October 1999 News

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Pak trying to replicate Afghan strategy in J&K

19 October 1999
Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: Army Chief Gen V P Malik has said Pakistan is attempting to replicate in Jammu and Kashmir the military strategy it followed in Afghanistan with its Army regulars and militants working as a single entity.

State-sponsored militancy and terrorism by Pakistan today is replication of its Afghanistan strategy ... Today there is a greater collusion of the Pakistani Army regulars and the so-called Mujahedeens or militants. They are definitely working now as a single entity and not separate forces, Malik said during an interaction with editors of PTI at its head office here.

The Army Chief said a special operation to search and destroy militant hideouts has been launched in the North and South of Peer Panjal ranges dividing the Kashmir valley from the Jammu region.

Referring to the current state of Pak-sponsored militancy, he said the militants were now better equipped and obviously better controlled by the Pakistan Army through its communications network.

What people do not understand is that ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) is not a separate entity. Officers go to ISI from the armed forces and return to them, Malik said, adding that ISI was adjunct of the armed forces.

The Army Chief said radio intercepts of the militants showed how happy they were about the military takeover in Pakistan.

Malik said there was a setback in the fight against militancy when certain units of the armed forces were moved from the Valley to Kargil sector in May last.

We did not have enough troops for offensive operations (against militants). The paramilitary forces were by and large protective and were not going in for offensive operations, he said, adding some forces were later brought back to resume offensive anti-militancy operations.

However, since then there has been improvement in the situation and September was a good month during which a large number of militants were killed.

He said these days we have launched certain major operations, both North and South of Peer Panjal ranges, basically to bust militant hideouts in the jungles and in the mountains. We are using more force for these operations.

The Army Chief said the problem facing India and the international community was that Pakistan has become a breeding ground for militancy and terrorism.

For the Army, war neither began nor ended with the Kargil operations. The Army has been engaged by Pakistan in a proxy war which has gone on for ten years, Malik said.

Referring to the proxy wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the Army Chief said such a war goes slow, lasts long and less attention is paid by the media, the international community or even our Governments.

Kargil is linked to what has been happening elsewhere. Regular (Pakistani) Army troops tried to put on a facade of militants and look like them, he said.

Malik said while 969 Army personnel were killed between 1990 and 1998 in anti-militancy operations in J and K, this year the Army has suffered 382 casualties till last month.

But with the operations against militants being stepped up in September, he said 145 militants had been killed during the month and 177 weapons recovered. (PTI)


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