Constant patrolling along the line of control and the international border has brought down infiltration levels by 43 per cent and agencies are now working overtime to further strengthen the anti-infiltration grid.
The Army and the Border Security Force have just concluded a mega-exercise in this regard, and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) hopes that it will further lower infiltration levels this year. “A sweep exercise was conducted by all stakeholders. A major thrust was on tunnels but none were found along the International Border and Line of Control,” a senior officer told NDTV.
All stakeholders have been asked to submit reports related to the completion of the mega-exercise - codenamed ‘Sudarshan’ - aimed at tightening vigil along the infiltration-probe border, he said. Commanders of the forces were directed to strengthen their watchtower and man sentry posts more efficiently, besides organising multiple patrolling.
“The focus of this exercise is to strengthen artillery positions and replenish arms as well as ammunition dumps,” said another senior official in the ministry.
The exercise began on July 1 and concluded seven days later. While the operation was on, all frontier and battalion commanders from the rank of commandant to that of inspector general, besides their second-in-command as well as unit commanders of nearly 40 BSF battalions, were instructed to camp in forward areas of Jammu and Punjab. A similar exercise was conducted by the army along the line of control.
“Their task was to check and plug border fence breaches, besides making operational and logistical arrangements. The main purpose, however, was to detect underground and cross-border tunnels,” the official said.
As per figures, as many as 328 infiltration attempts were made from the Pakistani side in 2018. While 32 infiltrators were killed and one arrested, 152 were forced to retreat. In all, 143 succeeded in crossing the border.
In the first five months of 2019 leading up to May 31, 52 infiltration attempts were reported by various agencies. Of these, 20 infiltrators returned while two were shot dead due to the strong anti-infiltration grid. However, 29 managed to sneak into India.
With the new anti-infiltration grid, security agencies hope to further reduce these numbers.
‘Sudarshan’, the name chosen for the mega-exercise, was drawn from the “sudarshan chakra” or mythological wheel on Lord Krishna’s finger capable of decimating the enemy with razor-sharp precision before returning to its divine owner, BSF officials explained.
The MHA, however, dismissed suggestions that the exercise was a reaction to similar operations noticed on the Pakistani side recently. “This is being done to only fortify Indian defences against infiltration, unprovoked firing and Pakistan’s Border Action Team attacks,” an official said.
BSF Director General Rajni Kant Mishra and other senior officials are now reviewing the “results achieved” on the ground, so a detailed report can be submitted to the MHA. The latter will then go through the final report of the operation, following which sanctions will be made to procure more gadgets, equipment and infrastructure required to plug gaps and strengthen border management at the two fronts.