Pakistan moves more troops to border, BSF on alert

Pakistan moves more troops to border, BSF on alert
# 26 December 2008 16:29 (UTC +04:00)
Delhi-APA. A sudden increase in activity and troop movement on the Pakistani side of international border adjoining Rajasthan has put the Border Security Force on extra alert, besides pushing the state government to forewarn the residents of border villages of a possible relocation in the event of a war-like situation.

“There is a lot of activity along the Pakistani side of the India-Pakistan border near Barmer in Rajasthan and Pakistan Rangers have been replaced by the Pakistan Army,” additional director general of BSF in Barmer, UK Bansal, said. He, however, added that BSF was on full alert and capable of handling any eventuality. In Delhi, BSF director general ML Kumawat insisted that there was no need for panic.

With Intelligence Bureau too confirming the stepped up activity across the Rajasthan border, the Rajasthan government, following consultations with the Union home ministry, has reportedly issued an order asking the residents of its border villages to be prepared for relocation.

The alert on either side of the Indo-Pakistan border in Rajasthan could heighten the tension already prevailing between New Delhi and Islamabad in the wake of reports that Pakistan had put its air bases on alert and moved its Tenth Brigade to Lahore and ordered its Third Armed Brigade to march to Jhelum. Now, a move by Pakistan to replace its Rangers with regular Army personnel across the border with Barmer, Rajasthan, may only add to the war hysteria.

It be recalled that Pakistan had, in a similar move during the Kargil war, replaced Pakistani Rangers with army personnel on the international border.

Earlier this week, in a statement designed to put India on the defensive, Pakistan army chief general Ashfaq Kiyani had warned India of a befitting reply in the wake of an Indo-Pak war.

The troop build-up by Pakistan may also be a ploy to ease the international pressure that is being mounted on Islamabad to crack down on terror outfits operating on its soil, as any tension along its eastern border could jeopardise Pentagon’s anti-Taliban operations on Pakistan’s western frontier.

Ever since the epicentre of the Mumbai terror acts was traced to Pakistan, diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Islamabad have gone into a tailspin, with India insisting that all terror activity in the neighbouring country must come to a complete halt before normal ties can be resumed.