THE KARGIL FUND Set up by The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika
More than a hundred soldiers have already died in the undeclared war in Kargil. Many more are lying injured in hospitals. No assistance is compensation enough for the mother who has lost her son or the wife her husband. But we, the citizens of this country, need to help, in however small a way. The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika are setting up a fund with that modest aim in mind. The fund is being started with an intial contribution of Rs 5 Lakh from the ABP Group. If every reader of The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika donates a small sum, we can raise a huge amount for the families of the soldiers killed or injured in action. As a token of appreciation, both papers will publish the names of donors contributing Rs 500 or more. This is a time to ask yourself what can you do for the nation.   Only account payee cheques and drafts - payable to 'ABP Kargil Fund' - will be accepted. Put the cheque/draft in an envelope with your name and address. Write 'ABP Kargil Fund' and mail it to or deliver (between 10 am and 6 pm except on Sundays) at  
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
Time to choose: blitz or slow burn
Army breaks silence on Pak plot
US general heads for Islamabad
Saboteurs play havoc with tracks again
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, June 23 
The Kargil war is racing towards its climax and India will decide within the next week whether to hasten its end with one final push or wait for diplomatic initiatives to make a breakthrough.

A debate on the issue is underway at the daily meetings of the highest war councils, the Cabinet Committee on Security and National Security Council.

Defence sources said the BJP?s political thinktank, comprising Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, home minister L.K. Advani, defence minister George Fernandes and foreign minister Jaswant Singh, had been briefed on both views: whether to allow the war to last its course or speed things up and end it.

The sources said very soon ?we shall have to decide whether we shall escalate the war on our own?. They added that, posturing apart, the next seven days are crucial from the military, political and diplomatic points of view.

In Lucknow, home minister L.K. Advani termed Pakistan a ?rogue state?. ?Prudence demands that the country should be prepared for war,? he said. (Details on Page 6) His comment sent stock prices crashing.

A meteorological profile of the Kargil sector suggests that it starts snowing there by mid-August. Army chief Gen. V.P. Malik appeared to have this in mind when he indicated that India did not maintain regular troops in Kargil in winter as in Siachen. He preferred induction of technologically superior surveillance systems.

Top defence officials now admit a total flush-out of intruders will not be possible unless India crosses the Line of Control at some points. But the ridges have not yet been identified. However, given that 100-150 km of the LoC has been violated, India will have to breach at least 15-20 km to encircle the infiltrators and destroy supply lines.

The government appears to have taken serious note of the National Security Advisory Board?s view that India carry out a swift and sharp operation in Skardu, the hub of intrusion-related activities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The board met in the second week of this month. A brigade with artillery and firepower support is based in Skardu, 70 km from the LoC.

Gen. Malik did not rule out the possibility of his forces crossing the LoC. He said there were some stretches from where it was impossible to evict intruders unless Indian forces crossed into Pakistani territory.

He, however, reiterated that the army could not do so without Cabinet ratification. He agreed with yesterday?s foreign ministry statement that ?supreme national interest? would determine the final decision on the issue.

Top rungs of the government have praised the good work done by the army and air force. A defence official said the progress that had been achieved could not have been imagined a month ago. But the hard decision was whether India should persist with a ?slow and steady operation? or deploy a huge volume of troops and complete the mission within days.

A view is gaining ground that a steady climb in the toll over a long period may finally be the same as heavy casualties in a swift but meticulously-planned operation. This is because of the predicted change in climate after July.

Two corps were posted in Jammu and Kashmir before the war broke out. Two corps mean six divisions comprising roughly 1,20,000 soldiers. With the back-up support base, the figure in real terms is around 1,40,000. This went up by nearly 50,000 in the first fortnight of Operation Vijay after troops were shifted.

Two more divisions have been moved in from the Northeast. But this does not imply that the Sino-Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh has been depleted. The two divisions, comprising 40,000 men, have been released from counter-insurgency duty. Of the terrorism-hit states, only Tripura has objected to the withdrawal.

