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June 23, 1999
More US support for India
C K Arora in Washington
Congressional international relations committee chairman Benjamin A Gilman has urged fellow lawmakers to support the Bill Clinton administration's efforts aimed at compelling Pakistan to immediately withdraw its troops from the Indian side of the Line of Control.
In a letter he jointly addressed to fellow lawmakers with Democratic Congressman Sam Gejdenson last night, he recalled how a few weeks ago some 600 to 700 armed infiltrators crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir and entered into the areas controlled by India.
This recent aggression involved greater number of infiltrators and more firepower -- including Stinger missiles -- than any other incursion in recent memory. It is reported that these infiltrators are Afghani and Pakistani terrorists associated with Osama bin Laden and the Pakistani Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the letter added.
Ambushing civilian highway traffic, these infiltrators had prevented supplies of food and medicine from reaching civilians in Kashmiri cities near the border, it said.
The two Congressmen said even more alarming was the strong evidence that the Pakistani government provided the intruders with military, financial and logistical support. In fact, there were credible reports that Pakistani military personnel were actually on the ground in the mountains of Kargil and Drass.
In addition, the Pakistani military on the Pakistani side of the LoC was laying down artillery support for the infiltration. ''In order to further your understanding of these recent events, we suggest that you read the article titled South Asia's tinderbox in The Christian Science Monitor,'' they told fellow lawmakers.
''What is clear from the events is that the responsibility for the unnecessary deaths and casualties as well as the displacement of thousands of innocent civilians resulting from the recent fighting falls squarely on the infiltrators,'' the letter said.
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