Forensic analysis of global positioning system (GPS) sets used by the terrorists who carried out Monday’s strike in Gurdaspur showed that they penetrated the India-Pakistan border near Alowal, along the border in Punjab, intelligence sources told The Indian Express. The group, the sources said, turned on their GPS sets early on Monday, shortly after crossing into Indian territory.
The data from the GPS sets has sparked off new concerns about the vulnerability of the Punjab border, causing commanders of the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indian Army to review defences along the three-tier electrified and flood-lit fence that runs from the Rann of Kutch to Jammu.
Forensic experts who studied the GPS data have reported that the terrorists crossed the border less than five kilometres west of Dinanagar, where the Ravi river makes a series of sweeping bends, cutting across the India-Pakistan border. The unit, sources said, likely carried out reconnaissance southwards along the Ravi, before finding a weak point at Alowal.
Intelligence Bureau warnings had been issued early this month that a fidayeen unit had been stationed in the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir town of Gharota, facing Bamiyal, in preparation for an attack.
Army commanders have voiced concerns over security along the Punjab border, pointing out that the largescale recoveries of heroin made it clear that the border defences were being regularly penetrated by traffickers.
Three BSF personnel were injured in April, when suspected traffickers opened fire on a patrol team from across the border fence, in the first incident of its kind.
Army officials warned that terror strikes across the Punjab border could force the deployment of additional personnel and resources — diverting personnel from vital training and logistical duties in the peaceful state. The 110-km stretch of International Border in Jammu alone is guarded by nine battalions of the BSF.
Following a recent fidayeen strike on a military post in Hiranagar, an estimated 25 companies of Army were posted along a second rear defensive line, government sources in New Delhi said. The government now plans to build a wall to further harden defences along the stretch.
“Each of these fidayeen strikes is a small event in tactical terms,” said a top military official, “but they end up imposing huge costs because of the enhanced defensive measures we put in place.”