NEW DELHI: Tension appears to be building up between Pakistan Marines and the Border Security Force (BSF) in the strategically important Sir Creek area in Gujarat following the former’s aggressive posturing. In response, the BSF has deployed resources in commensurate strength. Confirming the ground situation in the area, sources said, “We have been working on improving the habitat of our troops on the ground to which the Pakistan Marines objected and later mobilised their resources.”
Since around a fortnight, India has been trying to build structures on its own side so as to improve the presence of troops. However, the Pakistan Navy’s Marines not only objected but also mobilised their fast attack crafts and boats aggressively. “The local commanders responded befittingly and mobilised their matching resources,” sources said. Local commanders have since held a meeting to try to defuse the tension.
There have been proposals to beef up the operational capabilities of the BSF formations in the area. As of now, the BSF operates with its floating Border Out Posts (BOPs) and a limited number of Fast Attack Crafts. The floating BOPs of the marine wing of the BSF are fully equipped for operations that a border outpost would require if it were on land, officials said. Pakistan has Griffins Fast Attack Crafts but not floating BOPs.
As reported by this newspaper in January last, the BSF in Gujarat is strengthening its hold along Sir Creek and the Harami Nalla area by establishing permanent bases. The BSF is tasked with securing the 826 km long Indo-Pak international border from Barmer in Rajasthan to the Rann of Kutch and the Creek area, including 85 km of coastal area of Gujarat.
The Creek is a 98 km long narrow strip of water between the two countries in the marshy areas of Rann of Kutch and opens up into the Arabian Sea. The area has inhospitable weather and terrain, while the marshes are home to poisonous snakes and scorpions. Last year, the BSF had apprehended 22 Pakistani fishermen and seized 79 boats along the marshy terrain in the Bhuj sector. The Indo-Pak border in Sir Creek is yet to be demarcated.