Over 200 heavily armed militants were waiting across the Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir, a senior army officer on Monday said but asserted that troops are fully geared to thwart their nefarious designs.
“Exact details of the infiltrators cannot be said with surety but with our experience, having known their modus operandi and from inputs of various security agencies, we can put the figure at around 200 plus,” General officer Commanding (GoC) of the 16 corps Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar said in Jhangar.
He said the consolidation of militants at various launching pads was not a new phenomenon and they keep on trying to infiltrate into the Indian side.
“Terrorists come to the launch pads, try to infiltrate and get killed. Maybe very few manage to cross over but get killed in the second and third tier of the security grid,” he said, adding that the army was fully geared and the security grid intact to thwart the nefarious designs of the terrorists.
“Having gained the experience, our security grid is tight and well geared up to thwart the activity,” said the GoC.
Asked to comment on the situation in the south of Pir Panchal, the area under the operation of the 16 corps, he said it has been “relatively peaceful”.
“Our area of operation in the southern side of Pir Panchal has been relatively calm and quiet for the last few years due to high-intensity operations carried out by security forces which have brought the situation under proper control and as of now, there is no change and we are having a reasonable amount of peace and tranquility here,” he said.
Replying to a query on the effect on militancy if the government plans to reduce the footprints of security forces in the state, he said addition and reduction of security personnel are done after proper deliberation and discussion and such decisions are not taken overnight.
“If peace has been restored to a place, it does not mean that the army should be removed from there. Lot of deliberations and discussions go on,” he said.
Asked if there could be an increase in militancy-related activities if the army was removed from certain areas, he said if police is withdrawn from a place, the crime rate will see an upward trend there. “If there is no policeman to control crime, you can well understand what would be the state of crime in the area,” he said.
The GoC said terrorists are always on the lookout for a “weakness” and would try to launch an attack.
“Wherever terrorists get a chance and find weakness, they will act. We are not weak, we are there to guard and have put in our resources to do that,” he said.
Replying to a query, the GoC said the exact number of terrorists active in the Jammu region cannot be divulged, adding that some Over Ground Workers (OGWs) were present in the area.
Regarding the renewal of lease of the training ranges in the Jammu region, he said the issue was pending with the state government and the procedure takes time.