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DATE=7/12/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251654 TITLE=INDIA / FIGHTING (L) BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA , DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: FIGHTING IN KASHMIR BETWEEN INDIAN FORCES AND ISLAMIC FIGHTERS IS WINDING DOWN AS MUSLIM MILITANTS BEGIN TO WITHDRAW FROM THE HIMALAYAN REGION. ANJANA PASRICHA REPORTS FROM NEW DELHI, THE TWO-MONTH MILITARY OFFENSIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS OF KASHMIR APPEARS TO BE DRAWING TO A CLOSE AS INDIA HALTS AIR STRIKES AND GROUND ASSAULTS IN KASHMIR, AND PAKISTAN SAYS FIGHTERS WILL DISENGAGE FROM THE REGION. TEXT: AFTER TWO MONTHS OF INTENSE FIGHTING, GUNS ARE FALLING SILENT IN KASHMIR'S KARGIL REGION, FROM WHERE ISLAMIC FIGHTERS ARE WITHDRAWING FROM THE HIGH MOUNTAIN PEAKS THEY CAPTURED EARLIER THIS YEAR. INDIAN OFFICIALS SAY THE INTRUDERS ARE LEAVING THE MUSKHOH VALLEY AND KAKSAR SECTORS. THE OTHER REGIONS OCCUPIED BY INFILTRATORS -- BATALIK AND DRAS -- ARE LARGELY UNDER THE CONTROL OF INDIAN FORCES. INDIAN SOLDIERS HAVE BEEN HOLDING THEIR FIRE SINCE TOP MILITARY COMMANDERS FROM INDIA AND PAKISTAN MET NEAR THE KASHMIR BORDER, AND AGREED ON A PLAN TO WITHDRAW THE MUSLIM FIGHTERS FROM INDIAN TERRITORY. HOWEVER, SCATTERED FIGHTING AND ARTILLERY SHELLING IS STILL BEING REPORTED FROM SOME PLACES. IN FACT, THERE IS NO OFFICIAL CEASEFIRE. IN A STATEMENT MONDAY, THE DEFENSE MINISTRY SAID INDIA'S MILITARY OPERATION IS CONTINUING AND THERE IS NO QUESTION OF THE INDIAN ARMY PULLING OUT ITS FORCES FROM KASHMIR. BUT INDIAN OFFICIALS SAY "WE DO NOT SHOOT PEOPLE IN THE BACK", INDICATING THE INTRUDERS ARE BEING ALLOWED TO RETREAT. SOLDIERS ARE BEING TOLD TO OCCUPY PEAKS AFTER FIGHTERS DISMANTLE THEIR POSITIONS AND WITHDRAW. MAJOR GENERAL J.J. SINGH SAYS INTRUDERS ARE LEAVING THEIR POSITIONS. ///INSERT SINGH ACT/// WE HAVE NOTICED SOME MOVEMENTS WHICH COULD BE CONSTRUED AS HIS (ENEMY'S) THINNING OUT FROM CERTAIN POSITIONS. YES, IN SOME PLACES WE HAVE NOTICED SOME THINNING OUT TAKING PLACE. ///END SINGH ACT/// THE TWO-MONTH FIGHTING TOOK PLACE ON DIFFICULT MOUNTAIN TERRAIN, AND INDIA CONDUCTED ALMOST DAILY AIR STRIKES TO BOMB GUERRILLA POSITIONS. CASUALTIES HAVE BEEN HEAVY ON BOTH SIDES. MAJOR GENERAL SINGH SAYS INDIA LOST 333 SOLDIERS AND OFFICERS, MORE THAN 500 ARE WOUNDED. ///INSERT SINGH ACT/// WE HAVE SUFFERED HEAVY CASUALTIES IN THESE OPERATIONS AS YOU ARE AWARE BECAUSE OF THE FIERCE HAND TO HAND ENGAGEMENTS OUR GALLANT SOLDIERS HAD TO FACE. ///END SINGH ACT/// PAKISTAN DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN THE FIGHTING. INDIA SAYS THE FIGHTERS WERE PAKISTANI TROOPS ALONG WITH SOME ISLAMIC GUERRILLAS. THE MILITARY STANDOFF HAS BEEN THE WORST SINCE THE TWO COUNTRIES FOUGHT THEIR LAST WAR IN 1971, AND HAD RAISED FEARS OF A FOURTH WAR BETWEEN THE TWO NUCLEAR RIVALS. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/PLM 12-Jul-99 5:32 AM EDT (0932 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .