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Around 160 militants waiting at launch pads to infiltrate: Lt Gen Singh

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BY:Sumir Kaul

Jammu: The militant infrastructure in Pakistan remains intact and around 160 militants are waiting across the Line of Control (LoC) to infiltrate into Indian territory, a senior Army officer said Sunday.

Lieutenant General Paramjit Singh, who took over as the general officer commanding of the Nagrota-based White Knight Corps, commonly known as XVI Corps, also said that cross-border terrorism will stop only if Pakistan changes its policy and intentions.

The officer, involved in the planning of the 2016 surgical strikes in Pakistan administered Kashmir, told PTI in an interview that the Army was not letting up on “our preparedness and the counter-infiltration grid is strong enough to deal with infiltrators”.

Lt. Gen. Singh, who has served in all three regions of Jammu and Kashmir, said, “140 to 160 terrorists at different locations in Pakistan are being pushed into the state.”

“The terror infrastructure is intact, and Pakistan’s intentions have not changed. The Pakistan Army and the ISI’s complicity in planning infiltration and terror attacks is evident and it continues,” the officer, who has a vast experience in high-altitude warfare, said.

To a question on the situation along the LoC, he said ceasefire violations have abated after the DGMO-level talks.

“For troops on the LoC, there is no ceasefire… though periodic unprovoked firing by the Pakistan Army and attempts to cause harm to forward posts continue. We do not initiate fire, but we give it back in adequate measure. There is no let up on preparedness and our counter-infiltration grid is strong to deal with infiltrators,” he said.

Talking about challenges during winter, Lt Gen Singh, who is part of the elite Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), said the Army anticipates that Pakistani troops will make an attempt to push infiltrators through heavy snow-bound areas and non-traditional routes.

“We have all contingency plans ready. We have coordinated with all security agencies, and plans are being implemented smoothly,” said Lt Gen Singh, who commanded a special forces’ battalion that participated in the surgical strikes after the attack on an Army brigade in Uri in 2016.

Referring to the recent incident of firing of 107-mm rocket on the Poonch brigade, he said, “Despite Director General of Military Operations-level talks in May during which the two countries agreed to abide by the 2003 ceasefire agreement, Pakistani troops targeted these locations.”

“In response, we conveyed that Pakistan must exercise caution before indulging in any misadventure,” Lt Gen Singh said.

As Major General General Staff at the Northern Command headquarters, Lt. Gen. Singh played a pivotal role in strategising military response to agitations that erupted in 2016 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

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