IAF to the rescue in cut-off Zanskar valley | india | Hindustan Times
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IAF to the rescue in cut-off Zanskar valley

india Updated: Aug 09, 2010 23:35 IST
HT Correspondent

As the extent of destruction following Friday's cloudbursts in Ladakh becomes clearer, rescue and relief operations are spreading beyond Leh to other areas such as the Zanskar Valley, which remains cut off from the rest of country.

On Monday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) evacuated 81 foreign tourists and six tour guides from Zanskar and adjoining areas.

Besides being a destination for adventure tourism, Zanskar valley is strategically important to India as it's the only land link between Kargil, where India and Pakistan had an armed conflict in 1999, and the Army's 14 Corps headquarters in Leh.

More than 150 tourists, mostly foreigners, were trapped in the valley after Friday's mudslides and flash floods.

"The IAF carried 63 sorties in 25 hours of flying and evacuated these tourists," Wing Commander Muneesh Sharma told Hindustan Times.

"They were dropped at the Pang area on the Leh-Manali road."

Zanskar was cut off after road links with both Kargil and Leh were disrupted after the flash floods.

Of the rescued tourists, 17 each are from the UK and France, nine from the Netherlands, eight from the Czech Republic, seven from Germany, four each from Israel, Switzerland and Romania, three each from Austria, the US and Italy and two from Spain, Sharma said.