A Pincer in the Making

Outlook|June 15, 2020

A Pincer in the Making
Tensions with China may complicate India’s efforts to integrate Kashmir, but it’s too early to predict the full picture.
Naseer Ganai and Bhavna Vij-Aurora

On May 30, Lt General B.S. Raju, the general officer commanding of 15 Corps, and Dilbag Singh, director-general of police, Jammu and Kashmir, chaired a high-level meeting in which top officials of the civil administration, intelligence agencies and security forces participated. Held at the 15 Corps headquarters in Badami Bagh, Srinagar, the meeting had an urgent agenda: to “review the security situation and ensure readiness to meet anticipated security challenges”. The trigger was the tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. Sharing intelligence inputs, officials claimed the situation can lead to a rise in insurgency in the Kashmir Valley, with Pakistan trying to take advantage by keeping the Line of Control (LoC) simmering and cross-border militancy active. While reviewing the J&K security situation earlier on May 9 in New Delhi, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval had warned the forces to be prepared for a “hot summer”. This was soon after the CRPF lost six personnel in encounters in Handwara and Sopore.

Infiltration goes up every year as the snow begins to melt in early April, but army officials at the May 30 meeting expressed concern that the Ladakh stand-off has enhanced the challenge. “Intelligence inputs indicate that Pakistan has intensified its efforts at increasing infiltration and ceasefire violations across the LoC. There is also an effort to calibrate an increase in militant actions in the hinterland,” reveal army sources. However, recent successes, including the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo and prevention of large-scale IED attacks, have blunted such efforts, sources claim. The security forces recently foiled a Pulwama-like attack when they recovered a car laden with 40-45 kg of explosives. The forces also foiled an infiltration attempt at Naushera along the LoC by killing three militants and seizing a huge cache of arms.

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June 15, 2020