Srinagar: Security forces have recovered a Chinese-made M-16 assault rifle from the three militants killed Thursday during an anti-infiltration operation along the Line of Control in Uri, with the Army describing the recovery as “unusual”.

The army said two AK series weapons, one Chinese M-16 weapon and ammunition were recovered from the Pakistani militants killed in Kamalkote area of Uri while trying to infiltrate into the Indian side.

“Usually, we find AK series and at times, the M-4 rifles being recovered. This M-16 is a Chinese-made 9-mm calibre weapon. This is an unusual recovery,” General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the Army’s 19 Infantry Division Major General Ajay Chandpuri told reporters in Baramulla in north Kashmir.

He, however, said it would be premature to say if this hints at a probable nexus between the Pakistani Army, militants, and the Chinese Army.

“It would be too premature to speculate on the larger context of it. So, I think, we will have to really examine and go into the details,” he said.

On the number of militants on the launchpads across the LoC, Maj Gen Chandpuri said based on multiple inputs “there were close to 100-120 terrorists attempting to infiltrate and present in 15-20 launchpads which are close to the LoC”, opposite this sector alone.

“So, while the ceasefire understanding is largely holding good for the benefit of the people on the both sides, the presence of militants on the launchpads and their continuous attempts to infiltrate are on,” he added.

The GoC said Pakistan is desperate and frustrated, and will continue to try to infiltrate militants and send in arms and ammunition despite a robust anti-infiltration grid in place.

“The LoC is over 740 km which includes very difficult terrain and then there were spells of inclement weather. So, despite the vigilance, there are gaps from where they try and infiltrate militants and war-like stores,” he said.

However, he said, with each passing day, the level of technology and alertness is improving.

“So, the infiltration has come down significantly, which is also indicated by the peace in the hinterland. So, we feel they are getting more and more desperate to push in these people from anyway possible. This one attempt made early in the morning is indicative of their desperation and their frustration,” he said.

He said the swift elimination of militants sends a clear signal of the level of preparedness of troops on the LoC.

Asked if there were any attempts to drop weapons using drones in the sector, the GoC said “not really”.

“But, we are watching out for that and prepared to deal with it.

New Gen Surveillance Equipment

New generation surveillance equipment, including aerial and ground-based sensors, and weapons were used to track and neutralise three militants during an anti-infiltration operation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector, the Army has said.

Talking to reporters in Baramulla, General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 19 Infantry Division Major General Ajay Chandpuri said the operation was launched following credible inputs from various sources, including the military intelligence, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Army’s own sources on the ground.

“We have foiled an infiltration bid from PcK in the area of Kamalkote in Uri sector, in which three foreign militants were neutralised and assault weapons and ammunition recovered,” he said.

The GoC said the terrain where the operation was carried out was extremely challenging.

“It had a dense undergrowth. The weather was extremely foggy with heavy rain and the entire area was mined. So the multifarious challenges that were faced while conducting the operation could be well appreciated,” he said.

Giving details of the operation, Colonel Raghav, the commanding officer of 8 Rashtriya Rifles which carried out the operation, said the troops, including those from the BSF, deployed on the LoC in the sector spotted suspicious movements in the area on Wednesday.

“Based on that, Operation Mrityunjay was launched. Small ambush parties and surveillance detachments were inducted into the area. Our teams were not picked up by the enemy surveillance devices and surveillance mechanisms. Our teams were deployed at this location for over 25 hours and at 7:55 am on August 25, the teams spotted the militants crossing the LoC,” he said.

The CO said the movement of the militants was ascertained by using latest aerial and ground-based sensors and surveillance equipment.

At around 8:45 am on Thursday, the terrorists came to a distance of 40-50 metres from the ambush parties, which opened fire on them, and in a brief exchange of about 15 minutes, the three Pakistani militants were neutralised, he said.

Colonel Raghav said the search operation in the area was still going on.

“The search is on because of the constraints of the minefield. Right now, mine-clearing measures are being undertaken to ensure a proper search,” he added.

He said two AK-series weapons, a Chinese M-16 weapon and their ammunition and other stores were recovered.

“It has also come to light that these terrorists were well treated and prepared for infiltration and also, their built and gait indicate that they had undergone formal military training,” he said.

The CO said the new generation surveillance equipment and weapons were put to optimal use during the course of the operation.

Asked if the militants were identified, the GoC said according to the 19 Infantry Division, the slain ultras were not in possession of any documents from which their identity could be ascertained.

“It is our assessment that before pushing these militants for infiltration, their IDs were taken away from them and they were not in possession of any IDs. So we are not aware of their exact identity,” he said.