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  
ABP LTD 
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
India
 
 
 
China joins chorus for Pak pullout
New flank for Tiger Hill assault
Back to business with Bofors
US House move to stall Pak loans
Intelligence Failure II: City under siege
Calcutta weather

 
 
CHINA JOINS CHORUS FOR PAK PULLOUT 
 
 
FROM PRANAY SHARMA
 
New Delhi, July 1 
Already under mounting global pressure to pull out of Kargil, Pakistan today suffered a severe diplomatic blow with ?time-tested ally? China asking both Islamabad and Delhi to respect the Line of Control.

China was the only Permanent Five nation so far which had not asked Pakistan to ?vacate the intrusions?. Though Beijing refrained from using these words even in today?s statement, it has indicated in no uncertain terms that respecting the LoC is crucial to normalising Indo-Pak relations.

With the Chinese statement, Pakistan?s diplomatic isolation appears complete. Indian diplomats interpret the statement as a clear signal to Islamabad to withdraw its army regulars.

?We sincerely hope both India and Pakistan can earnestly respect the LoC in Kashmir, resume negotiations as soon as possible, and seek a fair and reasonable settlement of all their differences, including the Kashmir issue, in accordance with the spirit and principles of the Lahore Declaration issued jointly by both countries,? foreign ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue told reporters.

However, developments in Pakistan indicate a pullout is becoming increasingly difficult for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Not only are army hardliners against it, Opposition parties have indicated they will rally behind the military to resist any such move. Opposition leaders said they are against any ?secret deal? Sharif may be thinking of striking with India.

About 40 of Sharif?s rival parties have also made it clear Kargil is part of the larger Kashmir problem, and vowed to resist any government attempt to compromise on the issue.

South Block mandarins do not rule out the possibility of political turmoil in Pakistan. With the Opposition parties? stand certain to bolster army hardliners in Rawalpindi, they may press Sha-rif not to give in to global pressure or try to replace him with a leader who will toe their line.

Sharif is, however, considered a shrewd politician who may still be able to upstage detractors and find a way out of the Kargil mess.

In another boost to India, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who wrote to A.B. Vajpayee recently, appreciated Indian restraint in the face of Pakistani ?provocation?.

Blair said he had told Sharif the intrusions had created ?serious problems? and should be vacated immediately. This is a change from the UK?s attempt to link Kargil to Kashmir before the G8 summit in Cologne.

Reports from London indicate the International Monetary Fund loan to Pakistan may be blocked if Islamabad continues to maintain its intransigent position over Kargil. The next tranche of the $1.56-billion loan is due this month. But Western leaders may block it if Pakistan refuses to withdraw its intruders.    


 
 
NEW FLANK FOR TIGER HILL ASSAULT 
 
 
FROM SUJAN DUTTA IN KARGIL AND CHANDAN NANDY IN NEW DELHI
 
July 1 
Rockets from multi-barrelled launchers pounded Helmet Peak in the Mushkoh sub-sector since this afternoon, opening a front on the western flank of Tiger Hill even as the focus of Indian military operations shifted from Drass to Batalik.

The assault on Helmet, not of great height but of strategic importance to secure Tiger Hill, means that the army is being cautious in its advance on the 5,070 m peak. An infantry regiment began moving troops under cover of the heavy artillery pounding.

The cleansing of the heights on Tiger Hill?s eastern flank ? Tololing, Phealong and Point 5100 ? has resulted in heavy casualties for the Indian army. Under cover of darkness, Indian infantry moved forward early this morning, firing machine guns and automatic rifles as they crawled up a slope adjoining Tiger Hill. Military sources in Drass reported close-quarters combat during the night. Ground units fired Milan bunker-busting missiles and rockets at the four-foot thick concrete fortresses on the peak.

The army concentrated most on the Batalik sector. An officer said several rounds of rockets ? with about 40 rockets in every round ? were fired at one height last night. One intruder position was regained with the initiative taken by the Ladakh Scouts, a unit that has focused only on the Batalik sub-sector since Operation Vijay began.

