July 26, 1999
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India said on Monday that its troops had forced all infiltrators back across the "line of control" that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India.
"Three pockets of intrusion in Dras, Batalik and Mushkoh have been evicted," said Lt. Gen. N.C. Vij, director-general of military operations. "There is no Pakistani presence on Indian territory."
India has claimed that the infiltrators, fighting against Indian rule in the Himalayan region, were backed by Pakistani soldiers, a charge disputed by Pakistan. Most of the rebels left the region earlier this month when the two nuclear neighbors reached an agreement to halt the two-month fighting.
Vij said Monday that Indian and Pakistani troops were occupying key points along the "line of control," and that sporadic shelling was still going on.
"This situation is likely to persist until both sides reach some understanding," he said.
India launched its offensive against the infiltrators in May when the Islamic guerrillas took over strategic points in the northern Himalayan peaks.
The battles brought fears that another war over Kashmir -- the third between India and Pakistan since the two gained independence from Britain in 1947 -- was imminent.
The Washington Post reported Monday that recent clashes brought the two sides closer to a full-scale war than was acknowledged at the time. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence had revealed Indian troops loading heavy equipment onto railroad cars in the desert state of Rajasthan, along India's western border with Pakistan, apparently preparing for an invasion.
Such an escalation would have increased speculation that India and Pakistan, which surprised the world by trading nuclear weapons tests in May 1998, might turn such destructive weapons on each other.
India's ambassador to the United Sates, Naresh Chandra, told the paper that troop preparations along the main border between the two countries were merely "precautionary."
Correspondent Satinder Bindra contributed to this report.
Militants attack Kashmir village, 15 dead, police report
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