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July 21, 1999
Intruders still holding vital supply route: Lt Gen Khanna
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
The army today admitted that the intruders were still holding some pockets in the three sectors of Drass, Mushkoh and Batalik and did not rule out the possibility of recurrence of tension in Kargil.
"We don't rule out re-escalation but Pakistan has already conceded to the world that they would withdraw to their side of Line of Control and I assume they would abide by what they said," the Northern Command's Lieutenant General H M Khanna told newsmen at the corps headquarters.
He said the Pakistan army was still holding positions "on our side of the LoC" and added "we have every right to throw them out. We will take whatever action is required."
Lt Gen Khanna said the intruders were holding an important supply route and added: "They have laid mines and booby traps from where they withdrew." He however strongly denied that aerial strikes were carried out today to evict the intruders who he said "were Pak army regulars."
The GOC Northern command said there were between 50 to 70 intruders at one place while at other pockets the number was nearly 80.
Gen Khanna added, "We have re-taken between 96 to 99 per cent of the area which the intruders were holding. He said that the entire operation was "engineered, conducted" by the Pakistan army and the militant presence was only "token participation."
He said that all positions in the various sectors of Kargil will now be manned permanently round the year and added, "We have learnt a lesson to never let our guard down."
Gen Khanna said the local residents who have migrated to other places can return to their homes in the first week of next month.
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