Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said on Tuesday said a surge in infiltration bids by militants from Pakistan this year was a matter of concern and terror patriarch Hafiz Saeed himself supervising these attempts was a possibility.
“Last year’s record doesn’t worry us. This year, however, we are worried because of the increased infiltration. We are trying to find out the reasons behind this,” Shinde told a gathering of Border Security Force personnel in Samba.
Shinde’s visit to Samba sector was prompted by at least 50 incidents of firing by Pakistani troops along the International Border over the past few days, the heaviest since 2005. Samba sector is the worst-hit in the latest flare-up.
The angry chief minister of the state, Omar Abdullah, on Monday asked the Centre to explore other options if Pakistan continues to violate the truce that has been in place since 2003.
This year, about 150 ceasefire violations have been reported along the 198-km IB and 778-km Line of Control causing death of, and injuries to, several Indian soldiers.
In fact, shortly after Shinde’s arrival, Pakistani troops fired at Indian military posts along the LoC in BG Sector in Poonch. Last night Pakistani rangers fired at posts in Abdullian area, along the IB, for about one hour.
The home minister cited intelligence reports that suggest Lashkar-e-Taiba founder “Hafiz Saeed could be visiting areas of LoC to abet infiltration”.
"As per our information it is possible that he must be giving training to terrorists on the other side of the border in various launching pads, but unless the government of Pakistan hands him to us there is a problem," Shinde said.
According to intelligence agencies, as reported by HT last month, Saeed had last month visited many areas along the LoC. Also, General Officer Commanding of 16 corps Lt Gen DS Hooda had on Oct 15 said reports suggested Saeed might be visiting areas in PoK to brief terrorist outfits.
In a tough statement, Omar had on Monday said “we can’t be at the receiving end always”, while pointing to targeting of civilian areas by Pakistani troops.
Downplaying Omar’s criticism, Shinde said, “We can't say we are always on the receiving side. We have to compromise sometimes, but if they (Pakistan) take an uncompromising position, we will deal with them accordingly."
Shinde boosted the morale of the forces defending borders by saying the government was aware of their hardships and will take steps to address their issues.
Flanked by Omar, Union home secretary Anil Goswami and top officers of state, BSF and intelligence agencies, Shinde reviewed the security situation at Samba BSF headquarters. He also conducted an aerial visit of IB and fenced areas besides surveying infiltration routes and damaged fenced areas and riverine border belts with Pakistan from Akhnoor in Jammu district to Pahadpur (in Kathua district).
No Question of Third Party Intervention on Kashmir
Rejecting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's demand for US intervention to resolve Kashmir issue, Shinde said there is no question of any role for a third party.
"There has been a stand since the period of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru on Jammu and Kashmir that Kashmir is ours...No third party thing can happen. Anything that has to happen has to happen bilaterally," Shinde said.
Asked about talks between India and Pakistan in the wake of frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration, he said, "There should be atmosphere to have cordial talks. Let us see how we can better create that."
Replying to another question whether India would talk tough with Pakistan over ceasefire violations and shelling along the border or maintain a compromising position, Shinde said, "Whenever there is a good policy, we talk of compromise. We cannot become tougher by talking tough. Action is being taken whenever other side breaks the peace along the border. It is not that we are not taking action. We have taken action and we have proved it."