Kargil: An Operational Update upto 18 July 1999

20 Jul, 1999    ·   228

Maj. Gen. Ashok Krishna (Retd) points out that Pakistan is still to vacate five pockets which it established just 500 metres across the LoC in the area from Turtok to Mushkoh valley.




As a sequel  to the  Clinton- Sharif talks Pakistan ’s Director General of Military Operations [DGMO]  met his Indian counter part at the Attari border on 11 July to work out  the modalities of a pull out from the Indian side of the Line of Control [LoC]. It was agreed that all forces would be withdrawn by first light on 16 July [extended to 18 July] after which India would be free to resume ground and air operations against any remaining aggressors.












The Pak Army's intrusion in Kargil was the third phase of “Operation Topac” launched covertly by the late President Zia-ul-Haq in 1988. The first phase involved indoctrination of army personnel and militants, the second, sabotage by fifth columnists, and the third  a major thrust by the Pak Army to consolidate.





Afghan opposition parties have alleged that Pakistan has amassed eight to ten thousand mercenaries and regulars for a summer offensive in Jammu and Kashmir [J & K]and Afghanistan .. The ISI has extra-territorial designs to rule Afghanistan by proxy, but also to wrest J & K and intervene in  the Central Asian Republics   and Chinese Islamic provinces.



Pakistan has stated that all out efforts would be made to strengthen defences in the Northern areas and that this region would be brought on par with the developed parts of the country.



The detention of a North Korean ship at Kandla port by the customs has brought into focus Pyongyang ’s covert aid to Pakistan ’s missile programme.



The Line Of Control[Loc]



Pakistan ’s Foreign Minister  has been stating in interviews to the BBC  and the domestic press that it was India that first altered the alignment of the LoC in four areas. The factual position is as under:



(a)Chorbat La in 1972. The Shimla Agreement was signed in July 1972. Pakistan tried to occupy  ground  on the Indian side in the Tithwal sector and at
Chorbat La.
[in May]. The Joint Boundary Commission ordered ground surveys to determine  the alignment of the LoC in these areas.. Thereafter,   Pak troops  were withdrawn.



(b)Siachen in 1984.   The 1949 cease fire line ended at NJ 9842; beyond lay a snowy wasteland.The Line thereafter was depicted to run North to the glaciers.  In 1972, both sides agreed that the LoC would terminate at NJ 9842, as before.In 1984, Indian troops pre-empted a Pak plan to locate its troops East of the Siachen glacier This move would have enabled them to overlook crucial passes into Ladakh and lay claim to all territory upto the Karakhoram Pass by extending the line north eastwards from NJ 9842.  On the other hand, if it were drawn northwards, then, according to the watershed principle,  the Saltoro Range overlooking the Siachen glacier would become the boundary. This range is held by India since 1984. .



(c)Kumar Post in 1988.This post is well to the North of NJ 9842 . It is on the Saltoro Range and was occupied in 1988 when  Pakistan occupied  a height overlooking the Indian base in Siachen.




(d)Neelam (or
Kishanganga Valley ) in 1994. The position here is the same as in 1949 when the cease fire line came into being.  Pakistan did make attempts to improve its positions here, but were thwarted. Pakistan has  not been able to dislodge India from the dominating heights it holds in the valley.






A gradual withdrawal has taken place in the area of operations.  The guns are generally  silent.  Indian troops are carefully approaching the LoC. Some of the features have been  heavily mined and booby trapped.



India has regained control of all the main ridges in Turtok, Chorbat La and the Batalik –Yaldor areas. In Kaksar, India established control over the Bajrang Post and Pt 5299. In the Mushkoh Valley , the enemy is holding on to a few isolated positions.



Pakistan is still to vacate five pockets which it established just 500 metres across the LoC in the area from Turtok to Mushkoh valley.This is obviously a face saving effort to grab some territory to show for its massive intrusion, and later withdrawal.






Pakistani militants attacked a highly guarded  BSF residential complex in Srinagar on 12 July and took 12 persons hostage after killing a Deputy Inspector General and Deputy Commandant. Next day Black Cat Commandos rescued the hostages and killed one militant .On 18 July, the militants made an abortive bid to blow up the district police lines at Badgam (near Srinagar ) by firing a barrage of rockets.



There have been five attempts by Pakistani troops  and armed militants during the past three weeks to intrude into Indian territory in Poonch  and Rajauri.






Pakistani intransigence in withdrawing from five small pockets could lead to renewed fighting. As anticipated,  terrorism has increased. Suicide squads will try to strike at civilian and security forces’ targets to revive insurgency and  terrorism.