Pakistan is supplying Chinese-made grenades and sophisticated ammunition in large quantities to terror groups in the Kashmir Valley so that it cannot be blamed for subversive activities in India, an assessment by agencies conducting counter-insurgency operations has concluded.
According to an internal document accessed by HT, 70 Chinese grenades (64 in 2018 and six so far in 2019) have been seized by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir since January 1 last year.
The document said security forces had recovered pistols, armour piercing incendiary (API) shells and tracer rounds of Chinese origin from terrorists belonging to different groups.
“The API includes both mild steel core and hard steel core (which can pierce bulletproof jackets used by Indian security forces) and its use brings a new dimension of threat for the security forces,” the document stated.
Other than the seizures, a dozen incidents documented in the past 15 months involved either trained terrorists or over-ground workers (OGWs) of terror groups lobbing grenades at patrol parties, bunkers, vehicles or camps of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other paramilitary forces, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and the army.
The most recent grenade attack in the Kashmir Valley took place on Tuesday, when a terrorist hurled a grenade at a National Conference election meeting in the Tral area.
Two people were killed and 32 injured in a grenade attack at Jammu’s inter-state bus stand on March 7.
An Indian Police Service officer involved in counter-insurgency operations, who didn’t want to be identified, said: “These attacks had a mix of both grenades made in China and Pakistan, but there is a sudden spurt in the use of Chinese ones.”
Explaining the trend, the officer said, “Earlier, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF)-manufactured grenades were easily available to all terror groups but the Pakistan Army markings on them exposed the western neighbour’s role in spreading terrorism in the international community. “Now, it uses its agencies and terror groups to smuggle ammunition of Chinese origin, which do not have any Chinese ordnance markings. These are low-intensity but still a grenade causes more damage than a bullet.” The officer added, “The main purpose of using Chinese grenades is that Pakistan doesn’t want any weapons used in Jammu and Kashmir to be traced back to it.”
The use of grenades to target security forces also suits Pakistan and terror groups as there is no need to train anyone to use such weapons.
Another official engaged in counter-insurgency operations, who too didn’t want to be identified, said: “They hire young schoolboys by paying them a few thousand rupees, or task OGWs to throw grenades on security personnel. Grenades are easy to throw, they cause more damage and the suspects cannot be identified from a distance as they don’t carry any guns, and easily flee the spot.” The second official added, “Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Al-Badr and even Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are now encouraging their OGWs and terrorists to throw grenades at security forces’ vehicles, camps and bunkers.”
Most of the Chinese-origin grenades and ammunition, an officer of the Intelligence Bureau said, are entering the state through the Line of Control (LoC) or the international border in Jammu.
In the Northeast too, particularly Assam, security forces have recovered a substantive amount of arms, ammunition, grenades and explosives having Chinese markings during operations over the past two years. Defence expert ?Col Sanjiv Kumar (retd) said, “There are only two routes for smuggling Chinese arms and ammunitions into India – Pakistan or Nepal. Nepal’s border is not connected to Jammu and Kashmir, so all of it is coming from Pakistan. “The fact that Chinese weapons and ammunition are being used by Pakistan-backed terror groups means China is not only overtly supporting Pakistan at the UN Security Council (by blocking JeM chief Masood Azhar’s listing as a global terrorist) but it is covertly encouraging it to continue its terror activities in India.”
Apr 18, 2021 06:54 IST