC has more than doubled in the first six months of this year, compared to the corresponding January-June period in 2005, and shows no signs of abating. With the Mumbai blasts being connected to militant outfits operating out of J-K and persistent grenade attacks in the Valley, pressure is mounting on the security forces to overhaul its anti-infiltration approach. Intelligence estimates show that from the beginning of this year till the end of June, at least 194 militants have successfully crossed over from PoK, as against just 82 between January-June last year. On June 28, partly because the government called attention to the spiralling numbers trickling in through intelligence reports, Army Chief General J.J. Singh convened an emergency high-level meeting with the Home Secretary and paramilitary chiefs at South Block to exchange notes on the startling uptick in infiltration and formulate a possible new way to contain it. The army is keeping close tabs at LoC points in Kupwara, Mendhar, Rajouri and Poonch, four areas where it says it has specific intelligence that infiltrators will use over the next two months. But the last two months alone paint a disturbing picture. In May last year, 19 militants infiltrated into J-K. In May this year, that number quadrupled to 78. In June last year, the number stood at 23. This June, it was up three times to 68. The real test may well be July though. Last year, July accounted for the maximum number of infiltrations at 122. The army declined to reveal infiltration figures for July so far this year. A cursory glance at the figures affirms that the pattern of infiltration across seasons matches that which has always existed. For example, in the winter months of January-March and October-December last year, only 39 militants managed to infiltrate, compared to 217 between April-September.


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