Checking Cross LoC Infiltration by Pakistan
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By VBN Ram
Issue Net Edition | Date : 25 Nov , 2020

One of the easiest ways by which an adversary/ enemy can access those areas which necessarily have to be protected from the former is through an underground passageway facilitated through a tunnel.

This method, has over the decades, been perfected to such an extent that illegal immigrants wishing to settle down in the USA from South American nations through Mexico and  Hezbollah and other anti-Israel militias to cross over to Israeli controlled areas from the Gaza strip have used it frequently.

Underground passage ways are a far easier way of human trespass in prohibited zones than operating commando, or, other penetrations through the aerial route, though modern technology using artificial intelligence and drones has rendered it easier.

This subject has again attained the top slot in the hierarchy of irritants India faces with Pakistan on the international border especially in Jammu, but also in other regions close to the LoC.

On November 19, 2020 the BSF discovered eight to ten plastic sand bags stuffed by the side of a fragile ground which the patrols, much to its amazement found to have been a tunnel estimated to be 150 meters long beginning from the Pakistan side of the international border. The opening of this tunnel was located in the Galar area of the Samba sector.

It was feared, on very strong reasoning, that this could have been the very tunnel which was the conduit facilitating the intrusion of infiltrators who were responsible for the injury of security personnel in Nagrota, just a few days back.

Had this tunnel, therefore, been detected in good time suitable measures to forestall this tragedy could have been put in place.

In  July 2018  Mr.K.K.Sharma the then Director-General of the BSF told the press that a tunnel with its source/opening across the international border in Pakistan, has been found in the Chamiyal (Ramgarh) of the Samba Sector and that the BSF has launched a massive operation to find our whether there are other such tunnels within that zone and also to nab the infiltrators who many have crossed over.

This clearly shows that the border fence has not proved to be effective. The topography in that area being riverine and the thick vegetation of  “sarkanda” (bulrush/cane) doesn’t make BSF’s job any easier.

The present Director General of the BSF Mr. Rakesh Asthana has directed the frontier commandos to ensure that the Anti-Infiltrator grid is properly functional and to scrupulously scrutinize if there are any gaps and to plug such gaps.

One doesn’t really know how this problem has been addressed.

Worldwide, technology has been used to detect underground tunnels laid out by nations, militias and sundry other groups intending to cause havoc within adversarial areas through  tunnels. Such technological methods have been detailed in an article Technology for Border Protection  in the Indian Defence Review of December 6, 2016.

Essentially, the aforesaid technological means suggested in the referred article –which have empirically been proved to be efficacious, employ techniques based on geo-physics. One such means is the Brillouin Optical Time Domain Reflectometry (BOTDR). This is essentially a dynamic optical fiber sensor.  A similar one is called Multi-Channel Analysis of Sound Waves (MASW), this one has been widely used by the USA on its border with Mexico.Needless to say it is far more efficacious and economical to adopt such means than to resort to field patrolling. Also, since artificial intelligence through sensors transmit alert signal at bewildering speeds –the evil intentions of the enemy can be nipped in the bud.

Interestingly, such techniques, and an effective grid supported by artificial intelligence can also be deployed as a suitable deterrent in sensitive zones of Ladakh and other areas of the LoC.

As regards techniques regarding subterranean  sound waves and sensors India could avail the required technology from sources such as the National Geophysical Research Institute  (NGRI) Hyderabad. There are an abundance of research institutions in India including the  IIT’s which have done phenomenal work in this area.

It hardly needs to be mentioned that the PLA uses cutting edge technology to checkmate adversaries. Most of such devices have been developed by stealthily obtaining some advance versions of the above from the USA and re-engineering/ designing them for specific uses. Many versions of drones used by the USA are a classic example.

In conclusion it can hardly be gainsaid that India can ill afford the loss of precious lives and limbs of the security forces and innocent civilians caught in the terrorist designs of an enemy which never ceases to bleed us even after a million cuts.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author


Postgraduate in business management from XLRI Jamshedpur, is widely travelled and immensely interested in and concerned about contemporary geostrategic developments. He has been a China watcher and has researched extensively on Asia-Pacific affairs. He has also written on developments in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Maldives.

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