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July 6, 1999
India reclaims crucial Khalubar, Pt 4812 and Dog Hill
Indian troops made significant gains in the Batalik sector during the past 24 hours, capturing Khalubar, Point 4812 and Dog Hill after killing 55 Pakistani soldiers as fierce fighting continued in a spur of Tiger Hill in Drass.
The number of Pakistani soldiers killed went up to 542 while Indian casualties rose to 283 with the death of six armymen in the Batalik operations. On the Indian side 451 have been wounded while 10 are missing.
The bodies of 12 soldiers, who were reported missing in action, were recovered, army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said at a briefing today.
The Indian Air Force could not carry out attacks today because of extensive clouds although planes took off in Batalik, Group Captain D N Ganesh, joint director of air operations, said.
While last night army plans did not envisage any air strikes the IAF carried out successful attacks at 1700 hours, east of Mantho Dhalo.
Khalubar, a very dominating feature in Batalik sector, was reclaimed after a gallant operation by the 11 Gorkha Rifles last night. As per last reports, 43 field fortifications of the Pakistanis were destroyed and the Indian troops had advanced northwards where fierce fighting was going on.
The operation was personally led by the commanding officer Colonel Lalit Rai, who despite being wounded on Sunday, refused to be evacuated.
Twenty three Pakistani soldiers were killed at Kahlubar while three Indian soldiers laid down their lives. During the mopping up operations, two heavy weapons -- a 12.7 mm KPVT and one 14.3 mm KPVT -- were recovered along with a huge quantity of ammunition and documents belonging to 5 Northern Light Infantry.
Col Singh said the Pakistanis left behind 11 dead bodies which were dumped in a shallow pit.
In another brave operation, the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry won Point 4812 in an overnight battle. This battalion had recaptured Point 5203 on the night of June 10-11. At Point 4812, where fighting is still continuing in the outskirts of the position, 26 Pakistani soldiers were killed while three Indians died.
Ladakh Scouts captured Dog Hill, west of Point 5000, in another overnight battle, killing six Pakistan army men. Two heavy machine guns, one sniper rifle and two G-3 rifles along with a large quantity of ammunition were recovered.
Col Singh said mopping up operations at Tiger Hill and Point 4875 in Drass sector were continuing. Fierce fighting was still going on on a spur of Tiger Hill, he added.
Meanwhile, the army has reliable inputs to show that the Chitral Scouts, a specialised force, has been employed with the Northern Light Infantry in Kargil sector, Col Singh said.
Asked to comment on a newspaper report that Pakistani withdrawal had started two days back from Tiger Hill, Col Singh said that was not true. In fact, the Pakistanis had carried out a counter attack on Point 4875 but that was repulsed.
About change of position of Pakistani troops on the Line of Control, he said the Indian Army was ready for all contingencies. Asked whether the army was fighting 'with one hand tied', he said the armed forces had full freedom in these operations within the parameters that had been set.
He said the area of intrusions had shrunk. At Khalubar, the intrusion had been three kilometres from the LoC which was reduced to 1.5 kilometres after the operations were completed in the area.
Regarding the prisoner of war taken by the Indian Army, Col Singh said the Pakistani was being taken care of as per the Geneva Convention. The PoW, Naik Inayat Ali of 5 Northern Light Infantry, captured in the Batalik sector, has been brought to Delhi.
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