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 gives safe passage to intruders
Sharif awaits Kargil-Lahore bus
Change of guard at fiasco-hit RAW
Death travels slow on muleback
Share prices shoot up
Calcutta weather

New Delhi, July 12 
India today set July 16 as the deadline for Pakistan to pull out intruders and said any proposal to renew dialogue will be considered only after all army regulars and Mujahideen leave.

Pakistan ? which announced its withdrawal plans yesterday ? has demanded that the international community force India to return to the talks table to settle the core issue of Kashmir.

India said it has decided to temporarily suspend air strikes and hold fire to facilitate the withdrawal, but made it clear it has no immediate plans to renew dialogue. After a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, national security adviser Brajesh Mishra said: ?Ask me after July 16.?

The US today welcomed the development and made it clear it did not act as a mediator. The Clinton administration said the sanctity of the Line of Control extended to its entire length in Jammu and Kashmir and was not confined just to Kargil.

Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee met President K.R. Narayanan for about 30 minutes and apprised him of Pakistan?s decision to withdraw from the Indian side of the LoC.

Vajpayee also called up several chief ministers, including M. Karunanidhi, Chandrababu Naidu and Farooq Abdullah, and told them about the latest developments in Kargil.

Though the decision to suspend air strikes and hold fire had the hallmark of an offer of safe passage, officials here were at pains to distance themselves from the controversial phrase. India said Operation Vijay was on and no ceasefire will be declared unless Delhi was convinced Pakistani army regulars and Mujahideen had pulled out.

Indian foreign ministry officials explained that withholding fire does not amount to granting intruders safe passage. ?If it can resolve this conflict without further loss of life to our soldiers, why shouldn?t we accept the Pakistani proposal of withdrawal?? an official asked.

He said it was not the tradition of the Indian military to fire at a retreating army. ?We have always demanded that the intrusion be vacated. Pakistan has finally agreed to do so and we are facilitating the process by not firing at them,? he added.

Officials said the question of safe passage can only arise if the entire area is under India?s control. In this case, the intruders had moved into Indian territory and, because of pressure from Indian troops, had decided to retreat.

?We are allowing them to withdraw but we are not charting out any specific route through which they have to go. This would have been the case if safe passage was being given to them,? the official explained.

Once the withdrawal is over, India would like Pakistan to come out with a statement reaffirming its faith in the sanctity of the LoC. Asked if the withdrawal was not proof enough of Pakistan?s respect for the LoC, the official said: ?After the withdrawal is complete, we expect Pakistan to reaffirm the inviolability and sanctity of the LoC. The continuance of cross-border terrorism is a clear violation of the LoC and this must be abandoned by Pakistan.?

At yesterday?s meeting of the directors-general of military operations, Pakistan gave details of how it would pull out. Armed intruders will be recalled from specific areas on particular dates. The Indians have agreed to supervise the process.

Delhi expects the withdrawal to be over by July 16 and has made it clear to Islamabad that any intruder found on the Indian side of the LoC after this date will be treated as ?hostile and be dealt with accordingly?.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman R.S. Jassal claimed: ?Operation Vijay has been a resounding success. Pakistani forces have been defeated on the ground and status quo ante is being restored.? He said the pressure of India?s ?decisive military action? was ?also proving to be unbearable?.    

Islamabad, July 12 
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today tried to portray the pullout of intruders from Kargil as a victory, saying the conflict had drawn world attention to the Kashmir dispute.

Eager to convince the world that he wants to revive the spirit of the Lahore bus diplomacy, Sharif appealed for a face-to-face meeting with Indian counterpart A.B. Vajpayee ?to save our people from the dangers of war and give them peace and security?.

??Let us sit on the conference table and search for ways for a better future,?? he said.

Sharif added that Kashmir was the core area of dispute and ??nobody can suppress the Kashmiris? struggle for freedom??.

?Today, we have calmed down the volcano of Kargil, but tomorrow, the volcano can erupt somewhere else until the Kashmiris are granted their just right to self-determination,? Sharif said.

The nationally-televised address came a day after the infiltrators, acting on Sharif?s request, started to retreat from the strategic heights.

?Our decision to give diplomacy another chance is not based on a hasty decision, nervousness or pressure,? Sharif said, defending the withdrawal. ?More courage is required to avoid war than to start one. Only people who believe in collective suicide can start nuclear war,? he added.

