Days after China, Pak pacts, major data breach at Army’s Northern Command

A soldier under scanner as security agencies assess the damage at a time when further disengagement talks are on with China and India and Pak have agreed to halt LoC firing

Army at Ladakh
The espionage was detected amid troop disengagement talks with China and an agreement to check LoC firing with Pakistan. Representational image.

In the run-up to the announcement for troop disengagement with China in eastern Ladakh and about an agreement with Pakistan to halt gun fights at Line of Control, the Indian Army came across yet another enemy, a traitor within its ranks.

The Army is investigating a massive data breach at Northern Command’s Nagrota-based 16 Corps after it reportedly found a soldier from Punjab passing on secrets to his Pakistani handlers, media reports said.

Also read: Indian army asks soldiers to delete 89 apps from their phones

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News agency ANI said a court of inquiry has been ordered as to how military secrets of “such sensitive nature” landed with the soldier. The probe would also find out how deeply the soldier was engaged with the enemy operatives and how much he was compromised, sources told ANI.

The Udhampur-based Northern Command is in charge of security on both China and Pakistan borders.

Media reports say the data leaked includes secret military maps, deployment details, patrolling routes, troop positions and other secrets along the LAC and LoC.

What is even more alarming is that the espionage was detected not by the Army’s internal intelligence network but through “other” source within the country, reports said. Alarm bells are also ringing in the security agencies over the “need” to store so much of data at one single source.

Sources said counter-intelligence officials are also equally concerned about the methods that could have been used to steal the data.

Also read: Rajnath claims major breakthrough in India-China talks over Ladakh

The Northern Command is currently headed by Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi, who supervised the Ladakh disengagement process with China. The first round of disengagement, preceded by nine rounds of talks between military commanders from both sides, was completed before February 20 when the tenth round of talks began.

The Indo-Pak joint agreement to “strictly observe the ceasefire at LoC and address each other’s core issues” was reached on February 25.

 

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