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June 11, 1999
Pak plans for infiltration began in January
Ramesh Bhan in New Delhi
Pakistan had started the exercise for sending infiltrators into Kargil and Drass as early as January this year and a helicopter had even video filmed the entire area which was later occupied by them, official sources said in New Delhi.
According to sources, the video film was made for formulating the strategy to occupy the 'unheld areas' on the Indian side of the Line of Control and for preparing a detailed map of the entire area including Kargil, Drass, Batalik and Mushkoo valley.
Following this, a battalion of youths from Gilgit and other northern areas, who spoke the same dialect as in Kargil, was raised and given specialised training in mountain warfare.
Between the third week of January and the first week of February the local population of the area noticed Pakistani helicopters violating Indian airspace.
The matter was reported to the local authorities who in turn, claim to have to have informed the local army officials. However, nobody took it seriously.
A group of shepherds had also spotted the infiltrators and reported the matter to army officials.
The sources said Pakistanis had already identified the unmanned bunkers in the area which were later occupied by the infiltrators including personnel from the Northern Light Infantry and Gilgit Scouts.
Commenting on the Indian assertion that the operation was conducted by the Pakistan army without the knowledge of the Nawaz Sharief government, the sources said such a massive exercise could not have been conducted without Islamabad's knowledge.
They also said the present plan seemed to revive late Pakistan president Zia Ul Haq's Operation Topac which laid stress on proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and the eventual dismemberment of the region from India.
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