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Samba Bulge

 

Editorial. Cecil Victor. VIII.XXX.XIV

 


 

TUNNELS - SAUCE FOR

 


THE GEESE



Cecil Victor-fnbworld  By Cecil Victor

 

 

Pak Army-fnbworld


The incessant crossborder firing along the international border and the Line of Control appears to have a method in its madness. The discovery of a tunnel in the Palanwala segment of the Akhnoor Sector in southern Jammu and Kashmir could give a clue as to the intent and purpose of the Pakistani operation.


Discovered on 22 August during a routine patrol the tunnel is reported to be about 2 ft 6 inches wide and about 8 ft deep. This is the second tunnel that has been discovered by accident by Indian security forces. The first was in Punjab where natural subsidence revealed the tunnel to the villagers.

 

LeT-fnbworld

It bodes ill for Indian security given what happened and what was done by whom in Kandahar in Afghanistan in April, 2011 when 541 Taliban fighters including 106 hardcore commanders lodged in the Kandahar central prison were freed through a tunnel that was dug not from inside but from outside the prison and opened precisely in the middle of a cell housing senior Taliban commanders and political leaders. The tunnel was constructed from a house 320 meters from the prison walls and below the Kandahar-Herat  main highway bypassing several checkposts.


The flouring of the cell was broken through around 11 pm and by 3-30 am the 500-odd Taliban fighters had disappeared into the countryside. Only a very small fraction was ever captured and returned to prison.


By all standards it was an amazing feat of jailbreak. How was it accomplished?  Afghanistan’s Justice Minister said later that “modern technology” had been used. Using deductive logic an Indian war correspondent came to the conclusion that the technology for such an operation was provided by the Pakistan Army Inter-Services Intelligence which has a close working relationship with the North Korean security establishment with which it has shared missile and nuclear warhead technology.

 

North Korea had built four tunnels under the massively fortified Demilitarised Zone along the 38th north parallel that were more than  100 meters deep and wide enough for up to 30,000 troops with field artillery to cross over every hour. So the source of the high technology for such precision drilling through bedrock is obvious. Having used it with such spectacular results in Kandahar, the Pakistan Army Inter-Services Intelligence is using the same technology against India, as predicted.


That may be the reason why Pakistan has deliberately violated the ceasefire both along the international border in southern Jammu and Kashmir as well as along the Line of Control with special concentration on the Ranbirsinghpura (R.S.Pura). The sound of the heavy barrage of gunfire and mortars could obliterate the staccato sound of underground drilling. The discovery by Indian troops of the tunnel about 50 meters inside the Palanwala segment of the Akhnoor sector (through which the Munnawar Tawi river flows) hints at the intent and purpose of the Pakistan Army.


That the current provocation is a joint operation with the Laskar-e-Toiba is evident in the presence of its commanders in patrol parties of the Pakistan Army. Some have been killed in the counter-bombardment by the Indian security forces. It gives Pakistan an element of deniability which it is trying to use to advantage again as it did during the Kargil invasion. But it is a thin camouflage and it is being ripped apart by every inadvertent reportage of those killed on the Pakistan side by Indian counter bombardment. 


Clearly, the Pakistan GHQ led by General Raheel Sharif sees great advantage  in this methodology both politically and militarily. For one, it underscores the fact that Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has given the military a free hand in Jammu and Kashmir. This ploy is intended to ensure that the military brass feels that it has a central role to play vis-à-vis India. Militarily, the choice of the Munnawar Tawi axis is reminiscent of the successful annexation by Pakistan of Chhamb during the 1971 war.


Pakistan has always concentrated its military strategy in trying to drive a wedge between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India. All the major road and rail links traverse this area connecting Gurdaspur in Punjab to Udampur in J and K which is the headquarters of the Western Command of the Indian Army. The length and direction of tunnels from the Akhnoor side may well be complemented by others drilled through the Samba bulge that juts into India exactly at the point where Jammu and Kashmir connects with India.


Tunnels have several advantages for Pakistan. For one, if they are not discovered they are a constant danger to India. Digging tunnels also neutralizes all minefields and fences that have been laid along the international border as well as large parts of the Line of Control. It ensures that the momentum of the thrust of any fighting force is not minimized by having to breach a minefield  which is a time consuming process. A mishap can not only claim several lives and limbs in one explosion it will also alert the Indian troops that would have set up fortifications to defend the minefield leading to a debacle for the Pakistanis. The Pakistan Army Inter-Services Intelligence is trying to use the most secretive method available to it to penetrate into vital points and vital areas behind Indian lines.


The Indian Army, which has been rather slow in the employment of trained dogs for dealing with infiltrators, needs to use its strategic relationship with South Korea to secure the means of searching for deep-laid tunnels all along the western front.  


Or should we take a page out of Roman history and unleash flocks of geese whose cackling at the sight of intruders could save us; as it did Rome?  

 

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