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New ingress route to India ? the coatline

Reports of infiltration by foreign mercenaries through the LoC or the international border in J&K have been common in the past.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2006 18:07 IST

Foreign mercenaries have discovered a new infiltration route - through the coastline, from where they travel to Jammu and Kashmir for operating in the Valley, defence sources say, adding that the trend has been noticed for the first time in the last few months.

Reports of infiltration by foreign mercenaries through the Line of Control (LoC) or the international border in J&K have been common in the past.

India has a long coastline of 7,417 km and Pakistan's coastline meets India's 1,640-km-long Gujarat coastline.

There are no bilateral agreements on maritime boundaries between New Delhi and Islamabad or any of the South Asian countries.

The coastline of Pakistan extends 1,050 km along the Arabian Sea, 250 km falling in Sind province and 800 km in Balochistan, and forms most of Pakistan's southern boundary.

"Though there are no statistics of infiltration bids through the coastline but yes, infiltration has been reported from the Arabian Sea," a senior defence official in J&K said.

"The infiltrators come disguised as fishermen," defence sources said.

It is difficult to determine the exact number of fishermen who are still imprisoned in the India, since the government does not release the figures.

Even hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah has confessed of infiltration of foreign mercenaries into the state, saying that at least 5,000 of them had 'sacrificed' their lives here fighting troops and paramilitary forces.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, during the recently held Congress chief minister's conclave at Nanital, had informed that while the peace process between New Delhi and Islamabad was progressing well, it was worrying that infiltration into J&K had increased two-fold in the last two months.

According to Azad, out of thousands of militants killed during the last 17 years of armed insurgency in the state, 4,000 were foreigners, which included 3,800 Pakistanis and PoK nationals, and most were Afghans among the other 200.

There have also been reports of infiltration of Sudan and Bahrain nationals.

Infiltration by foreign mercenaries through Bangladesh has also been reported previously.

Besides, infiltration through Nepal has been an old practice, with such incidents being reported since early nineties, soon after militancy broke out in Jammu and Kashmir.

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First Published: Dec 14, 2006 18:07 IST