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DATE=5/28/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-249929 TITLE=INDO / PAK / KASHMIR (L UPDATE) BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIA SAYS ONE OF ITS HELICOPTER GUNSHIPS WAS SHOT DOWN ON FRIDAY AS FIERCE BATTLES RAGED ALONG MOUNTAIN RIDGES ON THE INDIAN SIDE OF THE KASHMIR VALLEY. ON THURSDAY INDIA LOST TWO MIG FIGHTER AIRCRAFT WHEN ONE CRASHED AFTER EXPERIENCING ENGINE PROBLEMS AND ANOTHER WAS SHOT DOWN BY PAKISTANI FORCES. VOA'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS THAT DESPITE THE LOSSES THE INDIAN FORCES ARE SUFFERING, INDIAN COMMANDERS SAY THEY ARE INFLICTING EVEN HEAVIER LOSSES ON THE "INFILTRATORS" THEY SAY ARE BACKED BY PAKISTAN. TEXT: EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS SAY THE HELICOPTER WAS HIT BY A STINGER MISSILE AS IT FIRED ON DEEPLY ENTRENCHED GUERRILLA POSITIONS. ALL FOUR PEOPLE ON BOARD THE RUSSIAN BUILT MI-17 HELICOPTER WERE KILLED AS IT BURST INTO FLAMES AND TUMBLED DOWN A STEEP RIDGE. INDIAN COMMANDERS SAY THE MISSILE THAT BROUGHT DOWN THE HELICOPTER WAS FIRED FROM INSIDE INDIAN KASHMIR. AN ALLIANCE OF KASHMIRI MILITANT GROUPS BASED IN PAKISTAN IMMEDIATELY CLAIMED RESPONSIBLITY FOR THE ACTION. INDIAN AIR VICE-MARSHALL S-K MALIK SAYS FIERCE BATTLES ARE RAGING IN INDIAN KASHMIR AND INDIA IS PREPARED TO ACCEPT LOSSES. // INSERT MALIK ACTUALITY // IT IS A LOSS NO D0UBT, BUT YOU MUST APPRECIATE THAT IN WAR OR IN A CONFLICT LIKE THIS THERE WILL BE THINGS THROWN AT YOU. SO WE EXPECT THAT IT IS NOT THAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO COME OUT OF THIS TOTALLY CLEAN. WHEN YOU ARE ATTACKING SOMEBODY, HE IS GOING TO FIRE BACK AT YOU. THERE WILL BE SOME LOSSES WE WILL HAVE TO ACCEPT. // END ACTUALITY // VICE-MARSHALL MALIK SAYS COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND ARE REVIEWING THEIR OPTIONS FOR EVICTING THE INFILTRATORS, BUT HE HAS RULED OUT ANY CROSS-BORDER RAIDS AGAINST PAKISTANI BASES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BORDER. ARMY COMMANDERS SAY THEY HAVE KILLED NEARLY A THIRD OF THE ESTIMATED 600 INFILTRATORS THEY SAY ENTERED INDIAN KASHMIR EARLIER THIS YEAR. ARMY COMMANDERS REFUSE TO SAY HOW MANY TROOPS ARE BATTLING THE INFILTRATORS, EXCEPT THAT THE OPERATION IS THE LARGEST THEY HAVE LAUNCHED IN DECADES. MAJOR GENERAL J-J SINGH SAYS THE INFILTRATORS ARE BEING PUSHED BACK BUT THEY ARE FORMIDABLE OPPONENTS. // INSERT SINGH ACTUALITY // THERE IS A POSTION BEING OCCUPIED BY TEN TO FIFTEEN PEOPLE AND THAT POSITION CAN STAND AGAINST MANY NUMBER OF THE ATTACKERS. SO IT IS NOT A NUMBERS GAME. IF THEY ARE WELL TRAINED AND WELL LED THEY CAN HOLD ON TO A POSITION. OUR TACTICS ARE NOT TO HURRY UP THE OPERATIONS REGARDLESS OF CASUALTIES. WE ARE ABSOLUTELY CAREFUL THAT WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE UNECESSARY CASULTIES AND WE WILL CLEAR THESE POSITION IN VERY CAREFUL DELIBERATE OPERATIONS WHICH COULD TAKE SOME TIME. // END ACTUALITY // ARMY COMMANDERS SAY IT COULD TAKE THREE TO SIX MONTHS TO FLUSH ALL THE INFILTRATORS OUT. THEY ACCUSE PAKISTAN OF DIRECTLY SUPPLYING THE INFILTRATORS AND IN SOME CASES ALLOWING PAKISTANI ARMY REGULARS TO FIGHT ALONGSIDE THE INFILTRATORS -- A CHARGE PAKISTAN DENIES. // OPT // MEANWHILE PAKISTAN'S DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER (DEPUTY-AMBASSADOR) WAS SUMMONED TO INDIA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY ON FRIDAY AND TOLD IF PAKISTAN HAS AN INDIAN PILOT, AS IT CLAIMS, TO RETURN HIM TO INDIA AS WELL AS THE BODY OF ANOTHER PILOT KILLED ON THURSDAY. INDIA DENIES THAT THE TWO MIGS DOWNED ON THURSDAY STRAYED INTO PAKISTANI TERRITORY. // END OPT // PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE MET WITH HIS CABINET AND MILITARY COMMANDERS ON FRIDAY TO REVIEW THE SITUATION. THE PRIME MINISTER'S SENIOR SECURITY ADVISOR SAYS THERE IS LITTLE DANGER OF THE CONFLICT ESCALATING INTO A GENERAL WAR BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND INDIA. (SIGNED) NEB/JL/KL 28-May-99 10:33 AM EDT (1433 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .