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 
India rejects Sharif bailout call
Army foils Pak attempt in Siachen
Defence dirty dozen
Wait for the right moment
Government fights shy of Rajya Sabha session
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, June 28: 
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to cut short his visit to China after India turned down his request to hold fire and return to the talks table.

Former Pakistani foreign secretary Niaz Naik, who called on Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee yesterday with Sharif?s request for a ceasefire, was told that further talks on the Kargil incursion cannot be held until Islamabad withdraws all intruders.

Reluctant to rally behind Pakistan, the Chinese leadership also made it clear during talks with Sharif in Beijing today that the neighbours should resolve the Kargil conflict through negotiations.

Hours after Beijing spelt out its stand, Pakistan announced that the Prime Minister had truncated his trip and would return to Islamabad tomorrow. He was to have spent six days in China.

Indicating Beijing?s neutral stand on the flare-up, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji said: ??We hope to see Pakistan and India quickly resolve the issue through dialogue in order to ease the current tense situation and return South Asia to peace and stability.??

Indian diplomatic circles are wondering what prompted Sharif to change his programme. One view is that Sharif may have achieved what he wanted to and, therefore, does not think it necessary to extend his stay in Beijing.

But others believe Pakistan could be gripped by political unrest. India?s tough stand and mounting international pressure may force Sharif to draw up a blueprint for a pullout from Kargil. The Pakistani defence establishment, which conceived and executed the operation, is bound to resist any such move. This, according to some Indian diplomats, could lead to a period of turmoil in Pakistan and Sharif may have hastened his return to pre-empt any such development.

Sharif?s special envoy Naik pleaded with Vajpayee yesterday that the government, already under considerable domestic pressure, needed a face-saver to get out of the Kargil mess. He felt a ceasefire and consequent return to the negotiations table would give the government a carrot to dangle before the people.

Turning down the request, Vajpayee said Delhi, too, had its own domestic compulsions and could not agree to anything unless Pakistan began pulling out the infiltrators.

The official spokesman for the Indian foreign ministry said Naik?s visit to Delhi took place after a telephone conversation between Sharif and Vajpayee. Though Islamabad maintains the former diplomat was in India on a private visit, the fact that he was allowed to use a special aircraft proves both governments were not only aware but had also approved his trip.

Besides meeting Vajpayee, Naik held talks with national security adviser Brajesh Mishra. He returned to Islamabad yesterday.

Aware that the parleys with diplomats from Pakistan and the US had fuelled speculation about a secret understanding, Vajpayee today said Delhi was neither cutting any deal to end the crisis nor trying to encourage third party mediation.

??Nothing but the complete and unconditional withdrawal of intruders will satisfy our requirements,?? he said at the all-party meeting on Kargil.

The Vajpayee government is not sure whether Islamabad will honour its part of the bargain if the two sides indeed strike a deal. Moreover, even if the Sharif government wishes to end the crisis, India is not sure whether he is still in control of the situation.

Delhi believes that if Sharif is serious about his proposal, he should immediately take steps to distance himself from army hardliners by starting the pullout.

In Beijing, Sharif said: ?Pakistan is willing to quickly resume peace talks and bring back stability through negotiations. We also hope the international community will make positive efforts.??    

New Delhi, June 28: 
Troops have foiled a Pakistani attempt to open a new front along the Line of Control in snowbound south Siachen, to the north of Turtuk-Chorbat La.

On Saturday, a group of armed intruders breached the LoC and attempted to occupy a strategic ridgeline. In an operation that lasted over a day, the infiltrators were driven out yesterday. Fifteen Pakistani soldiers were killed in the operation that was significant in terms of the size and number of specialised troops ? all high altitude warfare commandos ? used.

The operation coincided with a statement on Sunday by Brigadier Tahir Mehmood of the Pakistani army to a newspaper that the occupation of Siachen was one of the principal objectives of the Kargil intrusion.

The Pakistani raid has, however, raised questions on why there was no prior information on its planning and execution.

