India erecting new steel fence along Pak border: Officials
India is erecting a new non-cut ‘steel fence’ to plug vulnerable and infiltration-prone patches along its sensitive border with Pakistan and Bangladesh, officials said on Friday.
They said the single-row fence, with loops of concertina wires on top, is being erected at a 60-km border stretch in near Amritsar in Punjab.
A ‘pilot project’ of this new fence is also being tested at a 7-km stretch in Assam’s Silchar along India’s border with Bangladesh and is being analysed by the BSF, they said.
This fence will cost about Rs 2 crore for a kilometre, official sources said.
Based on the feedback of these projects, new fence will be erected at more places where either the old one has worn out or there was no fence owing to geographical challenges.
The sources informed that the Union home ministry has also advanced a technology-based project of deploying ‘laser fences’ along these two borders, to five years as compared to the earlier 10-year deadline.
The Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) that entails deployment of smart fences, advanced surveillance gadgets and anti-infiltration alarms has been speeded up by the border management division under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Border Security Force along these two borders, they said.
These developments are being seen in the backdrop of developments where security agencies have detected the presence of ‘Afghan fighters’ along the India-Pakistan border.
These terror operatives have travelled across borders from Afghanistan resulting in an enhanced vigil by the forces to thwart infiltration bids along the sensitive frontier in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said the latest concern of security agencies are the well-trained militants from Afghanistan whose presence along the vulnerable infiltration spots along Pakistan border can be used to foment trouble in the newly-created Union Territory (UT) of J&K and other locations in the hinterland.
The BSF, they said, has also recently completed and exercise to fully “map and identify” vulnerable spots all along these two borders as part of a three-staged exercise carried out last year.
There is lot of work that is happening to secure the borders along Pakistan and Bangladesh, they said.
Latest measures include strengthening Indian defences along Pakistan, mapping of infiltration prone areas along the two borders, and erection of new steel fence along vulnerable patches, the sources said.
According to an assessment, they said, the security agencies are also keeping a close tab on the activities of cross-border terror modules and terrorists as they anticipate some incidents of attack on security forces deployed in the Kashmir valley and around the Jammu area.
Officials also refused withdrawal of more paramilitary units from Kashmir saying some “optimum” strength of these forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB need to be kept there for regular law and order and counter-terrorist operations.
About a lakh Central Armed Police Forces personnel were sent to Kashmir in the wake of scrapping of Article 370 last year and the Government of India (GoI) has withdrawn about 100 companies (about 100 troops in each company) in the recent past stating the security situation was “conducive” for such a de-induction.