Minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy, responding to a question on whether infiltration in J&K had declined in the wake of the ‘surgical strike’ (a reference to the Balakot strikes undertaken in February), informed the House, “Due to concerted and synergised efforts of security forces, the security situation in the state has witnessed an improvement in the first half of this year over the corresponding period of 2018. Net infiltration has reduced by 43%.”
While Reddy refrained from linking the reduced infiltration to the Balakot strikes, inputs with intelligence agencies suggest that Pakistan-based terrorist outfits have, post the air strikes, got their fighters to abandon launchpads in PoK and instead shift to the western border with Afghanistan. This is the stretch where the United States forces have deployed drones to detect and eliminate terrorists.
Incidentally, a report submitted last month by the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Committee to the sanctions committee had quoted Afghan officials as saying that over 20 regional and international terrorist groups were fighting against US-led forces in Afghanistan, mainly in the border areas. Of the 8,000-10,000 foreign fighters estimated to be present in Afghanistan, approximately 500 are Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, mostly active in Kunar and Nangarhar provinces.
Reddy informed Lok Sabha that neutralisation of terrorists in J&K had increased by 22% even as terrorist-initiated attacks fell 28% and local recruitment declined by 40%.
On the status of fencing along the India-Pakistan border, the minister said the government had sanctioned fencing of 2,069 km, out of which 2,005 km had been completed and work on the remaining 64 km would be completed by March 2020.
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