After revealing the eyewitnesses’ account of the surgical strikes, The Indian Express on Thursday reports that a large scale movement of terrorists along the Line of Control has been observed in the past three days, hinting that a new terror offensive could be in the offing.
The build-up, which has swelled numbers at the staging posts to almost 250, comes even as Pakistani troops have escalated shelling and small-arms fire directed at Indian forward positions, with over 25 ceasefire violations reported in the past three days.
According to government sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday, was briefed on the build-up by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday, at the second meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security since the September 29 surgical strikes on terrorist staging posts.
Post the attack, estimated prepared by the Intelligence Bureau show a concentration of jihadists on the central stretches of the Line of Control, with upward of 45 jihadists now believed to be present at staging posts in the Leepa valley, one of the key areas struck by the Indian Army in the raids.
The numbers at jihadist staging posts in Athmuqam and Dudhnial — a report in The Indian Express Wednesday detailed how these were key targets of Indian special forces — have also swelled to about 20 each, the documents show.
The report also shows that the jihadists have concentrated in the village of Leepa, along with Naukot, 8km away and Chananian.
“Basically, groups like the Lashkar have just replaced the staging posts they lost in the raids with new houses,” a senior intelligence official said. “They are not afraid of losing personnel. They know half or more of the people they send across the Line of Control will die crossing India’s border defences anyway.”
The Intelligence documents also show that massive concentration of jihadists have been reported by reconnaissance over Nekrun, Losar and Sonar, on the furthest northern reaches of the Line of Control, where upward of 25 jihadists have been spotted at staging posts.
The overall numbers of jihadists are almost identical to those present along the Line of Control prior to the cross-border strikes, intelligence sources said.
“The camps that supply the staging posts have hundreds of fighters more, safely out of the striking range of the Indian Army,” one official said, “so there’s a lot of thinking going on how this situation is going to have to be addressed.”