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May 29, 1999
Air strikes on; Pak beefs up forces
The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force today continued their operations including air attacks in the Kargil sector.
The death toll of Pakistan-supported infiltrators has been put at over 300.
Major General J J Singh, additional director general of military operations, and Air Commodore Subash Bhojwani, director of air operations (offensive) said at a briefing that the relentless air and artillery strikes ''had resulted in the softening up of the positions of intruders''.
General Singh said Pakistan's ''defensive formations opposite Jammu and Kashmir had been put on alert, maybe, as a precautionary measure. But we are taking no chances. Our forces have been put on alert in Jammu and Kashmir.''
He said there was considerable increase of troops on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control especially in the Kargil sector. Pakistan was building up its air defence, artillery and infantry, he added.
More than 300 infiltrators have been killed and 150 wounded, of whom at least 125 were Pakistan army regulars, he said.
India has lost 29 soldiers while 128 have been injured in the operations. Twelve army personnel are missing since the conflict began on May 8.
Air Commodore Bhojwani said air raids were carried out this morning and the Indian Air Force was maintaining its self-imposed restriction of remaining south of the LoC. The air attacks were on 'well-identified targets', he added.
He said the body of the MiG-21 pilot, Squadron Leader A Ahuja was handed over to India in the Kargil sector yesterday.
''It's pure speculation,'' he said when asked if the officer had a bullet injury indicating he had been killed.
A post-mortem of the body at Srinagar, where it had been flown, would reveal whether the pilot had been shot, he added.
Meanwhile, it had not been possible to recover the bodies of the four crew members of the Mi-17 helicopter which was shot down yesterday. The site of the crash had been located.
He said Pakistan had not yet handed over Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa who is in their custody.
General Singh said there was no doubt about the direct involvement of Pakistani army regulars in the infiltration in the Kargil sector.
The army had found Pakistani army documents and identity card on the body of a soldier of the 4 Northern Light Infantry. The sepoy's name was Abdul Ayub and he had a rucksack and a rifle. The body of another soldier is also being moved to Srinagar and would be handed over to Pakistan, he said.
He claimed that at least 15 to 20 bodies of Pakistani soldiers were being brought to Skardu every day.
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