New Delhi: More than 200 suspected militants are trying to cross into Kashmir from Pakistan, India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, said on Saturday, accusing Islamabad of trying to stoke violence in the region.
Pakistan condemned India’s decision last month to revoke the constitutional autonomy of Kashmir and Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday vowed the fullest possible response to India’s actions in the disputed territory.
“There are about 230 persons ready to infiltrate from different parts of Kashmir,” Ajit Doval said.
The number is based on radio intercepts and intelligence from the ground, military officials said, adding that some militants had already been caught by the security forces.
“A large number of weapons are being smuggled and people in Kashmir are being told to create trouble,” said Ajit Doval, who is considered one of the architects of the policy to withdraw Kashmir’s special status and integrate it fully into India.
Government imposed a clampdown in Kashmir in early August to prevent large scale violent protests. Some curbs have been eased, but mobile phone and internet services are still curtailed because they may be used to spark unrest, Ajit Doval said.
“We would like to see all restrictions go, but it depends on how Pakistan behaves. It’s a stimulant and response situation,” Ajit Doval said.
“If Pakistan starts behaving, terrorists don’t intimidate and infiltrate,” he added. “Pakistan stops sending signals through its towers to operatives, then we can lift restrictions.”
India has long accused Pakistan of training, arming and sending militants to Muslim majority Kashmir where it is fighting a nearly 30-year revolt.
Last month, suspected militants killed a 65-year-old grocer for keeping his shop open on the outskirts of Kashmir’s main city Srinagar, police said.
India has vowed a strong response if a major militant attack is traced back to any Pakistan-based militant group.
In February, India and Pakistan engaged in an aerial clash after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama.