Many terror launch pads across the LoC, which had been destroyed during the September 2016 surgical strikes, have been reactivated by Pakistan based Islamic terrorist groups. According to reports, roughly 250 terrorists have been trained and waiting to infiltrate into India from 27 different launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Reports say that at least eight of the 27 launch pads have been set up and activated by terrorists in the approximately month-long period when the newly appointed PM of Pakistan, Imran Khan has been pontificating about peaceful relationships with India. Media reports citing top intelligence sources have stated that among the launch pads are the ones in Lipa valley.
News of Pakistan and its supported terror groups reactivating the launch pads had come just before the commencement of the Amarnath Yatras this year. Intelligence sources had warned of several terrorist groups training and gathering terrorists in PoK for infiltration into India to target the yatris. Terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen were reportedly stationed along the LoC. Several of them were reportedly trained by Pakistan’s BAT forces.
Terrorist activities across the LoC had been reportedly on the rise after stringent actions from Indian security forces resulted in deaths of several high profile terrorists in Kashmir. After the URI attacks in 2016, the Indian Army had conducted surgical strikes and had destroyed several launch pads in the area. However, reports state that of the 27 launch pads now considered operational in PoK, LeT controls the ones at Lipa valley, Chakhoti, Bararkot, Shardi and Jura areas while Hizbul mujahideen has the launch pads in Forward Kathua areas in the PoK.
A report in Times of India states that while the other surgical strike location of Bhimber has not been reactivated, LeT has now 25-30 terrorists stationed at the launch pads in Chananian, Mandaukali and Nukot. These camps are reportedly right opposite to India’s Nowgam sector, which falls between Uri and Kupwara.
The launch pads have been established at geographically important locations where terrorists get ground support from their over ground workers in Handwara and Hafrooda. They use the forests as natural cover and attempt to move into south Kashmir. Intelligence sources have been cited as saying that the recent surge in terror activities in Gurez, Jajarkotli, Sopore, Bandipora is because the terrorists are seeking to destabilise the state ahead of the panchayat and municipal elections.
Since the last surgical strikes, Indian security forces have been undertaking an ‘operation all out’ stand in dealing with terrorism in the valley. The cordon search activities have been renewed and in 2017 and 2018, hundreds of terrorists have been killed. The Indian army has also foiled several infiltration attempts in recent months. Recently, Lance Naik Sandeep Singh, who was a part of the 4 para special forces that carried out the surgical strikes was martyred in an anti-infiltration operation.