Military buildup along IB signals tough 'anti-Pak' stance

In a major policy shift, the Government of India has decided to display an “aggressive stance” against Pakistan by a strong military buildup along the International Border that spans four states, including Jammu and Kashmir.

The military buildup was necessitated after India noticed Pakistan army’s activities on other side of the border, a top defence official told Greater Kashmir. He said after Balakot airstrikes, Pakistan army was seen as active in “Area of Responsibility (AOR) opposite 15 Corps (Kashmir) and 16 Corps (Jammu).

From Kathua to Akhnoor, Jammu province shares 198-km-long boundary with Pakistan, which has remained in news for infiltration attempts, cross-border firing and other reasons.

“Though the International Border is manned by the Border Security Force (BSF) but army buildup near the border is a stern message of deterrence to the adversary. Nearly 30 to 50 per cent of buildup has been completed along the IB from Kathua to Akhnoor,” the official said.

He said the army has also decided to move its air defence units near Pakistan border to “thwart enemy aerial strikes or intrusions”.

“These units work jointly with Air Force for better surveillance and reaction,” he said.

Air defence unit of the army operate under Corps of Army Air Defence (AAD). Its weapon systems include the DRD-Israel joint venture MR-SAM, indigenous Akash air defence missile systems, Bofors 40 mm gun, and other older generation weapon systems like S-125 Neva/Pechora, 2K22 Tunguska and others.

“These units will be operated by the Indian Air Force and army for better surveillance. These would also keep an eye on enemy’s radars system to prevent any February 2019 like intrusion into our airspace,” the source added.

 “In addition to Army’s buildup, BSF also has taken up the construction work of some additional barracks at border out posts to accommodate more troops in the time of emergency or action,” another source said.

However, officially, there has been no word on present military activities. But a top officer, wishing anonymity, said, “With heavy buildup at surface and these air defence units deployed closer to the border, we would be able to tackle any possible threat from the enemy side and thwart it close to the border itself.”