80 spots along Pakistan border vulnerable to tunnelling
Taken by surprise over a tunnel used by terrorists to burrow into Jammu and Kashmir, India's security agencies have conducted a detailed survey of the border with Pakistan, particularly in the Jammu region, and identified at least 80 spots vulnerable to tunnelling from the other side.
They have now mooted security measures to counter attempts by terrorists trying to infiltrate into the border state.
A top Border Security Force (BSF) officer told IANS here that the survey was carried out with the help of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), which has the technology for the purpose.
A GSI team had visited the spot in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir soon after the 400-metre-long and 25-metre-deep tunnel was found by chance by security agencies after the earth caved in along the border close to the BSF's Chillayari outpost following heavy rains in late July.
The GSI team used its ground-penetrating seismic sensors to carry out a survey along the border, particularly areas adjoining the spot where the tunnel was found, the officer said.
"During the survey, about 80 spots were identified along the border in the Jammu region that are vulnerable to tunnels being dug, primarily due to the kind of soil and the green foliage cover that prevents easy detection," the officer said.
The GSI team has submitted a report to its headquarters and the final analysis is awaited by the BSF.
The officer said the security forces' analysis was that such tunnels were possible only in the Jammu region due to the kind of soil there.
However, in the Kashmir region, or in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the tunnel strategy would not work primarily due to the terrain - hard rock, marshy land, sandy soil - found there, he added.
Another officer said the Samba tunnel is still left open and would be closed after the security forces complete their study of the terrorists' modus operandi.
"Also, the tunnel is posing difficulties for local farmers as their land lies adjacent to it. At present, access to the locality is blocked to help the security forces study the tunnel without interference," the officer added.
In fact, at a flag meeting of Indian and Pakistani border security personnel in the Jammu region last week, India had taken up the issue of the tunnel and asked the other side to be more watchful to prevent such occurrences in the future.
"Last week, we held a flag meeting with our counterparts when the tunnel issue figured prominently," the officer said.
(N.C. Bipindra can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)