Pakistan building defensive bunkers along IB: BSF DG

28 November 2009
The Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: The BSF today said Pakistani Rangers are building bunkers along the border which are very 'defensive' in nature and could be aimed at preventing attacks from within its own territory. 'We have come across certain construction activities across the border. In some of the instances the bunkers being constructed are facing their own territory,' BSF Director General Raman Srivastava told reporters here. He said it looks that building such defensive bunkers could be a preventive measure in case of attacks on its border posts by the Taliban or other militants. On the BSF’s role in the upcoming multi-state coordinated offensive against Naxals, Srivastava said while five battalions (about 5,000 personnel) have already been deployed in the field, eight more battalions will be sent. Giving an overview of the anti-Naxal operation, which is set to begin by March-end, he said the task force which has been created with personnel from the CRPF, BSF and the ITBP, will operate in the States’ tri-junctions and bi-junctions. Asked about the performance of the force’s recently raised women’s wing, which has been posted for frisking duties along the border, Srivastava said he was 'extremely happy'. Srivastava said during his interaction with the women constables, they had asked him to depute them at the border and also make them a part of the anti-Naxal operations. He said discussions are on to see what other duties can be given to the women personnel. The force is also imparting special training in water warfare to some of its men in Gujarat on a trial basis, he said adding, the personnel who are being trained to undertake water-based operations would be put into use across the force’s deployment areas if it is successful. About infiltration bids by militants from across the border, he said there are various launching pads where they are waiting to infiltrate. He said the force is expecting a surge in infiltration as the snowfall increases, because at times even the fence comes under the snow. 'We have increased our patrolling and are fully prepared to check any infiltration attempts,' he said. Stressing that ceasefire is being continuously violated by Pakistan on the Indo-Pak border, Srivastava said there is both infiltration and intrusion from Islamabad. Mr Srivastava said, 'Our way of objecting to such violations is to launch protest notes. If the situation is serious, we also convey our objections through the Ministry of External Affairs.' 'The riverine border of Harami Nala near Rann of Kutch has seen not only infiltration but a lot of intrusions lately. People come here under the pretext of fishing,' he added. The Director General informed that specialised vehicles were being developed for the Harami Nala border area since India was unable to access the area for some months. 'A special team of commandos, trained specially to fight in riverine areas has been created under the command of the BSF Inspector General (Gujarat),' he maintained. Quizzed about the links between the apprehended infiltrators and Pakistan’s ISI, he said, 'It is very difficult to trace their links with the ISI.' On the issue of the strength of the border guarding force, Mr Srivastava emphasised, 'The answer does not lie in numbers. We have and are developing small units which can be speedily taken to a location.' Addressing the problem of fake Indian currency and drugs’ smuggling from across the border, he assured that the BSF has increased vigilance in frontier areas with 29 new batallions being added to the existing 2.25 lakh strong BSF force. Also, four All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), worth about Rs 11 crore, would be operational by March, 2010, he added. (Agencies)