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Old 01-16-2012, 05:18 PM   #7

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Link Army losing more men to landmines than war
Published: Monday, Jan 16, 2012, 9:00 IST By Iftikhar Gilani | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The Indian Army is losing more personnel during peace times, and more so, while clearing landmines than in any war.

Since October 2002, when the Army began large scale mine clearing operations along the Pakistan border, it has reported 793 causalities of which 411 were killed. An international landmine expert believes that these mind boggling casualties were more due to the defence ministry‚??s stubbornness from taking any expert help while excavating mines.

Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Asia regional research coordinator for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, told a select audience here that despite their persistence, the Indian Army was not following standard operating procedures (SOPs) and international practices while forcing soldiers to clear mines.

He said casualties in the Indian Army were comparably more than in any war-torn country like Angola, Mozambique, Bosnia or Croatia. He said over the past few years, more cases of soldiers falling in the trap of landmines were reported from India.

‚??We have gathered cases of 365 soldiers falling victims to landmine,mostly while clearing mines. This amply means that they were not following SOPs or best international practices,‚?Ě said Puangsuwan, who has supervised mine clearing operations in Cambodia and other countries.
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