September 2016 News

Army, BSF Strengthen Positions; Addl Troops Plug Gaps On Borders

30 September 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Army and BSF today strengthened their positions along Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) as the Union Home Ministry after a high level review meeting issued an advisory for strict vigil along Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab borders to thwart Pathankot, Poonch and Uri like attacks. Meanwhile, more details today poured in about surgical strikes carried out by the Army at four sectors in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in wee hours of yesterday morning in which Indian troops had inflicted 'significant casualties' on militants and Pakistan Army. Official sources told the Excelsior that Israel made Tavor rifles, American M-4 guns and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) made Dhruv helicopters besides flame throwers, smoke grenades, grenades, Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs) and Night Vision Devices (NVDs) were used by the elite Para Commandos, or Special Forces, to target terror camps-cum-launch pads. The Tavor rifles and M-4 guns proved very useful in eliminating the militants while flame throwers and smoke grenades created panic and chaos among the sleeping militants at the launch pads taking them by surprise and giving them absolutely no chance to take their weapons and retaliate. 'The use of rifle, guns and grenades was decided by the top Army officials and the Para Commandos, who had to execute the strikes at launch pads as deep as 3 kilometers inside PoK as efficacy of these weapons had been tested during similar kind of surgical strikes inside Myanmar,' sources said. The Dhruv helicopters were used to airdrop the Para Commandos at last point of the LoC and, in some of the case, inside PoK depending upon the locations. The helicopters didn't land and the Para Commandos were airdropped significantly from very low height to avoid detection by the Pakistani troops. According to sources, the place where the Special Forces had to be dropped had been decided in advance to help Commandos reach the launch-pads in less time and ensure the Pakistan army posts were away from the spots. They said satellites, radar chains and National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) were monitoring the entire operation, which was 100 per cent successful and went completely as per the plan. They added that satellites, radar chains and NTRO were now being used 24-7 to monitor situation along LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat to keep strict surveillance on the activities of Pakistan army. Sources said the Western Air Command fighter bases and platforms have been kept in operational readiness mode to counter any misadventure from Pakistan. To review the security scenario in the aftermath of surgical strikes and future strategy by the troops, Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is visiting Northern Command Headquarters in Udhampur tomorrow. All top Commanders of the Army deployed in Jammu and Kashmir will be present in the meeting including Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda, GOC 16 Corps Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar and GOC 15 Corps Lt Gen SK Dua. The Army chief, had earlier in the day, congratulated the Northern Command for successful surgical strikes inside PoK. Sources said the Army chief would review situation developing on the borders in the aftermath of surgical strikes including ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army and ensure measure to retaliate any misadventure from across the LoC with no civilian casualties. Gen Suhag would leave Northern Command for Western Command in Chandigarh in the afternoon, where also he would have similar review of security situation along the borders with Pakistan. Meanwhile, entire LoC and IB have been put on very high alert in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired high level meeting on security situation in the aftermath of surgical strikes in PoK by the Indian troops. Rajnath reviewed security situation with National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, DG BSF KK Sharma and other top officials of the MHA, para-military forces and Intelligence agencies. Sources said the meeting discussed ways and means to secure release of Army jawan Chandu Babu Lal Chouhan, who had inadvertently strayed into PoK from LoC yesterday and was in the custody of Pakistan army. After the meeting, Army and BSF have been asked to strengthen their positions along LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab and plug all gaps to thwart any kind of infiltration attempts by the militants from Pakistan and PoK to carry out Pathankot, Poonch and Uri like attacks. 'Army and BSF were maintaining high alert and have deployed additional troops on the borders to plug the gaps,' sources said. During the hour-long meeting, the top security brass of the country briefed the Home Minister about the situation along the border and steps being taken to foil any Pakistani design to attack BSF posts besides safety of civilian population living in forward areas. The Home Minister instructed the officials to ensure that the forces posted along the border remain on alert as situation along the Indo-Pak border continues to be volatile after yesterday's surgical strike by Army, sources said. 'Orders have been issued by the BSF to all its units along IB in Jammu, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat to step up vigil and bolster their numbers at the posts by bringing in all personnel who are in the reserve,' sources said. BSF has also restricted all civilian movement along borders with Pakistan. The border guarding force has also been asked by the Home Ministry to provide manpower to local administration for helping in evacuating people from border villages to safer locations, wherever and whenever the people desire. The Centre today also issued a country-wide alert asking the States to heighten vigil to foil any attempt by Pakistan-based terror groups to carry out attacks amid apprehensions of backlash by terrorists after the surgical strike on their launch pads in PoK. In an advisory, the Home Ministry conveyed to the States that additional forces should be deployed in all sensitive places, strategic installations, markets, religious places and other key places to ensure security, source said. Metro cities were particularly asked to be extra vigilant. States touching the border with Pakistan - Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat - were also directed to remain vigilant, sources said. Sources said there is high probability that Pakistani agencies may try to use the terror groups to carry out strike in Indian soil to avenge yesterday's attack. Meanwhile, authorities were maintaining strict vigil in forward villages of LoC and International Border but so far there had been no significant migration from twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, which fall along the LoC. Only few people, who have their own houses in small towns were taking shelter there while majority was staying put in their houses along LoC. In three districts falling along IB-Jammu, Samba and Kathua, people from some of the border areas have taken shelter in Government accommodation like schools, religious places, community halls etc made available for them but most of the people continued to stay in their houses in the forward areas. Senior officers from civil and police administration visited the border areas today to review the situation and facilities for the border dwellers. They inter-acted with former Sarpanchs and Panchs and briefed them about the accommodation available for the border people, if they choose to shift to safer areas. According to DC Jammu, Simrandeep Singh, the number of people, who migrated from border areas today, was less at 600. Total number of migrants in Jammu district was around 10,000. DC Kathua Ramesh Kumar visited several border areas in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district and inter-acted with the border dwellers. He assured them all facilities if they choose to migrate. PTI adds from New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh tonight spoke to the family members of an Indian soldier, whose grandmother passed away after hearing the news of his capture in Pakistan. The Home Minister telephoned the close family members of Chandu Babulal Chohan, son of Bashan Chohan, who hails from Dhule in Maharashtra, after learning about the demise of his grandmother. Sources said Chandu's grandmother died of shock after hearing the news that he has been captured by Pakistani forces. Singh assured Chandu's family members that the Government is doing its best to bring back home the soldier safe.