A mega exercise to fortify the 'anti-infiltration grid' along the Pakistan border in Punjab and Jammu has been launched by the BSF, which has mobilised its entire senior field brass, thousands of troops and machinery deployed in these forward areas.
The operation, code named 'Sudarshan', was launched on July 1 and will cover the entire over 1,000-kms length of the India-Pakistan International Border.
While Jammu shares about 485-kms of the sensitive IB with Pakistan, about 553-kms of the front is in Punjab. Further, it runs down towards Rajasthan and Gujarat on India's western flank.
The Border Security Force is the primary force guarding this frontier as the 'first line of defence'.
Top sources in the security establishment told PTI that a huge assortment of heavy machinery, communication interceptors and mobile bulletproof bunkers have been mobilised, backed by thousands of BSF personnel as part of the exercise.
Frontier and battalion commanders (from the Inspector General to the Commandant rank), their second-in-commands and company (unit) commanders of the about 40 battalions of the BSF are camping in the forward areas of the two states to finish the operation within a fortnight and be at their bases by July 15, they said.
Multiple patrols are being undertaken to strengthen Indian defence positions and locations for launching offensive action at these borders from the point of view of sealing the front against infiltration of terrorists, drug mules and also to ensure a befitting reply to unprovoked firing from the Pakistani side.
The mega exercise has been named 'Sudarshan' drawing from the legendary and mythological cutting wheel or the 'sudarshan chakra' on Lord Krishna's finger that decimates the enemy with sharp precision and returns to its original place in quick time, official sources said.
The commanders of the force have been asked to prepare their watchtowers and sentry posts better, replenish arms and ammunition dumps, strengthen artillery positions, check and plug border fence breaches, detect underground and cross-border tunnels and make all operational and logistical arrangements to strengthen the vigil along the sensitive and infiltration-prone border.
The commanders have been asked to ensure that the Jawans follow the standard operating procedures and that there is an all-time stock of bulletproof vests, 'patka' (armoured head gear) and combat gear to ensure their safety, they said.
They have been asked to ensure that the 'sarkanda' or the elephant grass on the border is cut for better visibility against any movement on the border and instances of drugs smuggling through couriers that is rampant across the Punjab border and some instances of which are also reported on the Jammu side, they said.
As part of the operation, big earthen mounds on the International Border will be flattened, new bunkers and 'ditch-cum-bandh' (trenches) are being dug and BSF posts are being better armoured against sniper firing incidents that have claimed lives of many troops in the past, they said.
A fleet of heavy and small all-terrain vehicles has been mobilised in these areas as the field commanders are moving in those localities, they said.
Some fresh 4x4 vehicles have been dispatched to be placed on the borders for quick movement of armed troops, sources said.
The operation will end by the time monsoon unleashes heavy rains and cuts easy access to forwarding locations, they said.
While sources dismissed suggestions that the exercise was a reaction to a recent similar movement being noticed on the Pakistani side, they said this was being done to only "fortify Indian defences against infiltration, unprovoked firing and Pakistan Border Action Team (BAT) attacks."
BSF Director General Rajni Kant Mishra and senior officials of the border guarding force are expected to review the "results achieved" on the ground after the exercise ends, they said.
The Union Home Ministry will go through the final report of the operation after which sanctions will be made to procure gadgets, equipment and infrastructure that is required to plug gaps and strengthen border management at these two fronts, they said.