Infiltration by militants through Line of Control into Kashmir has been on the decline since 2004 but bringing it to zero level was not possible, a senior army general said on Friday.
"From 2004 onwards, infiltration is dwindling every year owing to fencing of LoC, progressive methodology and use of better surveillance methods. And every year it becomes a challenge to repair the fence damaged due to snow before anybody takes benefit of the damages," said General Officer Commanding of strategic Chinar Corps Lt Gen SA Hasnain during his last media interaction as GOC.
Lt Gen Hasnain, who would be demitting office on June 9 to take over as Military Secretary, was flanked by GOC-designate Lt Gen Om Prakash.
"It is a race against time to mend the fence before people try to infiltrate," he said.
"I will never claim zero infiltration because nowhere in the world is it possible. There will be leaks. Even on the borders of Palestine and Jordan or the US and Mexico, they have not been able to bring it to zero level," Hasnain stressed.
The army officer said that there had been some infiltration attempts this year. "We believe there have been some leaks this year. We got contacts with militants in Uri (on LoC in north Kashmir) and some other areas. In fact, there was some movement last night," he said.
Lt Gen Hasnain however maintained that they were constantly trying to bring down infiltration. "We are using counter-infiltration methods of a very high order," he asserted.
Lt Gen Hasnain dismissed any plans on reduction of troops in relatively peaceful areas of Kashmir valley.
"I have total faith that a decision on AFSPA will be pragmatic. The situation in Kashmir has always been dramatic. And the decision-makers have to take into consideration every aspect," he said.
On attacks on sarpanches in south Kashmir
The outgoing GOC said that "militants were trying to gain space in South Kashmir to resurrect their dying influence".
"Last year, we were able to eliminate the leadership of Lashkar-e-tayyeba or Jasih-e-Mohammad and there are attempts by militants to regain the lost space. The attacks on sarpanches were possible only when army reduced its night patrols as a pro-people gesture," he said.
"Militancy is dying and there are not more than 300 militants in the valley. To show their presence to their mentors, the militants are trying to undo what was achieved here in 2011," Lt Gen Hasnain stated.
"But let me assure you that we are coordinating with police and we will redouble our efforts to increase patrolling at night. Within a fortnight, you will see the results," he added.