The army said fierce fighting was on for the control of two other undisclosed peaks in Batalik with the Ladakh Scouts leading the charge. Last night, Indian forces foiled an attempt at fresh intrusion in Haneefuddin (Turtuk) to the north of Batalik.

This sub-sector has been under Pakistani attack and there have been repeated efforts to push in intruders. About a dozen armed militants were arrested from the Turtuk area after they sneaked in under artillery cover from beyond the LoC. Four Pakistani soldiers were killed in Turtuk.

Mopping up and consolidation continued around Phealong, Three Pimples and Lone Hill, the areas regained in Drass. Fresh documents have been recovered to prove that Pakistani regulars are taking part in the war. Three bodies of Pakistani soldiers and dumps of ammunition were found.

Military sources claimed to have recovered a large quantity of weapons and documents, including a diary in Urdu which identified Pakistani army units. They said these were found after recapturing Point 5100.

The Indian Air Force is pounding the south-western part of Kaksar and Point 5280. Strikes have commenced here after a fortnight.

Night raids were carried out on intruders? supply camps at Muntha Dalo to the north of Batalik and to the west of Tiger Hill.    


 
 
BACK TO BUSINESS WITH BOFORS 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
New Delhi, July 1 
Desperate to keep its artillery backbone in shape, India has begun talks with Celsius Corporation, manufacturers of the Bofors howitzers, and is trying to negotiate a deal on new guns with enhanced range, spare parts and shells.

This is the first official exchange with the blacklisted firm after more than a decade. Successive governments had shied away from entering into any negotiations with the company for fear of adverse political impact.

The discussions with the Swedish firm had begun at an informal level even before the Cabinet Committee on Security gave the formal go-ahead yesterday. Though the defence ministry is tight-lipped, Sweden is on the list of officials who are shopping abroad for equipment required by the army in Kargil.

The 155-mm Bofors gun has a range of 35 km. In the rarefied atmosphere of mountainous Kargil, it can even hit targets within 42 km.

But if India wants to strike deeper, like the Skardu brigade base in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from where the entire Kargil offensive is being executed, it will require a gun with a 210-mm calibre. Pakistan has in its arsenal US-made guns of this range and is pounding Drass with them.

Ever since the army operations began a month ago, the Bofors gun has proved irreplaceable. It has been hauled along slopes in the conflict zone and has been able to blast out intruders from their hideouts along ridgelines.

But each shell, now being bought from suppliers in South Africa, costs nearly $1,000 or Rs 43,000 at the market rate and is a major drain on the exchequer. Troops fire several hundred, if not a few thousand, shells per day in the different sub-sectors of Kargil.

But some defence sources insist that India is paying an ex-factory price of around $400 per shell to Denel, the South African company.

Defence officials believe that if a deal can be clinched with the original manufacturers, Bofors shells can be bought cheaper and will be easier to procure.

Besides, of the 400-odd guns that the army has, about 270 are functional. A number of them need either minor repairs or spares.

Rocked by the Rs 64-crore kickback scandal in the gun deal, India did not enter into a full pact with the company, then known as Bofors AB. Such a contract would have given India technological knowhow to indigenously manufacture the guns, necessary spares and even shells.

At least four types of shells can be used with the Bofors 155. Of them, the company had provided knowhow for three varieties: the high explosive group known as M-107, the 77B or extended range group and the HEER or high-explosive-cum-extended range group.

But Bofors AB did not extend any knowledge on the anti-tank and anti-personnel 155-mm cargo shells.

With Indian ordnance factories like the one in Bolangir failing to produce quality shells, the defence establishment has begun buying the shells from abroad.    


 
 
US HOUSE MOVE TO STALL PAK LOANS 
 
 
FROM SEEMA SIROHI
 
Washington, July 1 
A House subcommittee today approved an amendment blocking international loans to Pakistan until it withdraws its forces from the Indian side of the LoC in Kashmir, reports said.

