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Pak-made missile found at militant hideout in J-K

Press Trust of India

Posted: Dec 14, 2002 at 1739 hrs IST

In a significant seizure of arms, Army on Saturday recovered a surface-to-air missile from a militant hideout near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir raising concerns that Islamabad might be attempting to raise stakes in the trouble-torn state.

An Army spokesman said the Anza-I anti-aircraft Missile which is manufactured in Pakistan and used by its army, was found by an army patrol which stumbled on a militant hideout in Mallarpur forests in the frontier district of Kupwara.

The documents seized from the hideout revealed that the missile was meant to target Indian Airlines' civilian aircraft or VIP helicopters, he said, adding the missile was capable of striking fast moving aircraft also.

Besides the missile, a large quantity of arms and ammunition, including rocket launchers and assault rifles were also recovered.

The spokesman said the surface-to-air missile, fired from mobile launchers, could hit aircraft and other aerial targets upto a range of 2 to 6 km. The missile was found crudely wrapped in polythene sheets in parts.

This is the second time in the last two years that the Army has found surface-to-air missile from the militant arsenal, a year and half ago, soldiers from an Air Defence Regiment had found another surface to air Anza Missile in the Poonch sector after busting a Lashkar hideout. Army experts who examined the missile said it was not in firing status, having been very crudely packed. They said such missile have to be kept in air-cooled chambers for their effectiveness. The presence of such missiles in militant arsenal, Army experts said, would amount to raising of stakes by Islamabad as such weapon system had capability of hitting slow moving civilian and VVIP aircrafts and were dubbed as offensive weapons.

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