Updated: June 30, 2020 1:08:31 pm
As tensions run high on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, the other active border, the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, has not seen any dip in intensity this year, raising the spectre of two active military fronts at the same time. Moreover, counter-militancy operations in Kashmir Valley continue at a tempo much higher than previous years.
There have been 382 ceasefire violations (CFVs) recorded on the LoC in May and 302 in June so far, rising sharply from 221 and 181 CFVs recorded during these months last year. Meanwhile, security forces have been equally committed in fighting militancy — 41 militants killed in the month of June itself. Read in Tamil
Official data accessed by The Indian Express shows that there have been 2215 CFVs recorded on the LoC till June 25 this year. A total of 3168 CFVs were recorded in 2019, and 1629 in 2018.
The number of CFVs had shot up after the government’s decision last August to abrogate Article 370 in J&K and carve out J&K and Ladakh as two separate Union Territories.
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“On the LoC, the number of CFVs had gone up last year and has remained high since. It is unlikely that it will come down anytime soon. The Pakistan army is keen on sending militants across as its aim is to make this summer in Kashmir ‘hot’. We are responding in good measure to its actions on the LoC,” an official said.
This echoes what Lt General BS Raju, Chinar Corps Commander, told this newspaper on April 30: “There is only one reason for the near constant ceasefire violation: Pakistan’s attempt to assist more terrorists to infiltrate into India in order to disrupt normalcy in the Kashmir valley. Pakistan Army facilitates these infiltration attempts.”
“Pakistan’s persistence in infiltrating terrorists, proliferating false propaganda are intended to disturb peace and its actions are unlikely to change anytime soon,” Lt General Raju said.
Besides manning the LoC in J&K to prevent infiltration, security forces have also increased the tempo of counter-militancy operations in the hinterland during the summer. After the ban on mobile telephony and internet in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 last year, intelligence inputs to the security forces had dried up which had adversely affected intelligence-based operations.
As per official data, of the 119 militants killed in Kashmir Valley till June 25 this year, 41 were killed in the current month. A total of 158 militants were killed in 2019, down from 254 in 2018 and 213 in 2017.
Lt General (retd) Subrata Saha, member of the National Security Advisory Board, who served as the Chinar Corps Commander, said, “The security forces in Kashmir have been additionally proactive, given the tense situation on the Line of Actual Control against China, it is a good strategy to keep the terrorists on the run.”
“Because of the pressure in the hinterland, the handlers in Pakistan are trying to heat up the LoC to divert attention of the Army. It is also trying to push infiltration to make up for the denuding numbers of terrorists,” Lt General Saha said.
Military officers, however, warn that while the Army is currently deployed on both the active borders – with China and Pakistan – it should not be seen as a two-front war. They refer to the explanation provided by Army Chief General MM Naravane last month about the two-front war, where both the fronts would not be 100% active.
Speaking at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MPIDSA) on May 15, General Naravane said that the two-front war “is a possibility. It is not that it is going to happen every time. We have to be alive to all contingencies which can happen, various scenarios that can unfold. We have to remain alive to the possibility.”
“But to assume that in all cases both fronts would be 100 per cent active, I think that would be an incorrect assumption to make. In dealing with the two-front scenario, there will always be a priority front and a secondary front. That is how we look at dealing with this two-front threat,” he had said, underlining that the priority front would be addressed in a different manner while the secondary front will be kept as dormant as possible just to conserve resources to focus on the priority front.
“We should not look at a two-front scenario just as a military responsibility. A country does not go to war with its armed forces alone. It has other pillars like diplomatic corps and other organs of government which will come into play to make sure that we are not forced into a corner where we will have to deal with two adversaries at the same time and in full strength,” the Army Chief had said.
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