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Security Trends South Asia » Jammu Kashmir » What are Border Action Teams?

Aug 9, 2013


What are Border Action Teams?
The raid by Pakistan special forces on the Indian patrol inside Indian Territory on the night of 05/06 August 2013 has brought 
into focus existence of Border Action Team (BAT), small groups of special troops with some highly trained terrorists who are employed for trans LC action upto a depth of one to three kms as the case may be.

The core of such a group comprises of special commandos which in the case of Pakistan is the Special Services Group 
more popularly known as SSG. On the Indian side these are organized by normal infantry troops on the LC as well as 
Special Forces or SF in a tactical commando role. The task of BAT is essentially to dominate the LC by carrying out 
small scale disruptive actions in the form of surreptitious raids as was evident on 06 August. 

These raids are undertaken after careful preparation and deliberate reconnaissance as well as high assurance of 
success. The raiding troops cannot find themselves being caught on the other side as the cover will be blown up.
 Had the Indian troops succeeded in apprehending or killing even one of the Pakistani raiders on 06 August, the 
clinching evidence could have led to embarrassing Islamabad in a similar manner as the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. 
However the Pakistani team would have carried out deliberate reconnaissance observing that patrol of the Indian unit 
which was being turned over on the LC was vulnerable due to weak drills and was assessed to be an easy target.

While the raids are expected to be covert, many times the cover is blown up particularly when the action is carried out on 
the other side of the LC. This was the case in January this year when Pakistani BAT beheaded an Indian soldier and 
again in August as indicated. More over with the exposure of such incidents in 24/7 media, it has become increasingly
 difficult to keep lid over such incidents particularly so when they are misrepresented as was evident with the uproar over 
India’s Defence Minister’s clean chit to the Pakistan Army on the 06 August incident.

Under the circumstances while BAT actions facilitate tactical dominance of the LC, these have become strategically 
counterproductive as they have a larger impact on the overall Indo Pakistan relationship. While both countries have been 
explaining away  BATs as tit for tat actions, Indian side has categorically stated from time to time that firstly it does not 
organize irregulars and that its troops never violate the LC. For the Pakistani side BAT actions also facilitate induction of 
terrorists to Jammu and Kashmir which has become difficult due to the dense surveillance grid on the Indian side. 
Thus a BAT can open a hole so to say to push in terrorists.

Ironically the Pakistani military is also using BAT actions to settle differences with the political hierarchy and it is 
supposed that these were used in the 06 August instance to prevent opening of rapprochement by the Nawaz Sharif 
government in that country.

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