Pakistan smuggling guns, quadcopters into Kashmir at China’s behest: Govt

Government sources said weapons recovered from terrorists after foiled infiltration bids at LOC bore Chinese markings and were meant to perpetrate violence in the valley

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Pakistan’s spy agency ISI has been trying to peddle arms and ammunition into Jammu and Kashmir at the behest of China, to sponsor violence in the valley amid the standoff in eastern Ladakh, NDTV reported government sources as saying.

Quoting intelligence inputs received by the government, the report said recent seizures made by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir revealed that ISI has been instructed by China to send weapons and terrorists to the valley to create unrest. The sources, however, asserted that all such attempts to infiltrate the border have been thwarted by the Indian security forces.

“Due to the strong anti-infiltration grid established by the Indian security forces, Pakistan is unable to infiltrate neither terrorists nor weapons into the valley to increase violence levels in the valley. Pakistan’s ISI has been given an ultimatum to push in maximum infiltrators along with weapons into Kashmir before onset of winters, when the undergrowth or bushes in most infiltration-prone areas will die down due to dew and snowfall,” NDTV quoted the sources as saying.

According to the report, security forces have recovered EMEI Type 97 NSR rifles manufactured by Chinese company Norinco. The weapon used by Chinese soldiers was also gifted to Pakistan Frontier Force as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) cooperation efforts. Weapons recently recovered by security forces were also found to have Chinese markings.

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After being tipped off on the plans of Pakistan and China, the forces have strengthened the anti-infiltration grid along the Line of Control (LOC). The past 10 days have also seen top officers including Army chief MM Naravane, Border Security Force chief Rakesh Asthana and Central Reserve Police Force chief AP Maheshwari visiting the valley to review the situation and brief the government on the same.

Officers in charge of operations in Jammu and Kashmir said ISI has carefully studied India’s Rules of Engagement Policy (ROE) under which security forces do not fire at unarmed intruders. Developing a modus operandi around this, the spy agency has been sending terrorists without weapons across borders and separately sending weapons separately by drones, to minimize the rate of killing of terrorists at LOC.

The officers also told NDTV about an increased rate in recruitment of local youths into terror outfits in the past two months. The arms are being smuggled to equip these youths.

“In last two months local recruitment has gone up sizeably but getting weapons were becoming an issue. That’s why Pakistan now has stepped up efforts to send weapons drones and quadcopters (unmanned helicopters),” a senior official said.

The official said that ISI has procured a number of hexacopters from a Chinese firm associated with the CPEC.