Pakistani terrorists have stepped up efforts to sneak into India, BSF chief DK Pathak said on Friday, amid heightened tensions at the border with soldiers from the neighbouring country repeatedly violating a bilateral ceasefire agreement to push in infiltrators.
While 62 infiltration attempts have been reported so far this year, the figure last year stood at 48.
Ahead of the Border Security Force’s 50th raising day, Pathak told reporters incidents of cross- border firing have escalated with Pakistani forces attempting to provide cover to terrorists.
Despite the BSF stepping up vigil, infiltrators managed to sneak into Punjab’s Gurdaspur and Jammu region this year and launch attacks on police and army personnel.
Apart from the Indo-Pak frontier, the BSF also guards the Indo-Bangladesh border where, according to Pathak, 4,000 people have been caught trying to slip into India in 2015. About 3,200 were held last year. However, cattle smuggling has seen a 70% decline, he said.
“Our percentage of seizure has increased and overall smuggling has decreased. In 2013, 22 lakh were seized. Last year, 18 lakh were seized and this year, till July, four to 4.5 lakh have been seized,” Pathak said.
The force has also changed its zero-firing policy at the Indo-Bangladesh border, arguing that a non-lethal strategy that draws heavy casualties from troops is not sustainable. Now, BSF fighters have been told they should not hesitate to open fire while facing a threat to their life and when there’s no other way to defuse a situation.
Pathak also said the government had given approval in principle to provide martyr status to paramilitary personnel killed in the line of duty, a development that comes days after the 7th pay commission recommended this in a report.
To provide better amenities to its troops, the BSF is ensuring that all its border outposts get piped water this year and has begun inducting more women in its ranks in line with the changing times.
While women were earlier primarily drafted as constables and sub-inspectors, now they are also being recruited in the higher echelons, including positions like assistant commandant.