Saturday, June 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Troops may stay put on border
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

SOMEWHERE ON THE LoC: A senior Indian Army official on Friday dropped subtle hints that the troops are going to stay forth on the Indo-Pakistan border till a fair assessment is made with regard to cross-border infiltration. And he also made it clear that this assessment will take at least three to four months.

The categoric assertion to this threat made the General Officer Commanding (GoC), 16 Corps, Lt-Gen J.B.S. Yadav, imply that the Indian troop withdrawal from the Pakistan border will not take place before September or October this year.

“We need a minimum of three to four months to discern whether cross-border infiltration has come down or not”, General Yadav told a 43-member strong press contingent from Delhi, the first-ever such tour undertaken by the Army since the mobilisation of troops in December last.

Significantly, the media contingent that was taken today to various areas of the LoC comprised as many as 14 foreign journalists, including those from leading world dailies like The New York Times, The Washington Post and London Times.

Less than two hours later, in another area, Maj-Gen Randhir Singh, GoC, 25 Division, told the media party that the Indian troops had not been able to completely stop infiltration. “ We will only come to know about the level of infiltration in the next three to six months”, he said.

The cross-border infiltration has been one of the core issues in Indo-Pakistan relations and has been the epicentre of diplomatic tremors rocking South Asia since the terrorist event of December 13 and May 14.

Infiltration across the LoC is “meticulous” and virtually undetectable, General Yadav said, adding that for every detected infiltration of a terrorist, there are at least three to four cases of undetected infiltration.

“An infiltrator chooses his own place, time and route. There is no foolproof system to detect infiltration. We need time,” General Yadav asserted.

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