Lt Gen Mohinder Puri, PVSM, UYSM, Former GOC, 8 Mtn Div -which played a key role in the Kargil war-argues that not crossing the LoC and accepting a cease fire when the enemy was on the run were strategic blunders which continue to haunt useven a decade later..
It was the 12th of June 1999. Eleven days had passed since 8 Mountain Division (Mtn Div) of which, I was privileged to be the General Officer Commanding (GOC), had assumed operational responsibility of the Drass-Mushkoh sectors from the local formation.
My Division was deployed in the Srinagar Valley since 1989 when GenMalik, later the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) during the Kargil War, had moved it from Nagaland. We had brought the insurgency under control in the valley and were now inducted in the Kargil sector to restore the situation in Drass .
Thanks to the media, Tololing had become a household name and had defied capture for the better part of three weeks. 18 Grenadiers was in contact with the enemy but unfortunately and due to no fault of theirs, were unsuccessful in overcoming the opposition. The battalion, a part of 8 Mtn Div had moved into the Drass sector with 56 Mountain Brigade, its parent formation, along with 8 Sikh and 1 Naga in mid-May 99. 1 Bihar, also a part of the brigade had been placed under 70 Infantry Brigade of 3 Infantry Division (Inf Div) in the Batalik sector.
The situation by the time my Division was given charge of the Drass sector was tense. Since mid-May we had not met with any success. Casualties were mounting and there was a discernible impression that Pakistan was having the better of us. To say that we were surprised would be an understatement. The fog of war was taking a heavy toll on troops who were fighting in the most in hospitable terrains with shortage of weapons and equipment.
Map courtesy website of the Indian Embassy, Washington
Also read: The Danger | The Murder Before Kargil | Pay Tribute