Ragni Keran (LoC): Hi-tech surveillance and sensor equipment apart, the local canines known as ‘Gaddi’ dogs are the Army’s eyes and ears along the volatile Line of Control (LoC) here in Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
It is these four-legged friendly beasts that pick up any suspicious movement and instantly alert the soldiers about possible infiltration attempts.
These Gujjar-raised dogs are of immense help to the soldiers in ensuring no cross border infiltration takes place. More than a machine, these dogs pick up the movement and alert the soldiers.
On over 350-km LoC in Kashmir that pass through mighty peaks, rugged mountains, thick forests with dense vegetation and several streams, the Gaddi dogs are force multipliers on the treacherous border.
“The Gaddi dogs are the eyes and ears of soldiers at many posts and they can sniff out raising the alarms if and when anyone tries to get closer to the (LoC) fence,” a soldier at the forward post in the Keran sector said.
“These dogs practically work with us and are part of the family on these posts.”
Whether rain, or snow, these dogs are the most loyal friends of the soldiers.
They also keep a watch when soldiers are resting in their makeshift tents.
While there are several expert canines with proper military training housed at the critical junctions along the LoC, the Gaddi dogs are not trained, and still, they prove to be of great help to the soldiers at borders.
“They are not given any training as such but the way they live on the posts, they are fully aware of individuals who are there, the movements which take place, and anyone who is not supposed to be around they can sense that,” an Army officer based in Kupwara told UNI.
The Gaddi dogs are also part of patrols along the LoC.
“These local canines would go and check out places where troops are deployed and they would come back to the company commander who would get to know that everyone has reached his destination,” the officer said.
These canines besides performing the duties in counter-infiltration operations also act as stress-busters for the soldiers, a jawan at another forward post in Keran said. These Gaddi dogs are fed biscuits or food and are taken care of by the soldiers.
The expert Army dogs on the other hand sniff explosives, detect mines, and narcotics. These dogs also perform the duty in avalanche rescue.