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July 11, 1999
Army has done the job, says additional DGMO
Indian troops were poised today to restore the sanctity of the Line of Control in the Kargil sector after freeing Drass and Batalik of Pakistani soldiers while in Kaksar and Mushkoh valley the enemy's resistance was "thinning out".
"The Indian Army now controls these two sub-sectors fully... The task mandated to the army by the government, that is eviction of the enemy, has virtually been accomplished in Drass and Batalik sectors," Major General J J Singh, additional director general of military operations, said in New Delhi this evening.
He said the Drass and Batalik sub-sectors, which are of critical tactical importance, are now free of enemy interference and the Indian Army is well on its way to achieving the same result in the other sub-sectors and thus restoring the sanctity of the LoC.
Barring one or two heights, which are almost on the LoC, the Indian Army is in full control, having also made major gains in the Mushkoh valley where the indication is that the Pakistanis are on the retreat.
"It is our appreciation that a decisive moment has arrived," Maj Gen Singh said. But the military operations in the Kargil sector will continue till the last intruder has been evicted, he added.
"Until the enemy surrenders, the action will continue till its logical conclusion," he said when asked if the army and air force would stop operations if they found that the infiltrators were withdrawing.
Meanwhile, at Pakistan's request, the directors general of military operations of the two countries met on the Indian side of the border at Attari today. Maj Gen Singh said that since the Pakistanis had asked for the meeting, it should be easy to deduce the motive.
Asked if there were signs of a Pakistani withdrawal from the Kargil sector, he said that in the past 24 hours the intensity of fighting had reduced in some places, including in Kaksar and Mushkoh valley. But it would be hypothetical to say when it would be over as there is still no indication of surrender by the Pakistanis, he added.
India has lost 333 men, including 25 officers, in the conflict, which is a little over two months old. Besides, 520 armed forces personnel, among them 34 officers, have been wounded and 15 are listed as missing in action.
On the other side, a total of 679 Pakistan Army soldiers have been killed in the operations.
In the past 24 hours, the Indian troops achieved a major success when the Grenadiers recaptured Rocky Nobb in the Mushkoh valley after killing three Pakistani soldiers. Two rocket launchers and a large amount of ammunition were recovered, army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said.
Indian troops also killed eight Pakistani soldiers and seven militants in retaliatory artillery firing along the LoC, he said.
A Srinagar report quoting Brigadier General Staff, Brigadier A K Chopra, said at least a dozen Pakistanis and five Indian soldiers were killed in a fierce clash in Mushkoh valley.
The major heights in Mushkoh valley are now under the control of the Indian Army and it is making steady progress to dislodge the infiltrators from other positions, Brig Chopra said.
Maj Gen Singh said the success of the ground operations had come about by determined, well-coordinated and deliberately planned actions. The joint operations by the army and air force are an outstanding example of "jointmanship" and had resulted in speeding up ground operations, reducing casualties and inflicting unbearable damage on the enemy, he said.
"I have no hesitation is stating that what the chief of army staff had hinted at two days ago, of the crumbling of the enemy's resistance, has indeed taken place in these two sectors," Maj Gen Singh said.
He said that as for Kaksar and Mushkoh valley, the Indian Army's understanding is that the military reverses of the Pakistanis in Drass and Batalik had destroyed the morale of the intruders there and the tenability of their occupation of those areas.
While air operations such as reconnaissance were undertaken today, no attacks could be carried out due to extensive cloud cover in the region, Group Captain d N Ganesh, joint director of operations, said.
He said a strike planned yesterday for late afternoon by a mixed force of eight MiG-23s and MiG-27s was cancelled because of the rapid forward movement of the Indian troops.
Group Capt Ganesh said one of the major impacts of the air strikes in these operations was that the Pakistanis had suffered far more casualties than the Indians, which is generally not the case when the enemy is defending a fortified position on higher ground.
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