Escalation of tension entailed with cross border firing and rampant surgical strikes by the Indian army has been an issue of constant debate on which the defence ministry has remained tight lipped.
It is opined that the Indian government has hardly taken enough precautions to secure the borders with reports of surgical strikes causing loss of civilians and the security forces on a day today basis.
The issue which remains largely elusive is the ignorance of the Defence ministry to take adequate measures to seal the borders to avoid imminent surgical strikes and infiltration of Jehadi forces.
Recently six Lashkar e-Taiba militants breached through the borders in Kupwara district of Kashmir across the LoC escaping the tight vigilance of the army and the police forces.
According to a senior military official, “Everyone in the government seems to think there is some kind of tech-fix that will seal the Line of Control,”.
The situation across the Line of Control presents a grim picture of the government’s inability to fix the issue which raises serious security concerns on the livelihood of people residing in the Kashmir valley.
Last week, police arrested militant Zabiullah Saqib, a member of that infiltrating group who survived a ferocious March 21 firefight in Kupwara district’s Fateh Khan hamlet, which claimed the lives of the rest of his unit.
His interrogation to the intelligence officials cast a shadow on how adept groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba has become at penetrating India’s anti-infiltration fence on the Line of Control (LoC).
Zabiullah revealed the negligent effort it takes to breach through the fences and jump into the Indian territory of LoC.
Reports mention the manner in which six trained fidayeen, and six porters, cut through coils of razor-sharp concertina wire piled two metres above the snow, and then evaded thermal imaging, surveillance radar designed to detect human movement, and rings of patrols.
However according to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cross-border infiltration and ceasefire violations have been under control as the armed forces have been swift in retracting the Pakistan army strikes. Over 300 infiltrations were reported from the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in 2017, which was a four-year-high, according to figures available with the Home Ministry.
An official said this explained the over 230% increase in ceasefire violations along the LoC this year compared to 2016.
Sources in the defence ministry mentioned that the Indian army has foiled various bids by the Pakistan army to intrude the borders in the background of indiscriminate and unprovoked firing.
Army PRO says that Pakistan is constantly plotting evil plots to launch an offensive against the Indian forces. There are regular reports of recruitment of foreign jihadists among the Pakistan nationals to step up aggression that has been undermined by the Indian defence ministry officials, rushing the need for building strong and impregnable cross border fences to curb militancy.
Records show that there has been a surge in the number of foreign nationals joining the jihadi groups.
Last year, figures for the Kashmir zone show, terrorist fatalities surged to 209 from 136 in 2016, 121 of them either unidentified or foreign.
The present fences and surveillance techniques applied at the LoC seem to be inadequate and weak to contain the surgical strikes launched by the ISI backed jihadi groups or Pakistan army.
In 2015, the Border Security Force (BSF) forwarded proposal to enhance security on the India-Pakistan border with five layers of low-light closed-circuit cameras, thermal imaging, surveillance radar, laser trip-wires, and motion sensors buried in the ground. These devices were to be linked in real time to a central control room, which would direct patrols to investigate potential threats.
Last year it became clear that the amount needed to furnish the BSF pilot project patrol is a lumpsome 40 to 60 million Rs/ kms a budget far higher than the stipulated 10 million Rs sanctioned by the home ministry.
However, experts say that the BSF lacks the competence and the technical bandwidth to determine the structural framework and feasibility of these highly sensitive borders in pipeline.
It’s time for the defence ministry to chalk out a concrete policy in coordination with the BSF officials to upgrade its fencing technology to deter the security breach by unidentified militant groups. The gradual rise in cross border shelling and infiltration can be deterred only after evaluation of border safety standards and the frequency of terrorist activities at LoC with tactical implementation of laser detected sensors to trap the infiltrators in real time.