The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fencing braves bullets

Jammu, Feb. 2: Barbed-wire fencing along the International Border is progressing despite heavy firing by Pakistani troops. The fencing is expected to be completed in two years.

Pakistani troops have escalated firing on the border, made attempts to blast the fencing poles and targeted people working on the fencing.

It is now posing more problems by opting for mortar shelling, which used to be a rare phenomenon on the International Border.

Jammu Frontier inspector-general of the BSF, Dilip Trivedi, has said most of the work has been completed along the 187.5-km International Border in the Jammu region in the first two years of the fencing.

“By 2004 we would be able to fence the whole border,” Trivedi added.

The fencing was started in January 2001 to check infiltration as well as arms smuggling and drug trafficking.

Militants started using the International Border to cross over to this side once high vigil was mounted on the Line of Control that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

The fencing work first initiated in 1994 had to be abandoned after Pakistan objected to it disputing the demarcated status of the border.

Like the Line of Control, Pakistan considers this stretch of the border disputed. The Indian stand is that it is a well-demarcated borderline and that Pakistan has no right to quarrel with its status.

Trivedi said once the fencing is completed, it would go a long way in checking trans-border problems.

The BSF inspector-general added that the government’s decision to replace the BSF by the CRPF for internal security duty would also help the force to focus its attention on the borders in greater measure. “Essentially, we are meant for duty on borders,” Trivedi said.

While BSF men killed 141 militants in Jammu division last year, the force lost 48 lives in anti-militancy operations during the period.

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