With the operational situation along the western front remaining volatile amid heavy exchanges of cross-border firing with Pakistani forces, the Indian security establishment is taking no chances in being ready for any contingency.
Even as the Army and IAF airbases maintain top-levels of operational readiness, the Navy too is swinging into action with a major exercise Paschim Leher (western wave) in the Arabian Sea from next week.
The firing has been particularly intense in the Sunderbani, Poonch, Bimber and Tangdhar areas along the LoC as well as the Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba regions of the IB.
Over 40 warships and submarines, backed by maritime fighter jets, patrol aircraft and drones, have already begun to amass on the western seaboard for the intensive combat manoeuvres, which include a little cross deployment even from the eastern seaboard, say defence sources.
Concurrently, the defence ministry has delegated emergency financial powers to the three Service vice-chiefs, Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat, Air Marshal B S Dhanoa and Vice Admiral K B Singh, and set up empowered procurement committees to make up deficiencies in the ammunition.
The Indian security establishment's assessment is that Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif may try something in the form of BAT (border action team) operations or a major terror strike in the Indian mainland.
Gen Sharif is likely to keep tensions high in the run-up to his slated retirement towards Novemberend. “Since Thursday morning, there has been a sudden increase in firing by Pakistani forces both along the line of control (LoC) and international border (IB) in J&K," said a source.
The cross-border exchanges have been largely restricted to 82-mm mortars and machine gun fire, except for an occasional use of 120-mm heavy mortars by the two sides. Artillery duels, which would mark a major escalation, have not been witnessed so far.