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July 10, 1999
Guns boom louder in Drass, 9 more intruders killed
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Six more Indian soldiers have died trying to regain intruded territory in the past 48 hours.
The troops, meanwhile, are consolidating the gains made in the Batalik and Drass sectors. Efforts are on to clear the remaining pockets of intrusion, army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said in New Delhi on Saturday.
The losses all occurred in Drass sector, where Pakistan has intensified artillery firing. The killed, thus, stands at 327, including 26 officers.
Ten are missing while 493 have been wounded.
The recent operation killed nine Pakistani soldiers, the colonel said, taking the total enemy dead to 670.
The army spokesman said that in other areas like Kanzalwan, Keran, Punch and Naushara, Pakistan was continuing unprovoked artillery, mortar and missile firing. The Indian forces were replying in a 'befitting manner'.
"Reliable inputs reveal that three Pakistani soldiers were killed and many wounded," he added.
He said the situation remained the same as Friday, with 99 per cent of Batalik and 90 per cent of Drass sanitised.
Colonel Singh said it was still not possible to give a specific timeframe for the operation to end. Advances were continuing in the Mushkoh valley and Kaksar.
Asked whether the missile attacks in Chhamb area indicated that the Pakistan army was intensifying action on other fronts, his replied in the negative.
Pakistan was using the anti-tank tube launched optically guided wire missiles on Indian bunkers. During the last three-four days, some 14 missiles have been fired from across, he said.
A report from Jammu said that Indian troops in accurate retaliatory shelling destroyed several launching pads across the Line of Control on Saturday.
The mortar firing on launch pads in Krishna Ghati, Bimber Gali and the Poonch sector also left 34 militants wounded, a army spokesman said.
Indian Air Force spokesman Group Captain D N Ganesh said that 'extremely accurate' air strikes were carried out against intruder camps and gun positions on Friday. Towards the evening, he said, four MiG-21s neutralised a gun position on a ridge in the Kaksar area.
On Saturday morning, three IAF Mirages dropped 24 1,000 lb bombs to pre-empt the intruders' attempts to continue operations from a camp near Point 4388.
Meanwhile, a ministry of external affairs spokesman said the North Korean ship detained at Kandla port since June 25 was undergoing further examination. Its cargo was found to contain material for building surface-to-surface missiles.
In response to Indian requests, the North Korean authorities have agreed to co-operate with the inquiries, the spokesman said.
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