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 
Posts cleared for Tiger Hill strike
Awacs nod after Pakistan alert
A land too beautiful to let go
Delhi sees July solution
Battlefield Calgil: Whose city is it anyway
Calcutta weather

June 30: 
After a night of heavy artillery shelling and gun battles, Indian forces today captured Point 5100, setting the stage for the assault on Tiger Hill. Point 5100 is the last height on a ridgeline leading to Tiger Hill and its recapture adds to the string of successes the army has had over the past couple of days.

The assault on Tiger Hill, expected within days, involves an attack against infiltrators who number around 25. They have recently been reinforced and their stocks replenished by mule trains and pony caravans carrying ammunition and food, Indian forward observation posts reported.

The operation to capture Point 5100 was launched along with the assault on Point 4700 or Kali Pahari which fell yesterday. There were about half a dozen intruder bunkers on Point 5100, but the army went slow after taking just one bunker. The intensity of the assault was heightened last night.

Point 5100 ? which cannot be seen from Drass but is between Tiger Hill and Point 4700 ? will provide Indian soldiers with a vantage point from which to train long-range weapons on the intruders on Tiger Hill.

The victory came as Indian troops collected their dead from Tuesday?s battle for Kali Pahari, in which 25 soldiers were killed. Soldiers today towed the bodies of their comrades down vertical, snow-capped cliffs.

Military sources said the intruders also hauled away their dead from portions of the barren inclines they still control. They lashed the corpses on to stretchers and crunching over snow-covered rocks, eased the burden down the mountainside.

In Delhi, army spokesman Col Bikram Singh said Indian ground forces have pushed back Pakistani regulars and militants from three important positions west of Kali Pahari, blunting the edge of Pakistani firepower to hold the Srinagar-Leh road to ransom.

The recapture of Knoll, Three Pimples and Lone Hill, west of Kali Pahari, is being described as a major achievement in the march up to Tiger Hill. Col Singh said these positions were stormed by a battalion of the Rajputana Rifles. About 30 to 40 intruders were holding on to the three areas. Since only two avenues were available to achieve the objective along ?knife-edged? ridgelines, Indian troops had to mount the offensive along approaches covered by Pakistani fire. In a direct charge, the infantrymen attacked the positions against heavy odds. While Knoll and a portion of Three Pimples were overrun by dawn yesterday, Lone Hill was taken in this evening.

For the first time today, defence ministry spokespersons used audio-visual aids to brief the media and pinpointed some locations on which the army and the air force had made recent strikes.

The troops are now progressing beyond Lone Hill with reinforcements from a battalion of grenadiers. Col Singh said initial reports indicate that about 40 Pakistani soldiers and militants were killed and 30 wounded in the attack. Twelve Indian soldiers, including three officers, were killed and 15 others wounded in the offensive. The officers who died are Major P. Acharya, Lt Vijayant Thapar and Lieutenant N. Kenguruse. So far, 201 soldiers have been killed in action and 384 wounded, according to the spokespersons.

In the Batalik sub-sector, ground troops are carrying out an ?encircling manoeuvre? to cut off the intruders? lines of communication.

Air strikes have been able to considerably degrade a Pakistani supply camp at Kukarthang in the Muntho Dhalo area. This camp sprouted after being destroyed in earlier air strikes on June 17.    

New Delhi, June 30: 
Apprehending possible missile and air attacks by Pakistan, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has permitted the defence ministry to buy at least three state-of-the-art Airborne Warning and Control Systems (Awacs) aircraft.

The CCS gave the go-ahead a couple of days ago after discussions with the three service chiefs.

Both the military and civilian establishments of the defence ministry have been asked to speed up the process of acquiring the aircraft. Finance minister Yashwant Sinha is believed to have assured the Prime Minister that funds would not be a problem.

The Awacs are highly sophisticated flying radar stations. They are an early warning system mounted on large aircraft and can provide advance input on hostile aircraft and missile activity.

