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July 13, 1999
Army leaving nothing to chance: Gen Malik
The Indian Army is closely monitoring the withdrawal by Pakistani forces from certain sub-sectors in Kargil in accordance with the July 16 deadline set by New Delhi and is still in a state of high alert, Chief of Army Staff General V P Malik said today.
''Out of four, two important sectors had been already cleared by us. Now if they withdraw from the other two, the worst will be over ... Unless we confirm that they have withdrawn, I will not say that everything is over. My soldierly instincts still tell me that we must remain alert,'' Gen Malik told CNN. He said India would have much greater surveillance along the Line of Control from now on.
Asked when he expected the last intruder to be out of Indian territory, he said, ''there is a timeframe which has been agreed to, but we have to confirm thereafter that there are no Pakistani personnel on our side ... In case there are some, we will have to take action against them.''
About the apprehensions that some of the intruders might sneak into other areas of Kashmir instead of returning to Pakistan, Gen Malik said, ''there is only one way, whoever they are, whether they are Pakistani army troops or fighters, or whatever they like to call them, and that way is on the other side of LoC.''
The army chief said his main regret was having lost ''so many men. We have a family-type relationship, so every soldier who gets killed, you feel that one of your own family members has gone.''
On the torture of Indian soldiers in Pakistani custody and return of their mutilated bodies, Gen Malik said, ''it was like violation of your own body. It was most unexpected behaviour from anyone, least of all any army.''
Asked how could the Pakistani intruders come so deep (about seven kilometres) into Indian territory, he said the LoC runs into hundreds of kilometres and there were bound to be gaps. ''No army however big it may be can hold onto each and every stone of the ridgeline as we have and definitely not in all climatic conditions,'' he said.
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