Pak Army paranoid about India’s ‘smart fence’ project

India’s successful Balakot strike destroying a terror camp in Pakistan in February has left the Pakistani Army near paranoid over India’s next move. Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor seems to have invited some embarrassment for himself as he fed into this paranoia over recent reports that the Indian Army was removing fencing in certain sectors along the Line of Control (LoC). This has set off alarm bells in the Pakistani Army that the Indian security forces were possibly planning a new operation. Was it integration of PoK after New Delhi’s assertion of territory occupied by Pakistan when it abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir or was it another Balakot-type or surgical strike?

Security sources have revealed that this time the alarm could be much ado about nothing. The removal of barbed wires at certain areas is being done as part of the smart fencing project for air to bottom fortification of the 2,300 km long India-Pakistan border by installing a smart fence based on sensors. Sources disclosed that in at least two locations, the fence is being replaced to fortify it with sensors.

However, even the smallest developments have been keeping the Pakistani Army on their toes over the past many months. They spent sleepless nights to keep vigil as Islamabad cannot afford to be taken by surprise again, said a top security official.

“Pakistan’s armed forces shall befittingly respond to any Indian misadventure or aggression,” said Ghafoor. “Provocative statements and preparations for escalation along the LoC by India’s COAS [chief of the army staff] appear to be an effort as usual to divert the world’s attention from widespread protests in India against the CAB,” he tweeted, referring to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill. Ghafoor was responding to Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat warning that the situation along the LoC could escalate at any time and the Army was ready to face any eventuality.

A video statement has also been released by Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi saying they have identified five places where India has partially removed the fence. “What are the motives behind it? Is there going to be a new misadventure? We are also concerned about this,” he said.

But security sources revealed the Pakistani spy agency ISI, responsible for gathering intelligence may entirely be off the mark creating panic and confusion among the Pakistani army.

The move to replace fences with sensor walls has been part of the Union home ministry’s plan of developing a Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System which was conceptualised after the attack on the Pathankot Air Force Station in January 2016. The dastardly attack had been carried out by terrorists who allegedly came from Pakistan by crossing the international border.  Since then, radars, day and night cameras, underground sensors, underwater sensors, fibre optic cable sensors, electro optic sensors and micro aerostats have been tested in field trials along stretches vulnerable to infiltration.

Meanwhile, a top government functionary said, “The border security strategy is not only prevent terrorist infiltration by projects like the smart fence, but also to create deterrents that the inimical forces don’t even try to attempt it.” While 2018 saw the Balakot air strike by the Indian Air Force to avenge the horrific Pulwama terror strike on the CRPF forces, the Indian Army had carried out cross-border surgical strikes on September 29 , 2016 to avenge the terrorist attack on the Army base in Uri on September 18.

It is this strategy of the BJP government that is creating paranoia in the Pakistani forces. “Pakistani forces will continue to eye any activity on the border with suspicion,” said an official.

Meanwhile, border escalations have already seen a surge over the last few weeks as the Pakistani forces have resorted to mortar shelling in certain areas and are suffering a strong retaliatory response from the Indian side.

In the run up to the New Year, the border guarding forces are on high alert and will remain highly vigilant to possibility of the Pakistani side escalating tension during the festive season.

”After Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s failed attempts to garner support against India at the United Nations General Assembly, there is desperation in Islamabad to discredit New Delhi,” a security official said. Khan once again tried to escalate matters at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva recently when he said the Citizenship Amendment Act could not only lead to a refugee crisis in South East Asia but trigger a conflict between the nuclear armed nations. New Delhi refuted these claims diplomatically by calling them false and “gratuitous and unwarranted remarks” to further Khan’s own narrow political agenda.

On the borders, the Indian security forces are ”routinely” standing prepared to strike at the time and place of their choosing if there was mischief from the other side. But for now, it seemed that unseen grief has already gripped the Pakistani army across the ”fences”.





Source:- The Week

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