The Arnia encounter near Jammu in which four terrorists were killed on November 27-28 last year revealed some new trends in terrorist infiltration and tactics. This is significant in view of the successes security forces have had in eliminating terrorists, curbing infiltration and making the J&K environment more peaceful. Firstly, the terrorist team was carrying three sets of clothes — salwar kameez in which they either crossed the border or slipped into the target area, Indian Army uniforms to pass by patrols, cross closely controlled areas or escape detection and track suits for operational purposes. Secondly, inflatable pillows for wet crossing of the ditch-cum-bundh obstacle and GPS to use in order to decrease reliance on guides who have recently been covertly targeted by security forces. They also had night-vision devices to conduct operations in the dark. Disposable RPG-18 rocket launchers of Russian origin have also been recovered from these terrorists. Used for bunker-busting, they are also effective against armoured vehicles with lighter armour. Launching the operation around the 2008 Mumbai attacks’ anniversary (26/11) confirms Islamic militants’ penchant for such evocative commemorations. The larger purpose of the attack could’ve been an attempt to disrupt the Prime Minister’s rally at Udhampur or causing enough civilian casualties in the periphery to overshadow the event.
Trends emerging from recent actions show that terrorist groups and their ISI handlers are attempting to increase infiltration through all means possible and improve the efficiency of their operations. Changed training patterns have been noticed; infiltrators in recent times seem to be better trained. All this shows that the efforts of the security forces are bearing fruit, forcing the enemy to change its tactics and methods of operation.
The holding of peaceful elections with a larger turn-out means increasing stability in J&K and shows people’s desire to move on. Such a turn-around in the situation is obviously not acceptable to separatist forces, forcing them to change their tactics and operating methods. The changing nature of terrorist operations means an evolving strategy of response from the security forces which I will throw light on in my next article.
Another red herring on OROP?
The govt through its ministers and sympathetic veterans is making strenuous efforts to thwart the ESM rally on February 1. One of the misleading arguments advanced to confuse the issue is that of the question of whether total service should be displaced by service in the rank held as a criterion for fixing pensions. When the demand for OROP was being formulated, the standard accepted for calculating pensions after considering all factors was total service. This was because the armed forces’ involved organisation did not lend itself to a single, acceptable method that could eliminate anomalies.
This principle would be unfair because promotions are dependent on various dynamics which are not necessarily reflective of a serviceman’s competence. The time taken to reach a certain rank also varies not only between corps and branches but also from unit to unit.
Those getting delayed advancement because of a lack of vacancies should at least get the advantage of equivalent pension. New calculations based on length of service in the rank would be necessitated causing further avoidable delay in execution of the OROP.
Total service on the other hand is clearly visible in the PPO (Pension Pay Order).
(Please write in with your narratives of war and soldiering to firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 093161-35343)