Kargil War Story
Kargil is spread over an area of 14036 square kilometers. It is 11,000 feet above sea level, about 204 kilometers eastwards from Sri Nagar. This area remains covered with snow for 8 to 9 months of the year. The temperature In Drass goes down to -50° to -55°c during midwinter. The total population of this area is 81,000.
The Line of Control (LOC) was and signed, but the line was not marked on the ground, but was identified by both the Indian and Pakistani armies and has remained so for the last 27 years. There was little supervision because there was an understanding between India and Pakistan that there would be no intrusion for about 70 kilometers of difficult terrain along the line of control which would not be manned. The is clearly marked both on the Indian and Pakistani maps.
The border skirmishes4 along the LOC have been matters of frequent occurrences. Every year during the summer season, the snow melts in the higher reaches of the LOC. The armies rush to occupy the higher terrain as it adds to the military superiority of the army present there. India has a history of being caught unawares repeatedly by Pakistan. After facing a crushing defeat in 1965, Pakistan made a second attempt on Kargil in 1999 and surprised us.
In 1999, Pakistani intruders, including 400-500 regular army, hired occupied positions in the Drass-Kargil-Batalik region at 10,000 feet to 14,000 feet well within the Indian territory. The Indian army patrol noticed some unusual movement on the Indian hills while moving towards point Bajrang on May 8, 1999. They suspected the presence of intruders there. Their confirmed report caused a because the intruders intended to make their way into India. Later on, it came to the limelight that Pakistan planned to send its regular army soldiers with those intruders. Pakistan had named those intruders as ‘Freedom Fighters’. The enemy soldiers were well trained.
There is no denying the fact that it was an intelligence failure on the part of India to trust the enemy fully and neglect the supervision, experts nickname as the ‘Panipat…’ Allow the enemy to catch you slumbering on your territory and then wage a war on his terms. The policy absolutely shows our carelessness and negligence of all duties.
The Pakistani Prime Minister declared that the intrusion of the Line of Control was not an act of the Pakistani army but of militants over whom Pakistan has no control. The External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh visited the place and called on the Prime Minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, the P.M expressed his deep concern over the breach of trust by Pakistan and communicated his firm resolve to the occupied territory.
The P.M. also visited Kargil on June 13, 1999. In his public meeting, he said that Pakistan has committed aggression against India by sending its armed personnel and mercenaries into the Kargil Sector, which is an integral part of India. He had a narrow escape when the Pakistani artillery shells destroyed the office of the Deputy Commissioner where his meeting was scheduled to be held. This on their part was intolerable.
The Indian troops were forced to take action. The infiltrators were in a high position to attack. The presence of thick snow made climbing next to impossible. Therefore, the first attempts of our army were, somehow, the Indian troops managed to achieve success by capturing post No. 5203 on June, 21. This achievement cost us the precious life of our captain Amol Kalia. There was fierce fighting for six days.
The Indian Army succeeded in occupying Central Ridge. Our army captured Tiger Hill on July 4. It also succeeded in clearing 99% of Baltik on July 9. The Indian troops occupied all the heights along the LOC on July 15. The Indian Air Force also came into operation. The Mujahideen were also on the Indian side. The international committee too declared Pakistan as the aggressor.
The intentions of Pakistan to draw India to a position with the international community as mediators or observers failed miserably along with the intrusion plan. In a way, it was a crushing defeat for both the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of the General Staff because the intrusion plan was their brainchild.
In June our P.M held a meeting with Commission on Security) and clarified that India had of crossing the LOC meeting decided to forewarn Pakistan of the dangers of war before taking any extreme step. However, the community did not favor the proposal, the Chief of Army Staff of India to look beyond Kargil and choke the supply line of an enemy from the Pakistani side and encircling them since it was in danger of the war. His intentions of opening up new fronts for flushing out Pakistani intruders with the minimum community believed that Indian forces were only clearing an intrusion in its territory.
The U.S. President, Bill Clinton called Pakistani Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif and held him guilty of the activity. He also apprised Nawaz Sharif that the full-fledged war would prove for Pakistan. The threat worked wonders and Nawaz Sharif withdrew the intruders.
The Kargil conflict cannot be termed as a localized conflict since it cost us a heavy loss. We lost our MIG-21, MIG-27, and Indian Air Force Ml-17 combat helicopter. Many Indian posts were shelled and prisoners of war savagely mutilated.
India won a resounding military success in the Kargil conflict, despite heavy casualties, India won the conflict with hi-tech in the fight through technology. Our Army and air force took three months to finish the ‘Operation Flush out’ and ‘the Operation Vijay’. Thousands of our jawans died and our government spent much more than in the previous wars with Pakistan. Pakistan failed abruptly to internationalize the issue and lost its position in the eyes of the world.
This conflict should serve as an eye-opener to both countries. Pakistan should learn a lesson not to invite trouble by coming into conflict with India. India also needs to remain cautious of Pakistan and not make the gross mistake of considering her weaker than herself.