Government sources told The Telegraph that the three Awacs would be acquired on ??wet lease?? from Western countries. Though the defence ministry is yet to decide from whom to buy the aircraft, sources said the countries likely to be tapped are the US, the UK, France, Germany and Israel.

The ministry had earlier drawn up a plan to manufacture its own version of an early warning system, but the project does not seem to have taken off.

A top defence expert said the Seattle-based Boeing manufactures the most sophisticated Awacs. The company has supplied several such aircraft to many European countries and also to Israel, Egypt, Japan and Singapore.

Although Boeing has refused to transfer the Awacs technology to any buyer country, Israel has its own version, called the Falcon.

The US Air Force and Navy use the latest variants ? the E-2C and the E-3 series of Sentry Awacs ? which are jamming-resistant and have high-capacity radar stations. The Sentry is used by the French and British air forces. Some Awacs aircraft were used during the Kosovo strikes.

The CCS, comprising the Prime Minister and the ministers for home, defence, external affairs and finance and the defence establishment have been forced to consider acquiring the Awacs after reports indicated Pakistan could extend the war beyond Kargil.

Defence experts said the Awacs usually fly, and give the best results, at an altitude of 30,000 to 35,000 feet. Their radar can spot any low-flying aircraft or missile within a range of 250 km.

But one defence expert, while acknowledging that Awacs can be ??tremendously effective?? in war situations, said they would prove ??totally useless?? in mountainous regions like Kargil. ??The radar mounted on the fuselage has to make a clear distinction of low-flying objects. The radar cannot penetrate mountains because of shadows and complex reflection from mountain surfaces,?? he said.

Bofors ban off

The Centre has lifted the ban on Celsius Corporation of Sweden, makers of the Bofors gun, to ensure speedy procurement of ammunition and spares for the 155 mm Howitzers, the mainstay of the army in Kargil.Celsius Corporation has sent a high-level delegation to Delhi for negotiations, official sources said today.    

Somewhere in the Mushkoh Valley, June 30: 
The Jonga grinds to a halt just beyond a desolate village of brown and grey stone houses that is now a loading station for the Sikh Light Infantry.

Major Chiranjeet Singh Gill, a tall, strapping, handsome Sikh in full battle regalia, steps out purposefully, walks up to the Mahindra Commander, pulls the door open and jerks his head as if calling his troops to order.

?You shouldn?t be here, you know.?

Behind him, the hillside to which the dirt road clings rolls on to a field of satin green millet and yellow mustard and then on to a gushing rivulet before the earth rises again in a barren, craggy hill. The major, arms akimbo, Ray-Ban glinting in the sun-washed valley, must be humoured.

?Neither should you.?

Shock? Puzzlement? Just before it turns to anger, you explain: ?You must have talked about it yourselves when you?re in the mess with friends. It is too beautiful to be a war.?

The lips twitch, then part in a smile. The tactic works and, in repartee, earns a quote I later pass off as my own.?That?s why it is a land worth fighting for.?

The major leaves with a word of caution ? ?Don?t stay here too long, the shelling gets really hot after 2 pm? ? and a request: ?Please don?t identify names and formations in your report.?

He is off to a battery of artillery, the dust raised in the Jonga?s wake choking a soldier leading a mule train to two Shaktiman trucks with cartons of Amul milk in tetrapacks, jerry cans of kerosene, crates of eggs, tea and butter. These must be transported 8.5 km further north on muleback to those who have laid siege to Tiger Hill. It takes each soldier 40 minutes to the top of the first hill. ?You will take about an hour without any load.? It?s a compliment, really, to lungs that have not yet acclimatised.

And Tiger Hill?

?You can?t do it,? the soldier leading the mule train says. ?Even we can?t do it all the way to the top. That?s for our betters.?

This is an infantry regiment experienced in high altitude but made up mostly of plains people. The ones who will lead the assault are born in climes that work lungs like giant bellows, mould sinewy muscles into tendons of steel. Some of that could be blown, torn, shattered by bullets, bombs, grenades hurled from nearly two-and-a-half dozen bunkers that were built by Indian troops along a flank with a 2.5 km sharply-inclined ridge and 5,080 m high.

