Pakistan increasing attempts to ‘push’ militants into valley: Arun Jaitley

Srinagar: Pakistan has “increased attempts to push militants into Jammu and Kashmir” through the border but there is a high number of casualties on their side, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

Jaitley said in the Lok Sabha that the Indian Army has “domination and impact” along the western border and all steps have been taken to check infiltration from across the border.

“Pakistan has increased efforts of infiltration,” he said during Question Hour.

Question Hour is the first hour of a sitting session of India’s Lok Sabha devoted to questions that Members of Parliament raise about any aspect of administrative activity.

Jaitely said that due to the heightened vigil of the security forces, many infiltration attempts have been foiled and infiltration has been down.

“There is record high in the casualties on the other side,” he said.

There have been 285 incidents of ceasefire violation so far this year through the LoC compared to 228 such incidents in the entire 2016 along the LoC in which eight people had lost their lives, Jaitley said.

He said there were 221 ceasefire violation along the International Border which is guarded by both the Border Security Force and the Army.

Replying another question, the minister said the Army has constructed an anti-infiltration obstacle system (AIOS) along the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, under its operational control.

Radars, sensors and thermal imagers along with surveillance have been incorporated on this fence to detect and intercept infiltration.

The AIOS is further strengthened by deployment of troops and construction of defence works based on threat perception for an effective multi-tiered counter-infiltration grid.

“Fortification of border is a continuous process. Anti- infiltration steps like obstacle systems, technical gadgets have been installed by the Army and enough steps have been taken to check infiltration,” he said.

Jaitely said the government regularly reviews the threat perception to secure the borders and protect national interests.

“Appropriate measures are taken from time-to-time to maintain and upgrade the country’s defence preparedness along the border to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India,” the Minister said.

Further, the areas along the borders are kept under surveillance by regular patrolling by troops and other aerial, optronic and electronic means.

“Appropriate retaliation to the ceasefire violations and other tactical incidents by Pakistan Army, as required, is carried out by Indian Army. All the forward posts are adequately strengthened to withstand enemy fire. Besides, there are well-established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to safeguard against enemy fire to minimise own casualties,” Jaitley said.

He said the government is taking measures to ensure modernisation of Indian defence forces to keep them in a state of readiness to meet operational and security challenges.

“This is being achieved by inducting new equipment, technologically upgrading existing equipment and systems, training etc. It will not be in the national interests to divulge further details,” he said.

In reply to another question, Jaitley said the government has enhanced special allowances given to defence personnel serving in difficult areas like Siachen.

He said recently the government has announced the special allowances for defence personnel which were more than what the 7th Pay Commission had recommended.

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