Pakistan has consistently tried to spread the conflict beyond Kargil. Indian forces have already foiled an attempt to take over territory in Turtuk, to the north of Kargil.    

New Delhi, June 28: 
A Pakistan High Commission employee, Dil Fayyaz, has been arrested in Uttar Pradesh on charges of spying. He has been declared persona non grata and asked to leave the country by July 5.

Indian authorities said Fayyaz was caught ?red-handed? taking ?sensitive? documents from an Indian Air Force officer, and his activities amounted to espionage.

Fayyaz was brought to the Chanakyapuri police station where the Pakistan High Commission had registered a missing persons? case early today, police said. ?After conducting medical examination of Fayyaz, he was handed over to Pakistan High Commission officials around 6.40 pm,? the police added.

The arrest, made at Hindon near Modinagar, has brought to light several similar cases. In the past month, 12 persons, mostly Indian defence personnel, have been picked up along with Pakistani nationals for giving away defence secrets. These arrests were made in Mumbai, Pune, Kanpur and Siwan in Bihar.

Security agencies are alarmed at the strong involvement of army and air force personnel in the cases. Fayyaz was caught taking ?sensitive and classified? documents from an IAF official in front of the air force?s local administrative headquarters.

Sources said Fayyaz moved out of the high commission premises at the diplomatic enclave in Chanakyapuri yesterday. He was tracked all the way to Hindon where he was supposed to meet his contact person.

A mission press release said Fayyaz had been missing since he left for the railway station last evening.

On June 21, the Mumbai police claimed to have busted a major spy ring with the arrest of four accomplices of a suspected Pakistani ISI agent, identified as Sayyed Desai alias Mohammad.

Desai was arrested in Pune on June 14. His four associates were picked up between June 12 and 18. Abdul Samad, an accomplice, was allegedly working in collaboration with Pakistani intelligence operatives in Karachi. He despatched documents to ?handlers? either by fax or through hired passengers visiting Karachi. A fax machine, two tele-conferencing machines, 29 passports and copies of documents pertaining to details of ammunition supplies at Dehu were seized.

About the same time as the Mumbai police were trying to locate the four spies, the Uttar Pradesh police were trying to net ISI agent Amjad Khan alias Riaz-ul-Nabi alias Mohammad Zafar. Based at Gammu ka Hata, a slum in Colonelganj area in Kanpur, Amjad was picked up by the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police from a phone booth on June 11.

He allegedly passed on details of troop movement from Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, and was helped in his spying operations by Indian troops in Kargil. Amjad is a former soldier who was attached to the Indian Signal Corps. He opted out of the army in 1993.

Officials from the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing and local subsidiary intelligence bureaux are interrogating the arrested ISI agents and their Indian contacts. They are trying to ascertain the extent of damage done to the country?s security interests. They are also working on leads to find out any common pattern in the activities of those arrested.    

If patience is a wargame, its battlefield is around Tiger Hill.

Five days ago, the 56 Brigade focused its attention on the height ? it?s about 13 km from Drass to the apex ? after the Rajputana Rifles captured Tololing ridge.

Now, the army curls around Tiger Hill?s girdle at the base, its artillery and machine-gunners constantly firing at the steep incline that slopes northwards towards the LoC. (Tiger Hill?s peak is between 3 and 4 km from the LoC.) ?Tiger Hill is all but ours,? says Colonel David of the 56 Brigade. ?We can choose when to assault. It?s only a question of time and patience.?

There is evidence that the army?s encirclement of Tiger Hill is gathering pace. The batteries of Bofors howitzers are not visible in Drass any more.

With the Bofors leaving Drass, the yaks are moving in ? some shepherds grazed their flocks yesterday ? and troops specialising in mountain warfare moving out. Soon, maybe before the week ends, they will nail ropes to Tiger Hill?s massif and the assault will begin.    

New Delhi, June 28: 
The BJP-led government appears disinclined to convene a special Rajya Sabha session on Kargil despite mounting pressure from Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left, the ADMK and the Rashtriya Loktantrik Morcha.

