News

DATE=7/16/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251846 TITLE=INDIA/PAKISTAN (L) BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIA SAYS THE WITHDRAWAL OF ISLAMIC FIGHTERS FROM INDIAN KASHMIR IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. ANJANA PASRICHA REPORTS FROM NEW DELHI, INDIA HAD SET A FRIDAY DEADLINE FOR THE WITHDRAWAL, BUT LATER EXTENDED THIS TO ENABLE THE LAST FIGHTERS TO LEAVE. TEXT: DEFENSE OFFICIALS SAY THE FRIDAY DEADLINE FOR FIGHTERS TO LEAVE INDIAN TERRITORY HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL DAWN SATURDAY. DEFENSE SPOKESMAN COLONEL BIKRAM SINGH SAYS THIS WAS DONE ON THE REQUEST OF PAKISTANI AUTHORITIES BECAUSE ENEMY FIGHTERS IN SOME AREAS WERE TAKING LONGER THAN EXPECTED TO COME DOWN THE STEEP MOUNTAIN SLOPES OF KASHMIR. ///INSERT SINGH ACT/// THE EXTENSION THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN IS BASED ON GROUND REALITIES, AND KEEPING IN MIND THE TERRAIN CONFIGURATION AND THE ABILITY OF THE ENEMY TO WITHDRAW OVER THAT STRETCH. ///END SINGH ACT/// INDIA'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, BRAJESH MISHRA, HAS INDICATED EVEN THE SATURDAY DEADLINE MAYBE EXTENDED BY ANOTHER DAY IF ALL FIGHTERS CANNOT RETREAT BY THEN. PAKISTAN DENIES IT AGREED TO A TIME FRAME FOR THE EVACUATION. MOST OF THE FIGHTERS HAVE ALREADY PULLED OUT. AIR RECONNAISSANCE MISSIONS ARE VERIFYING THE WITHDRAWAL. HUNDREDS OF AERIAL PICTURES ARE BEING SCANNED TO SEE WHERE ENEMY FIGHTERS REMAIN. UNDER THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE INDIAN AND PAKISTANI MILITARY COMMANDERS, INDIAN TROOPS WILL ADVANCE TO WITHIN ONE KILOMETER OF THE LINE OF CONTROL THAT DIVIDES KASHMIR BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN. THE GUERRILLAS ARE TO RETREAT INTO PAKISTANI TERRITORY BEYOND ONE KILOMETER OF THE FRONTIER. AFTER THE WITHDRAWAL IS COMPLETE, DEFENSE OFFICIALS FROM THE TWO COUNTRIES WILL DISCUSS MEASURES TO AVOID FUTURE HOSTILITIES. THE FIGHTERS ARE DESTROYING ARMS, AMMUNITION AND SUPPLIES WHICH CANNOT BE CARRIED BACK. INDIAN SOLDIERS MOVING INTO POSITIONS VACATED BY THE FIGHTERS SAY THE WELL-BUILT BUNKERS INDICATE PREPARATIONS FOR THE INTRUSION HAD BEEN MADE FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. THE INDIAN ARMY IS NOW PLANNING PERMANENT POSTS ON THE MOUNTAINS IN THE KARGIL REGION, WHERE THE FIGHTING TOOK PLACE. THESE POSTS WERE VACATED IN WINTER MONTHS WHEN THE PEAKS ARE COVERED BY UP TO THREE METERS OF SNOW. THE KASHMIR BORDER IS RELATIVELY QUIET. BUT SNIPER FIRE KILLED ONE INDIAN SOLDIER AND SEVERAL ENEMY FIGHTERS THURSDAY. INDIAN SOLDIERS ARE STILL ON HIGH ALERT, AND SAY THEY ARE READY TO ATTACK GUERRILLAS WHO DO NOT LEAVE THE ICY PEAKS. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/LTD/KL 16-Jul-99 9:36 AM EDT (1336 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .