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Defence forces alarmed by deployment of additional Pak troops

Source: PTI
January 11, 2009 18:21 IST
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Pakistan has deployed several army brigades along the Indo-Pak border in Jehlum-Chenab and Chenab-Ravi corridors in the recent days, sparking concern in the Indian armed forces, defence sources said on Sunday.

The forces have been withdrawn from Pakistan's troubled north-western tribal belt where they were battling the Taliban to put pressure on the United States, which has been pressing Islamabad to act against terrorists operating from its soil, and diverted to the border with India, they said.

Pakistan has deployed several brigades (each comprising 4,000 to 6,000 personnel), including 33 brigade, 27 brigade, 7 brigade, 28 brigade, 331 brigade, two battalions (with 1,000 personnel each) of 37 Punjab and 39 Punjab Rawalkote in Hajira, Mandol, Hajipeer, Uri, Bhimber, Nikial, Kotli, Sailkote, Zafarwal, Neelam valley and other areas, sources said.

"The deployment has been a surprising move. It is an area of concern for us," they said, adding that the Pakistani side has already cleaned the bunkers along the borderline.

The sources said, "Several brigades involved in the war against Taliban in north-western tribal belt have been withdrawn and deployed along the Jehlum-Chenab corridor in the past one week."

Some troops have also been deployed in the Chinab-Ravi corridor.

"Pakistan wants to put pressure on the US by shifting troops from anti-Taliban operations. They are deploying them on the border in the name of safeguarding its frontiers with India by taking advantage of the tensions following the Mumbai terror attacks," they said.

One of the two divisions (with approximately 13,000 to 15,000 men) deployed in Waziristan was withdrawn, they said, quoting intelligence inputs and added that over 400 to 500 vehicles carrying troops have pulled out from Bajaur, Mohmmad and  Waziristan during the past one week.

Army troops are keeping a close watch over the situation on the Line of Control on the border side, they said adding that troops of 19 division have also been moved closer to the Indo-Pak border.

Pakistani Rangers have cleared their bunkers and given them a face lift during the last fortnight, the sources said adding that there is also increase in the number of Pak rangers on the international border from Akhnoor to Pathankote.

Pak troops have also 'activated their special operational intelligence units and put SOIU detachment in various forward areas along the border line,' they said.

"The troops are maintaining a tight vigil along the border. They are patrolling the area round the clock. They are alert," the defence sources said.

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