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June 21, 1999
Army warns Pakistan against new adventures
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The government today said Pakistani troops in Kargil should be prepared for a "bloody nose" if they want to try any further adventures.
Addressing reporters in New Delhi, army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said, "There is a fair degree of transparency in the battlefield and Indian troops can observe what the enemy is doing."
Asked whether the Pakistanis are massing troops near the Line of Control to launch another offensive, Colonel Singh said, "Let them do whatever they want. But they have to be prepared for a bloody nose."
Colonel Singh said mopping up operations are continuing in the vicinity of Point 5140 where 13 enemy soldiers have been killed and some others wounded.
After Point 5140 was taken, Indian forces launched an attack on the north-western spur of Point 5203 in the Batalik sector last night and evicted the enemy from there too. Seven Pakistanis were killed.
Two enemy sangars (camps) were destroyed at another position in the same sector. So far 336 Pakistani soldiers have been killed, he said. The casualties on the Indian side so far are 149 killed and 297 wounded. Nine others are missing.
The spokesman said the positions recaptured from the Pakistanis are sustainable. He said the Pakistanis are fighting a "retrograde battle" as they are falling back in the face of the incremental forward movement by the Indians.
Commenting on the Pakistani attack on the lifeline to Siachen, he said the Indian forces are taking care of the enemy fire by counter-attacking and Indian convoys are now moving on the Srinagar-Leh highway.
According to him, there still are about 700 Pakistani troops in various pockets in Kargil who are being helped by 2,000 mercenaries who have been assigned the role of 'fighting porters'. He repeated that the Indians respect the sanctity of the LoC and all operations are being conducted well within it.
Colonel Singh admitted that there is a likelihood of further Pakistani intrusions in Kargil, and said the Indian forces are taking no chances.
Indian Air Force spokesman Group Captain D N Ganesh said the operations in Kargil are being conducted jointly by the IAF and the ground forces, with air strikes being carried out as and when desired by the ground forces.
He said the IAF is unaware of 15,000 Pakistani troops waiting to launch another major offensive, but is prepared for any eventuality.
Colonel Singh said the Indian armed forces have a reservoir of expertise and there is no question of seeking the help of foreign experts like the Israelis.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of the external affairs ministry said Pakistan is being emboldened by the continuing monetary aid from international lending agencies. In view of its role of aggressor, the international lending agencies should do a re-think on giving further financial aid to Pakistan.
Answering another question, he said the Indian view on the conflict is well known to the G-8 countries which virtually pulled up Pakistan for intruding into Indian territory.
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