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Army planned offensive in PoK in January

December 23, 2002 19:54 IST

As part of Operation Parakram, the Indian Army had planned a major commando operation in January this year to hit and seal off major terrorist launching pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, but it was called off at the last moment, army chief-designate Lieutenant General N C Vij said on Monday.

"We had chosen a big objective and a major operation was planned," Gen Vij said while addressing the Parachute Regiment at its golden jubilee celebrations in Bangalore on Monday.

The general said men from the special forces, specialised units of the army and air force were to be involved in the attack.

Though the general did not reveal the target, army sources said the plan was to push in a brigade of commandos to capture terrorist ingress routes like the Haji Pir Pass, areas opposite Keran and Titwal sectors and areas in PoK across Drass and Kargil sectors.

Para-commandos drawn from the 9th battalion, 10th battalion, 1st battalion and 21st battalion of the special forces were armed with American weapons like MP-4 and MP-5 assault rifles, infrared night devices, Kevlar bullet proof jackets and hi-tech frequency hopping communication sets.

The sources said a squadron of the Mirage 2000, which was to help in the mission by large-scale interdiction, had been moved to forward bases in Punjab for joint training with the ground forces.

However, the sources declined to give the reasons for calling off the operation, which would have been the largest ever undertaken by the army's special forces.

The army chief-designate said that this was not the first time that such a big special operation had been planned.

He disclosed that towards the end of Operation Vijay in 1999, the Para Brigade was given the task of capturing the Pakistani base of Gultari.

Vij said for this reason eight out of ten para-battalions had been massed in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The time ran out for the operations as Pakistani raised their hands and announced cessation of hostilities," the general said.

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