AIR OPERATIONS TO FLUSH OUT INFILTRATORS IN KARGIL SECTOREarly this morning, the Indian Air Force took armed air action against Pak-aided militants, who had infiltrated into our side of the LOC, in general, areas of Drass-Kargil-Batalik. This action was forced upon India because the infiltrators are in considerable strength and consist of a large number of well-trained mercenaries. They are not only supported directly by the Pakistan Army, but Pak Army regular are believed to be participating alongwith them. The infiltrators have taken positions of advantage on very high ridges, which are difficult to neutralise by ground action alone. In joint operations, the Army is closing in to clear the positions engaged by the Air Force today.
The air action has been taken on account of the following :-
The Indian Defence Forces have been directed to take action, as deemed necessary, on own side of LOC. Should there be any direct or indirect interference in our operations by Pakistan Army or PAF, the Indian Defence Forces have been authorised to take appropriate action.
- If not contained at this stage, Pakistan would have been encouraged to extend its Operations further. Delayed reaction would have called for a more severe action, possibly increasing the areas as well as the scope of Operations.
- If the infiltration is not arrested and the infiltrators are not evicted, the alignment of the LOC could well be altered to our disadvantage.
- The security of our vital ground line of communication from Srinagar to Leh, via Kargil would be under threat.
- If militants continued to hold the heights, infiltration in this area would increase.
It would be in the interest of Pakistan to not only stop aiding the militants by its agencies, but actually ensure their withdrawal and bring the ground position to status quo ante.
Both fighters and helicopters took part in the operations. Earlier, an IAF aircraft within its won airspace was attacked inspite of prior notice to Pakistan authorities as per the agreement. Due to this we had to use our fighter aircraft also to provide us the freedom of operating within our own air space without any outside interference.
This is the start of operations and they would continue till our Defence Forces reoccupy our territory. Any escalation of this conflict will be entirely the responsibility of Pakistan.