Union home minister Rajnath Singh will meet with heads of four border states – Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab – on Friday and Saturday to discuss sealing of the India-Pakistan border in light of the increased militant activity.
Singh will meet with chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Vijay Rupani of Gujarat, Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan and deputy CM of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal in Jaisalmer, aside from the state home ministers, to deliberate on ways to completely seal the border.
Army posts along the Line of Control, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, have been witnessing increased militant activity, with multiple infiltration bids being made in the past weeks. Last month, the most significant incursion was the attack on an army post in Uri that killed 19 soldiers. On Thursday, jawans at a Rashtriya Rifles camp in Handwara foiled a similar attack, killing three militants in the encounter. The Indian army even announced having carried out surgical strikes on militant launchpads across the LoC to curb the offensive.
The meeting is expected to bring synergy among the state police forces and the Border Security Force, which guards the border, to bolster India’s defence, a home ministry official said. Issues concerning the states are also expected to be discussed during the two-day meet.
Of the 3,323 km border India shares with Pakistan, 508 km is in Gujarat, 1037 km in Rajasthan, 553 km in Punjab and Jammu-Kashmir has 1225 km. But only 2289.66km of it is properly demarcated as the international border (IB) and is under operational control of the home ministry. The rest of the dividing line is in Jammu and Kashmir, a de-facto border called the Line of Control (LoC), which is guarded under the operational control of defence ministry.
Of the 2,289.66 km international border, 2,034.96 km is covered with physical barriers, including fencing. Now, the government plans to cover the remaining 254.80 km with physical and non-physical barriers soon in order to effectively seal it.
There are stretches in the border where construction of physical barriers is not feasible due to geographic constraints like riverine, low-lying, creek or marshy areas. In these stretches the government proposed to deploy tech such as use of surveillance cameras, sensors, radars or lasers.
“The BSF is testing the technologies through pilot projects in Jammu, Punjab and Gujarat regions,” said the statement.
The security review comes amid tensions between India and Pakistan, the impact of which has seen Pakistan facing global pressure to act on militants within its borders. India blames Pakistan for sponsoring those who carried out the Uri attack and other anti-India activities.
On its end, Pakistan has reinforced its army posts along LoC after India’s announcement of the surgical strikes, even though it has dismissed the tactical operation as “Indian falsehood”.
After the meet, home minister Singh will visit Murar Border Outpost (BOP) in the same district, and the Munabao BOP in Barmer, to interact with BSF jawans, a home ministry statement said.
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