At the end of a four-and-a-half-hour all-party meeting, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee said in the absence of a consensus, he would ?reflect carefully? on the leaders? views and take a final decision. He specified no time-frame.

However, in a concession of sorts, Vajpayee agreed to call a meeting of chief ministers in the first week of July to brief them on Kargil. The demand for the meeting was raised by the CPM and the Telugu Desam.

Vajpayee also assured the 50-leader gathering he was ready to meet them ?as and when necessary?, even for sessions lasting two or three days.

In his opening remarks, Vajpayee denied the government was in the process of striking a ?secret deal? with Pakistan to end the conflict. He also ruled out proposals or mediation by third countries. Vajpayee?s assertion came amid reports of a clandestine India-Pakistan deal being ?brokered? by the US to ensure ?safe passage? to the intruders.

?We are clear that there will be no further dialogue (with Pakistan) as long as the incursion continues. We are making no secret deals and no proposals or mediation by third countries will be accepted,? he said.

The three service chiefs briefed leaders in detail about the situation on the war front, but refused to set a time-frame to end the conflict or reveal other operational strategies.

Information and broadcasting minister Pramod Mahajan told reporters that parties had unanimously lauded the courage and heroism of the soldiers, as well as the steps taken by the government and military to flush out the intruders.

The leaders also praised the government for its ?success? on the diplomatic front. ?It was mentioned that although we have fought so many wars with Pakistan, and it was always the aggressor, no country had the guts to name Pakistan in the past. This is the first time Pakistan has been branded an aggressor by so many countries,? Mahajan said.

But the Opposition warned that the government should not be lulled into complacency by its diplomatic ?victories? and invite third-party intervention.

The meeting did not touch on the issue of ?safe passage? for the infiltrators or crossing the Line of Control. Neither was the subject of emergency brought up, though L.K. Advani mentioned it in passing recently. Vajpayee said the Lok Sabha polls would be held on time.

The government also came in for its share of flak. The main Opposition parties assailed it for failing to prevent Pakistani infiltration in Kargil and demanded a Rajya Sabha session, while the BJP and its allies opposed it.

Making a strong case for a Rajya Sabha session, senior Congressman Manmohan Singh said though his party stood by the government at this critical hour, the country must be taken into confidence. The Left parties and ADMK representative Thambi Durai argued for a Rajya Sabha session. Thambi Durai also attacked defence minister George Fernandes for his ?failure? to anticipate the Kargil build-up.

But former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and leaders of the Telugu Desam, Lok Shakti, Biju Janata Dal and Samata Party bailed out the government. They argued a Rajya Sabha session would be ?counter-productive?, expose chinks in the political establishment and send a ?wrong signal? to the world.

Seeking to allay Opposition fears, Vajpayee said the government?s sole objective was to flush out the intruders. In a clear appeal to the Opposition not to politicise the conflict, Vajpayee said: ?For the first time we are fighting a war and holding elections simultaneously. It is a testing time for all parties. We must take a pledge to follow a code of conduct and not allow the country?s security to be compromised.? He urged parties to ?show restraint?.

The Prime Minister said: ?This is also the first time that Pakistan is holding out a military challenge to the Simla Agreement by seeking to alter the LoC. They were also hoping that by escalating the ground situation, they would succeed either in forcing international attention on the issue, or would compel us to accept the altered status quo.?

?Pakistan miscalculated in this and we have made it clear that we shall not countenance the alteration of the LoC and that we shall categorically reject any attempt to question the LoC,? he added.

Vajpayee said there was consensus on seeking to improve relations with Pakistan once the intruders were withdrawn.

?We shall do this in good faith but without any illusions. We will also seek a formal reaffirmation of the inviolability of LoC as it emerged after the Simla Agreement, and which both countries have formally delineated on the map,? he said.    

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

Temperature: Maximum 34.6?C (2?C above normal)
Minimum 27.3?C (normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 95%
Minimum 63%

Rainfall: 7.4 mm

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 4.57 am

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