Millennium Post
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Battle over infiltration bid drawing down: Army

There are two very worrying indicators coming out of the Shala Bhata-Keran skirmish between supposedly, a group of Pakistan-backed terrorists and elements of the Indian Army infantry brigade numbered 268 of the XV Corps. The battle of constant attrition has been going for the tenth day now. Yet, the media managers of the army in South Block said on Thursday that the operations are drawing down now, it could be over by the weekend.

The first worry is the way these original group of infiltrators, estimated about 30, had held out against the army for ten days without seeking to slink back at the first opportunity, when challenged. This is against their standard operating procedure till now, unless they were completely surrounded and killed at the first instance.

Secondly, they seem to have established a logistics train back across the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan and their handlers at the bases seem to have continued to replenish their supplies of food, water and ammunition, unlike in the past when the terrorist infiltrators were written off the moment they crossed over.

Can this be considered an escalation in the cross-LoC conflict that had been going on at a lower level for the past four months?

Senior army sources at the Army Liaison Cell, located at South Block, say that all these issues will be examined in light of the experiences gathered in the course of the field operations and the electronic intelligence that is being garnered.

While that may be the case, it still remains a fact that the Indian Army’s moves are largely being defensive – holding the line on the face off aggression. A question is being raised by senior and recently retired army officers that the risk-averse attitude of the Indian political leadership is holding back the army.

Pakistan Army, despite its distractions due to terrorist attacks within the country and having to maintain constant and wary presence on its western borders with Afghanistan, are still being able to launch operations of this nature, even though its prime minister, Nawaz Sharif talks airily about peace between two countries.

This infusion of terrorists or trained irregulars into the territory was originally over a frontage of five kilometres, was an audacious attempt to disrupt the relative peace in Kashmir. Of course, the XV Corps rightfully takes credit for detecting the infiltration in time and cordoned them off and began tightening the semi-circle to restrict their movement, they still remained till now the capability to wage a high level of attrition.

This is something that the security planners – both armed forces and military – will have to examine and seek requisite policy changes.There are two very worrying indicators coming out of the Shala Bhata-Keran skirmish between supposedly, a group of Pakistan-backed terrorists and elements of the Indian Army infantry brigade numbered 268 of the XV Corps. The battle of constant attrition has been going for the tenth day now. Yet, the media managers of the army in South Block said on Thursday that the operations are drawing down now, it could be over by the weekend.

The first worry is the way these original group of infiltrators, estimated about 30, had held out against the army for ten days without seeking to slink back at the first opportunity, when challenged. This is against their standard operating procedure till now, unless they were completely surrounded and killed at the first instance.

Secondly, they seem to have established a logistics train back across the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan and their handlers at the bases seem to have continued to replenish their supplies of food, water and ammunition, unlike in the past when the terrorist infiltrators were written off the moment they crossed over.

Can this be considered an escalation in the cross-LoC conflict that had been going on at a lower level for the past four months?

Senior army sources at the Army Liaison Cell, located at South Block, say that all these issues will be examined in light of the experiences gathered in the course of the field operations and the electronic intelligence that is being garnered.

While that may be the case, it still remains a fact that the Indian Army’s moves are largely being defensive – holding the line on the face off aggression. A question is being raised by senior and recently retired army officers that the risk-averse attitude of the Indian political leadership is holding back the army.

Pakistan Army, despite its distractions due to terrorist attacks within the country and having to maintain constant and wary presence on its western borders with Afghanistan, are still being able to launch operations of this nature, even though its prime minister, Nawaz Sharif talks airily about peace between two countries.

This infusion of terrorists or trained irregulars into the territory was originally over a frontage of five kilometres, was an audacious attempt to disrupt the relative peace in Kashmir. Of course, the XV Corps rightfully takes credit for detecting the infiltration in time and cordoned them off and began tightening the semi-circle to restrict their movement, they still remained till now the capability to wage a high level of attrition.

This is something that the security planners – both armed forces and military – will have to examine and seek requisite policy changes.v
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