10 Army Posts Inundated, 5-km LoC Fence Damaged

7 September 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ajay Banerjee & Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

New Delhi: Floods have caused immense damage to military infrastructure along the border in the state. A quick assessment by the Army has revealed that the barbed-wire fence - a 10-foot-high obstacle of iron girders with coils of barbed wire strung across - has been washed away at several places along the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border, top sources Army told The Tribune. The BSF has also suffered damage to its border posts and other infrastructure on the international border in recent flash floods, especially in the Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district and the Pallanwala sector of Akhnoor. Nearly 10 Army forward posts were inundated and some of them had to be 'thinned out' while nearly 5 km of the barbed fence has been damaged, in stretches, on the Line of Control in the Jammu region due to the flash floods and mudslides. However, following improvement in the weather since 4 pm yesterday, troops reoccupied most of the vacated posts this morning. 'Less than 10 forward posts along nearly 300-km-long LoC, south of the Pir Panjal Range from Poonch to Akhnoor, under the 16 Corps zone area were inundated by the flash floods. Some had to be thinned out but none of the posts was washed away,' said Lt Gen KH Singh, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 16 Corps, here today. The GOC said, 'There is some damage to the fence. On the LoC under 16 Corps zone nearly 5 km of the fence has been damaged but in small stretchessay 10 to 100 metres. The damage is well under control but we need to repair it and would be done in no time.' 'In this bargain, we lost a BSF Inspector in the Sabzian sector of Poonch and a soldier in the Akhnoor sector. His body was found yesterday,' the GOC said. He said 40 troops had to be evacuated from forward posts along the LoC in helicopters. Several of the ground-based sensors that pick up movement of militants, trying to infiltrate into India, have been washed away. Locations of underground mines - used by countries along such hostile borders - have been eroded and pose a risk to civilians. Makeshift helipads, bunkers and several other spots, used by troops have been damaged or flooded. The Army today ordered a review. All frontline units, Brigade headquarters and Division headquarters have been told to prepare a report of the damage. Specialised engineering teams will be sent in to repair damages before the onset of the winter - setting in some six weeks from now - sources said. When asked if Pakistan could exploit the gaps to its advantage, the 16 Corps GOC said the Pakistan army itself was trying to grapple with the situation. 'They have suffered casualties of their troops, especially opposite the Pallanwala sector. It was all flooded on both sides in the past few days,' he said. 'If they try to push in ultras, then they will pay for it. Our boys are fully prepared to defeat any such designs. We have complete surveillance system in place. Patrolling is on and boys are dominating the areas,' he added. The forces are also rescuing people in flood-affected areas. The Navy has kept a team of divers at Delhi which can be airlifted within hours to any spot. Till this evening, the Army had rescued 15,000 people. The food stocks of the Army have been opened for the locals. More than 2,000 men, women and children have been provided shelter and some 3,500 have been provided food at these shelters. More than 2,200 Army men, all skilled in mountaineering, have been pressed into service with boats. Border flooded: Nearly 5 km of the barbed fence damaged in stretches on the Line of Control in the Jammu region due to the flash floods and mudslides. Following improvement in the weather since 4 pm on Saturday, troops reoccupied most of the vacated posts on Sunday morning. Forty troops evacuated from forward posts along the LoC in helicopters.