Army to launch pinpointed ops with digital mapping of villages

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, July 7: With a view to launch pinpointed Intelligence-based operations and gain easy access to hideouts of the militants in the Kashmir valley especially South Kashmir, Army has started digital mapping of the villages, which would ensure accurate operations against the militants and also avert civilian casualties.
“Work on digital mapping of villages in Kashmir has been taken up. The Army experts were on the job. Initially, the sensitive villages of South Kashmir, where presence of militants was more, have been picked up. Slowly, entire South Kashmir will be covered,” official sources told the Excelsior.
They said the Army proposed to cover some more villages also in the next phase in other districts of Kashmir especially which were militancy prone or those which were located close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Baramulla and Kupwara districts, where the militants generally take shelter after infiltration into the Indian territory from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“The digital mapping of villages will be a big boost in pinpointed Intelligence operations. Sometimes, it becomes difficult for the troops to zero in on a house timely, leading to detection of Army movement and gathering of mob at the spot. This either leads to civilian casualties or escape of militants,” sources said, adding that once the digital mapping of villages was completed, the troops would have pinpointed information of the house, or the hideout, where the militants might have taken shelter.
The digital mapping would give easy access to the Army inside the villages as the troops will be well versed with topography of the villages including total number of houses, lanes and by-lanes and other geographical location.
“This will not only smoothen the operation against the militants but will also help in their early completion instead of prolonged encounters. Security forces were confident that accurate encounters will minimize their casualties as also that of civilians,” sources said.
Asserting that digital mapping will give even details of interior structure of houses, sources said that this will be quite useful for the troops engaged in anti-militancy operations as even before going in for the gunbattle against the militants, they will be fully aware of all exit and entry routes of the village.
Sources disclosed that some of the villages had been mapped by the local agencies but the Army focus is to have each and every information of sensitive villages, which were prone to militants or where the militants can take shelter after infiltration from the LoC. The priority area remained South Kashmir, where presence of the militants was more than Central and North Kashmir, sources said, adding that the Army’s new strategy against the militants would pay-off and could lead to successful operations against the militants.
Earlier, a number of times, security forces had to return from the villages empty-handed as the militants would gather information about their movement and escape from the hideout. However, such chances would become minimum after digital mapping of the militants as the troops would be in complete control of the situation in the village before launching search and cordon operation.
Describing digital mapping as one of the new techniques in anti-militancy operations in the Kashmir valley, sources said Army was working on more latest techniques using technology to accurately pinpoint the militants and gun down or capture them without civilian or own casualties.