Kargil War was one of the actions taken by Pakistani Army that was devastating in many ways. It happened in the backdrop of the visit by Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Pakistan for the Lahore Summit.
It reiterated to India as to how it was impossible to ever believe and depend on any statement by the Pakistani civilian government, even if the Indian side feels it is trust-worthy. What happens in the real establishment is a whole another thing.
How Pakistan planned the Kargil War – bare facts
In this discussion between Naseem Zehra, Shahid Lateef and Ejaz Haider with the anchorperson Mooed Pirzada some astounding things come out. At the start of the discussion, however, Lt. Gen. (retd) Shahid Aziz, who was the Director-General Analysis at ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) at the time of Kargil War, exposes Pakistan’s lies and duplicity on Kargil.
He accuses Pervez Musharraf as being almost juvenile and completely lacking strategic thinking. He also calls him out to be a liar. The war was a big loss for Pakistan and a great strategic victory for India.
Naseem Zehra comes into the discussion as someone who has done some research on the whole Kargil issue and has done detailed interviews with many Generals of the Pakistani army and understand the details.
What she says is very significant. Interestingly, Ejaz Haider also shares some “off the record” discussion that he had with General Tauqeer Zia in the course of this program on the operational details which is very interesting.
Here are some of the main bullet points:
- Contrary to what many commentators have said – Kargil was NOT merely a revenge for Siachen or to neutralize it. The larger objective was – as per Musharraf – to ‘Win Kashmir’. Kashmir and not Siachen was the main goal!
- Only very few people, even in the Pakistani Army, knew about the operational details of the Kargil operation. Three main ones – General Musharraf, General Aziz, and General Javed Hassan were in the know. The ‘Kargil plan’ had been taken to the earlier Army Chief General Karamat who had shot it down because he felt it was juvenile and stupid.
- When Lahore Summit was being planned (it started on February 21, 1999), at that time the Pakistan troops were already occupying the heights in Kargil. The movement had started, as per Zehra, by October 1998 itself!
- General Musharraf suggested once that he had briefed Nawaz Sharif on the Kargil operation in January. That is false, per Zehra. What Musharraf briefed Sharif was about a bypass highway near Kargil area and not the operation.
- The first time Nawaz Sharif was briefed about it by the Army was in May 1999, when the war had already started. 18th May to be precise.
- General Tauqeer Zia told Ejaz Haider off the record that ‘Operational Directorate’ was never involved. In fact, they were engaged later and asked to provide “operational underpinning” (spin in layman’s terms) to the whole operation.
- Civilian ‘principals’ – or the democratic government was held in dark by the Pakistani Army.
- Pakistani Army thinks Indians – Defense and Politicians – are a bunch of nincompoops and can be taken for a ride. The lady actually narrates the logic of the General whose brainchild Kargil was. “Yeh baniye hain, inse ladai nahin hoti”. And, this was the exact mindset that the Generals had during the 1965 and 1971 wars. And Pakistan lost both. YET, this kind of nonsense prevails even today. That is why Four Top Most Generals went ahead with the plan! Pakistani Army has had this great idea of itself where it has always been wheeling-dealing with different powers on the basis of Jihad.
It is fairly obvious that the whole planning for Kargil War within the Pakistani Army was done with a certain level of chutzpah and juvenile sense of superiority. Which mirrored the mindset in the Army during the planning for 1965 war. None of their assumptions panned out. And in both the wars they lost badly. In one place Naseem Zehra has said that more people from Pakistan died in Kargil than in 1971 war! That is a big human loss for a country that started the war in the first place with all the elements of surprise.
For those who were not there, let us start with a timeline of the whole thing. Here is a day by day timeline of the Kargil War. How it started and how it went about in major milestones.
Kargil War Timeline
The major Indian victories have been marked with an asterisk. They are important to remember.
May 3, 1999
Pakistani intrusion in Kargil reported by local shepherds
May 3, 1999May 5, 1999
Indian Army patrol sent up; 5 Indian soldiers captured and tortured to death
May 5, 1999May 9, 1999
Heavy shelling by Pakistan Army damages ammunition dump in Kargil
May 9, 1999May 10, 1999
Infiltrations first noticed in Dras, Kaksar, and Mushkoh sectors
May 10, 1999May 15, 1999
Indian Army moves in more troops from Kashmir Valley to Kargil Sector
Sometime in mid-May May 15, 1999May 26, 1999
IAF launches air strikes against infiltrators
May 26, 1999May 27, 1999
IAF MI-17 shot down by Pakistan using Stinger missile
Four air crew dead May 28, 1999June 5, 1999
Indian Army releases documents recovered from three Pakistani soldiers
indicating Pakistan’s involvementJune 5, 1999June 6, 1999
Indian Army launches major offensive in Kargil
June 6, 1999June 9, 1999
* Indian Army re-captures two key positions in the Batalik sector
June 9, 1999June 11, 1999
India releases intercepts of conversation of General Musharraf
with Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aziz Khan in Rawalpindi, as proof of Pakistan Army’s involvement.June 11, 1999June 13, 1999
* Indian Army secures Tololing in Dras
June 13, 1999June 15, 1999
Bill Clinton calls Nawaz Sharif and forces him to move out of Kargil
June 15, 1999June 29, 1999
Pakistani army’s food and weapons supply line was cut off
Indian Army moves towards Tiger HillJune 29, 1999July 2, 1999
Indian Army launches a major attack in Kargil
A three-pronged attack undertakenJuly 2, 1999July 4, 1999
* Tiger Hill captured by Indian Army after an 11-hour battle
July 4, 1999July 5, 1999
* Indian Army takes control of Dras
Nawaz Sharif orders withdrawal after meeting ClintonJuly 5, 1999July 7, 1999
* India recaptures Jubar Heights in Batalik
July 7, 1999July 11, 1999
* India captures key peaks in Batalik
Pakistan starts complete withdrawal July 11, 1999July 14, 1999
Atal Bihari Vajpayee declares Operation Vijay a success
July 14, 1999July 26, 1999
Kargil conflict officially comes to an end
Indian Army announces complete eviction of Pakistani intruders July 26, 1999
This will give the readers a better sense of what the analysts are discussing.
Kargil war was symptomatic of the Pakistani mindset
If people like Gen Aziz had not written anything on this or the truth otherwise – from the Pakistan side – had not come out, there were enough anchors and Pakistanis (majority, in fact, almost all barring a handful) who used to insist that Kargil was a brilliant move from Pakistan!
So, the top core did go along with the Army decision to go to Kargil heights, even if they had reservations at that time. The almost racist and bigoted anti-Hindu thinking in Pakistani mindset about “Indian Baniye” is the basis of how Pakistan has always engaged with India – and put it on the backfoot. That is PRECISELY the mindset that created the Mumbai Attacks as well. And, the establishment of that time with Dr. Singh at the helm, did not disappoint them with its pusillanimity!
Not till the Modi government, has India ever stood upto the bullying ways and tactics of Pakistan. Ways that were at the root of conjuring up a juvenile fantasy like the Kargil War and that it will secure Kashmir for Pakistan!
Featured Image: Wikipedia – author PMO, Government of India “Indian soldiers in Batalik during the Kargil War”