A valley along the Line of Control that runs through Kashmir (NYT)
NEW DELHI: All the terrorist camps and around 15 launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) “are full”, according to top army commander Lt Gen B S Raju, who anticipates an increase in infiltration attempts from across the border this summer to replenish the diminishing terrorist cadres in Jammu and Kashmir.
In an interview to PTI, Lieutenant General Baggavalli Somashekar Raju asserted that the back of terrorism has been “virtually broken” and that Pakistan is unable to “digest” that Kashmiris are experiencing peace and an improved law and order situation.
Lt Gen Raju took over the reins of strategically located XV Corps in Srinagar on March 1.
“The back of terrorism is virtually broken. Because of the successes in eliminating terrorists operating in the hinterland, we expect cross-border infiltration to increase in the summer season to make up for the dead terrorists. I anticipate more and more attempts to replenish the depleting cadres, as the window for infiltration is also restricted to the summer season only,” Lt Gen Raju said in an e-mail interview.
“All the terrorist camps and around 15 launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are full. These terrorist cadres are desperate to infiltrate with the help of Pakistani Army.”
Stating that Pakistan has consistently been aiding and abetting infiltration for more than 30 years now, the general said there have been several ceasefire violations (CFVs) by Pakistani army to support the infiltrating terrorist groups, but added such designs have been frustrated as “our befitting response to ceasefire violations has been swift, hard and punitive”.
He also spoke about the Army’s counter-infiltration grid being fortified which, along with, “our effective response to ceasefire violations has left Pakistan helpless in furthering their agenda.”
An NDA alumni from the 1984-batch, Lt Gen Raju, who earlier served as the Brigade commander along the Line of Control (LoC), and later led the “Victor Force”, a counter-insurgency group of the Army that looks after the terrorism-hit south Kashmir region, also sent a clear message that those having any evil design “against our country” should shun such ambitions.
“Anyone picking up weapon or harbouring ill intentions against the sovereignty of the nation will be dealt with more punitively,” he said, adding that the army with various stakeholders are fully prepared for any contingency and will continue to relentlessly pursue those people.
To a question how the army is coping up with increased infiltration bids when the entire world is grappling with Covid-19, Lt Gen Raju said Pakistan is unable to “digest” that Kashmiris are experiencing peace and an improved law and order situation.
“Even in times when the world is together in combating the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Pakistan still indulges in furthering its inimical designs along the Line of Control. Our soldiers along the borders are well equipped and fully geared to take on any eventuality which arises.”
The lieutenant general said the army is fighting the coronavirus pandemic with utmost professionalism within India and in neighbouring regions, and also simultaneously defeating evil designs along the LoC and in the hinterland.
On the recent killing of top terrorist leadership including Reyaz Naikoo and Junaid Ashraf Sherai, the self-styled commanders of banned Hizbul Mujahideen terror group, he said that for the past one year, the terrorist leadership of all terror tanzeems (terror groups) have been effectively targeted and eliminated.
“There is now a definite leadership void and Pakistan’s persistence in pushing terrorists to carry out their agenda is losing hold on ground. After the loss of leadership…there is already a rift between various terror groups who are either vying for survival or gaining some prominence,” he said.