December 2002 News

Jawans recover surface-to-air missile near LoC

14 December 2002
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Security forces today recovered a Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM) from a militant hideout in frontier Kupwara. Police said this is the first such recovery during 13 years of insurgency in Kashmir. An Army spokesman said the ANZA-I anti-aircraft missile which is manufactured in Pakistan and used by its Army, was found by a 24 Rashtriya Rifles patrol during a search operation in a militant hideout in Nagri Malpora near Kupwara. A large quantity of arms and ammunition, including rocket launchers and assault rifles were also recovered from the spot. Defence experts said the surface-to-air missile, fired from mobile launchers, could hit aircraft and other aerial targets at a range of 2 to 6 km. The missile weighed 15 kg in combat condition and was found crudely wrapped in polythene sheets in parts. ‘‘This is first such recovery and a cause of concern for us. We cannot rule out the presence of more such weapons in the Valley,’’ said K. Rajindra, IGP Kashmir. According to experts, operating a SAM requires skill and excessive training and the recovery of the missile indicated presence of highly trained militants in Kashmir who could handle such heavy weapons. ‘‘Operating such weapons requires specialised training and great maintenance. The missile won’t blast and would be of no use even if the storage temperature is not appropriate,’’ he added. He, however, said: ‘‘The approximate cost of this missile is Rs 65 lakh. It is very costly and I don’t think the militants would have more than two or three such weapons in Kashmir.’’

 

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