A new type of fence on the Line of Control in Kashmir has been planned to be constructed, which will not collapse due to heavy snowfall every year. Every year in winters, nearly 350 km of the 400 km long fence in the Kashmir region gets damaged and gets fixed in summer. This also makes it easier for terrorists and infiltrators from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, to enter across the LoC. Northern Army Commander Lt General D S Hooda, while talking to Indian Express, said, “We have arrived at this new design after winter trials and are going to put it in place in the Kashmir region. The new fence will be of great help in improving our counter-infiltration posture and minimize infiltration from across the LoC.”
As per reports, the funds for the project have been allocated and work on the fence will be initiated this year. The Army hopes to finish the construction in three years. Highly placed sources also told that the new design will have integrated night vision cameras, alarms and visual map displays and all these will be linked to the a monitor room so that the local military commanders get the real time data. This will help them react promptly if any attempt is made to temper the fence. Also, the Army has decided to light up the new fence in Kashmir with the use of LEDs, wherever possible. The existing fence in Jammu has already been lit up.
However, the new fence will not lead to zero infiltration but the numbers will substantially be brought down. As per the official government figures, no successful infiltration from across the LoC was reported till June this year. The year experienced an unusually late snowfall, making it difficult for terrorists to infiltrate across the mountain passes in May and June. 97 militants infiltrated in 2013 and the number came down to 65 in 2014.
The fence on the LoC, called the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System or AIOS in Army parlance, was completed in 2005 and has proved reasonably successful in checking infiltration into the state. The fence in Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch region under the Army’s 16 corps doesn’t get damaged during the winters like the fence in Kashmir region. Repairing it takes from April to August, stating that the fence is effective only for three months before the snowfall resumes in December again.
Three designs were tested by constructing one –km long sample fences in Kupwara sector and when the samples were checked at the end of winters, the outcome was satisfactory. The final design, which is structurally much stronger, has been firmed up by using the best features of the three sample fences. Major changes will be in the use of a strong, circular pole instead of traditional iron picket and a different type of concertina coil, which will have a double twisted galvanized mesh added to either side. The method of fixing the concertina coils to the posts has also been improvised.