Kargil: An Operational Update upto 09 July 99

10 Jul, 1999    ·   225

Maj. Gen. Ashok Krishna (Retd) offers an operational assessment of Kargil crisis until the 9th of July




Indian forces made significant gains to evict Pakistani aggressors from the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) in the face of stiffening resistance.  In Pakistan , differing interpretations emerged regarding the commitments made by Nawaz Sharif to Bill Clinton.







Pakistan has moved about one division into Eastern Baltistan (Skardu region) from Peshawar and other places.  This massive defensive induction in an area lacking in infrastructure is apparently an insurance against nearly three Indian divisions engaged in eviction operations in Kargil. But these troops could be employed for offensive operations,  particularly against the Indian brigade in Siachen.



Identifications indicate that the two Pakistan Army brigades holding heights in the Kargil- Dras-Mushkoh Valley and Batalik sectors  comprise three Northern Light infantry battalions  each along with Khyber Scouts, SSG  elements and Afghan Mujahideen. An unidentified unit is also operating in the area.



500 to 800 militants have been inducted by Pakistan into areas close to the Srinagar Valley , and in Rajauri and Poonch.  An equal number is awaiting induction in various areas of J&K.  Volunteers, mainly Pakistani Punjabis are undergoing training in guerilla warfare at camps located in the  proximity of the LoC.  They are graduates from fundamentalist religious schools (madrassas) which have sprung up, with government backing,  in Pakistan in the last two decades.



The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is likely to step up its clandestine activities in other parts of India .









By the first week of June, the bulk of the Eastern Fleet had moved to the Arabian Sea to join the Western Fleet.  The Indian Navy has been exercising and patrolling these waters and could impose a naval blockade of Pakistan 's coastline in the event of war.



Pakistan has announced that it will equip its Navy with nuclear weapons.






Employing the Mirage 2000 multi role aircraft, the Indian Air Force has been softening positions and destroying logistic dumps with laser guided and free fall bombs dropped from heights of 30,000 feet, at speeds close to 1000 km an hour, with an 80 per cent success rate.






The Indian Army has encountered increased resistance at certain positions; the adversary has also launched local counter attacks.  This shows that selected localities have been reinforced by Pakistan following the Sharif-Clinton talks.  The detailed situation is as under:-



(a) Kargil-Dras-Mushkoh Valley . The capture of the vital Tiger Hill position (near Dras) was a turning point in the conflict.  This has affected their direct observation of the Srinagar-Leh highway.  Mopping up operations continue.  The army is fighting to regain an important height overlooking Kaksar (near Kargil).  With the capture of  Tiger Hill, the fate of the intruders in the Mushkoh Valley has been sealed; fierce fighting is in progress.



(b) Batalik. Consequent upon the fall of Jubar Hills, Points 4268, 5287 and 4927, two out of three ridges in the area have been recaptured.  Once the third ridge is taken, the battle will move to the Shangruti complex which is the final objective in this sector.



(c) Turtok. Though the Pakistani attempt to outflank Turtok was foiled, they still  retain a small pocket in this area from which they have to be evicted.





Whilst Indian operations have made considerable progress, at places the army is still 3-4 km short of the LoC. Indian para commando teams have been very effective in interfering with enemy logistics and movement.






Two massacres in the last four days have claimed 26 lives. In the light of the recent induction of infiltrators and with more to follow, there will be a fresh wave of insurgency and terrorism in J&K.



Counter insurgency operations are now to be directed by the recently appointed Security Adviser to the state government, Lt. Gen Avtar Singh, who is also the Director General of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR).  His resources will be RR, BSF and CRPF battalions.  There is already a demand for more units  in the face of growing infiltration.






Having invested heavily in men and materials, the Pak army will continue to contest the advance of Indian troops, diplomatic parleys notwithstanding.  It will continue to adhere to its increasingly untenable position that its soldiers are not involved and this is an exclusively Mujahideen effort.  A fresh wave of insurgency and terrorism will be unleashed in J&K.  The Indian Army is fully engaged on the LoC, hence additional troops would have to be inducted to assist the state government to thwart Pakistani designs.



This limited conflict now contains all the seeds of enlargement and India would do well to gear up to face the worst, while hoping for the best.  If provoked further, it should be prepared to launch limited offensives.  With international opinion on its side, it may suit India to give up its rigid posture of bilateralism and invite wider participation in a scenario of increasing globalisation.