News

DATE=6/6/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-250287 TITLE=INDIA/FIGHTING (L-O) BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIAN TROOPS ARE CARRYING OUT MAJOR GROUND ASSAULTS IN INDIAN KASHMIR AGAINST, WHAT NEW DELHI CALLS -- PAKISTAN-BACKED INFILTRATORS. ANJANA PASRICHA REPORTS FROM NEW DELHI, THE MILITARY OPERATION IS IN ITS 12TH DAY. AIR STRIKES RESUMED SUNDAY AFTER BEING HALTED FOR A DAY. TEXT: DEFENSE OFFICIALS SAY INDIAN TROOPS ARE CLOSING IN ON HEAVILY-ARMED GUERRILLAS WHO HAVE CAPTURED HIGH MOUNTAIN PEAKS IN THE KARGIL REGION OF KASHMIR. ARTILLERY BATTLES ARE REPORTED TO BE RAGING IN THE DRAS AND BATALIK SECTORS. THE ARMY SAYS IT HAS RECAPTURED A STRATEGIC MILITARY POST, AND IS PREPARING FOR AN ASSAULT ON ANOTHER MOUNTAIN. DEFENSE OFFICIALS SAY THE TEMPORARY HALT IN AIR STRIKES SATURDAY ENABLED GROUND TROOPS TO ADVANCE ON GUERRILLA POSITIONS. BUT OFFICIALS CONCEDE OPERATIONS ARE SLOW DUE TO THE DIFFICULT TERRAIN ON WHICH THEY ARE FIGHTING. ARMY SPOKESMAN, MOHAN BHANDARI, SAYS IT IS A QUESTION OF PROGRESSING A FEW YARDS A DAY ON THE STEEP MOUNTAINS. HE IS OFFERING NO TIME-FRAME FOR COMPLETING THE OPERATION. /// INSERT BHANDARI ACT /// YOU HAVE SEEN THE LOFTY MOUNTAINS, RANGING FROM 15-THOUSAND TO 17-THOUSAND FEET. IF YOU SEE WHAT THE TERRAIN IS LIKE, A FEW YARDS MATTER EVERYDAY. /// END BHANDARI ACT /// // OPT // OBSERVERS SAY, THE ARMY IS DIGGING IN, SETTING UP UNDERGROUND BUNKERS AND PREPARING FOR A LONG HAUL. BUT THE ARMY IS EAGER TO REGAIN THE TERRITORY BEFORE THE ONSET OF WINTER IN SEPTEMBER, WHEN HEAVY SNOWFALL WILL MAKE IT TOUGH TO PRESS AHEAD. // END OPT // THE CASUALTIES ON THE INDIAN SIDE ARE MOUNTING -- OFFICIALS SAY 59 HAVE DIED AND 217 ARE WOUNDED. MEANWHILE, DEFENSE OFFICIALS HAVE SCALED DOWN THE ESTIMATE OF THE NUMBER OF INFILTRATORS KILLED. EARLIER REPORTS SAID 400 WERE KILLED, BUT OFFICIALS NOW SAY A FINAL TALLY IS BEING PREPARED. AN ARMY COMMANDER IN SRINAGAR SAYS THE NUMBER IS ABOUT 200. DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS TO END THE TENSION BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN IN THE HIMALAYAN REGION HAVE MADE LITTLE PROGRESS SO FAR. (SUNDAY) ISLAMABAD URGED NEW DELHI TO HOLD AN EARLY DIALOGUE ON THE KASHMIR CRISIS, AFTER INDIA DELAYED A PROPOSED VISIT BY THE PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTER. INDIAN FOREIGN MINISTER JASWANT SINGH TOLD STATE-RUN TELEVISION -- WE ARE NOT SCARED OF TALKS, BUT WE WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR WE WILL NOT TALK OUT OF FEAR. FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN IN NEW DELHI, RAMINDER JASSAL, REITERATED INDIAN ACCUSATIONS THE INFILTRATION IS BACKED BY PAKISTAN -- A CHARGE PAKISTAN STRONGLY DENIES. /// INSERT JASSAL ACT /// PAKISTAN'S CULPABILITY AND INVOLVEMENT WAS CLEAR FROM THE BEGINNING. PAKISTAN CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. ON ONE HAND TO DENY ANY RESPONSIBILITY OR INVOLVEMENT IN THE ARMED INTRUSION THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE TO AFFIRM THEIR DESIRE TO HAVE PEACE TALKS. /// END JASSAL ACT /// THE INDIAN ARMY HAS RETURNED THE BODIES OF THREE PAKISTANI SOLDIERS KILLED IN THE FIGHTING. ISLAMABAD SAYS THE SOLDIERS WERE AMBUSHED BY INDIAN TROOPS IN PAKISTANI KASHMIR, BUT NEW DELHI INSISTS THEY WERE KILLED IN INDIAN KASHMIR. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/RAE 06-Jun-99 9:51 AM EDT (1351 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .