Two intruders were killed as an attempt by Pakistani Army’s Border Action Team (BAT) to attack an Indian Army post along the Line of Control (LoC) in Naugam sector of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district was foiled on Sunday.
“Army foiled a major BAT attempt to strike a forward post along the LoC in Naugam in the early hours of 30 December 2018,” a defence spokesperson said and added the intruders attempted to move by exploiting the thick jungles close to LoC and were assisted by heavy covering fire of high calibre weapons such as mortars and rocket launchers from the Pakistani posts.
However, he said, the movement was nonetheless detected by the vigilant Indian Army troops deployed along the LoC. “The fire-fight initiated by Pakistan was given strong retaliation by Indian Army and the exchange of fire continued the whole night. During prolonged searches in the thick jungles and difficult terrain, two bodies of likely Pakistani soldiers were recovered along with a large cache of warlike stores,” the spokesperson said.
He said while the search operations are still underway to sanitise the area, “it was reported that a few other intruders managed to escape across the LoC, taking advantage of the Pakistani firing and adverse weather and visibility conditions.”
“The attackers were wearing combat dresses like Pakistani regulars and were carrying stores with Pakistani markings. Some intruders were also seen in BSF and old pattern IA (Indian Army) dresses as part of the deception. They had intruded well equipped with IEDs, incendiary materials, explosives, and a plethora of arms and ammunition,” he added.
The spokesperson said that the Army will ask Pakistan to take back the mortal remains of deceased “likely Pakistani soldiers since Pakistan did provide full covering fire support to these intruders.”
Sources said the Army had specific inputs suggesting that the Pakistan Army, along with terrorists, had concentrated in Naugam sector on its side to target Indian posts along the LoC. “The BAT attack could have inflicted damages if Indian troops weren't alert. After a few BAT attacks in recent years, the Army is on high alert. However, as Pakistani army gives covering fire, the BAT sometimes crosses over the LoC,” they said.
Defence experts say that Pakistan's Special Services Group (SSG) forms the core of the BAT, besides, dreaded terrorists from Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad outfits, for trans-LoC action up to a depth of one to three kilometres. "As Indian posts are closer to Pakistan, the rugged terrain and thicker forests gives BATs an advantage to escape. The BAT usually mutilates the bodies of Indian soldiers to wage psychological warfare,” they said.
The BAT camps, unlike the largely make-shift terror-training camps and launch pads across the LoC, consist of around 40-50 Pakistan Army regulars and commandos being specially trained for cross-border raids and ambushes, experts said.