Jammu: A long underground tunnel dug from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir was meant to push a large body of people into India and not small groups of infiltrators, say experts.
Military experts who have been studying the still to be completed tunnel also admitted it was the Border Security Force’s (BSF) failure not to have stumbled upon it.
The tunnel, once completed, could have been used as a permanent induction route for a large body of people and not just to send small groups of militants to India, a senior official said.
“The size of the tunnel suggests it was to be used as an induction route for largescale manpower,” the official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
These experts said the tunnel was not meant for people to come crawling. Big groups could walk bending themselves all through the tunnel, which had even oxygen pipes.
They said it must have taken the Pakistanis a long time to dig such a tunnel, which was discovered when a Kashmiri farmer reported July 28 that a piece of land in his field was mysteriously sinking.
Geological experts found the tunnel’s end just 15 metres from the point where it was discovered.
According to police officials, the tunnel is about 500 metres long, which is the same distance as Pakistan’s Lambryal post opposite to where the tunnel was discovered.
The tunnel’s discovery was made near the Indian border post at Chilyari in Samba district, about 55 km southwest of Jammu.
The experts said the purpose behind planning a largescale induction from Pakistan could only be to create a sudden warlike situation or cutting off areas of strategic importance without notice.
They said the Jammu-Pathankot highway is about 15 km from the place where the tunnel was discovered.
This highway could be targeted to cut off Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of the country.
This would amount to creating a Kargil like situation when the national highway was targeted initially in a bid to cut off the region from the rest of India to obstruct military supplies.
“This is a serious matter which has to be taken very seriously. We are concerned about such a thing,” said a senior officer.
“It (tunnel) is a well-planned and well-coordinated work by Pakistan aimed at inflicting major strikes at India.”
The experts noted that Pakistan chose a flat plain and an otherwise peaceful region to dig the tunnel so that the digging would go unnoticed. And this is what happened.
“It is an intelligence failure and negligence on the part of BSF,” one officer said. “But our priority now is to investigate and find details of this tunnel and not indulge in a blame game.”
The experts did not see the possibility of such a thing happening along the 720 km long Line of Control (LOC) that starts from the northwest of Jammu.
The LoC, which divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan, was drawn up after the first of the wars over Kashmir in 1947-48.
“Such a thing cannot be done in mountainous areas where the terrain is difficult. Only about 25 km of LOC is plain. But we cannot rule it out also. Science has made everything possible now,” the officer said.
India also has about 200 km of international border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, in the southern and southwestern part of Jammu.
The international border is guarded by the BSF while the army is posted in the rest of the border with Pakistan.