Pakistan is still “smarting under” the 1971 defeat at the hands of India and the BSF is prepared both “defensively and offensively” to deal with infiltration and unprovoked firing incidents on the border, the force’s chief said.
Border Security Force Director General (DG) K K Sharma said in an interview to PTI that despite the border guarding force wreaking “more than double” the quantum of losses across the India-Pakistan International Border (IB) in Jammu sector, such incidents, which claim lives of civilians, soldiers and destroy property, have not abated.
“I cannot say how and when the activity of unprovoked firings and ceasefire violations (from across the border) will start but we are prepared to face any eventuality.
“If it is a major offensive, we are more than prepared and we are prepared defensively and we are prepared offensively,” the BSF chief said. Sharma said, “I would like to make one thing clear that we ‘never’ initiate such violations and it is the other side which starts as a result of which we have to retaliate and react.”.
The BSF DG said the sole aim of these unprovoked firing incidents on the border is to “push” in militants into India.
While India wants to maintain peace and does not want to create any problems on the border, it is their (Pakistan’s) state policy to “destabilise our country”, the 1982-batch IPS officer of the Rajasthan cadre said. “They (Pakistan) are still smarting under the defeat of 1971 which led to the creation of Bangladesh and the ISI (Pakistan intelligence agency) was created with the sole objective of dividing India.
“Their first attempt was in Khalistan and they failed. Now, they are trying it in Kashmir and they will fail,” Sharma said.
The BSF had launched three special operations ‘Rustam’ (2016), ‘Arjun’ (2017) and ‘Bheem’ this year, as part of its ‘muh-tod jawab’ (befitting reply) strategy on the border and to mount at least “three to four times” extra shelling on the Pakistani side and cause heavy damage to men and assets across the border.
According to data of the central security agencies, the BSF retaliation, during the operation ‘Bheem’ launched between January 3-24, claimed the lives of eight-ten Pakistan Rangers personnel, injured about 15-16 while about 24 civilians were killed and 65 others injured.
In comparison, three BSF personnel were killed, 17 were injured while eight civilians died and 55 were injured during the same time period due to unprovoked firing and shelling by the Pakistan side. “But, when we react, we do that in a very befitting manner and we give them a very solid reply because since my taking over (in February, 2016) three major engagements have taken place with Pakistan.
“In all the three, we have come on top as there has been more damage in terms of men, material (on the other side). So, consequently the other side should abstain and restrain from any such activity in future but unfortunately it is their state policy to keep the issue of Jammu and Kashmir alive,” Sharma said.
“They (militants or terrorists) are coming from the Line of Control in the last years and there has not been any infiltration from the IB side. But, they keep on trying on the IB side also,” he said.