Days after three BSF personnel were killed in Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) attack in the Kashmir Valley; Army has stepped up security grid along the boundaries with Jammu and Kashmir apprehending more such offensives in view of upcoming Independence Day.
While the situation in the Kashmir Valley is not normal following violence triggered since July 8 after Hizb-ul-Mujaheedin militant Burhan Wani was killed by the security forces in an operation in Pulwama, the Army is geared up to face major tasks closer to the Independence Day celebrations including BAT like attacks.
“Pakistan is making all efforts to rake up the Kashmir issue and for that, all attempts are being made to keep the present situation on boil,” defence sources here said and added, “the BAT generally targets patrol teams or isolated posts across the LoC.”
They said as the Army is not allowing the militants to reach the hinterland and they are being eliminated on the border, but BAT like attacks can be expected in the days to come by the Pakistan to destabilise the situation.
“Army has sounded an alert along the boundary with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir apprehending attack by Pakistan’s Border Action Team on forward posts and patrol parties in the run up to Independence Day,” sources asserted.
They said battling thick fog, treacherous terrain and unpredictable enemy, soldiers armed with thermal imagers and surveillance equipments are keeping a hawk eye on any movement along the Line of Control with Pakistan, which stretches up to 740 km.
“Out of this stretch, India has fenced 550 km to stop infiltration and smuggling while the international border stretches to over 180 km in Jammu frontier,” they maintained.
“There are intelligence inputs that BATs, which are small groups of specialised Pakistani troops supported at times by terrorists, could strike in the run up to Independence Day, especially in the aftermath of the encounter in Machil sector in north Kashmir,” sources said and added that three BSF personnel and a militant were killed in an attempt by Pakistan’s BAT with support from Pakistani army to infiltrate militants into the Valley.
Additional DG BSF Arun Kumar had also recently said as per intelligence inputs, there is a possibility of BAT crossing over into Indian territory and targeting posts.
Army, as per sources, is keeping a close watch on the Line of Control. Troops are asked to be extra vigilant and alert as the BAT could also target Indian patrol parties near the LoC.
They said any such BAT action by Pakistani with covering fire from its border posts would be counted as diplomatic offensive to rake up Kashmir issue.
“In the recent development, the Army has been directed to secure the Highway-1 and cut off movement of people from rural to urban areas for joining protests and asked to do Highway Domination and Corridor Protection (HIDCOP) that was done by the para-military force,” sources said.
They said the Army has also been asked to secure vehicular movement along the Srinagar-Kupwara-Uri highway in North Kashmir and deploy its men in case of protests.
Major BAT attacks were carried out in 2013.
Pakistani troops on January 8, 2013, had crossed into Indian territory and ambushed an Army patrol party beheading two jawans Lance Naik Hemraj and Sudhakar at Sarla post along LoC in Poonch.
On August 6 in 2013, Pakistani troops had entered Indian territory along the Line of Control in the Poonch sector and ambushed a patrol killing five Indian soldiers.
In May 2014, an Army Jawan was killed and two of his colleagues were injured in an attack by suspected BAT which set off a mine blast and opened fire on a patrol party along LoC near Akhnoor