But the amendment is part of a ?non-binding? resolution which reflects the sentiment of the House and will not become law.

The amendment introduced by Congressman Gary Ackerman also calls upon India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute through direct talks as envisaged in the Simla Agreement signed in 1972. It urges the two countries to revive the spirit of the Lahore Declaration.

The blocking of loans to Pakistan is a recommendation to the Clinton administration and in no way binding. The administration has publicly opposed any blocking of loans on grounds that the collapse of the Pakistani economy would not be to any country?s advantage, least of all India?s, because of the political repercussions it may entail.

The Ackerman proposal makes an exception in the case of ?food and humanitarian assistance? and it is an amendment to a larger resolution introduced on Monday by Congressman Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International Committee. The vote today was taken by the Asia and Pacific subcommittee. It must still be approved by the full committee before going to the floor of the House for a vote.

The only member to oppose the Ackerman amendment was Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman who claimed the rootcause of the problem in Kargil was the non-adherance to the UN-mandated plebiscite in Kashmir. Ackerman said that the people of Kashmir had more rights than the rest of the people in India and several elections had been held in Jammu and Kashmir.

The various amendments being proposed by various Congressmen partly reflect the jockeying for prominance on the Kargil issue mainly to project themselves. Another amendment doing the rounds on Capitol Hill is by Congressman Doug Bereuter, chairman of the Asia and Pacific subcommittee.

The Gilman resolution was meant to harmonise the language proposed by different Congressmen but it appears the goal has not been achieved. In the end, the whole thing does not really matter because the original resolution and the various amendments are all ?non-binding? and do not make it contingent upon the administration to act.    


 
 
INTELLIGENCE FAILURE II: CITY UNDER SIEGE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, July 1 
Question: How did the Mujahideen/Pakistani regulars come to occupy areas on India?s side of the Line of Control?

Answer: Intelligence failure.

Question: How did warriors of various shades take over Calcutta?s streets yesterday?

Answer: Intelligence failure.

Three processions and a sit-in demonstration had brought large parts of the city to halt yesterday.

Just as the question of responsibility bounced back and forth among Military Intelligence, Research and Analysis Wing and the IB on the Kargil catastrophe, back here one wing of the police is blaming the other for what they grandly call ?intelligence failure?.

Nazrul Islam, the deputy commissioner of police, headquarters, said it was the responsibility of the intelligence branch ? under the jurisdiction of the West Bengal police ? to alert its Calcutta counterpart, the special branch, on the huge number of Santan Dal supporters pouring in from the districts.

?Most Dal followers live in the districts from where they came to the city yesterday to hold a rally at Shahid Minar. Therefore, it was the duty of the state IB to inform the special branch,? he said.

Senior state IB officers would, obviously, not agree. ?He (Islam) shrugged off his responsibility by passing the buck to the IB,? they said. The Dal rally was held in the city police?s jurisdiction, the officers added.

Apart from the Dal, two groups marched through the streets and there was the indefinite sit-in by Mamata Banerjee?s Trinamul Congress.

?Who prevented the special branch from anticipating the huge assembly of followers of these organisations?? they asked.

Islam said that while the Dal took permission from the police, traders ? protesting against the tenancy law ? did not have consent.

Even Paresh Pal (of the Youth Congress) had not sought permisssion,? he added.

The police claim to have decided to take action against them for not seeking permission. But the promise rings hollow since Islam could not specify what action that will be.

Senior officers at Lalbazar are now thinking of not allowing more than two organisations to take out a procession on the same day.

This is one way of skirting the real issue of whether processions should at all be allowed through the city centre.    


 
 
CALCUTTA WEATHER 
 
 
 
 
Today?s forecast: A few spells of light to moderate rain.

Temperature: Maximum 31.4?C (Normal)

Minimum 26.3?C (Normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 97%

Minimum 84%

Rainfall: 7 mm

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 4.58 am
   
 

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