Jammu, India — Indian troops repulsed a Pakistani attack on a glacier in their disputed Kashmir border region, killing six Pakistani soldiers in three days of fighting in snow and freezing temperatures, an Indian general said today.
Lt. Gen. M. L. Chibber, head of the Northern Command, said Pakistani commandoes from the elite “Special Services Group” attacked Indian positions on the Siachin glacier in the first week of January.
He said the Pakistanis “equipped with the most sophisticated weapons, launched a two-pronged attack on our Indian pickets under the cover of heavy snow.
“But our Indian troops courageously bore the brunt of their attacks and ultimately, after three days of fierce battle, repulsed their attacks and drove them back,’ the general said. ‘‘Six Pakistani personnel were killed and more than a dozen others wounded,” Chibber said.
He did not mention Indian casualties but said three Indian soldiers were killed and 27 others buried under avalanches during border operations since last April.
The Pakistan government did not immediately comment on India’s account of the battles in the 19,000foot glacier region where temperatures plunge to minus 40 degrees.
Border clashes are common along the 750mile ceasefire line in Kashmir near the Chinese border, which was drawn in 1949 and revised by India and Pakistan in the 1972 Simla agreement.
In three major clashes in April, August and January, Indian soldiers “witnessed Pakistani army personnel carrying 63 bodies from the area,” Chibber said.
Some foreign affairs analysts in New Delhi believe Pakistan may be trying to capture the glacier to link up with the Chinese border. Pakistan and China are on friendly terms and some reports said China is helping Islamabad develop a nuclear bomb.
Chibber said that despite ‘‘poor logistics,’”’ Indian troops were able to turn back the Pakistani forces and inflict heavy casualties on each occasion because they were on “heights overlook the Pakistani side.”
In April, Chibber said, India heard of an attempt ‘by Pakistan to capture the glacier and flew in a battalion to an airfield near the Chinese border.
He said an officer and 26 other Indian troops were lost in an avalanche, but that the remaining force ‘‘overwhelmed Pakistanis manning a small post at the glacier.’’
Article extracted from this publication >> January 18, 1985