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Now infiltration through coastline

Foreign mercenaries are infiltrating into India through coastline wherefrom they travel to J&K, reports Faisul Yaseen.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 20:22 IST

Now foreign mercenaries are infiltrating into India through the coastline wherefrom they travel to J&K for operating in Kashmir, Defence sources said.

According to official Defence sources in J&K, a new trend of infiltration through the coastline has come to the fore since past few months.

This is for the first time that infiltration has been reported from the coastline.

In the past there have been reports of infiltration by foreign mercenaries through the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the state between India and Pakistan, and through the 198 km International Border in J&K and borders of the adjoining states.

India has a long coastline of 7,417 km and Pakistan's coastline meets India's 1,640-km-long Gujarat coast. 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. It borders the productive Arabian Sea famous for its upwelling phenomenon.

"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 told Hindustan Times.

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

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 the CM 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 among the other 200, most were Afghanis.

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

In Brussels on September 24, Azad had briefed the European Parliament President Josep Borrell, chair of its foreign relations committee Elmar Brok, and a number of other Euro deputies about infiltration and how the state was dealing with it.

"While on one side the confidence-building measures are going on, talks are on between New Delhi and Islamabad, bus services have started, trade is going to start soon in future, Pakistan is increase infiltration. That is worrying," the CM told the European parliamentarians.

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

Besides, infiltration through Nepal has been an old norm, with such reports having surfaced since early nineties, soon after militancy broke out in the state.

New Delhi had recently also expressed fears of infiltration by Nepal's Maoist rebels.

In addition, ex-filtration of the Bangladesh nationals from the state to Pakistan has also been reported from time to time through the International Border at Ramgarh, Samba and RS Pura areas of Jammu region.

On Sunday, Defence Minister AK Antony in first visit to the conflict-hit Jammu and Kashmir at Poonch accused Islamabad of continuing to abet terrorism.

In a written answer in the Lok Sabha Antony on November 30 said that infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir in October was down to 515 against 540 during the same period in 2005.

On March 21, 2003, Christina Rocca who was then the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia had told the US House Panel headed by the Republican James Leach that Washington would continue to hold Islamabad's "feet to the fire" on infiltration into Kashmir.

"Ending infiltration into Kashmir remains a key goal," she had said.

First Published: Dec 13, 2006 20:22 IST