October 5, 2013
The recent ongoing Pakistani intrusions on the Line of Control must be understood in the larger perspective of the Pakistan’s philosophy of keeping the LC alive by Border Action Teams(BAT). Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain explains the nuances to clear misconceptions about the LC dynamics.
During the 06 Aug 2013 flare up on the LC (LoC) in the Poonch Sector and the beheading incident in Jan 2013 the common string of information was that the targeted killing of Indian Jawans on the LC was executed by BATs. Even in the Army, not many would boast of knowing what BATs are, how do they function (modus operandi), what effects they have and how the Indian Army handles the threat. In the typical lackadaisical way that the public treats matters military not many sought more information on BATs, preferring to leave them to our professional Army to handle.
In a way that is a positive because the world of the LC is the domain of just a few who have had the honour and the ‘sugar high’ of serving in the razor sharp environment that presents itself daily in the ‘border areas’ of Jammu & Kashmir. It may be appropriate to clarify some of the basic ingredients of this high drama environment.
What is the LC?
The LC is different to the LAC (Line of Actual Control), different to the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) and much different to the Working Boundary (a term used only by Pakistan). The LAC alludes to the land boundary between the areas currently held by China and India along the Northern borders and the AGPL refers to the un-demarcated area north east of NJ 9842. To detail these aspects would be to digress from the main issue the LC, which is quite often called LoC by the media but the Army prefers to shorten it to the more colloquial LC.
The LC is an imaginary line running along the current frontier between India and Pakistan in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Although the Instrument of Accession of 26 Aug 1947 and Joint Resolution of the two Houses of Parliament of Jul 1994 place the whole of Jammu and Kashmir with India, the actual ground position has emerged over the last 65 years commencing with Pakistan’s invasion in 1947 the conflicts of 1965, 1971 and 1999 (Kargil), as also the proxy war launched by Pakistan since 1989. The LC runs well east of the actual International Boundary (IB) and is the alignment along which the operations of 1947-48 came to a halt thus creating Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK-often referred as Azad Kashmir, or AK, by Pakistan). Unlike the IB there are no boundary pillars (BPs) delineating the LC, however, there are a series of mostly unrecognizable landmarks such as boulders, trees and nullahs which have undergone change over years. The Indian and Pakistan Armies are in eyeball contact in their various pillboxes and picquets all along the alignment but at places terrain constraints may separate the two by two or more km.