|HOME | NEWS | THE KARGIL CRISIS | REPORT|
July 13, 1999
Don't equate withdrawal to safe passage: Mahajan
India today asserted that its ultimatum to Pakistan to withdraw its forces from Kargil by July 16 could not be misconstrued as a ''safe passage'' offer to the intruders.
''Safe passage is a term which can be used when you have captured somebody,'' Information and Broadcasting Minister Pramod Mahajan told reporters here after a special meeting of the union council of ministers, presided over by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to discuss the Kargil situation.
Mahajan said no decision had been taken at the political level to provide safe passage to the intruders. ''If they (intruders) are withdrawing voluntarily, it is their headache. From our side, we will continue 'Operation Vijay' until the last infiltrator is driven out from our territory,'' he added.
Mahajan said Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V P Malik and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis, briefed the council of ministers on the situation in Kargil.
The two services chiefs said their assessment was that the Pakistani forces would withdraw from the areas still under their occupation by July 15 night. After that, it would take two-three days for the Indian armed forces to verify if the withdrawal had been completed. Thereafter, the two services chiefs could give a detailed account of the withdrawal.
Mahajan said most of the areas in the Kargil sector had already been captured by the Indian forces. There was a little area still under the occupation of the Pakistani forces.
He said there were signs of intruders going back. Their so-called Operation Retreat was expected to completed by July 16 morning. "As far as we are concerned, our forces are on alert and our objective is to drive the intruders out. Either they go voluntarily or we will send them back," he said.
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK