India Deploys 5,000 More Troops On LoC

16 May 2008
The Nation

New Delhi: The Indian army has finally taken up an aggressive position in the Occupied Kashmir. With the increase in cross-border firing instances, the Indian army has changed its tactics and deployed 5,000 additional troops closer to the Line of Control in the 28 division area in Kupwara. The troops are a part of the reserve force of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps of the Army and will now move to the strike brigades of the 28 division in Tangdhar, Keran, Macchal and Gurez along the Line of Control (LoC). With additional deployment of troops, more units of the Rashtriya Rifles are also expected to move to the sector to increase the number to nearly 30,000 troops. Infiltration is a real cause of concern, not only for the Indian army but also for the government, especially with the elections in the pipeline in the state. According to top army officials, there are about 900 Mujahideen in the Valley out of which about a quarter are very active. Meanwhile, in a related development, the DG of the Indian Border Security Force, AK Mitra, confirmed that fences along the border that separates India and Pakistan in the Samba sector, were indeed cut. He said that 'it is a lesson and we have learnt it...' He also said that Pakistan Rangers' role in recent infiltration bid in this sector 'cannot be ruled out' as 'some cartridges used by the Rangers have been found'. The BSF has increased its presence in Samba with the deployment of 1,000 more troops in the area and has also initiated several steps - surveillance gadgetry is being upgraded, thermal imagers are likely to be installed and night vision goggles and devices are to be provided to the BSF men at the border. Mitra's visit to Samba came in the backdrop of May 9 infiltration bid from Pakistan and an encounter in which two infiltrators were shot dead in the sector. Four civilians including a photojournalist and two soldiers were also killed in the encounter. To prevent any such infiltration bid in the future, Mitra said the fencing along the border at Samba would also be moved 100 metres towards the international border. Mitra also said two more battalions are being relieved of counter-insurgency operations in the Valley and they will now be posted in the Jammu region as reserves. Because of refencing 654 acres of land would be released for farmers, the DG said adding, the force would like to encourage them to do farming and it is there to protect them.