Soldiers mutiliated: Standard operating procedures to be revised, says top BSF officer
After the surprise attack by Pakistani troops on Monday, the Indian Army and the BSF will be revising their Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) on the Line of Control (LoC) to avert such losses, a top security officer said in Jammu on Tuesday.
The Indian security establishment sees a link between the attack, in which two soldiers were beheaded, and the visit by Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa to the LoC a day before.
“..I would not like to comment formally on this. But yes, there is no doubt about it,” BSF Additional Director General (ADG) Western Command Kamal N Choubey said when asked whether there was a link between Monday’s incident and the Pakistan army chief’s visit to the area on Sunday.
“Everybody knows it well that this incident (yesterday) took place immediately after the visit of the Pakistan army chief,” Choubey said while talking to reporters at the BSF Frontier Headquarters here.
An army soldier and a BSF head constable were killed and their bodies mutilated after special forces of Pakistan army sneaked about 250 metres across the LoC into Indian territory to carry out the ambush in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Asked whether the SOPs were followed by the troops during the patrolling, the BSF officer said, “SOPs are there and they have followed them. The question is basically the element of surprise. Every such incident which takes place we learn from it”.
The ADG said the army and the BSF will be brainstorming together and come up with a revised SOP.
“The BSF works under the operational command of the army at the LoC. I assure you, together (the army and the BSF) there will be brainstorming and we will come out with yet more revised SoP so that such incidents can be minimized,” ADG said.
The top officer said it was a “very very well coordinated and planned action” by the Pakistani army.
“The firing coming from two Pakistani FDLs (forward defence locations), and simultaneously firing coming from two ambushes and a BAT action in between, is a very well coordinated action,” Choubey said.
Giving details of the attack, he said, “A joint team of the Army and the BSF is deployed in Krishna Ghati sector for boundary protection.
“When the team was going for regular line maintenance, two FDL (forward defence locations) from Pakistan’s side and two ambush, which they had set up, started firing simultaneously. They engaged our jawans in this.”
In between this, he said, “the (Pakistani) BAT (Border Action Team), which consists of regular army and trained militants, took advantage and mutilated bodies of our two soldiers while the rest were engaged.”
He said the patrolling party, which was attacked, consisted of 9 men, out of which 6 belonged to the BSF and three to the army.
Asked whether the Indian patrol party had gone out to defuse land mines, he said, “that is a routine affair on the daily basis as a morning drill.”
About alertness of the troops along the LoC, he said it depends on the terrain and two many other things, as to how action takes place and the timing.
“At that time, when there is a burst fire coming from four sides, the first reaction is really to save one self. Because you already have two colleagues getting martyred, the response depends on the situation. The response is proportionate to that situation in such case,” he said. The BSF officer said that troops along the International Border (IB) are very very alert.
“The launching pads (for terrorists intending to infiltrate) are always active and across the IB, they are always active. But we also are very very alert,” he said.
The IB is under direct control of the BSF and “so far there has not been a single incident of a successful infiltration,” he said.