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Pakistan Troops Repulsed on Glacier, India Says

October 01, 1987|From Reuters

NEW DELHI — Pakistani troops tried to throw the Indian army off the Siachen Glacier in Kashmir last week but were repulsed with heavy losses, India said Wednesday.

In Islamabad, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry accused India of "aggressive movements" in Kashmir, but it gave no information about the reported clash.

Indian defense sources said 150 Pakistanis were killed in battles fought 20,700 feet up in the Karakoram Mountains of northeastern Kashmir. The sources said the three-day clash ending Friday was the worst in three years between India and Pakistan. They have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two over Kashmir.

"It was a serious attempt to dislodge us, and it didn't work," an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said. "The Pakistanis attacked with heavy artillery, multi-barreled rocket launchers and automatic weapons. Their troops assaulted our positions but were repulsed."

He said neither side gained or lost ground. He said India's casualties were much lighter than Pakistan's but refused to give details.

Indian and Pakistani troops have confronted each other along a cease-fire line in Kashmir since they carved up the Muslim-majority state between them in a two-year war following their independence from Britain in 1947.

India holds the southern two-thirds as its state of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan holds the north as Azad (Free) Kashmir.

The Siachen Glacier lies in an area not delineated in the last cease-fire agreement between the two countries after their 1971 war.

"The glacier escaped all negotiations. The line was never drawn there," said an Indian analyst. "It has no value, but it's there and they've been fighting over it since 1981-82."

A Western diplomat said the two sides were probably maneuvering on the glacier before winter sets in and makes movement impossible.

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