LoC killings: Army Chief takes officers to task
By N C Bipindra and Yatish Yadav - NEW DELHI
Published: 11th Aug 2013 11:24:48 AM
Initial investigations into the killing of five Indian soldiers last week by the Pakistani Army suggests that the Indian Army had ignored Intelligence warnings and patrolling protocols as the jawans ventured out to guard the five-km stretch of the 778-km Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Intelligence agencies recently intercepted important conversations suggesting the BAT (Border Action Team) units of the Pakistani Army’s border battalions would carry out attacks on Indian security forces, which was shared with the Indian Army in July, sources said. Army chief General Bikram Singh rushed to Nagrota first near Jammu and then to Akhnoor, about 30 km away from the LoC, to meet with the officers in charge on August 7. Sources said that when the officers met Singh, they got a diplomatic dressing down; one that was meant to chastise and not demoralise the field commanders. Instead, he asked them to be “vigilant and alert” on the LoC and be “aggressive” when it comes to dealing with the Pakistani forces.
“First and foremost, the attack party from Pakistan had crossed half-a-km deep inside the Indian territory from the LoC in the sector close to the Cheetah post, which is in the general area of Chakan da Bagh crossing. Next, they lay in wait for the ambush and completed their task of killing the Indian soldiers within half-an-hour,” officers said.
An FIR filed in Poonch, based on the complaint from 21 Bihar’s adjutant claimed that patrol team had left the Sarla post around 00.30 hours and the attack took place half-an-hour later at 01.00 hours less than five km away from the Cheetah post. The field commanders carried out a reconstruction of the entire attack, gathered from Shambhaji Kute’s information, for the benefit of the Army chief’s understanding and also explained the nature of injuries suffered by the six soldiers. The chief, after the presentation noted that the beheading of two Indians soldiers in January too had been carried out by Pakistan Army’s SSG Border Action Team, an army unit that comprises drafted terrorists and commandos to target Indian Army patrol teams along the LoC. Tuesday’s killings are said to the biggest, single-day loss of life in a cross border ambush ever.
A senior intelligence official said the BAT involved in last week’s attack had members drawn from the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan Army’s SSG commandos and highly trained terrorists inducted into the Pak Army. Although, incidents of infiltration have dropped considerably in the last two years, ISI with the help of BAT has begun hammering Indian side of territory with heavy gunfire to facilitate infiltration over the past three months. According to Intelligence officials, the ISI’s goal appeared to be two-fold; to give the impression that Kashmiri militants are behind such attacks and to make India think long and hard before accusing Pakistan for these strikes.
The Sunday Standard