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    India warns Pakistan over deadline

    India warns Pakistan over deadline


    SRINAGAR (occupied Kashmir), July 14: India warned Pakistan on Wednesday of the perils of ignoring a deadline for the complete withdrawal of Mujahideen from occupied Kashmir. Defence Minister George Fernandes said "guns will answer" if Friday morning's deadline was not met.
    "Our claims are not without fact," Fernandes told reporters.
    The minister was reacting to remarks on Tuesday by Pakistani foreign office spokesman Tariq Altaf who denied Islamabad had ever
    agreed to a deadline.
    "That is just a pack of lies," Altaf said in a radio interview. "It is absolutely wrong on the part of India to make such a claim."
    India said the deadline was accepted by Pakistan during a meeting on Sunday of senior military officers from both countries.
    It also warned that any freedom fighters remaining on the Indian side of the border after Friday morning would be "treated as hostile and dealt with accordingly".
    Sporadic artillery duels witnessed on Wednesday over the Line of Control, as Mujahideen continued to pull back from the Indian side.
    Three Indian military personnel were injured when a Pakistani shell hit their vehicle during the night at a checkpoint near Kargil on the main Srinagar-Leh highway that runs through occupied Kashmir.
    Indian guns opened up in retaliation on Wednesday morning, military officials said.
    While the artillery units continued their daily duels, air and ground assaults remained suspended ahead of the Friday deadline.
    Indian troops continued their advance towards the border on Wednesday, monitoring the withdrawal as they moved and clearing
    landmines left behind.
    "The army is moving closer to the LoC in the Kaksar and Mushkoh Valley regions, retaking areas vacated by the infiltrators," said
    Colonel Bikram Singh.
    #INDIAN TROOPS#: Meanwhile, India said it will station some troops in the heights of occupied Kashmir through the bitter
    Himalayan winter.
    Indian troops will brave temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius to watch a 140-km stretch of territory in the divided
    region, officials said late on Tuesday.
    "At present, a strategy is being worked out and some areas will remain occupied by soldiers even during the winters," Major
    General B.S. Budhwar, who heads operations in the Kaksar and Batalik sectors, told reporters.
    Indian troops have usually vacated positions along the military ceasefire line with Pakistan as snows began in the high-altitude
    Kargil-Drass region in November.
    Troops moved back to reoccupy them every May. Army staff said India wanted to maintain a presence in the area year-round.
    "Rather than sitting on the LoC, we might occupy the dominating features in the area," another army officer told Reuters.
    They said the Indian Army was preparing a long-term strategy to guard the heights of Kargil, invaded by Mujahideen in May.










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