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‘Biggest’ intrusion of year foiled

New Delhi, May 22: Even as defence minister George Fernandes was saying that the peace process with Pakistan was not dependent on sporadic incidents across the Line of Control, the army was foiling what it calls “the biggest infiltration attempt of the year”.

An official statement from the army said 12 militants were killed in Naugam sector last night “in one of the most successful counter infiltration operations”.

Fernandes said yesterday that he hoped the Prime Minister’s initiative for peace with Pakistan will not be held hostage “to one or two militants being killed on the LoC because the situation is fluid and can change from morning to evening to night”.

The army statement said soldiers intercepted “a large group” that was infiltrating through the LoC on Wednesday night in poor weather and heavy rain. The area was cordoned and sealed off with additional troops from nearby posts.

The statement said 12 militants were killed in the firefight that lasted till 10 this morning. The operation was continuing. “The incident indicates continuing infiltration from across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir,” it added.

Army chief General .C. Vij had met deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani yesterday and briefed him on an operation (Sarp Vinash) that lasted three weeks. BSF chief Ajai Raj Sharma was present at the meeting.

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