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May 22, 1999
Pak infiltrators did not breach LoC: general
General Officer Commanding in-Chief, Lieutenant General Surjit Singh today claimed that Pakistani infiltrators have not been able to breach the Line of Control in the Kargil sector in Jammu and Kashmir due to the effective counter-operations launched by the Indian Army against them.
Talking to the media at Jalandhar cantonment, Lieutenant General Surjit Singh conceded that the Indian Army has so far suffered 70 casualties in the Kargil operation.
Asked if it was because of lack of vigilance that the Pakistani infiltrators could make an ingress in such a large number, the general said, ''It was not because of any complacency on the part of the army.'' Due to the difficult terrain in the area, it was impossible to stop infiltration altogether, he said.
However, he said the army was capable of ''pushing them back and dealing with the situation in an effective manner''.
He said that the army was of the view that Pakistan would continue its proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. However, he approved of the diplomatic efforts to improve relations with Islamabad.
He said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's bus ride to Lahore amply demonstrated India's intention to improve relations with her neighbours.
Admitting that there could not be a military solution to the problem of insurgency, he underlined the need to modernise the Indian Army.
Though insurgency could be more effectively tackled at the political level, military input was required to curb the menace and hence the need to modernise the army, he said.
He said that as against the budgetary allocation of 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product for the services, the actual inflow amounted to only between 2.50 and 3 per cent annually.
''We are economising the operations and have cut down army strength by 50,000. However, we need resources to modernise the army because it is being increasingly used in jobs which should be in the domain of civilian authorities,'' he added.
He said that though the army has lost 8,392 personnel on internal security duty in the last five years, its morale was high.
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