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MoD briefs defence attaches on LoC

NEW DELHI, JUNE 8: After it has been confirmed that the Pakistani intruders are from three battalions of the Northern Light Infantry, the...

Written by Manvendra Singh |
June 9, 1999

NEW DELHI, JUNE 8: After it has been confirmed that the Pakistani intruders are from three battalions of the Northern Light Infantry, the end-game as envisioned by General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, has become apparent with the continued questioning of the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC), even by the armed forces there.

As a run-up to a larger campaign to project the sanctity of the LoC, “as an agreement between two sovereign countries”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Tuesday invited some defence attaches from diplomatic missions based here for a briefing on the background of the LoC “and the situation as it currently stands along the Line”. Those who were left out today are to be briefed on Wednesday, said the MoD sources.

The Pakistan Army’s motives are now clear with its spokesman, once again, claiming that there is no evidence on ground of the LoC’s demarcation. “The line is drawn on the map. There is no demarcation on the ground. No wire or posts or signs for LoC,” said Brig RashidQureshi, Director of the Inter Services Public Relations at Rawalpindi. Army officials here described the claim as “preposterous and dangerous”.

The LoC, said the officials, was delineated after the Shimla Agreement was reached between India and Pakistan on July 2 1972. A joint Indo-Pak military team arrived at the positions delineated along the LoC. While the Victoria Cross awardee, Lt Gen P S Bhagat, led the Army side, the Pakistan Army was represented by Lt Gen Abdul Hamid Khan. “And the LoC agreement is enshrined in 19 mosaics and 27 maps signed on Dec 11, 1972. In each map it says very clearly, “Delineation of the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir resulting from the cease-fire of Dec 17, 1971, in accordance with para 4 (ii) of the Shimla Agreement of July 2, 1972,” said a senior MoD official.

The deliberate fudging of the issue by Pakistan becomes obvious from the use of language. “Raising demarcation over delineation is such a poor attempt at obfuscating the facts,” said the Army official. “Therenever was a demand for demarcation all these years. Until there is a final settlement of the Kashmir issue, how can there be any demarcation? Any side wanting to demarcate would have signed away its claim on the other side of the LoC. And that certainly is not India’s policy,” said the official.

The demarcation argument, believe South Block sources, is a convenient exit route for Pakistan “for they have clearly been caught out in attempting to concretise a deliberate military incursion. This will come up again at a later date when our boys begin to reoccupy those positions and the presence of their soldiers become obvious to the world. They will then claim `but we didn’t know where the line was’,” said a senior Army official.

Army officials are now convinced that the entire intrusion is led and manned by Pakistan Army soldiers “with some militants acting merely as porters”. While an Army official, at a briefing here today, declared that the Pakistan Army had lost 227 of its soldiers in the Kargilsector, another official said the intruders were largely from the Northern Light Infantry, with elements from the Special Service Group. “These are the units operating in the Kargil sector, of that we are certain. What we have also come to know is that their mother bases and administrative bases are manned by their own units across the LoC,” said the official.

The Pakistan Army’s plan to stay on these heights is becoming clear with the tactics employed, weapons used and the build-up of supplies. As troops move closer to the positions held by the Pakistan Army intruders, it has become obvious that those “occupying the heights are in fact regular soldiers from the way they are using high-altitude warfare tactics, developing fallback positions, fire control skills which only regular soldiers can have, and the mobilisation of resources to sustain their operation,” said an Army official. “And it is also clear to us now that their aim is to stay and fight it out. They are prepared for a long haul, and we arenow prepared to take them out, no matter what it takes from our side,” added the official.

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