‘Unusual activity along LoC’: Flares, Pak firing at posts since Pulwama attack
The Line of Control (LoC), south of Pir-Panjal range, that runs for 250 km, is “seeing unusual activity,” since the Pulwama suicide attack that left 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force dead, a senior official in the security establishment who did not want to named said.
Pakistani troops are using flares to light up the night sky, fire indiscriminately into prominent LoC features (such as the crevasses that line it) intermittently all through the night. “just to ensure that we (India) troops aren’t lurking around,” he added.
“This is becoming increasingly common on the LoC.”
And even as Indian troops along the LoC remain on high alert, Pakistan has strengthened some of its posts along this line and the International Border with Mujahid battalions regular Pakistani Army troops respectively.
Intercepted radio chatter between Pakistani positions indicates that the country has cancelled leaves of its officers and troops, Indian army officials said. The intercepts also indicate that Pakistani officers have been threatened with dire consequences by their superior officers, if they fail to detect incoming Indian troops.
In 2016, India carried out a cross border raid after the Uri Brigade’s Headquarters were hit by terrorists leaving 19 soldiers dead. Indian commandos took the Pakistani establishment by surprise, and hit at least five terror launch pads and collocated Pakistani army installations killing an unspecified number of terrorists and Pakistani army regulars.
Pakistan fears a repeat with India’s language since the Pulwama attack leaving no doubt that a retaliatory attack is only a function of time and place.
Indian security agencies have told the government that training camps located in the vicinity and launch pads along the LoC, of terror groups such as Lashker-a Toiba (LeT) and Jaish -e-Mohammed (JeM) (the latter has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack ) and Hizbul Mujahideen have been pulled back. In some cases, the facilities used by the various terror groups operating from Pakistan have been relocated 15 km inside Pakistan, the agencies have said. They are now in locations such as Kel in the upper Neelam valley, Tobat in the lower Neelam valley , and opposite Pharkian Gali on the Indian Side.
Still, India can choose to react in a variety of ways and there are “several options”, a second senior security establishment official said.
“Pakistan is expecting punishment. After the 2016 surgical strikes, Pakistan will be scared. This explains why Pakistani troops are firing indiscriminately into features along the LoC. They want to ensure that no one is using the gaps along the LoC to get to them. Second, and more importantly, they are messaging to India and to the World that they are ready and if provoked they are will retaliate,” former Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said.