(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Shishir Gupta)
The Indian Army has gunned down six terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the ongoing encounter in the thick jungles of the Rajouri sector with efforts on to neutralize the remaining three to four Islamic jihadists by the 16 Corps troops. after the Indian Army lost nine men in engaging the terrorists in Rajouri jungles, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat visited the area on October 16 to hold discussions with the local commanders handling the ongoing counter-terrorist operations. It is understood that the Indian Army commanders were told to wait or tire out the terrorists in deliberate operations rather than proactively engaging them on their terms.
“Casualties to our troops have occurred due to the advantage the terrorists took by operating in buddy pairs of two. This allowed them to continuously change position and engage a larger body of troops, resulting in casualties,” said a Indian Army commander. According to South Block, as many as nine to 10 LeT terrorists infiltrated from Pakistan towards the jungles between Rajouri-Poonch district borders in the past two to three months. While many infiltration bids were foiled on the LoC and along the fence, the Pak terrorists were buoyed with their success in Afghanistan and to that extent the terror surge was anticipated by the Indian Army and the security agencies.
While the Indian troops were raring in “josh” to get the terrorists, on the spot instructions were issued to establish a cordon around the area with presence of terrorists. The change in tactics was that now it was left to the terrorists to make the movement to get replenishments from the nearby villages for survival and thus expose themselves as targets. “ Jungle warfare required patience and the instructions to troops are to be cautious and avoid casualties by engaging the terrorists head-on. Since time is not a constraint, we will tire out the terrorists and eliminate them,” said a commander.
Although it is a matter of time when the Indian Army counter-terrorist troops eliminate the remaining terrorists, the plethora of weapons and night vision devices left by the US troops in Afghanistan will raise the level of violence in Kashmir as Pak based jihadists groups believe that they can occupy Jammu and Kashmir like Taliban militarily occupied Afghanistan.
The Pakistani deep state is also brimming with confidence as they were the real force behind Taliban occupation of Afghanistan. For them, the new agenda is Islamization of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan terrorists taking on the Indian Army on LoC and their local proxies targeted non-Muslims to ensure that the Valley is turned into a Muslim ghetto.