Wednesday 18 December 2019 5:59 AM UTC
New Delhi Dec 18: There has been an over 100 per cent jump in the number of people with “ulterior motives” from countries like Pakistan and China trying to sneak into India through the open Nepal border after security was tightened along the Indo-Pak front following abrogation of Article 370 provisions, a security official said today.
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Director General (DG) Kumar Rajesh Chandra, whose force is entrusted to guard the 1,751-km long India-Nepal front, said there have been 59 such cases this year as compared to 28 last year where the force caught “third party nationals” on this border area.
These third party nationals, the DG informed the media during the annual press conference, were from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and the United States.
Asked further about the identities of these people, Mr Chandra said they were “a mix of both inadvertent crossers and suspects”.
“Yes, the numbers have definitely increased,” he said.
“Whether they were terrorists or fake Indian currency note (FICN) operatives or smugglers…we have got our limitations to know that as we catch them and hand over to local police or other probe and intelligence agencies,” the SSB chief said.
He said the feedback (from sister security agencies) that they got on these cases is that “most of the cases are in progress…but mainly people who have come were with some ulterior motives”.
Mr Chandra said in the case of the two US nationals it looked to be a case of ignorance of law and they could be inadvertent crossers and similar could be the case of a Chinese group who were on a tourist sojourn along the Nepal border area.
The DG said as its “sister force BSF has enhanced vigil on the India-Pakistan border, these elements could have used the open Nepal border as an alternative route”.
The Border Security Force (BSF) had conducted two special operations, code named ”Sudarshan”, to fortify its defences and plug gaps along the Pak border after the Centre ended the special status categorisation of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating provisions of Article 370 on August 5 and bifurcating it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
“I can also tell you that the attempts made of this (third party nationals) kind on this border (Indo-Nepal) have been higher this year as compared to the last year and the one previous to it (2017),” the DG said.
Mr Chandra added that in order to fortify security measures along the Nepal border, his force has undertaken a “survey and a vulnerability and gap analysis of each inch” of this front and subsequently have effectively deployed its troops to plug gaps and check illegal crossings into India.
He said the force is taking the help of satellite imagery and ADRIN (Advanced Data Processing Research Institute), under the Department of Space, enabled software to patrol the border.
“We take pride in the fact that we are a force with intelligence, wisdom and power and hence we take the help of smart tools and gadgets to guard the border. I can assure that we are working in the way it is mandated for us,” he said.
Chandra said the 2017 ”pilot project” of deploying ”laser fences” at two locations along the Nepal and Bhutan borders each is a work in progress and it is aimed to help them in their “operational activity” of better guarding the two frontiers on India”s eastern flank.
The DG was also asked about the deployment of the force in Assam where protests had erupted against the newly-enacted Citizenship Act to which he said that the force is deployed “as and when required to aid and assist the state government”.
The SSB was raised in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression in 1962 and it is primarily tasked to guard Indian borders with Nepal and Bhutan (699-km) apart from rendering other duties in the internal security domain.
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