BSF readies 60 snipers to hit 'enemy at the gates'
A group of men crawl in green and white Ghillie suits with their rifles almost invisible, suddenly halt and resume moving surreptitiously. Meet the elite Border Security Force (BSF) snipers from Central School of Weapons and Tactics (CSWT), Indore, who are being trained to take down Pakistani marksmen deployed along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.
With rising incidents of snipers of Pakistani Army and the Rangers targeting BSF personnel, CSWT has increased the number of trainees. Earlier this month, two BSF men were killed by Pakistani sniper across the international border in Pargwal sector (Akhnoor), J&K.
According to intelligence sources, the Pakistani Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence have deployed 150 snipers across the Line of Control to target the BSF in Machhal, Uri, Tangdhar, Poonch, Bhimber Gali, Rampur, Krishna Valley. These snipers have been trained along with Pakistan's Special Operations Team in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Some of these snipers who belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen are paid between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1,00,000.
Now, 60 marksmen, who follow the one-bullet-one-target rule of sniping, will not only take down terrorists trying to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir, but also Pakistani snipers trying to target the BSF. The BSF has decided to deploy one sniper on every border outpost in areas prone to infiltration and sniping by Pakistani marksmen.
BSF trainees are enrolled for a 8-week boot camp at CSWT, which hones their physical and mental capabilities to turn them into lethal killing machines. The training involves going empty stomach for an agonising 72 hours at a stretch at a particular position in -40 or 40+ degrees Centigrade. Only one out of 100 trainees makes it.
Inspector general RC Dhyani, who heads CSWT, told India Today that "whether it is border management or counterinsurgency, our snipers are capable of handling anything; they can tackle any challenge". CSWT has "state-of-the-art sniper rifles and the BSF personnel undergo rigorous training and learn new techniques", he added.
These BSF marksmen use the SSG 69, which is a bolt-action sniper rifle produced by Steyr Mannlicher and serves as the standard sniper rifle for the Austrian Army. While the Pakistani snipers use the semi-automatic Dragunov SVD-63, which was developed in the erstwhile Soviet Union. Both the rifles are chambered in 7.62×54mm cartridge.