New Delhi: Over two months after the Indian Army’s special forces commandos carried out “surgical strikes” on terrorist training camps across the Line of Control, intelligence inputs have revealed that launchpads used by the terrorists to infiltrate into India have again resurfaced. As many as 45 such launchpads, intelligence reports say, have come up in a 5-6-km section of the LoC, only this time they are being heavily protected by the Pakistan Army.
After the September surgical strikes, the Pakistani security forces had shifted these camps and launchpads away from the LoC and international border into densely-populated localities, fearing more Indian Army surgical strikes.
Sources said the Indian agencies were closely monitoring this buildup along the border, suspecting a further increase in infiltration attempts. Normally, during the winter season there is a drop in infiltration attempts, but the activation of terror launchpads at this juncture has baffled the security officials.
In wake of sustained operations by the security forces in the Kashmir Valley, the number of active militants has dropped to around 200, and the terror groups are learnt to be desperate for reinforcements from across the border. This perhaps explains why the Pakistani Army has once again activated the launchpads, but this time with much better protection.
“The fact that militants will try and infiltrate during winter when the mountain passes become inaccessible due to the heavy snow shows that these terror operatives have been given training for operating in high-altitude areas. This kind of specialised high-altitude training can only be given by the Pakistan Army to these militants, and once again it establishes how the Pakistani state continues to sponsor anti-India subversive activities,” a senior official said.
Top security officials admitted that with the increased security cover provided by the Pakistan Army at these launchpads it would be increasingly difficult to carry out another surgical strike, and the best option at this point would be neutralise the militants while they were trying to infiltrate into Indian territory.
The Indian security forces are not likely to vacate some of the key observation posts and patrol locations which they usually do during winter when the weather turns inclement. “We will not vacate any of the security posts and will continue to patrol some of the passes even in heavy snow after this buildup along the border. There is little doubt that the terrorists are waiting at these new 45-odd launchpads to sneak in,” the official added.
The Kashmir Valley witnessed unprecedented unrest for over three months after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July. The security agencies suspect that the Pakistani agencies will once again try and step up terror activities in the region, and that activating the launchpads was the first step in that direction.
Report By The Asian Age