‘Ceasefire with Pakistan holding on’
* India will wait for summer to conclude infiltration levels
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: Indian Army Chief Gen NC Vij said on Wednesday the ceasefire with Pakistan was generally “holding on” along the borders, but India would have to wait for summer before “concluding” whether the infiltration of “men and material” into Jammu and Kashmir had reduced.
No direct links could be made between the ceasefire along the borders and a reduction of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding, “Levels of infiltration are normally low in winter.”
“The level of infiltration drops during winter months and this year is no exception. We need to wait for summer before arriving at a firm conclusion,” Gen Vij said in an interview to the army’s official newsletter “Sainik Samachar” on Army Day. He said operations against terrorists had been further intensified within the state.
Gen Vij said the ongoing fencing of both the international border and Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir had made infiltration very difficult, but forces, irrespective of the great disadvantage, would exercise force with utmost restraint in the state.
He said the Bhutanese army had broken the backbone of militant outfits like ULFA, NDFB and KLO in the northeast during the ongoing operation. Over 650 terrorists of these outfits had been neutralised in the first 15 days and Indian forces had killed over 150 of them who had crossed over to the Indian side. “The Indian Army supported these operations by sealing the border and providing security to Bhutanese convoys through our territory,” Gen Vij said calling the operations a “great success”.
Turning to Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Vij said the army’s new counter militancy strategy focused on effective counter infiltration measures and conducting relentless pro-active operations in the hinterland. Elaborating, he said, these included mounting effective surveillance of all known routes of infiltration, deployment of unattended ground sensors, construction of an effective fence along the LoC and multi-tiered positioning of troops.
He said as part of a massive modernisation drive, the army was going in for the introduction of surveillance equipment in a “big way”, purchase of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and development of indigenous surveillance and target acquisition capabilities.