News

DATE=5/19/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-249558 TITLE=INDIA / KASHMIR FIGHTING (L) CQ BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: THE SENIOR INDIAN ARMY COMMANDER IN INDIAN KASHMIR SAYS FIGHTING IS CONTINUING ALONG A SECTION OF THE KASHMIR BORDER. VOA'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS FROM NEW DELHI, AFTER TWELVE DAYS OF SOMETIMES HEAVY COMBAT IN THE REGION THE INDIAN ARMY HAS BROKEN ITS SILENCE ON THE FIGHTING, SAYING 12 OF ITS SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN KILLED AND NEARLY FIFTY HAVE BEEN WOUNDED. TEXT: INDIAN DEFENSE OFFICIALS REFUSE TO CONFIRM THEY ARE ENGAGED IN COMBAT WITH PAKISTANI FORCES SAYING ONLY THEY ARE FIGHTING "ARMED INFILTRATORS" BACKED BY PAKISTAN'S ARMY AND INTELLIGENCE SERVICES. CROSS BORDER ARTILLERY SHELLING BEGAN NEAR THE REMOTE TOWNS OF KARGIL AND DRASS NEARLY TWO WEEKS AGO. THE AREA LIES ABOUT 200 KILOMETERS NORTHEAST OF SRINIGAR, THE SUMMER CAPITAL OF INDIA'S JAMMU AND KASHMIR STATE. THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO FLEE THE AREA. INDIA AIRLIFTED HUNDREDS OF TROOPS TO THE REGION ON SATURDAY. ON WEDNESDAY, INDIA'S SENIOR MILITARY COMMANDER IN THE REGION, LIEUTENANT GENERAL KRISHNAN PAL, ENDED A NEWS BLACKOUT ON THE FIGHTING, SAYING HIS TROOPS ARE ENGAGED IN THE LARGEST MILITARY OPERATION IN KASHMIR IN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. GENERAL PAL SAYS ABOUT 300 TO 400 "ARMED INFILTRATORS" ENTERED THE REGION EARLIER THIS MONTH FROM PAKISTAN. // INSERT PAL ACTUALITY // TO REVIVE THE DEFEATED PROXY WAR AND INTERNATIONALIZE THE SITUATION. BY BUILDING UP WAR HYSTERIA. THIS IS A LOCAL SITUATION AND WILL BE DEFEATED BY US LOCALLY. THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF ITS ESCALATION INTO WAR. // END ACTUALITY // GENERAL PAL SAYS REPORTS THAT THE "ARMED INFILTRATORS" CAPTURED ABOUT 20 BORDER POSTS ON THE INDIAN SIDE OF THE SO-CALLED "LINE OF CONTROL" WHICH DIVIDES KASHMIR ARE "COMPLETELY FALSE." // OPT // THE INDIAN ARMY COMMANDER ALSO SAYS A NUMBER OF CIVILIANS HAD BEEN WOUNDED IN THE FIGHTING AND THAT HIS FORCES HAVE INFLICTED HEAVY CASUALTIES -- KILLING MORE THAN 20 "INFILTRATORS" AND WOUNDING MORE THAN 70. GENERAL PAL SAYS HIS TROOPS ARE CONTINUING EFFORTS TO SURROUND THE "INFILTRATORS" AND HAVE CUT OFF THEIR SUPPLY LINES. // END OPT // PAKISTAN HAS CONSISTENTLY DENIED INDIA'S CLAIMS THAT IT HELPS TO TRAIN AND SUPPORT ABOUT A DOZEN MILITANT GROUPS FIGHTING IN INDIAN KASHMIR, SAYING IT ONLY PROVIDES MORAL SUPPORT TO THE ISLAMIC INSURGENCY. BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN CLAIM THE ENTIRE TERRITORY OF KASHMIR AS THEIR OWN. INDIA HOLDS ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF KASHMIR AND PAKISTAN ONE-THIRD. TWO OF THE THREE WARS INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE FOUGHT HAVE BEEN OVER THE DISPUTED TERRITORY. (SIGNED) NEB/JLT/KL/RAE 19-May-99 7:30 AM EDT (1130 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .