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July 11, 1999
Troops remain sceptical of withdrawal
Mahesh Nair in Kargil
Disengagement agreement? What disengagement agreement? Hours after reports that the Indian and Pakistani forces had tacitly agreed to hold their fire for 48 hours, peace again seems to be under attack.
On Saturday night, there were reports from the frontline in the Drass, Batalik and Kargil sectors that both sides would hold their fire. "This is primarily to allow the Pakistani forces to withdraw from Indian territory -- something which they cannot do if both sides are engaged in fighting," an army officer said.
This development is part of an effort by New Delhi and Islamabad to put the brakes on the current war. Consequently, today there were no major incidents of fighting reported from any of the sectors.
But despite the disengagement agreement, there were sporadic incidents of shelling. Kargil, for instance, was shelled about seven times during the day. The targets were mostly the Doordarshan relay tower, the Srinagar-Leh highway, and an abandoned Indian Oil depot. The Indians also returned the fire.
A section of the army, however, is taking the disengagement agreement offer with a pinch of salt. "You cannot trust the Pakistani forces," said one officer. "We have been betrayed before. They may just be seeking time for reinforcements."
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