The border security in Punjab has been always of paramount importance since the State shares almost 450 kms-long international border with Pakistan
Last week when the Delhi police sounded an alert based on intelligence inputs that couple of Pakistan-based terrorists have made their way into the Indian territory through the Wagha border in Amritsar, it was a telling statement on how
serious is the security issues in Punjab.
The border security in Punjab has been always of paramount importance since the State shares almost
450 kms-long international border with Pakistan which has been a constant threat to its peace.
Unlike Rajasthan and Gujarat, where the terrain is hostile for the intruders from Pakistan, Punjab has a very compatible border. The land link is smooth. No dessert, no marshy tracts. And that precisely has been a challenge for the security forces in Punjab.
The border areas of the State, like Amritsar and Ferozepur, in the past, had been seeing a frequent and convenient intrusion of surreptitious elements from Pakistan.
In the eighties, the Pakistan ISI sponsored terrorism had kept the State on boil for almost a decade. After the terrorism was decimated, there has been a relative peace in the state till it received a rude shock in July 2015 when three Pakistani terrorists, clad in the Army uniform, struck violently in Dinanagar, about 15 kms inside the Indo-Pak border.
Heavily loaded with arms and ammunition the three terrorists sneaked in through the border in the early morning hours on July 27,,2015 to reach Dinanagar-Pathankot road.
They first fired shots at the Punjab Roadways bus, which, however, sped away, later they stopped a car, killed its driver and occupied it. Later, the
terrorists drove up to a police station where they opened fired killing four policemen. Firing gun shots, they sought shelter in an abandoned police barrack. It took the police commandos almost 12 hours to kill the Pakistani terrorists. Meanwhile, four bombs planted on a nearby railway line were detonated by the security agencies.
This was for the first time that the Pakistani terrorists targeted Punjab exposing the State to serious security risks. Punjab started feeling the heat of cross-border terrorism as a spill-over from the neighbouring state, J&K. Dinanagar incidentally is located about 25 kms away from the J&K-Punjab border and initially the security
officials had apprehended that the terrorists, perhaps, had plans to go towards the J&K side from Dinanagar.
It apparently added a new dimension to terrorism in Punjab, where the agents of Pakistan-based terrorists took it on themselves to engineer the attack, something that they have been doing in J&K till then.
The security agencies had hardly started pulling up their socks than the terrorists of Pakistan-based Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) outfit struck at the Pathankot airbase. Four terrorists, heavily loaded with arms and
ammunition, once again breached the BSF security on the Indo-Pak border along the Ravi river that passes by Pathankot on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, 2016.
They hijacked the vehicle of a Punjab police official to make way to the Pathankot airbase which is one of the largest Air Force destinations in the north India. The entire nation woke up to a major shock on the new year day as the four terrorists had captured a part of airibase which was close to the hangar where fighter jets
While the NSG commandos and the Army commandos fought the terrorists in tandem, seven security officials including Lt Col Niranjan, lost their lives in the encounter that last almost five days.
In Punjab this was the first-ever terrorist attack on the cantonement. Sensing the seriousness of the situation Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the spot to take stock of the situation along with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
The entire nation stood numb because it not only exposed the
security lapses at one of the most-guarded cantonments but also testified to the expertise and motivation that the terrorists carried to execute one of the fiercest attacks on the Air Force
The NIA, which later conducted investigation in the matter, held JeM chief Masood Azhar and his three accomplices in Pakistan responsible for the attack.
Masood Azhar’s brother, Abdul Rauf Asghar, was also named in the charge sheet that the NIA filed in a
special court in December last. The main handler of the Jaish terrorists identified as Kashif Jan had been in constant touch with the terrorists till they were gunned down. The NIS intercepted messages on social media to establish that JeM operators in Pakistan were the brain behind
Two consecutive incidents of Pakistani terrorists’ attack made the security agencies to sit up and revise the entire security perspective in Punjab. The BSF has beefed up its strength along the border and has planned to equip the force with more sophisticated devices to intercept
intrusion by Pakistan terrorists. While barbed fencing has been in place for almost 20 years now, terrorists and smugglers have still been managing to sneak in, particularly through the
riverine pockets along the border.
While the BSF has planned
elaborately to plug the loopholes, the Punjab police would be buttressing the security network with a special force operative on the border villages.
The State security agencies have also beefed up intelligence network to gather information from across the
But the State would always have to be on guards due to persistent pressure from across the border. n