Following the recent detection and killings of two Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bombers, who infiltrated the country from Pakistan, the Border Security Force has launched a massive drive to detect cross-border tunnels along the International Border in the Jammu sector.

The BSF said it is alive to the threat posed by the enemy forces and anti-national elements and is maintaining “robust domination and surveillance” to keep the borders and the people of the country safe.

Two heavily-armed JeM terrorists, wearing suicide vests, were eliminated in a fierce gunfight by security forces after they attacked a bus carrying Central Industrial Security Force personnel in the Sunjwan area on the outskirts of Jammu in April 22 and killed an assistant sub-inspector.

Nine security personnel, including two police officers, were also injured in the gunfight, which ensued amid the heightened security two days ahead of the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The subsequent investigation led to the arrest of three conspirators, including a truck driver and his helper, who had transported the Pashtu-speaking terrorists from the Sapwal border in Samba district to Jammu in the middle of the night a day before the encounter.

According to officials, one of the arrested accused had also disclosed that he had also ferried a group of four terrorists from the IB to Kashmir earlier this year, sending alarm bells ringing in the security establishments.

A senior BSF officer said no breaches in the border fence were noticed during the stepped up operations, which also saw the troops looking for underground cross-border tunnels all along the IB over the past five days.

The BSF is manning about 192 km of IB and Line of Control (LoC) alongside the Army and is keeping a tight vigil to scuttle any attempt to infiltrate terrorists, smuggling of weapons and narcotics and drone activity from across the border, he said.

“Anti-tunnel drives along the IB are a regular feature to frustrate the nefarious designs of the enemy nation. The drive is presently underway within 400 meters of the border fence along the IB in the Jammu sector,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.

Last year, the force detected two tunnels across the international border in Kathua district, taking the total number of such structures unearthed by force in the past decade in the Jammu sector to 10.

“The BSF is keeping a tight vigil on the border in view of the continuous attempts by enemy forces and anti-national elements to push terrorists and smuggle weapons and narcotics. The threat posed by drones by Pakistan is also being taken care of,” the officer said.

Interacting with media persons visiting the International Border amid the ongoing operation, another BSF officer said they check the whole area manually and use sophisticated gadgets to eliminate any threat.

“Wherever we have a doubt, the area is being checked minutely, and around-the-clock vigil is maintained. The BSF is also patrolling the area with special equipment which detects even the slightest movement of small animals,” he said.

With the mercury in Jammu hovering around 40 degrees Celsius for the past few days, the officer said, “It is a routine for us to perform our duties in scorching heat, severe cold conditions and rainy season. We are trained for that, and we do it routinely to keep our nation and the countrymen safe.”

Admitting that the search and vigil along the IB have been intensified after the recent encounter in Jammu, another jawan said, “They always perform their duties with full responsibility. However, over the past few days, there has been an increase in duty hours due to intensified operations.”

The BSF personnel were seen patrolling the area along the border fence and using iron rods to check wild grass and bushes for the possible underground tunnel.

“The anti-tunnel drive is going on up to 400 meters from the border fence. The tunnels have been dug from the Pakistan side to push terrorists in the past. So we are alive to the threat, and the anti-tunnelling operation is part of our duty,” he said.

He said they are making every effort to keep the borders safe and ensure no infiltration. “If the borders are safe, our countrymen are safe.”

Besides detecting two tunnels, the BSF killed five infiltrators, detained three others and recovered a huge cache of weapons, narcotics and fake currency notes last year.