Defence infra, BSF bunkers upgraded at Pakistan border
NEW DELHI: Indian security agencies have carried out a major defence infrastructure revamp, including the creation of ramps for army tanks and the strengthening of Border Security Force (BSF) bunkers along the International Border (IB) with Pakistan.
According to sources in the security set-up, the first phase of infrastructure renovation and the creation of some new ones on the 26 km stretch along the IB in Jammu have been completed recently. Work on another 33 km in the same region is underway.
The defence infrastructure work includes the construction and renovation of numerous ditch-cum-bandhs, the repair of damaged border fences, the construction of ramps for the movement of Army tanks to forward areas, the upgrading of BSF troop posts, bunkers and locations for the installation of surveillance and other protection mechanisms.
Officials aware of the development inform that the Union home ministry is funding the border infrastructure development project. According to them, these works were initiated and the first phase of the work on 26 km was completed after India and Pakistan renewed their ceasefire agreement along the front in Jammu and Kashmir on February 20, 2021.
"The other side too is undertaking similar works and both sides keep each other informed in case a major work is undertaken near the fence," a senior BSF officer said.
Barring a few violations, like when Pakistan breached the agreement and opened unprovoked fire in Jammu on September 6, last year's ceasefire agreement is holding well, the officials said.
The ceasefire breach took place when the Indian side was undertaking some "maintenance work" in the Arnia sector of Jammu. A flag meeting was later held between the BSF and Pak Rangers and it was decided to uphold the ceasefire.
The silence of the guns is allowing peace to prevail along the IB. The residents and farmers in the border areas are able to do their normal work uninterrupted, without the fear of mortar shelling and indiscriminate gunfire undertaken by the other side regularly (before February 20, 2021), the officials said.
The work is also being undertaken to level the kutchcha (mud tracks) that are used by the BSF troop carrier vehicles to reach border posts in the Jammu region. At many places, the levelling work on these approach routes has been completed, officials said.
A similar project has been undertaken by the BSF along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir region, where it is converting the bunkers for its troops at 115 forward defence locations from the present corrugated galvanised iron to solar powered compartments made of steel.
Jammu shares a 192 km front of the total 2,289 km India-Pakistan International Border before it runs down towards Gujarat and Rajasthan on the country's western flank.
The LoC between the two neighbours falls majorly in Kashmir. It is 772 km long and is guarded by both the Army and the BSF. The BSF is in charge of the 435-kilometer front under its operational command.