500 terrorists waiting at border, security agencies ready to retaliate: Army
India is pulling out all the stops to foil a possible terror attack after multiple intelligence agencies warned the government that at least 60 terrorists have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir in the last few weeks alone and another 500 are waiting to infiltrate, officials said.
The Indian Army is in a heightened state of alert. “Security forces, in particular, the Indian military, are ready and will retaliate which may not be restricted only to the border,” an Indian Army official who did not want to be named, said explaining the statement of the Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat.
Earlier in the day, General Rawat had said that India’s response to any terror attack may not be similar to previous responses; the airstrikes on Balakot terror camp in 2019 and a surgical ground strike in 2016.
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“All critical installations including various military bases have been cautioned,” said another senior official in the security establishment. “Five hundred terrorists waiting to infiltrate is unusual and alarming,” he added.
Security agencies have also told the government to expect a terror attack after the United Nations General Assembly session, the second official said.
The window for infiltration of terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC) closes with approaching winter. Sectors such as Gurez-Kargil-Machhil-Keran-Tangdhar-Uri are snowbound by November making it difficult for terrorists to cross over. And as the winter approaches, infiltrating terrorists shift their focus to the Jammu-Kathua area.
Security agencies have also told the government that terrorists may use small drones to ferry small arms and ammunition across the heavily guarded border to be used by ultras already in Kashmir valley.
“In the recent past intercepts indicate the use of small drones to carry weapons, arms and ammunition across the border,” a third senior official in the security establishment said elaborating on the threat.
“For terrorist who have infiltrated, weapons and ammunition are in short supply. Using an ingenious method of using drones is very much in the realm of possibility,” he said.
Intelligence inputs indicate that several terror launch pads are active again. Terror training camps - including the one in Balakot which was hit by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on February 26 is active again.
Security agencies have also told the government of increased activity in the terror launch pads and terror training camps is Pakistan after India scrapped the special status for Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and split the state into two Union Territories.
The IAF targeted the Balakot training camp said to have been used by the Jaish-e-Mohammad less than two weeks after a Jaish suicide car bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle on a CRPF convoy killing 40 troopers. An unspecified number of terrorists were said to have been killed in Balakot in the IAF raid.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s repeated reference to a “false-flag terror operation by Indian agencies” to justify another attack on establishment in Pakistan has been interpreted as an “indicator” of an impending terror attack.