The terrain, soil and proximity to the national road make Samba a prime area for clandestine tunnels: The Tribune India
Chandigarh, May 6
After detecting another cross-border tunnel in the Samba sector this week, the Border Security Force (BSF) is intensifying its exercises to detect these clandestine tunnels by increasing foot patrols along the border and putting more emphasis on intelligence gathering.
According to BSF sources, 10 tunnels running from the Pakistani side to the Indian border have been detected in the Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir since 2020, six of which had been completed while the drilling of the remaining four was still ongoing. In progress.
The longest tunnel in this area was detected near the Bobiya border outpost in January 2021, which was 400ft long with a 100ft long subsidiary tunnel running alongside it.
The Samba sector, according to BSF sources, is favored by Pakistan to drill tunnels for infiltrating terrorists and smuggling weapons, explosives and contraband for several reasons.
“The national road to Kashmir passes closest to the border in this sector, which facilitates communication for the infiltrators,” said a senior BSF officer. “The alignment of the border fence and its proximity to the border, as well as the composition of the terrain and soil of this area are other major factors,” he added.
The soil of the Samba sector is clayey and hard, it resists drilling well. The area to the north towards Akhnoor is rocky and hilly, while other places to the south have a sandy and loose composition. In Punjab, two rivers, Ravi and Sutlej have stretches that criss-cross the border.
As the digging of the tunnels must be done in the greatest secrecy, visibility is also a factor. The hilly terrain of the Samba sector generally tends to slope towards the Indian side and is in places infested with dense vegetation.
“Vulnerable points, in the Jammu area as well as other places, have been mapped and are under increased surveillance. More foot patrols are being sent to the ground as this is currently the only way to detect tunnels,” the officer said. Tests of ground-penetrating sensors and radars are also underway at some locations.
While Punjab also remains vulnerable to cross-border trafficking and smuggling, no tunnels have been detected in this area recently. Between 1997 and 2003, five tunnels were detected, four of which were in the Gurdaspur sector and one in the Ferozepur sector. Prior to this, a few tunnels were detected in the Barmer sector in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
“This, however, does not mean that Punjab is off the radar. The possibility that tunnels will be dug in this sector in the future or which may already exist but have not been detected so far cannot be ruled out,” said a BSF officer.The northeast part of Gujarat, especially the Sir Creek area, is another hotspot.