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June 19, 1999
Fierce fighting on in Batalik, Drass
The spokesman, Colonel Bikram Singh, said at a press conference that "intense exchange of artillery and mortar fire" was continuing in Drass and Batalik sectors to isolate and encircle enemy positions to choke the enemy's lines of sustenance.
Eight Pakistani infiltrators were killed in the Tololing operation. The body of a Pakistani soldier, identified as Mohammed Noor of the Northern Light Infantry, was recovered.
Six Indian soldiers also lost their lives while seven were wounded in the operation in the last 24 hours. With this the total number of Indian Army personnel killed in Operation Vijay so far has gone up to 112.
As many as 249 are wounded while eight have been reported missing in action.
At least 313 Pakistani infiltrators have also been killed. In addition, a large quantity of arms and ammunition, including three Universal machine-guns, were recovered.
Describing as "incorrect" reports that Indian troops had targeted enemy locations in Skardu in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the spokesman clarified that an enemy camp-cum-administrative base in 'Skardu region' had indeed been 'neutralised' by artillery and mortar fire.
He however, said the military installation was in close proximity to the Line of Control and not in Skardu.
"Skardu is about 72km from the LoC. There is no question of targeting Skardu," the spokesman said. "We will neutralise the targets that interfere in our operational plans" to flush out infiltrators from Kargil.
He, however, maintained that India was committed to the sanctity of the LoC and had not physically crossed it.
Commenting on reports that the movement of some field units from Kashmir to Kargil had "created a void" in the valley and affected Operation Rakshak (the anti-militancy operations), Colonel Bikram Singh said some units had indeed been "side-stepped", but these had been replaced by additional battalions of Rashtriya Rifles and 20 battalions of the Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force.
"Therefore, no reduction has occurred in force levels and the counter-insurgency grid has been appropriately re-adjusted with additional forces," he said.
He said the balance is being maintained and there are adequate forces along the LoC as well to take care of any internal security problems in Jammu and Kashmir.
Colonel Singh said the enemy had also resorted to unprovoked firing in Keran, Poonch, Bhimbergali, Sunderbani and Nowshera sectors and Indian troops had responded "adequately and appropriately".
Indian Air Force spokesman Group Captain D N Ganesh said no air strikes were carried out today and there was a "lull in air operations" because the army had not sought any strikes.
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