On frontier after the recent exchange of fire with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC), union home secretary Anil Goswami was satisfied with the watchfulness of the Border Security Force (BSF).
He seemed to have missed the ground reality and the intimidating terrain under which the BSF mans the Indian posts against all hostilities from Pakistan and yet keeps the enemy at bay. Standing almost waist deep in water, the jawans keep an eye on the Pakistani movement across the border. "For 10 months out of 12, we are in deeper water," said a senior BSF personnel taking the HT team through the waterlogged security fence zone at the Baqaurpur border outpost (BOP).
"Rains aren't the only factor making patrolling difficult," said the officer. "The BSF fights on many fronts. Besides the Pakistan aggression, there are venomous snakes in the water and insects that keep attacking the wading soldiers." Night patrol is full of dangerous assaults.
Since the Kargil War in 1999, the past fortnight has been the most violent, with nearly 19 ceasefire violations on the LoC and border, where the BSF thwarted all enemy attempts to dominate. "We are the only border protection force in the country that is assigned to react to any hostile condition," said another BSF jawan at Bakaurpur near Suchetgarh.
Union home secretary Goswami, who is from Jammu, had an interaction with the jawans and commandants at Suchetgarh before releasing the statement that the jawans' morale was upbeat and their vigilance had prevented infiltration many times. "We have never given the enemy any chance to intrude," said a BSF official, "even though in some sniping incidents over the past week, our jawans have lost lives."