Peak assault: A major assault is expected soon on Tiger Hills, a strategic frontline peak where hand-to-hand combat has been going on. The height gives a clear view to NH 1 for forward spotters guiding artillery gunners to their targets.

The army took back Point 5203 in Batalik even as troops fought Pakistani intruders for control over Jubar Hills, Kokarthang and Barso peaks in the Kargil sector.    

New Delhi, June 23 
Nearly a month after Operation Vijay was launched, the Indian army today unrolled a detailed plan of the Pakistan army?s long-term designs in Kargil.

This is based on intercepted wireless messages and phone conversations, interrogation of captured intruders and recovered documents, including maps.

After drawing much flak for its secrecy on Kargil developments, the army released material which seeks to establish how the Pakistani army top brass planned to ?obtain only an in-principle concurrence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif? before beginning its intrusions.

While admitting the intrusion plot was hatched several months ago but put into action at April-end, the Indian army revealed the four-pronged strategy adopted by Pakistan. The plan was to be ?top secret?, involving the least number of people and avoiding any activity on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control adjacent to Kargil.

A ?cover plan? was put in place to ?obfuscate the aggression? and, at the same time, defuse tension early, though not before internationalising the Kashmir issue. Only the Pakistan army chief, chief of general staff, director-general of military operations, GOC 10 Corps and GOC Force Commander Northern Area (FCNA) knew of the strategy.

According to the documents, whose contents tally with the essence of the taped conversations between chief of army staff Gen. Pervez Musharraf and chief of general staff Lt Gen. Mohammed Aziz, Pakistan?s main objective was to ?alter the status? of the LoC and occupy as much Indian territory as possible to enable it to ?negotiate from a position of strength?.

The documents say Pakistan anticipated the Indian army would be slow to react and send reinforcements from Srinagar as the Zojila Pass normally opens by end-May and early June.

A cleverly-devised ?surprise and deception? plan was also executed. This envisaged no prior induction of troops in the FCNA. Reserve formations and units were not moved till after the plan was executed on the ground. The artillery units, which exchanged fire with Indian troops between July and September 1998, were not de-inducted. Besides, care was taken to set up logistics lines of communication along the ridge lines and ?nullah? well away from the tracks and positions of the Pakistan troops.

The Pakistan top brass created four independent groups from four infantry battalions and two companies of the Special Services Group which were already located in the FCNA. These formations belonged to the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th battalions of the Northern Light Infantry based at Dansam, Gilgit, Minimarg and Skardu respectively. The units were provided shoulder-fired Stinger missiles, 12.7-mm machine guns, 20 batteries of artillery support and the human cover of militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Ansar and Afghan war veterans.    

President Bill Clinton has sent a top military officer and a senior state department official to Pakistan with a message seeking withdrawal of intruders from Kashmir.

?General Anthony Zinni, commander-in-chief of US Central Command, will express our concern about the fighting in Kargil. Our goal is to see that the forces supported by Pakistan withdraw from the Indian side of the Line of Control,?? a White House spokesman said tonight.

Gen. Zinni will be accompanied by deputy assistant secretary of state Gibson Lanpher.

Earlier, in a terse statement, the Pakistan foreign ministry said: ?Gen. Zinni will be briefed by concerned authorities on India?s military escalation on the LoC and reports on widening conflict. He will also be informed about Pakistan?s initiatives and positive moves for defusing the situation and revival of dialogue in the spirit of the Lahore Declaration.?

Last week, in a telephone call to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Clinton said Pakistan should withdraw troops from Kashmir. Pakistan, however, denies having thrust soldiers into Kargil.

It is not known whether Gen. Zinni will meet Sharif, but he is expected to hold talks with Pakistani army chief Pervez Musharraf. Gen. Zinni?s visit, which comes just two days after Musharraf said hopes for peace in South Asia were fading, coincides with a hardening of tone on both sides of the border.

