OCCUPIED SRINAGAR: Security forces battling a decades-long insurgency in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are alarmed by the recent arrival in the disputed region of small, magnetic bombs that have wreaked havoc in Afghanistan.
"Sticky bombs", which can be attached to vehicles and detonated remotely, have been seized during raids in recent months in IIOJK, three senior security officials told Reuters.
"These are small IEDs and quite powerful," said IIOJK police chief Vijay Kumar, referring to improvised explosive devices.
"It will certainly impact the present security scenario as volume and frequency of vehicular movements of police and security forces are high in IIOJK."
The Indian government flooded IIOJK, already one of the world's most militarised regions, with more troops in August 2019, when it split the country's only Muslim-majority state into two federally administered territories.
The arrival of the sticky bombs in IIOJK - including 15 seized in a February raid - raises concerns that an unnerving tactic attributed to the Taliban insurgents in nearby Afghanistan could be spreading to the India-Pakistan conflict.
Afghanistan in recent months has seen a series of sticky-bomb attacks targeting security forces, judges, government officials, civil society activists and journalists.
The attacks - some as victims sat in traffic - have sown fear, while avoiding substantial civilian casualties.
None of the devices seized in IIOJK was produced there, a senior security official said, suggesting they were being smuggled from Pakistan. "All of them have come via drone drops and tunnels," he said, asking not to be named.
Officials said the bombs are particularly worrying because they can be easily attached to vehicles using magnets, potentially allowing fighters to carry out assassinations or target military convoys that regularly criss-cross the valley.
Police chief Kumar said that security forces were changing protocols to deal with the new threat.
The measures included increasing the distance between private and military traffic, installing more cameras on vehicles and using drones to monitor convoys.