Ajit Doval dissects Imran Khan’s terror moves in Kashmir, preps India’s counter
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Saturday carried out a complete operational review of the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and told top army commanders and paramilitary forces to tighten the counter-infiltration grid along the Line of Control with Pakistan, and the counter-insurgency grid in the Kashmir valley.
The high-level meeting was convened against the backdrop of strong military activity in north Kashmir’s Handwara, Baramulla and Sopore triangle that had cost lives of six soldiers including a colonel-rank officer. It is also here that the security forces eliminated a top Lashkar terrorist Haider.
Then, there is already an intelligence alert about plans by terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed to carry out simultaneous suicide attacks at army and paramiliary bases on Monday, May 11.
Top government officials told Hindustan Times that NSA Doval also took note of the increased air activity by Pakistan Air Force along India’s western border that coincided with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, and later the Foreign Office in Islamabad’s statement that alleged India was looking for a “pretext for a false flag operation targeting Pakistan”.
Officials said there was consensus that Imran Khan government’s effort to distance itself from the terrorists it supports and infiltration was a pre-emptive move and indicated a renewed push from Pakistani terror launch pads over the next few weeks.
The meeting noted the rise in infiltration and how Pakistan was funding newly-created outfits such as The Resistance Front or the JK Pir Panjal Peace Forum to claim that terrorism in the Kashmir valley was indigenous and not sponsored by Pakistan.
From Islamabad’s perspective, an official said, placing the Pakistan Air Force on high alert was also designed to further Imran Khan’s narrative that asks the international community to intervene lest there is a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Doval, who spent hours listening to the assessment of top security officials, told them that the counter-infiltration grid needed to be strengthened so that no terrorist launched by Pakistan could get into the valley unchallenged.
Security forces had been able to block many infiltration attempts in April. But according to one assessment by intelligence agencies, nearly 25-30 had still slipped in.
The NSA also told officials to step up the engagement with terrorists in the Kashmir valley.
The five-hour-long meeting was attended by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Intelligence Bureau director Arvinda Kumar, Research and Analysis Wing chief Samant Kumar Goel, Border Security Force director general SS Deswal, Central Reserve Police Force chief AK Maheshwari.
Northern Army Commander Lt Gen YK Joshi, and general officer commanding of the army’s Srinagar-headquartered 15 corps Lt Gen BS Raju and the Nagrota-based 16 corps commander Lt Gen Harsha Gupta and Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbag Singh had also flown into the national capital for the high-level review.
NSA Ajit Doval later led a select group of top officers to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah who was briefed about the deliberations and their findings.
A senior counter-terror official told Hindustan Times that NSA Doval’s meeting extensively analysed the infiltration routes that had been used by terrorists from Pakistan and suggested some tweaks at the ground level that could help ensure that the infiltrating terrorists were detected.
Intelligence agencies have underscored that border guarding forces should be prepared for a renewed push from terror launch pads that had been activated in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Dudhnial, Sharda and Athmuqam across the Keran sector on this side of the LOC.
“We also took note of the frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan, often to distract the forces while terrorists infiltrate,” a top government official said. According to information available with the security forces, over 400 terrorists affiliated to different Pakistan-based terror groups ranging from Jaish to the Lashkar-e-Taiba could be expected to try to enter the country over the next few months to raise the presence of terrorists in the valley.