A day after Sharif renewed his call for talks, Pakistan virtually shut the door on resuming dialogue by insisting that Kargil or the LoC cannot be discussed in isolation to the Kashmir issue.

?India should come to the negotiation table to discuss the issue in totality and not just Kargil and Drass or the LoC for that matter,? Majeed Malik, Pakistan?s minister for Kashmir affairs, said.

?The issue cannot be resolved if pre-conditions are laid,? he added. Malik has left on a diplomatic mission to Islamic nations.

The ruler of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Sultan Mamood Choudhury, said the people have rejected the LoC status, and the ?Azad Kashmir? government would henceforth call it ?cease-fire line?.

76 soldiers dead, says Pak: In Rawalpindi, Pakistan?s military spokesman Brig. Rashid Quereshi said 76 soldiers had died either in artillery duels across the border or while repulsing ground assaults by Indian troops trying to capture Pakistani bases.    

New Jalpaiguri, June 23 
A day after the New Jalpaiguri blast, an oil train was derailed on sabotaged tracks in the same region, prompting security agencies to suggest that Pakistan?s Inter-Services Intelligence had drawn up a systematic plan to disrupt troop movement from North Bengal to Kargil.

The Guwahati-bound train, running at moderate speed, jumped tracks between Domohani and Jalpaiguri stations, 60 metres from the spot where another Guwahati-bound goods train jumped rails on Monday after the tracks were damaged by a blast.

Several long-distance passenger and goods trains in North Bengal were cancelled or detained by today?s derailment, which occurred around 11 am. While the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani was detained, the Saraighat and North-East express to New Jalpaiguri were recalled.

North-East Frontier Railways general manager Rajendra Nath said men and equipment were rushed from Maligaon, Assam, to put the four wagons back on rails.

Vigil on troop movement by train was stepped up across North Bengal after the derailment, which coincides with the findings of a preliminary report saying a bomb made of RDX and set off with a timer killed nine people at the New Jalpaiguri station yesterday. Troops continued to be ferried to Kargil on heavily-guarded trains.

In Calcutta, West Bengal home (police) minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya said in the Assembly that 12 persons had been arrested in connection with yesterday?s blast. Police stations, border outposts and the Railway Protection Force have been put on ?maximum alert?, he added. ?We are also thinking of conducting an inquiry into the explosion once our team of experts returns from New Jalpaiguri,? Bhattacharya said.

CID and central forensic department officials visited yesterday?s blast site and collected samples. An army bomb disposal team visited the spot yesterday.

A senior police official said primary investigations indicated the use of RDX in the explosion. He shared army officials? view that a timer device was used to set off the blast, and said parts of a clock and fuse wires had been recovered.

Officials of the army, railways and civil administration met this morning at Bengdubi cantonment. They decided to step up vigil on railway tracks, bridges, key roads and crucial installations. Entry to Siliguri telecom complex has been restricted.

Army sources said 17 of the 19 soldiers wounded yesterday belonged to 4/5 Gorkha Rifles which was on its way to Kashmir. Two soldiers, Yuvraj Regmi and B.L. Gurung, are in intensive care at Bengdubi army hospital.

The second woman who died in the blast was identified as Rajbala Yadav of Mahendragarh, Haryana. The identity of the three male victims is not known.

Cooch Behar police superintendent Kailash Chandra Meena said two Ulfa activists, Rajesh alias Raju Chakraborty and Dilip Barman alias Joybir, were picked up from Hazrapada last evening. A 9 mm pistol and seven cartridges were seized. Meena, however, clarified the arrests were not connected with the New Jalpaiguri blast.    

Today?s forecast:Cloudy sky. One or two spells of light rain.

Temperature: Maximum 30.9?C (3?C below normal)
Minimum 25.8?C (1?C below normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 97%
Minimum 26%

Rainfall: 2 mm

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 4.55 am

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