Antony visits forward posts in Tangdhar

Antony visits forward posts in Tangdhar

29 July 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Defence Minister A K Antony today visited forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector of the frontier district of Kupwara that has been one of major routes of infiltration. The Minister accompanied by Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, visited the forward posts along the LoC in Tangdhar sector this morning before leaving for New Delhi. The Defence Minister was given a detailed briefing about the prevailing security scenario along the LoC in Tangdhar sector and the counter-infiltration measures taken by the Army. Last year in July and August around one dozen infiltration bids were foiled in this sector by the Army in which one JCO and 4 jawans were killed. After stiff resistance by the Army and foiling of infiltration bids, Pakistani army last year gave cover to the infiltrators by firing from heavy weapons on Indian posts to facilitate infiltration. The Defence Minister was told that this year, the level of infiltration bids from this sector have come down substantially due to fresh counter-infiltration measures taken by the Army. The Defence Minister was given detailed brief by the GOC-in-C Northern Command Lt Gen KT Parnaik, GOC 15 Corps Lt Gen Om Prakash about the counter-infiltration mechanism that has been put in place. It may be mentioned here that over the years the Army has strengthened its counter-infiltration grid along the LoC that has resulted in minimizing the levels of infiltration forcing the militant organization like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to recruit local youth. The Brigade commander of Tangdhar Brigade gave demonstration of how the infiltrators in past few years chose difficult routes that are above 13500 feet above sea level and remain mostly covered with the snow. A detailed description was given to him about how infiltrators were taking advantages of presence big boulders and natural caves on these heights for infiltration and measures taken to counter it. The Defence Minister was told that large number of infiltrators are waiting across on the LoC for infiltration in Neelam valley of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) since March this year but Army has not allowed them to infiltrate. He was also told that the infiltrators are carrying out recognizance, have acquired latest gadgetry and are desperate to infiltrate. Antony also spent some time with the troops and asked about their welfare. He asked them about the quality of rations, clothing and shoes they were getting and whether they were satisfied with it. It may be mentioned here that the Ministry of Defence has taken several measures in the last few years to improve the quality of supplies to the jawans posted in remote locations. Later, at around 10 a.m. Antony flew back to Delhi along with Army chief and his other entourage. During his two-day visit to Kashmir valley, the Defence Minister held a series of meetings to review the security scenario in Kashmir and stressed for reduction in the visibility of troops as much as possible in the State without compromising efficacy. Antony also asked security forces and intelligence agencies to enhance their coordination to thwart enemy attempts to disturb peace in the border State.