1,000 Militants Poised To Infiltrate LoC26 December 2011
New Delhi: Alarm bells are ringing along the 750-km long Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu & Kashmir following reports that 900 to 1,000 militants are ready to sneak in from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). This figure is double the number of militants who were poised to infiltrate last year. The latest Army assessment report could be a serious blow to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is clamoring for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from parts of the troubled valley. While infiltration and levels of violence have shown a declining trend over the past two years, the latest input about such a large number of highly trained and motivated militants poised to get into the State has forced the security forces to revise their counter-infiltration and counter-terrorism strategy. Sources said while 500 to 660 militants were poised to infiltrate in October last year, the figure this year stood at 900 to 1000. In November 2010, the figure stood at 350-400 and this year in the corresponding period it was 750-850. This jump indicated that Pakistan continued to actively aid and abet terrorists by providing them training in at least 42 camps which were still active despite repeated appeals by India and international community to shut them down, sources said. As regards the quality of militants now ready to infiltrate, officials said intelligence reports suggested they were highly trained in infantry tactics, in traversing rugged terrain and in withstanding harsh winter months. This meant that winter months, which normally see a decline in attempts to infiltrate as ingress routes in mountains are blocked by snow, may see militants trying to sneak in groups of ten to 15 from areas in Jammu division rather than Kashmir, the traditionally favoured ingress area. Elaborating upon this aspect, sources said Jammu division is bigger than Kashmir valley and bisected by Pir Panjal mountain ranges. An infiltrating militant has to travel long distance from Rajouri or Poonch while avoiding the security forces and then try to cross over the Pir Panjal into the Kashmir valley. The 15 Corps chief, Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain, responsible for guarding the LOC and all counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir valley, also expressed similar apprehensions in Srinagar a fortnight back. He said training camps across the LOC were in the same magnitude as they existed before and militants have shifted focus for infiltration towards Uri and Lipa sectors from traditional Gurez, Macchil and Keran sectors. There was no change in the magnitude of terror infrastructure across the LOC and trained militants were desperate to sneak into the Kashmir Valley, the Corps Commander said adding extra-vigil on the LOC, optimum use of technology and better intelligence network has resulted in containment of the infiltration. “There has not been any major effort (of infiltration) or contact (with militants) during the past two or two and a half months. But this doesn’t mean that no attempts would be made in future. There have been attempts in January and February also,” he said. He said the terrorists and their launch pads were intact across the LOC and the infiltrators have shifted their focus from the traditional routes. “The infiltrators are focusing on Uri and Lipa sectors rather than the traditional Gurez, Macchil and Keran sectors,” he said.