The Army is bracing for a warm, hot and challenging summer in Kashmir and is anticipating a rise in infiltration attempts by militants from across the border this year.
“This summer will be warm, hot, and challenging for the Army and other security forces in Kashmir,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt Gen Gurmit Singh told Express in an exclusive interview.
He said in the first four months of 2014, 30 militants have been killed by security forces.
“Among the dead are 20 foreign militants and 10 locals. 11 belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba, 8 to Hizbul Mujahideen, 7 to Jaish-e-Mohammad and three could not be identified,” he said.
Singh said the figure was much higher than in 2013. “We had killed 38 militants last year in Kashmir, while in the first four months of this year, the figure stands at 30.”
He said security forces were targeting militant leaderships to create a leadership vacuum among militant groups. “Even this year so far, we have killed four top militant commanders and arrested another.”
The GoC said an increase in infiltration attempts by militants is expected from across the border this year.
“Every effort would be made from across the border to push in top commanders to fill the leadership vacuum among the militant groups here,” he said.
Singh said militant infrastructure in Pakistan was intact and militants were ready to be infiltrated from launching pads.
“Now that the snow has started melting, militants may attempt to infiltrate from across the border anytime,” he said, adding that Army men and officers along the LoC are maintaining 24/7 vigil to foil infiltration attempts.
He said counter infiltration grid -- including sophisticated gadgets -- has been activated along the LoC to foil infiltration bids by militants, and vigil on all routes, which are prone to infiltration, has been intensified.
“Besides, border fencing damaged by heavy snowfall in winters is being repaired,” added Singh.
Terming 2014 crucial for Kashmir, the GoC said, “US and NATO forces will be withdrawing from Afghanistan and it is bound to have an impact on the Kashmir situation”.
“We are ready to face any eventuality,” he said, adding that they can’t rule out the possibility of a spillover.