The recruitment numbers for terrorist cells in J&K in the year 2020 do not show a big change compared to last year. It was reported that the number of local recruits for this year (till October end) was 145—the second-highest in a decade. Numbers suggest that for every militant killed, a new one is being recruited or infiltrated.
However, there is another data which depicts a significant downgrade in militant operations. Data suggests that Kashmiri terrorists are going through a lack of weaponry and logistics, which is negatively impacting their capacity to carry out big, lethal attacks.
Data accessed by ORF shows that till October end, security forces conducted 176 counter-militancy operations. Out of 245 weapons recovered from terrorists, 101 were pistol or handguns and 144 were various types of assault rifles like AK47, AK56, M4, Insas etc. Many operations did not yield any major weapon recovery.
A pistol is primarily a self-defence weapon and pistol-wielding terrorists posed a lesser threat as they can’t carry out big attacks against the military establishment.
This data also explains why there weren’t any major terror attacks in the year 2020 except a few. Terrorist attacks in 2020 were mostly targeted killings of civilians and stand-off attacks on cornered soldiers. Data shows that this year, only one improvised explosive device or IED was recovered while 12 were recovered in the last year.
Shutting down of the cross-LoC trade has impacted this interruption in weapon supply chain. Many trucks carrying weapons into the Indian side of the LoC have been caught by the security forces in the past. In April 2019, India shut down cross LoC trade after it was found out by the investigative agencies that the route was used for smugglings weapons, drugs and fake currency.
These terrorists also procured weapons through trade with corrupt members of security forces. The arrest of DySP Davinder Singh has brought the matter to the government’s attention and it has created problems for these terrorists.
Officials of the Indian Army and J&K Police have said that the Kashmiri terrorists were facing a shortage of weapons. This lack in weaponry has resulted in desperate attempts by Pakistan to search for new routes and modes of weapon delivery to terrorists in Kashmir.