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July 2, 1999
IAF launches search and destroy missions
India today claimed its armed forces had checked Pakistan's intrusion in Kargil but regretted that there was no evidence of the Pakistani army withdrawing from Indian territory.
''The Indian armed forces have checked the intrusions and are engaged in reversing it. In some areas still under Pakistani occupation, desperate efforts are being made to keep the intruders supplied. There is no evidence on the ground that the Pakistani army is withdrawing from Indian territory,'' an external affairs ministry spokesman said in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, in fierce fighting in the Batalik sector, Indian troops captured one position and were battling for control of three others while air force planes launched a 'search and destroy' mission today in a glaciated area, 5.5 kilometres north-west of Tiger Hill, after spotting the movement of Pakistani personnel.
During the past 24 hours, while seven Pakistanis were killed, the Indian army lost ten men. A total of 217 Indian soldiers have been killed and 409 wounded. Nine are missing in action. The Pakistani army has suffered 446 personnel killed.
Army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said in the Dras sector, the troops were consolidating the gains made so far and mopping up operations were on. During the past 24 hours, troops recovered a heavy machine gun, one medium machine gun, a rocket launcher, a sniper rifle, eight AK and G3 rifles, 15 boxes of heavy machine gun ammunition, 52 boxes of anti-personnel mines, 200 hand grenades, four bags of gelatine sticks and communication equipment including one high frequency radio set.
Rations for 30 people for a month and a large number of documents belonging to a Major Rashid Ahmed of the 6 Northern Light Infantry and five Pakistan army uniforms were also found in the abandoned positions.
Colonel Singh said 11 Pakistan army soldiers were killed in the Keran, Uri and Naushera sectors in retaliatory artillery and mortar fire by Indian troops along the Line of Control.
Group Captain D N Ganesh, joint director of operations, said during the lull in enemy activity, when suitable targets were not available, the IAF had begun 'search and destroy' missions.
''One such mission was sent over the Muntho Dhalo area today, but did not encounter any lucrative targets in the area ... In addition to reconnaissance and other missions, air strikes were also carried out today against enemy supply camps in the Kaksar and Jubbar areas,'' he added.
He said earlier reconnaissance had indicated Pakistan army activity, including movement of personnel on snow scooters, in a glaciated area approximately 5.5 kilometres north-west of Tiger Hill. A 'search and destroy' mission was launched in the afternoon to look for potential targets in the area.
Colonel Singh said casualties were high on the Indian side because the troops were out in the open as they attacked the heights.
Asked about the build-up of the Pakistan army across the LoC, he said there was no cause for worry. ''We are well poised to tackle any eventuality,'' he declared.
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