New Delhi: Pakistan's “implicit bid” to fuel separatism in Kashmir is keeping the India's border with the neighbouring country “alive and dangerous”, the top commander of Border Security Force (BSF) said here today.
“Pakistan's strategy of waging proxy wars, neighbouring areas flourishing as markets for arms and drugs, systematic use of fake Indian currency notes for funding terrorism and an implicit bid to fuel separatism in Kashmir has kept this (Indo -Pakistan) border alive and dangerous,” BSF Director General DK Pathak said.
At a BSF conference organised on, ‘Border Management in India-Challenges and Options', he added that the “slow withdrawal of NATO forces, increasing interest of China in both Pakistan and Afghanistan and the ever-changing jihadi landscape of this region and beyond has challenged us to review our strategies”.
BSF guards the International Border (IB) along Pakistan as a fully-independent unit but works under the operational command of the Army at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Pathak said that similar challenges, but of a different nature, were facing the country's largest border-guarding force in the eastern theatre, where it is responsible for securing the 4,096-km-long Indo-Bangladesh border entirely on its own.
“The dimensions of challenges on India-Bangladesh and India-Pakistan borders are dynamic and diverse... in an attempt to curb cattle smuggling (along Bangladesh frontier), our jawans sustain injuries almost every other day.
“We exercise utmost restraint in using firearms. If the situation so warrants, our troops first resort to the use of non-lethal weapons. But the problems are so intricately linked that we have to constantly renew our strategies,” he said.
That, Pathak said, requires BSF to update “not only its training and skills but also its attitude”. The DG of the about 2.5 lakh-strong force said his personnel, both men and women, are deployed in some of the most inhospitable terrain since the time it was raised in 1965.
The force is celebrating 50 years of its establishment this year.
Talking about the Indo-Bangladesh border, Pathak said that its geographical terrain “is as complex as its ethnographic diversity”.
Extending from marshy riverine territories of West Bengal to the flood plains of Assam and passing through the almost impenetrable hills of Meghalaya and Tripura, the Indo-Bangladesh border throws up multiple challenges in terms of illegal migration, smuggling, cross-border terrorist linkages and aspects related to the presence of enclaves and high-density contiguous population.
“For the past 50 years, problems like human trafficking, cattle smuggling, cross-border criminal linkages, etc. (along with) the sociological, economic and political complexities (means) we are face to face with their dangerous fallout,” added Pathak.