The enemy, it is assumed, has occupied most of the bunkers and built some of its own just before the snows started melting. Indian bunkers facing the Pakistani side would not have been of any use to the intruders. So, though Indian bunkers were occupied by the infiltrators, new ones were also built.

Down here in this Mushkoh Valley village, though, as he picks out a list of supplies being despatched, the subedar is unmoved by the thok-pam of shells landing on the opposite hill. ?These hills are soft. So the projectiles often get embedded and the noise is a little muted,? he says casually for someone heading for Tiger Hill. We reach a point when it must be asked how the enemy got up there before the army.

?What do we know? What must be done must be done. Maybe someone has blundered, maybe someone got cleverer.?    

New Delhi, June 30: 
India hopes the Kargil conflict will be resolved, either diplomatically or militarily, within a month, notwithstanding Pakistan?s threat to use nuclear power.

India feels a diplomatic breakthrough could take place within a week. Otherwise, New Delhi is confident its armed forces will be in a commanding position by the end of July.

Raising the spectre of a nuclear strike, Pakistan?s religious affairs minister Raja Zafarul Haq said in Islamabad today that the ??use of nuclear weapon is the right of the country if its security is in jeopardy??. But Delhi is not taking the threat too seriously. It feels the statement is a desperate attempt by Pakistan to draw international attention to Kashmir.

India shortly expects some positive response from Islamabad to resolve the crisis. Delhi feels the mounting diplomatic pressure will make it untenable for Islamabad to continue with its intransigent position and it may soon have to withdraw the intruders.    

It?s a war Calcuttans have been fighting almost everyday. And losing. Yesterday, June 30, was one such.

For eight hours, the arteries to the heart of the city were clogged. Traffic did not move. Ambulances couldn?t carry patients to hospitals, fire tenders got stuck. And, children waited for hours after school to be picked up. All in a day for Calcuttans, but some still fret and fume. And, some seethe in impotent anger.

What?s a little sweat (it was muggy with a maximum humidity of 96 per cent), though, for all the great causes the medley of outfits hit the streets for?

The Santan Dal marched with 50,000 supporters from morning to evening, claiming the resurrection of their leader Balak Brahmachari. The placards proclaimed his immortality: ?Baba mrityuheen?, ?Babar maran nai?. They started at Shahid Minar at 10 am and, after a U-turn at Shyambazar, ended up where they began.

Traders? protest against the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act was a sideshow. The numbers were much smaller but they made sure to march through downtown. The processions, starting from various points of the city, converged on the Calcutta Municipal Corporation headquarters on S.N. Banerjee Road.

Not the most imaginative, certainly. The award for thinking up the attention-grabber of the day should go to the Youth Congress and its leader Paresh Pal. They recreated Kargil in Calcutta. The troop strength wasn?t much but the firepower very potent and the route taken very strategic: from Azad Hind Bagh in the north to Red Road through the city centre.

Intruding on one part of Chowringhee at the four-point crossing sat Mamata Banerjee?s Trinamul Congress, carrying on its ?people?s movement? against what it calls the high charges of power utility CESC Ltd. Yesterday was the 10th day of the sit-in.

Police, who give permission for rallies and processions, had no explanation why so many were allowed at the same time, same place, same day. Offhand, deputy commissioner (Hq) Nazrul Islam couldn?t say. ?I will have to check tomorrow (Thursday) whether all these organisations were given permission,? he said.

Calcuttans won?t be surprised if they were. Nor would they be amazed if they were not. In a city that is perpetually at war with itself, the border between what?s legal and what?s illegal blurs.    

Today?s forecast: Mainly cloudy sky with possibility of light rain in some parts.

Temperature: Maximum 33?C (Normal)
Minimum 27.8?C (2?C above normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 94%
Minimum 76%

Rainfall: Nil

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 4.58 am

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