The Kashmir obsessionRohit Singh is a Research Assistant at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).It
has been 10 years since valiant Indian soldiers achieved the impossible feat of evicting Pakistani intruders from the dizzy heights of Kargil. Frontally assaulting peaks over 15,000 feet in waves the Indian Infantry defied all established norms of mountain warfare, a feat unthinkable for any modern army in the world today.
But a decade since the victory at Kargil, India continues to be bled by Islamic terrorists unleashed on it by the same Military-Intelligence elite in Pakistan which had conceived the astonishing misadventure in the winter/early spring of 1999 in Kargil.
Intriguingly, even after a decade since Kargil, there is still very limited information available from Pakistan on the real objectives in carrying out intrusions in the Kargil sector. Many analysts believe it was yet another tactical operation at the local level carried out to preempt a perceived Indian action across the Line of Control. That it was conceived as a retaliation to Indian artillery shelling in the Neelam Valley (PoK) in 1998 which had interdicted the critical Neelam valley road along the Neelam (Kishanganga) river.
It is believed that the Pakistan Army top brass of Pervez Musharraf, Rawalpindi Corps Commander, Lt Gen Mehmud Ahmed and Force Commander, Northern Area Maj Gen Javed Hasan, had not factored a massive Indian military response, which included heavy use of the Bofors guns and fighter aircraft.
All this seems convincing owing to the fact that only a select few generals of the Pakistan Army were aware of the plans of 'Op Badr' and that the sister services, particularly the air force, were not kept in the loop.
Even during the summer of 1999 no regular Pakistani troops (with the exception of few SSG commandos, artillery and support elements) were inducted to support the intrusions. The Pakistan Air Force rues the lack of advance knowledge of the plans, which stymied their ability to effectively counter Indian Air Force sorties in the Kargil sector.
This line of thinking is, however, contested by another school of Pakistani analysts, who feel that violating the Line of Control in this sector where it was clearly demarcated (unlike in Siachen) would have naturally invited the massive Indian military response it did.
Notwithstanding the above views, the misadventure in Kargil demonstrates the Pakistan military's obsession with Kashmir and the Line of Control.Images Courtesy www.bharat-rakshak.comImage: An Army officer checks the impact of a 155mm Bofors FH-77B round fired at a post held by Pakistani intruders during the Kargil war in 1999. Also read:Exclusive: General JFR JACOB on Kargil
| The murder before Kargil
| How we can remember Kargil