Army hits a double century in J&K, but there is a long way to go
Srinagar, Nov 15: The Army appears to have hit a double century in Kashmir. This year alone a little over 200 terrorists have been gunned down by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
While 109 were killed in the terrorist hub of South Kashmir, the rest were reported from the other parts of the state. In addition to this the forces have also apprehended 50 terrorists belonging to various outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.
Among the 200, the Army has managed to kill some Grade A++ terrorists as well. They include the likes of Sameer Tiger, Abu Maviya, Abu Qasim. Another top terrorist to be killed was Usman Haider, who was the nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar. Incidentally Haider is the second nephew of the Jaish chief to be killed in the Valley. Last year in November, the Army had gunned down Talha Rashid at Pulwama.
The high rate of terrorists killing has been attributed to perfect coordination between the Army, Intelligence and more importantly the local police. Army officials say that while the number of terrorists deaths is high, there is also the other issue of a high number of terrorists waiting to infiltrate at the border.
Lt. Gen. Singh, who has served in all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, said, "140 to 160 terrorists at different locations in Pakistan are being pushed into the state."
"The terror infrastructure is intact, and Pakistan's intentions have not changed. The Pakistan Army and the ISI's complicity in planning infiltration and terror attacks is evident and it continues," the officer, who has a vast experience in high-altitude warfare, said.
To a question on the situation along the LoC, he said ceasefire violations have abated after the DGMO-level talks.
"For troops on the LoC, there is no ceasefire... though periodic unprovoked firing by the Pakistan Army and attempts to cause harm to forward posts continue. We do not initiate fire, but we give it back in adequate measure. There is no let up on preparedness and our counter-infiltration grid is strong to deal with infiltrators," he said.
Talking about challenges during winter, Lt Gen Singh, who is part of the elite Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), said the Army anticipates that Pakistani troops will make an attempt to push infiltrators through heavy snow-bound areas and non-traditional routes.
"We have all contingency plans ready. We have coordinated with all security agencies, and plans are being implemented smoothly," said Lt Gen Singh, who commanded a special forces' battalion that participated in the surgical strikes after the attack on an Army brigade in Uri in 2016.
Referring to the recent incident of firing of 107-mm rocket on the Poonch brigade, he said, "Despite Director General of Military Operations-level talks in May during which the two countries agreed to abide by the 2003 ceasefire agreement, Pakistani troops targeted these locations."
"In response, we conveyed that Pakistan must exercise caution before indulging in any misadventure," Lt Gen Singh said.
Replying to another question about causalities suffered by Pakistani troops in retaliatory fire by the Indian Army, the officer said, "Pakistan has never been open about its causalities unless the soldier is from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir".
As Major General General Staff at the Northern Command headquarters, Lt. Gen. Singh played a pivotal role in strategising military response to agitations that erupted in 2016 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.