Braving Pakistani snipers, tough terrain and extreme cold conditions, the BSF has stepped up manifold manual patrolling and deployed thermal imagers to keep a close vigil on the Indo-Pak border in winter to check infiltration by militants.

“There is an increase in the manual patrolling of jawans by four-five times during foggy weather conditions amid activation of thermal imagers and use of infra-red cameras along International Border as foolproof security,” the DIG, BSF, Virender Singh told PTI.

Positioned eyeball to eyeball with Pakistani soldiers on the other side on their posts in riverine and bushy belts along the border from Malu (Aknoor) in Jammu district to Pahadpur in Kathua district, jawans are keeping a strict vigil on the zero line round the clock.

“We have to keep watch on any minute movements of Pakistani troops as well as infiltrating militants near zero line and also through day and night. Each movement on and across the International Border is very important for the defence and strategy,” BSF Jawan Ram Singh said.

Mr. Singh, who along with four jawans manned the Sharp Nallah forward post, one of the 19 sensitive riverine areas and gaps on the IB, is armed with modern surveillance gadgets of infrared cameras and thermal imagers, alarm system on three-tier fencing monitored at TV-type monitors to keep infiltrators at bay.

“Even if we miss watch of the international border in our operation for just a few minutes, that period gets recorded and we analyse it,” the jawan said.

“So, there is no chance to miss even a single movement. If we miss a single movement, militants would get in. We cannot afford to be lax as responsibility is fixed on us,” he said.

Dressed in jungle fatigue with bullet-proof jacket and Patka and carrying a modern 9 mm Italian Beratta rifle, soldiers brave dense fog to criss-cross deep riverine belts, dense busy areas, throughout the day on foot from their post locations to monitor areas along the border.

After sunset, jawans change duties and some take up posts and bunkers, while others carrying out nakas, ambushes and surveillance in open and riverine areas in the extreme chilly and foggy conditions during the night.

Jawans have to save themselves from snipers from Pakistan side, who are out to target them and cause causalities. There have been five incidents of sniping in past few months in which one jawan died and few were injured, the officer said, adding that guarding duty and manual patrolling become all the more difficult due to sniping.

Apart from this, the DIG said, “There are well-lit fencing, bared wire fencing, flood lighting backed by sound and other devices, thermal imagers, IR equipments installed along with manual patrolling in 19 sensitive gaps to make infiltration of the border impossible.

“There is a strong security setup along riverine areas. It may be possible for an infiltrator to cut fencing and enter, but not through these riverine gaps,” he said.

Every morning at 6 AM, a battalion Commanding officer has to give an ‘OK report’ of the fencing after thorough checking along Area of Operation, the DIG said, adding that the process is started from jawan posted on the post to night duty patrolling persons to higher officers.

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