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June 27, 1999
IAF expands operations, undertakes night sorties
Seventeen Pakistani soldiers were killed and a supply camp destroyed at Kasar even as the Indian Air Force expanded its operations and began round-the-clock attacks. Elsewhere, two civilians died in Pakistani shelling in the last 24 hours.
Official sources said ground forces supported by the IAF attacked an enemy logistics camp at Kasar early this morning and destroyed it.
Sources said the air force also stepped up strikes against enemy targets in Bimbat, Drass, Jubber and the Tiger Hills.
Strikes against enemy positions are also being conducted at night, causing heavy damage to the intruders.
At least 12 intruders were killed in these operations. Troops also captured a feature called Safed Nullah in the Tiger Hills area.
This nullah was one of the supply routes of the intruders, the sources said.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting is going on in Sandoo, Chorbahat and Tiger Hills.
Army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh revealed at a briefing in New Delhi that 123 terrorists and mercenaries, in addition to 383 Pakistan Army soldiers, had been killed in the Kargil sector so far. Besides, 50 terrorists are missing.
The militants and mercenaries who have been co-opted into the fighting in Kargil by the Pakistan Army, and have been described as 'fighting porters', belong to the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islam.
He said Pakistan has moved elements of its strategic reserves from Peshawar and Mangla to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Indian Army has taken necessary precautionary measures.
The ground operations in Kargil, he said, are progressing in a steady manner and the softening up of enemy positions continues through effective employment of artillery, mortar and direct firing weapons.
In the Batalik sector, two field fortifications (sangars) were demolished by artillery fire while five sangars were destroyed in the Drass sector using automatic grenade launchers and mortars.
Four Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in these operations and many wounded. The Indian Army lost two jawans while one was injured.
The Indian casualties till now are 175 killed, 361 wounded, and nine missing.
Group Captain D N Ganesh, joint director of air operations, said reconnaissance and air defence missions were carried out all over the Kargil sector, but air attacks were concentrated on the Drass and Batalik sectors.
He said the IAF fighters and helicopter gunships expanded the tempo of their operations and have begun carrying out random operations throughout the night and day since the last two days.
He said the aircraft have night vision capabilities. "For the last two days we have been taking round-the-clock measures to create stress and uncertainty among the enemy. We want to wear him down, sap his energy and sap his will," Group Captain Ganesh said.
Colonel Singh said the Indian troops effectively stopped replenishments from reaching the infiltrators when they intercepted and attacked an animal transport column of some 30 mules and 10 to 15 men close to the Line of Control in the Drass sector.
He said there were heavy casualties after the Indian troops hit the column with artillery and mortar fire.
He said elements of Pakistan's strategic formations - 1 Corps headquarters and some others - had moved into PoK. "We are poised to take care of any eventuality," he added.
Reliable inputs, he said, also revealed that the Pakistan Army's medical facilities at Skardu had been upgraded to cater to the large number of casualties.
"It is learnt that the field hospital at Skardu has been upgraded to a combined military hospital and an artificial limb centre has also been raised," the spokesman said.
He said 700 to 800 militants have also been mobilised at Gultari, west of Kargil, and Poonch, but Indian troops have foiled their attempts to infiltrate.
Total neutralisation of enemy positions, the colonel admitted, is impossible in mountainous terrain. "You cannot kill every soldier of the enemy," he said, because firing in such terrain is not very accurate.
Pakistan continued unprovoked mortar firing in the Keran, Tangdhar, Uri, Rampur, Poonch, Krishnaghati, Naushera and Palanwala sectors. The Indian Army responded adequately and appropriately, the colonel said.
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