|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
August 30, 2000
Pakistan occupying six Indian peaks, claims MP
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
Pakistan is occupying at least six strategically located Indian peaks in the Kargil sector along the Line of Control, claimed Rajya Sabha member and senior criminal advocate R K Anand.
Basing his arguments on several documents and "authoritative sources", Anand said on Wednesday that these are strategic peaks from where Pakistani forces have a commanding view of the Srinagar-Leh highway, Drass helipad and several other military installations.
There was no immediate reaction from the army headquarters.
Anand named the Pakistan occupied Indian peaks as: Point 5353 (Map reference: 490644), Point Aftab-I (499642), Point Saddle Ridge (525638), Point Bunker Ridge (548639), Shangruti and Dhalunag.
"Point 5353 is very strategic. In 1992-93, the then corps commander (of India) decided to make a shift pocket on this point and sent personnel there by helicopter. The officers posted there successfully cut off the entire supply to the Pakistani pockets along the LoC for nearly two months," he said. The capture was in retaliation of Pakistani attacks on several Indian posts including the national highway from Srinagar to Leh.
He said the Indian Army then claimed that point 5353 is "within our LoC and that we have every right to patrol the area." He said this point offers a 40-kilometre view of the Pakistan side and from the Indian side an attack could be launched on Drass and the Drass-Kargil road.
However, in January-February of 1999, Pakistan troops occupied Point 5353, along with several other strategic posts. These intrusions led to last year's Kargil war.
He said Indian troops had tried to capture Point 5353 on May 18, 1999 when army operations were beginning in Operation Vijay in Kargil last year. But it failed.
He said, the operation was carried out by a team of soldiers led by Major Navneet Mehta.
He gave reporters a copy of the two-page report prepared by the young officer for his seniors on the failed operation. In that report the major has explained the reasons why an attack on Point 5353 was difficult. "It is not possible to carry out an assault from the northwestern, western and south western approaches," the officer pointed out.
Anand also made available a wireless message of May 19, 1999 where it says "attack on 5353 called off due to bad weather" and that "13 OR (other ranks) injured in Maj Navneet's Pl (platoon) due to difficult trn (terrain)".
If the army's argument that Point 5353 was never India's is to be accepted, then "why did they launch the attack?" he asked.
Recent media reports about Pakistan occupying Point 5353 on Indian side of LoC was rubbished by the army headquarters and Defence Minister George Fernandes. Both refused to acknowledge that any Indian post is in Pakistani control.
Anand, who was elected to the Upper House as a member of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, said, even Parliament has been told that there are no peaks under Pakistani occupation.
He said Point 5353 is "300 to 500 metres inside our territory".
"It looks like our army commanders are wrongly briefing the defence minister," he said when Fernandes' statement was pointed out. "The defence minister mislead Parliament on the basis of the briefing by army officers," Anand said, while demanding action against senior army commanders.
He said the Director General of Military Operations had no idea what was happening along the LoC. Similarly the corps commander during Operation Vijay too had no idea of the dimensions of the Pakistani gameplan. The army chief too is unaware of the situation, he said.
"Instead of holding them responsible, you promote them and give them awards," he said.
Whe asked why the army and government was allowing Pakistan to occupy the peaks, and did not regain it last year, Anand said there were various reasons. "They wanted to finish the war as early as possible as elections were coming. And they thought nobody will come to know," he said.
On the army's reluctance, he said if they launch operations to take back these peaks, there will be a full-fledged war with Pakistan.
However, he said Indian forces should take immediate steps to protect national integrity. Besides, a fact-finding team of five Parliamentarians should be constituted to go to the LoC to verify the facts.
Anand has repeatedly served notices for calling attention motions, special mentions in the Rajya Sabha on these intrusions by Pakistan. But despite repeated attempts the matter was not taken up for discussion, he said.
Anand said he also wrote to Fernandes calling his attention to the matter. But he did not get any reply.
The army too has been struggling to convince the media that Pakistan does not occupy even a single post on the Indian side of the LoC. In fact senior army officers have been holding special briefings for select groups of journalists after reports appeared that Point 5353 of India is with Pakistan.
Officials at army headquarters said they were studying Anand's statement.
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK