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OUR ARMY HAS TO WAR WITH TERRORISTS

The clear signal here is Pakisthan is playing shame game

December 08, 2014
'In both the attacks last
week, terrorists had come
equipped for a prolonged
fight and were eventually
prepared to die. This is a
new breed of fidayeen
Pakistan has invested in,'
says Nitin A Gokhale.
For the past six months
Pakistan is using the
Lashkar-e-Tayiba and
other terrorist groups to
launch frontal attacks on
Indian security forces and
assets instead of aimlessly
targeting civilians. The
sooner all of us
understand this, the
better it is.
The last three attacks on
Indian assets -- one in
Afghanistan and two in
Jammu and Kashmir -- are
a clear demonstration of
Pakistan's last throw of
dice in sending highly-
trained and motivated
fidayeen to specifically
target the Indian Army
and other security forces.
The first instance took
place three days before
Narendra Modi was to be
sworn in as prime
minister on May 26. The
target was India's
consulate in Afghanistan's
Herat.
A Lashkar-e-Tayiba hit
squad was assigned to
take hostages and lay
siege at the Indian
consulate. The LeT hit-
squad, highly trained,
heavily armed and
intensely motivated,
seemed to have come
prepared for a long haul.
Security sources said each
of the four attackers
carried AK-47 rifles and six
magazines each.
Two of them also carried
under barrel grenade
launchers or UGBLs and
rocket propelled grenades
or RPGs. Each also carried
fruits, nearly half a kg of
dry fruits and water
bottles.
The Herat attack and the
last two attempts to push
in terrorists into the
Kashmir valley have
uncanny similarities. In
both the attacks last
week, terrorists had come
equipped for a prolonged
fight and were eventually
prepared to die.
This is a new breed of
fidayeen Pakistan has
invested in.
On the night of December
1, half a dozen terrorists
tried to infiltrate the
Tootmari gali in the
Naugam sector at an
altitude of 14,000 feet.
The army killed all six and
recovered huge 'war-like'
stores right on the
Shamshabari range.
All six terrorists fought for
12 hours and were
equipped with high-end
gadgets and sophisticated
equipment including
military grade snow suits
and boots. Their
communication
equipment too was state-
of the art.
The dramatic attack on
the Uri military camp on
Friday, December 5, was
more audacious and
planned to inflict
maximum damage to
security forces. Again, the
group was heavily armed
(each man was carrying
10 magazines of AK-47)
and were ready to die.
That all six 'bent-on-
suicide' terrorists were
eliminated with six hours
is testimony to the Indian
Army's preparedness
although it did suffer
initial reverses.
Since November, a subtle
shift in the tactics has
been noticed by security
managers. Initially, there
were three attempts to
plant massive Improvised
Explosive Devices to
target army patrols along
the Line of Control in the
Tangdhar sector of the
Kashmir valley.
All were fortunately
thwarted by a combined
effort of intelligence and
security agencies.
Similarly, the recovery of a
huge cache of 18 brand
new AK-47 rifles and half
a dozen pistols in the
third week of November
indicated a concerted
attempt to arm those
terrorists already inside
J&K.
What has prompted this
change in tactic on
Pakistan's part?
Pakistan has clearly
realised that the well-knit
security grid in the J&K
hinterland did not allow
any space for terrorists to
target the civilian
population.
As violence levels fell
dramatically between
2011 and 2013 (less than
40 civilians were killed in
those years as against
about 100 killings on an
average in the previous
three years) and the
security forces gained an
upper hand, the
effectiveness of Pakistan's
20-year old tactic of
pushing in terrorists to
disrupt peace in Jammu &
Kashmir was giving
diminishing returns.
Many of these terrorists
were being intercepted
and eliminated on the LoC
itself. The multi-layered
security grid refined over
the years and involving
the army, the Central
Reserve Police Force and
the J&K police, killed
around 80 terrorists every
year since 2011. More
than 90 terrorists have
been neutralised till
November this year.
The high turnout of voters
in the first two phases of
the J&K assembly election
was perhaps the signal for
those in charge of Kashmir
policy in the Pakistan
army to shift gears. They
could not let Kashmir fall
off the map. Something
dramatic needed to be
triggered to once again
bring Kashmir back into
focus.
Last weekend's attacks
launched almost
simultaneously was in
keeping with this shift.
That all three attacks (Uri,
Srinagar and Tral) were
nipped in the bud is a
tribute to the Indian
Army's commitment to
keep Kashmir peaceful
even if it means paying a
very heavy cost to itself.
Nitin A Gokhale is a well-
known defence & security
analyst.
Image: Indian soldiers
search for the terrorists in
the Uri sector on Friday,
December 5, 2014.


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