The Indian Army is finding it "surprising" that zero infiltration has taken place from across the Line of Control this year so far and it is debating whether it is a shift in Pakistan's army's policy which had relied on the infiltration for the past over two decades to keep Kashmir on boil.
This is the new trend that has been witnessed by the army this year. It runs contrary to the phenomenon witnessed in the previous two decades, when the terrorists would start infiltrating from across the LoC, sometimes as early as January. Last year, the infiltration had started from Gurez in Bandipore district in north Kashmir in March and in 2008 and 2009, the intrusions started in February itself.
Srinagar-based defence public relations officer Lt. Col. J S Brar echoed what Maj. Gen. Om Prakash of 25 division of the Indian Army that guards the crucial border areas in Rajouri and Poonch districts in south of Pir Panchal that "no infiltration has taken place this year.' Gen. Om Prakash had told newsmen here early this week that the "infiltration was nil" this year, though he revealed that 42 terror camps across the LoC were still active and some 450 militants waiting to cross over.
Army sources revealed, that officially, the army was trying to take credit for this by telling the ministry of defence that its measures of increasing the density of troops along the LoC - it has moved the counter-insurgency troops of Rashtriya Rifles to the borderline - but the fact is that there is something more than what meets the eye.
"Is it a change in the policy of Pakistan and, is Pakistan army on board, these are some of the points that the army is debating," a source in the army told Hindustan Times. "It's not that the militants could not have made the infiltration bids, they could have, as they used to do over the past 20 years or so. But their bids were possible only with the backing of Pakistan army,' the source said.
To a query that may be it is because of the snowbound passes along the LoC that the terrorists did not make attempts, the source replied : in 2008, it was more than 20 feet of snow when hey scaled mountains of snow and infiltrated , they repeated the same exercise in 2009 . Even if that was true, the source said: that they did not come from Rajouri and Poonch either. Rajouri and Poonch don't have much snowfall and there are favourite infiltration routes in Mendhar and Poonch sectors.
Infiltration has been the biggest headache for the Indian army and other security agencies. It is the infiltration that maintains militancy and causes violence in Jammu and Kashmir, as it replenishes the militants and sustains the terrorist violence in the hinterland.