Security Forces Have Edge Over Militants
6 March 2003
The Times of India
New Delhi: Though militancy has exacted a heavy toll on the armed forces, with over 1,000 soldiers losing their lives in terrorist attacks in the last three years, Army officers say the 'kill ratio' is still overwhelmingly in favour of the security forces. A rough calculation of the latest figures show that the soldier-to-terrorist kill ratio in Jammu and Kashmir on the whole hovers around 1:5, occasionally even going up to 1:10 during some months. 'The recent increase in the number of specially-trained battalions of the counter-insurgency force, the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), to around 55 has strengthened anti- terrorist operations in J&K. This is needed since infiltration from across the border is expected to go up in the coming summer months,' said an officer. Incidentally, the new division-level 'Uniform Force', with around 10,000 soldiers, has begun operating in Udhampur district. Four similar forces - 'Delta' (Doda district), 'Kilo' (Kupwara, Baramulla and Srinagar), 'Romeo' (Rajouri and Poonch) and 'Victor' (Anantnag, Pulwama and Badgam) - are already engaged in 'seek-and-destroy operations' in other parts of the state. According to figures tabled in Parliament on Thursday, 982 Army soldiers were killed and 2,507 injured 'due to terrorist action' in J&K from January 2000 to February 2003. Sixty-five soldiers were killed in the North-East in the same period. Army officers, in turn, say that well over 15,000 terrorists have been 'neutralised' in J&K alone since 1990. In 2002, 1,522 terrorists were killed in the state, while the tally was 1,432 in 2000 and 1,522 in 2002. 'Over 60 per cent of them have been foreign mercenaries,' said an officer. 'The stepped-up pressure against militants will not allow them to consolidate and establish new bases, giving the J&K government requisite room to manoeuvre. The strategy is to target the leadership of the militants,' he added.