Kargil Crisis: A Sad Saga

17 Jun, 1999    ·   207

Arvind Kumar explains that the likely scenario after this sad saga would be that India will now rethink its policies and strategies towards Pakistan

The Kargil imbroglio took place at a time when there was an immense feeling, not only among the citizens of India and Pakistan but also other nations, of a peaceful subcontinent. India initiated a number of measures including "bus diplomacy" with regard to improving the situation in the region and removing the mistrust between the two nations. Complacent after the positive result of these initiatives, India never expected Pakistan to create unnecessary tension along the frontier, despite knowing its track record well. The last decade witnessed a number of instances wherein Pakistan attempted to infiltrate terrorists across the LoC in pursuit of its nefarious designs on Jammu & Kashmir: in 1993-94 infiltration of terrorists was detected by the Indian Army in the Zojila Pass- Drass sector and between September 98 and March 99, the Pak Army launched 15 attacks attempting to dislodge Indian Army posts from the Saltoro Ridge overlooking the Siachen glacier.



The question arises as to why India trusted Pakistan . After the bus ride India restrained constant vigil at the border and assumed infiltration would not take place. Against the backdrop of the ongoing Kargil conflict, it is gives rise to the belief that Pakistan ’s strategy is to heighten tension along the LoC and Jammu & Kashmir to a acute pitch that it demands internationalisation of the issue. However, this particular strategy may not produce any desired results except constant problems for the Indian Army.



Undoubtedly, the situation in Kargil is serious. It may have occurred due to the laxity shown at the border as well as the failure of satellite technology in monitoring the border movements. The responsibility of maintaining the sanctity of the 740-km-long LoC from Jammu to point NJ 9842, and then to the 110-km-long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) along the Saltoro ridge overlooking the Siachen glacier, rests entirely with the Indian army. The brigade in Kargil supervised by the division in Leh failed to detect the intrusions until too late. The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) also failed in foreseeing the Pakistani game plan.



India launched "Operation Vijay" immediately after it was confirmed that Pakistan backed armed intruders has crossed the LoC.  India restricted its operation to its own territory keeping the letter and spirit of the Simla Agreement as well as the recently signed Lahore declarations. The Simla Agreement binds each side to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of the other and it specifically deals with the LoC. It lays down that the LoC resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides and that "Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally".  If Pakistan says the LoC is not a settled issue despite the Simla Agreement, it only shows that Pakistan wants to justify its recent aggression.



The likely scenario after this sad saga would be that India will now rethink its policies and strategies towards Pakistan . and will not trust Pakistan easily. However, ways and means will have to be explored by both the nations to create a positive atmosphere for maintaining a friendly and cordial relations and settling the Kashmir dispute.



The Indian armed forces would now be re-occupying the positions at a considerable cost – men , equipment and image. The Kargil crisis has definitely taught India to maintain constant vigil across the border through satellites and otherwise.