UNITED NATIONS - A report in an Indian newspaper has confirmed India’s plan to build an embankment (wall) along the 179-kilometer Working Boundary near Sialkot, a move that New Delhi denied when Pakistan called on the United Nations last month to ask the South Asian country to desist from going ahead with the project.

Thursday’s report in The Hindu, which is so embarrassing for India,  disclosed that the plan for the embankment was cleared in 2013 by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government after the twin terror attacks in the Hiranagar/Samba sector the same year. Around 20 per cent land, it said, has been acquired for the project, and is being implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The report vindicates the position taken by Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi in her letter to the then President of  UN Security Council President,  Vitaly Churkin of Russia, that the Indians were planning to construct the wall in violation of the Council’s resolutions.

At that time, Indian officials brushed aside the Pakistan’s charges, stating that Ambassador Lodhi’s letter was based on the claims of Kashmiri leader Salahuddin whom they called a terrorist. “Now it is clear that the letter was based on credible evidence and not on the evidence from any individual,” a diplomatic observer said.

In the letter,Maleeha Lodhi said the 10 meter-high and 135 feet-wide wall would bring about a “material change” in the situation on the ground, which, she said, was not allowed under the relevant Council resolutions.

Pakistan believes that the wall would create a fait accompli aimed at creating a physical and psychological barrier for the people of Jammu & Kashmir, who are yet to exercise their right to self-determination, as enshrined in Security Council Resolutions, she wrote.

“We have already formally lodged a protest with the Indian Government,” the Pakistani envoy said. “We hope that the Security Council will also take note of this serious situation and urge India to refrain from undertaking actions that could bring about a material change in the situation on the ground, in violation of Security Council resolutions...

“The State of Jammu & Kashmir is internationally recognised disputed territory with a number of United Nations Security Council resolutions on the official status of Jammu & Kashmir awaiting implementation.”

The Hindu report also said National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval  was grappling with a face-off between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Army. The Army has objected to the government’s plan to build a raised embankment along the 179-km stretch of the International Border (IB) in Jammu district, the Hindu cited a senior Home Ministry official as stating.

At a recent meeting between Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and Doval, the government has been asked to rethink the entire project, the Indian newspaper said. “The Army believes that in case of an emergency, this embankment will affect their operations and restrict their forward movement. The Army already mans another embankment, a few kilometres behind the IB,” a senior MHA official was quoted as stating.

Another official told The Hindu the BSF has also been asked to submit a detailed report on why the project should go ahead.

A final decision will be taken by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the proposal is pending with the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The proposed embankment will accommodate bunkers and border outposts. The project would cover 118 villages in the three districts of Kathua, Samba and Jammu, which are located along the international border.

On MHA’s request, according to the report, the Jammu and Kashmir government initiated the land acquisition process in Jammu district.