Sharif said both countries? economies were suffering. ?Because of its adamant attitude, India lags in progress and development, and Pakistan is also lagging,? he said.

?For how long will we snatch food from our people and buy guns? For how long we will sell the future of our children to make bombs and waste our resources and create unemployment?? he asked.

?It is a wrong allegation that we stabbed India in the back,? Sharif said. ?The Mujahideen aim of capturing Kargil was to draw world attention to Kashmir, in which they have succeeded. Therefore, we appealed to them to give diplomacy a chance, as the world focus is back on Kashmir. I am thankful to the Mujahideen that they accepted our appeal,? Sharif said.

Brig. Rashid Qureshi earlier told reporters that disengagement had been completed in one sector of Kargil and would end in two or three days in another. ?The militants will start vacating positions in the last two sectors after the two countries? directors-general of military operations meet on July 15, he said.

Some guerrilla groups vowed to keep fighting. Rizwan Ahmed of the Hizbul Mujahideen, called the pullout ?the blackest chapter of our history?. Benazir Bhutto?s Pakistan People?s Party demanded Sharif quit for the ??debacle??.    

New Delhi, July 12 
The first head has rolled for the Kargil intelligence fiasco. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief Arvind Dave, who served on extension for 15 months, was today finally removed by the Centre.

Dave will be replaced by former Intelligence Bureau (IB) special director A.S. Dulat. Last night, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee signed the order appointing him the new RAW chief. Dulat, a 1965 batch IPS officer, received the order today and will take charge from August 1.

Dave was to step down on July 31, the day his three-month extension ? the second one ?- was to expire. Bureaucratic circles feel the government ?acted swiftly? in ?punishing? him as head of the agency that failed to detect the Kargil intrusions. Dave was earlier given a one-year extension which expired on April 30.

It is strange that the caretaker government has gone ahead and made a fresh appointment. Earlier, while granting Dave the three-month extension, it had argued that as caretaker, it could not appoint a full-time chief.

The Centre has also shunted out Dave?s immediate subordinate. Its point is to establish that several senior officials had bungled by failing to supply intelligence on the intrusions.

Special secretary N. Nagarajan has been appointed chairman of the Banking Service Recruitment Board. His transfer into an organisation which is not involved in security matters is indication of how peeved the Prime Minister?s Office has been with Nagarajan.

The sudden end to Dave?s tenure caps a string of intelligence failures over the past year-and-a-half. RAW had no inkling of the days Pakistan was to conduct its nuclear tests. It was in the dark about Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif?s plans to sack the then army chief, Jehangir Karamat. The agency had no clue that Sharif would introduce the Shariat Bill to further Zia-ul-Haq?s ?Islamisation? process.

RAW?s latest goof-up was in failing to penetrate the Pakistan military establishment and collect information on the plan to invade Kargil. Then it failed to inform the PMO whether the Indian MiG-27 had been shot down in Pakistani territory when Operation Vijay was in its early stages.

?All the bravado displayed by the agency in handing over to the political masters the intercepts of two phone conversations between Pakistan army chief Pervez Musharraf and his chief of general staff Lt Gen. Mohammad Aziz did not pay off after all,? a top official said.

The PMO was also annoyed with Dave?s style of functioning and the way he treated Dulat. The IB special director, brought over to RAW as special secretary in April to take over from Dave in May, had to function from the agency?s Lodhi Road headquarters without a room.

Though Dulat is a counter-intelligence specialist and an expert on Jammu and Kashmir, he was hardly consulted. No files were sent to him after the Pakistan intrusions were detected.    

Distant death is the saddest news when people must depart without the opportunity of even a fleeting farewell. Lieutenant Jerry Premraj got married to his sweetheart in Thiruvananthapuram on April 22, just a few weeks before hostilities began on the Kargil frontier. He died on a cold peak above Mushkoh valley last week, just a few days before the hostilities ceased.

Premraj was very far from home and fledgling family when he died but he gave even mates on the front no chance to bid adieu. He had left his artillery unit to join infantrymen going up Peak 4875 so he could guide gunfire on enemy positions.

A bullet hit him on the arm and burst a vein. Normally, that would have meant a minor injury but on that height, the blown vein bled too quickly for Premraj to return alive.

