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July 12, 1999
Operation Vijay on: ministry
There is no ceasefire or cessation of hostilities in the Kargil sector but the use of air strikes and some ground-based weapons would not take place in the sector, from where the Pakistani troops are withdrawing, the defence ministry said today.
''Operation Vijay is still continuing. At present there is no question of our pulling out forces from the Kargil sector or anywhere else,'' an official statement said.
It said the Pakistan army ''was in the process of withdrawing from pockets in the Mushkoh valley. Their withdrawal from the Drass and Batalik sectors was of little consequence as almost all of these areas had been cleared.''
At yesterday's meeting between the directors general of military operations of the two countries in Attari on the Wagah border some modalities were worked out for early withdrawal of the Pakistani troops.
''It was agreed that during this pull-out period there would be no air strikes. Some ground-based weapons will also not be used in the sector where the Pak army withdrawal is underway. He (the Pakistan DGMO) requested for a meeting at the Wagah border on July 11 at 1330 hours IST. This was agreed to''.
On July 9, the DGMO of Pakistan rang up his Indian counterpart on the hotline and said the Pakistan army would ''pull out from Kaksar area at first light on July 10 and thereafter from the remaining pockets of intrusion.
''The reasons compelling Pakistan for pulling out their troops from our side of the Line of Control are obvious. Having suffered heavy casualties and with very low morale, the existing pockets would have been cleared in just a few days.''
Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz had said in Islamabad that 'disengagement' had been completed in the Kaksar sub-sector on Saturday and would get underway in the Mushkoh valley after that.
While Pakistan army officials have said that the intrusions would be vacated completely in 14 days, Indian National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra yesterday gave a time-frame of one week.
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