Around 160 militants ready to infiltrate: GoC 16 Corps

The militant infrastructure in Pakistan remains intact and around 160 militants are waiting across the Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate, a senior Army officer said Sunday.

Lt Gen Paramjit Singh, who took over as the General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Nagrota-based White Knight Corps, commonly known as 16 Corps, also said that cross-border militancy would stop only if Pakistan changes its policy and intentions.

The officer, involved in the planning of the 2016 surgical strikes on the militant infrastructure in Pakistan administered Kashmir said the Army was not letting up on “our preparedness and the counter-infiltration grid is strong enough to deal with infiltrators”.
Lt Gen Singh, who has served in all three regions of Jammu Kashmir, said, “Around 140 to 160 militants at different locations in Pakistan are being pushed into the State.”

“The militant infrastructure is intact, and Pakistan’s intentions have not changed. The Pakistan Army and the ISI’s complicity in planning infiltration and terror attacks is evident and it continues,” the officer, who has a vast experience in high-altitude warfare, said.

To a question on the situation along the LoC, he said ceasefire violations had abated after the DGMO-level talks.
“For troops on the LoC, there is no ceasefire… though periodic unprovoked firing by the Pakistan Army and attempts to cause harm to forward posts continue. We don’t initiate fire, but we give it back in adequate measure. There is no let up on preparedness and our counter-infiltration grid is strong to deal with infiltrators,” he said.
Talking about challenges during winter, Lt Gen Singh, who is part of the elite Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), said the Army anticipates that Pakistani troops would make an attempt to push infiltrators through heavy snow-bound areas and non-traditional routes.

“We have all contingency plans ready. We have coordinated with all security agencies, and plans are being implemented smoothly,” said Lt Gen Singh, who commanded a special forces’ battalion that participated in the surgical strikes after the attack on an Army brigade in Uri in 2016.
Referring to the recent incident of firing of 107-mm rocket on the Poonch brigade, he said, “Despite Director General of Military Operations-level talks in May during which the two countries agreed to abide by the 2003 ceasefire agreement, Pakistani troops targeted these locations. In response, we conveyed that Pakistan must exercise caution before indulging in any misadventure.”

About the causalities suffered by Pakistani troops in retaliatory fire by the Indian Army, the officer said, “Pakistan has never been open about its causalities unless the soldier is from Pakistan administered Kashmir.”
As Major General General Staff at the Northern Command headquarters, Lt Gen Singh played a pivotal role in strategising military response to agitations that erupted in 2016 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. PTI