May 28, 1999
India has sternly warned Pakistan that it would be responsible for any escalation in the situation along the line of control in the wake of operations in the Kargil sector to flush out Pakistan-backed infiltrators.
In a strongly worded statement, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said last night that any foolhardy ventures against New Delhi cannot succeed. He said the present situation has been created entirely because of Pakistan's provocative activities. The statement came after the shooting down of one Indian Airforce aircraft by Pakistan yesterday.
The Prime Minister called on the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday evening. Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee is understood to have briefed Mr. K.R. Narayanan about the developments in the Kargil sector. Earlier the Prime Minister held an emergency high-level meeting attended by the Home Minister, the Defence Minister and the three Service Chiefs. Mr. Vajpayee reviewed the situation in the wake of the Pakistani firing at Indian Airforce planes. A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security was also held to take stock of the situation. The Prime Minister will hold a meeting with leaders of various political parties in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss the latest developments in the Kargil sector.
In a hostile and provocative act, the Pakistan army fired missiles from across the line of control shooting down one MIG-21 which went in search of another aircraft, a MIG-27 which crashed due to a mechanical failure. The Additional Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations), Air Vice Marshal, S.K. Mallick said, the Indian forces will take appropriate action against the missile attack. He said the airstrikes will continue and the forces have no intention to shift the operation to the line of control. The Air Force has also taken adequate measures for the safety of aircrafts taking part in the operation.
The Deputy Director General of Military Operations, Brig. Mohan Bhandari said the operations in Kargil have entered a new phase. He said, the intruders have been completely dislodged and the ground forces have effectively stopped any reinforcement reaching them from across the border. He said suitable precautionary measures have also been taken to thwart any misadventure by the Pakistani forces who have been giving all support to the militants.
India's acting High Commissioner in Islamabad has categorically rejected the Pakistani protest and allegations that Indian Airforce planes violated Pakistan's air space.
Pakistani military officials say that Flight Lieutenant K. Nachiketa has been captured while another pilot Squadron Leader A. Ahuja has died as Pakistan army shot down two Indian Airforce jets. The Indian Airforce sources said, it continued its operation in Kargil sector even after the loss of its two aircrafts. The sources said, atleast two more rounds were carried out.
The US has rejected Pakistani claims that some Indian bombs fell on the Pakistani side of the line of control in Kashmir during operations against infiltrators in Kargil. A state department official said that in their knowledge India has not struck over the line of control deliberately or accidentally. The Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Karl Inderfurth held separate meetings with Indian and Pakistani Ambassadors and expressed the hope that the two countries would move back to the spirit of the Lahore summit.
Russia has deplored the infiltration of Pak-backed armed militants into the Kargil sector of Kashmir and defended India's right to self-defence in the face of such intrusion into its territory. A senior Russian foreign ministry official told PTI that sending of armed foreign militants into Indian territory with prior knowledge and permission of the Pakistani government is a provocation, which is purely to be blamed for the current tension.
The European Union has urged India and Pakistan to take all measures to ease tension on the line of control.
In a bid to internationalise the Kashmir issue, Pakistan has demanded the intervention of the United Nations to diffuse the situation.
The BJP says, it is a warlike situation in Kargil now and the people should face the situation unitedly and no political colour should be given by the opposition to the current threat from Pakistan. The Congress has demanded that government should give a fitting reply to Pakistan's firing on the IAF jets. The CPI(M) has asked the government to stamp out the Pakistan backed infiltrators and exercise India's legitimate control over its territory.
The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and National Security Advisor, Mr. Brajesh Mishra told a TV channel that there is no need for any panic, following the loss of two airforce planes in Kargil sector. He also discounted reports that there is any chance of the operation against militants escalating into a war like situation. He said, India has already made the international community aware of its intention to evict the intruders from Kargil area.