‘J&K security grid tight, no need to fear foreign militants’

Express News Service
SRINAGAR:  The prospects of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan have spooked many as they fear that foreign militants may once again be pushed into Jammu and Kashmir, but security experts feel that there will not be a significant impact on the Kashmir situation.

Former state police chief S P Vaid said it is possible that militants fighting in Afghanistan will be diverted to Kashmir but he asserted that things had changed in the last 20 years and that there was a much better and foolproof security grid which will not make infiltration very easy.

“The ground situation has also changed. Border fencing and electronic surveillance equipment have been deployed along the line of control to foil any infiltration attempts from across the border,” he said. Asked about the large scale infiltration of foreign militants in the mid-1990s (see graphic), Vaid said due to the Kargil war lot of army troops had been withdrawn from the LoC, leaving gaps.

“But now those gaps don’t exist and strong anti-infiltration measures have been put in place to foil infiltration attempts of,” said. Recently, Lt Gen D P Pandey, the commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said there had been zero infiltration of militants into Kashmir from across the LoC this year.

Retired general and former 15 Corps commander, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, said when the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, there was lot of chaos and a lot of foreign militants, including Afghans, Tajiks, Sudanese and Saudis, were pushed into Kashmir.

“This process started in 1991. The foreign militants who were left over from the Afghanistan war continued to infiltrate into J&K till 2001-02. But, the retired general said repeating 1991 in 2021 would not be possible.

“Whatever manpower Taliban has it will be busy in Afghanistan. Pakistan has a lot of interests in Afghanistan and for some time Pakistan will not see towards Kashmir,” Lt. Gen Hasnain said. Another former J&K police chief Kuldip Khoda said there has never been a high presence of Afghan militants in J&K. “There was very little presence of Afghans, the foreign militants are mostly Pakistanis,” he said.

According to him, Taliban does not show much interest in Kashmir. “Whatever instances there have been in the past, they have been negligible and these, too, have been at the behest of the Pakistan army and the ISI,” Khoda said.