New Delhi: Government is mulling a proposal to “thin out” presence of BSF personnel on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and deploy them along the International Border (IB) in Punjab and Jammu regions in the wake of the Pathankot airbase terrorist attack.
Officials said a proposal to de-induct at least four out of the dozen-odd battalions of Border Security Force (BSF) from LoC has already been sent to the Union Home Ministry and a note for taking a final decision in this regard by the Cabinet Committee on Security will be prepared soon after deliberations with the Ministry of Defence and army.
Top sources in the security establishment said National Security Council, headed by NSA Ajit Doval, is considering whether all 12 BSF battalions can be removed from LoC and deployed as the ‘second tier’ of defence, behind existing BSF positions, along IB which witnessed incidents of terrorists crossing over the border to attack vital military, police and civilian establishments in Jammu and Punjab.
The move, however, is being strongly opposed by senior BSF commanders as they feel that its removal from LoC where its men are deployed under the operational command of the army will take away vital exposure of the personnel who have been performing ‘war time’-like duties on this frontier with Pakistan since 1965.
”A proposal in this regard is being discussed at present. The proposal entails that a good number of BSF battalions should be withdrawn from LoC and re-deployed as the second tier of security along IB which is prone to infiltration attempts,” a senior official said.
He, however, said no ground assessment of forward areas along the Pakistani frontier has been done in this regard.
The official, quoting the proposal prepared in this regard, said the decision was taken as the force requires more men to secure IB and it could only be done by de-inducting units from other places as there is a dearth of reserve battalions in BSF and technological solutions being deployed to plug border gaps and breaches along IB will take some more time.