|HOME | NEWS | THE KARGIL CRISIS | REPORT|
June 30, 1999
Intruders pushed back to 1.5 km from LoC
The Indian Army cleared the strategic Point 4700 and enemy positions on Knoll, Three Pimples and Lone Hill, losing 26 men in the process.
After recapturing Point 4700, troops dislodged the Pakistani intruders from two more major heights in the Drass sector after nightlong fierce hand-to-hand combat. The counter-offensive began last evening.
The troops succeeded in pushing the Pakistani soldiers and militants to 1.5 kilometres from the Line of Control in the Drass sector as air force planes severely damaged the supply camps of the intruders in day-and-night operations.
The Indian casualties in the fighting during the last three days was the highest at one stretch so far in the Kargil operations. The toll now stands at 201 killed, 384 wounded and nine missing.
The Pakistan Army has lost 428 men, besides 183 militants and mercenaries, army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said today.
As part of the well-planned offensive, attacks were launched by ground forces from the night of June 28 on enemy positions to the west of Tololing ridge in Dras sector.
A Garhwal Rifles battalion attacked Point 4700 which was held by 30 Pakistani soldiers and militants. At first light yesterday, the feature was captured and Indian troops pushed ahead for a kilometre along the ridgeline.
Col Bikram Singh said while heavy casualties were inflicted on the Pakistanis, 11 Indian jawans were killed in the operation and seven were wounded.
Three AK-47 rifles, three heavy machine guns with tripods and spare barrels, a rocket launcher, a 12.7 mm anti aircraft gun with spare barrel, a large quantity of ammunition, sleeping bags, telephones, pup tents and rations were recovered by the Indian troops, he said.
Three officers -- Major P Acharya, Lieutenant Vijayant Thapar and Lieutenant N Kenguruse -- were killed along with 12 jawans when a battalion of the Rajputana Rifles stormed Knoll, Three Pimples and Lone Hill, west of Point 4700.
This battalion captured Saddle and Point 4590, north of Tololing on June 13-14. Knoll and Three Pimples were held by 30 to 40 Pak soldiers and since only two avenues were available to reach there along knife-edged ridgelines, the attack had to go through approaches that were effectively covered by enemy fire, Col Singh said.
While Knoll and Three Pimples were captured against heavy odds, yesterday morning, Lone Hill came under Indian control by 6 pm.
Col Singh said as per last reports from the troops in contact, reinforcements of a Grenadiers battalion had progressed beyond Lone Hill.
He said at least 40 Pakistan Army soldiers and militants had been killed in these operations. Besides the 15 killed, 15 Indian soldiers were injured.
Two AK rifles, three universal machine guns, one telephone, 50,000 rounds of ammunition and rations enough to provide 30 people for a month were recovered by the Indian troops.
More importantly, Col Bikram Singh said the capture of these positions had considerably removed the observation of national highway 1A and provided a firm base to further the army's operations to evict the intruders.
Col Singh said in Batalik sub-sector, while one of the advance positions of the intruders had been pushed back, two encircling manoeuvres undertaken by Indian troops to interdict the line of communications of the enemy had been highly successful.
Another animal transport column of 20 mules and ten personnel, trying to bring in reinforcements for the Pak soldiers, was effectively stopped from progressing after Indian troops resorted to artillery fire in Dras sector.
He said the strength of the intruders continued to be around 700 as casualties were replenished with fresh men. But the important factor was that the positions held by the Pakistanis had been recaptured.
The military operations officer said it was very difficult to neutralise the enemy from every pocket of intrusion in the mountains.
''The resistance will continue. That's why we are having casualties. We are taking so much time to soften targets because we do not want to have more casualties,'' he said.
Regarding reports from Pakistan that over 500 Indian Army personnel had been killed, he said the casualties being given out at the briefings were the real figures.
''We respect every Indian soldier. We are accountable to his family. We cannot hide these things,'' he said.
Air Force spokesman Group Captain D N Ganesh, joint director of operations, showed photographs to prove the success of the operations by the Indian Air Force planes in Mantho Dhalo, Kaksar and Dras areas.
A daylight attack on June 28 on an enemy supply camp at Kukar Thang in the Mantho Dhalo area was a resounding success. The camp was severely damaged and explosion of a big fuel dump was seen by Indian troops who were just 800 meters away.
The new techniques of attacking targets, developed by the western air command, had proved successful at night too, Gp Capt Ganesh said.
Selected hill features in the Dras sector were also attacked day and night. Regular reconnaissance missions to detect and monitor activities in the administrations camps of the Pakistanis had been fruitful, he said.
The enemy's major supply and administration camps at Kaksar, Muntho Dhalo and north of Mushkoh valley were under regular surveillance and were being attacked as required.
Col Singh said unprovoked firing by Pakistan continued at Keran, Macchal, Poonch, Uri, Krishnaghati, Bhimbergali, Naushera, Sunderbani and Palanwala sectors.
BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL RESERVATIONS | WORLD CUP 99
EDUCATION | PERSONAL HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | FEEDBACK