?I used to think only injuries to the head, chest and stomach can be fatal,? said one of his unit colleagues. ?But after seeing Premraj, I have begun thinking differently. Death just comes where it has to, when it has to.?

Today was the day after the ceasefire; the business of death was supposed to have been over last night. But then, in these mountains, death has a lag time; it could be a while before the news gets to you because it mostly trots slowly down on muleback.

There were three of them approaching the Drass roadhead from the Mushkoh hills this overcast morning. Each had a soldier on its back and each soldier was dead.

Their mates, conducting the silent cortege to base, were downcast. One of them had his arm in a sling; and all of them looked dazed. Like they did not know what was happening to them. Did it matter that the hostilities on the frontier were over?

?What do we know about all that?? said the jawan with his arm in a sling. ?For some of us, it is over anyhow. My friends are dead and we could have been too.?

These were men from a Jat Regiment, who have taken on some of the fiercest battles in this war and incurred the heaviest losses. ?Many of my unit men are still up. They are going to be a little upset if they are told the war is over. We were just getting ready to give them a beating,? the jawan said.

And then, pointing to his dead mates, dumped on the mules like ugly saddle-straps, he said: ?We have to take some sort of revenge for what they have done to us.?

He talked of recovering from his injuries ? his arm had been grazed by shrapnel ? and going back up again to fight along his unit. ?We should keep this right on till they are pushed out. Have you ever seen anyone politely ushering out an armed intruder who got into your home??

But elsewhere in the battlezone, there was also evidence of relief among soldiers. Though it was dyed deeply with caution.

?If they genuinely go back and we can march up to the LoC unhindered, this is probably a good idea,? said an artillery major at Pandrass. ?But will they do that honestly? Disengagement should not mean we cease fire and they continue sitting where they are. Or even try to infiltrate down other routes.?

The Mushkoh valley, for instance, has ridge routes running into Sonemarg and further down the Kashmir valley; the possibility of some militants using the absence of Indian fire to slip into the valley is not being ruled out even by military commanders in the area.

?They could take undue advantage of a ceasefire from our side to employ other strategies for infiltration,? an officer in Drass said.

Indian guns had been falling silent late last night and this morning there wasn?t a shot heard anywhere. But disengagement is perhaps a misnomer of a term for what is happening here. What, in fact, is taking shape all along the Drass-Kargil frontier is a permanent engagement of sorts. With the shock they have been given, the military is no longer easy with the idea of vacating winter posts or even letting down the guard along National Highway 1A.

Till last winter, the army used to pack up for the winter months from positions in Drass and Kargil. But no longer. ?We have to remain here, even if there is 100 feet of snow,? said an artillery colonel. ?It will mean a lot of money and a lot of hardship but that is what we have earned by being too relaxed and lackadaisical. This has forever been a mischievous frontier. We should have been more vigilant,? he added.

More and more troops and artillery are moving into Drass and Kargil. Even as news of disengagement reached the frontiers, troops and their officers were busy carting heavy war equipment in from the Zojila Pass. New gun areas were being dug and new kinds of armour, like small mobile rocket launchers, being positioned.

An officer looked back surprised when asked why reinforcements were still pouring in if the conflict had been called off. ?Well, of course, because we don?t want another Kargil happening in Kargil. If we are not prepared to sit here, what did we lose all those men for??

Must it always take death to teach us lessons?    

Mumbai, July 12 
As the guns began to fall silent in Kargil, the stock market exploded, sending prices rocketing to new peaks.

The Bombay Stock Exchange sensitive index whizzed to a five-year high of 4585.63, rising a breathtaking 223 points, or 5.1 per cent, in a day.

?We are having a party tonight,? said BSE governing board member Ramesh Damani, predicting the surge would continue tomorrow.

The optimism was based on the extent of the rally which covered in its sweep stocks of a wide array of industries, creating an additional value of over Rs 29,000 crore for shareholders in a day?s trading.    

Today?s forecast: Cloudy sky with one or two spells of shower or thundershower

Temperature: Maximum 31.9?C (Normal)
Minimum 25.7?C (Normal)

Relative humidity: Maximum 97%
Minimum 74%

Rainfall: Trace

Sunset: 6.22 pm
Sunrise: 5.03am

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