Sumir KaulJammu, Nov 13:
The Army has procured special anti-mine boots for troops deployed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir with twin aims of facilitating domination of the landmine-infested forward areas and hot pursuit of terrorists if necessary, a top Army officer said.
“As part of the counter-infiltration grid, the soldiers have to get into forward areas for domination and sometimes even undertake hot pursuit of the militants and subversive elements,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Army's Jammu-based XVI Corps Lt. General Paramjit Singh told PTI in an interview on Sunday.
"We have purchased equipment such as anti-mine boots and deep search metal detectors out of the special funds to facilitate these operations and at the same time ensure the safety of our soldiers," he said.
He said the forward areas along the LoC under XVI Corps -- a length of nearly 250 kilometres of rugged terrain and dense bushes -- have inherent landmine dangers but all preparations, including safety precautions, have been taken for carrying out the operations.
"Some of the mines, laid as part of the counter-infiltration measures, drift from their original place due to rain and snowfall. Sometimes accidents happen," he said.
He was replying to a question about activation of landmines near the anti-infiltration obstacle system and subsequent casualties in which a Lt. Colonel and a jawan were injured on October 28.
Referring to recent incidents of two soldiers, including an officer, getting injured in anti-personnel mine blasts, Lt. Gen Singh said in both the cases, they had stepped on drifted mines.
"Fortunately, they were wearing the anti-mine boots which limited the damage to their feet and the limbs were saved," he added.
The Corps commander said the Army envisages that the terrorists will attempt to infiltrate into the state even after the snowfall this winter through non-traditional routes and areas.
"We are prepared to take on this challenge. Contingencies have been prepared and coordination done while some more steps are in progress. Police and civil administrations are seriously addressing surveillance and control of highways," he added.
Lt Gen Singh said a robust anti-infiltration grid was in place as troops equipped with latest gadgets such as night vision devices are deployed to ensure that militants do not reach the hinterland.
"The deployment of Army and other sister agencies is in tiers. Even if the militants manage to get past the first tier, they are trapped in the depth," he said.