2008: So far this year, Indian troops in
Kashmir have detected 30 attempts by Islamic terrorists to sneak across the
border from Pakistan. In those 30 encounters, 70 terrorists were killed, and
most of the hundred or more survivors returned to Pakistan.
Pakistan both claim the province of Kashmir, and the Line of Control (the
"border" agreed to by the two armies after war in the late 1940s,
when Pakistani troops invaded Kashmir to prevent it from becoming part of
India) separates the Indian and Pakistani portions of Kashmir. The two
countries have slightly different maps showing exactly where the Line of
Control is. India has about 300,000 troops guarding the 440 kilometer long Line
of Control. Pakistan has nearly as many troops, backed by the threat of using
last five years, India, using Israeli sensor technology, erected a 580
kilometer electrified fence along the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir. In
2004, India bought more radars, and special jamming equipment (to shut down
radios used by Islamic radicals trying to cross the border) for use in Kashmir
and along the LOC. The use of ground radars, thermal imaging and other
electronic gear along the LOC, reduced illegal movements into Indian controlled
Islamic radicals keep coming, although in much reduced numbers. In 2001, it was
estimated that 2,417 Islamic terrorists got across from Pakistan (where the
government tolerates the terrorist training camps) to Indian Kashmir (where the
terrorists are trying to drive the Indians, and all non-Moslems, out of the
region). In 2002, that went down to 1,504, in 2003 it was 1,373 and in 2004 if
was 537. The earthquake in late October, 2005, wrecked portions of the fence
system, so 597 terrorists got across in that year. But in the last two years,
fewer and fewer terrorists are able to make it across the LOC.
infiltrators don't come empty handed, but haul large quantities of weapons, and
cash. Hand grenades are the favorite terrorist weapon these days, and local
Moslems are hired to toss them. It's relatively easy money ($10-20), because if
you know your way around an area, you can toss the grenade and get away unseen.
terrorists spend most of their time terrorizing local Moslems (to cooperate,
and not work with the police) and non-Moslems (to get them to leave). The
terrorists operate in camps way up in the forested hills. While some generals
have urged that a division size (10,000 or so troops) operation be launched to
clear out these terrorist camps, such an undertaking is expensive in terms of
money and casualties. Besides, there are only 50-80 terrorists up in those
camps at any one time, and that small a number of people could, for the most
part, escape an army sweep operation. There are plenty of police in the
populated areas (31,000 around the provincial capital alone) to capture or kill
most of the Islamic terrorists that show up.
easier lately, to catch terrorists in Kashmir, because the majority Moslem population
is tired of nearly two decades of violence, without much to show for it. So
more Moslems are becoming informants for the police. That, plus the spread of
cell phone systems, makes it easier for these informants to tip off the police
when Islamic terrorists are in the area. The terrorists are trying to get
people to give up their cell phones, but that has not been very popular.
terrorists have found weaknesses in the security fence system, and the Indians
must constantly tweak their sensors and security system design to keep up. In
one terrorist camp back in Pakistan, a stretch of the Indian fence has been
reconstructed, so the terrorists can develop new ways to safely breach it.
India would like to get these camps shut down, but Islamic conservatives are a
major political force in Pakistan, and the government risks a lot of unrest if
the terrorist camps are trifled with. However, Pakistan and India have had a
cease fire since late 2003, which has halted the assistance the Pakistani army
used to provide for the terrorists. This included shelling portions of the
fence, to knock out sensors, or prevent the Indians from making repairs.
Without that kind of interference, it appears that India may be able to
eventually reduce the number of infiltrators to a less than one or a day, and
stop nearly all of them.