25 years of Kargil war – Pakistan continues to pursue the idea despite debacles

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 26, 2024 IST

Arun Joshi

It is season of paying tributes to soldiers and officers who sacrificed their lives to recapture trans-Himalayan heights from the occupation of Pakistan , as the nation celebrates 25th anniversary of Kargil war . This season known as “Operation Vijay”, launched in May 1999 and that went into July that year , is a reminder of the new script of the mountain warfare written by the Indian army against all odds . It was  forced to fighting an enemy perched at the heights of hundreds of feet above  its own positions .  

The spirit of Kargil lives on even after 25 years of the war. India continues to look back at what it had faced  in the Himalayan heights 25 years ago . Kargil was, and continues to be a saga of sacrifices  because of Pakistan’s breach of trust , as also because of the complacency of the military leadership of the times . And, for Pakistan it is a double-edged tale how it highlighted the Kashmir issue at the international level , and also how it was made to pass through an era of military humiliation . It continues to pursue the idea of Kargil by sending terrorists and war machinery to Jammu and Kashmir .

Over the years, since the Kargil war, India has experienced several atrocities , including terror attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001, Mumbai terror attack of 26/11, and unending list of attacks in Kashmir, the most startling and shocking being February 14, 2019 attack that devasted the nation .In 1999, it was one of the rarest of rare moments in  history when the  army was tasked to fight a war to regain its own positions in the Himalayan heights . This was a unique scenario . The Indian soldiers paid the price  for the victory because of the violation of the unwritten agreement of not trespassing into  each other’s territory during winters when the temperatures dipped minus 40 degree Celsius at the heights of 14,000 to 18,000 .Pakistan soldiers had   occupied the abandoned bunkers  of the Indian army  and also constructed new ones during the winter of 1998-1999 overlooking Srinagar-Leh highway, thus planning to cut lifeline of troops   and  supplies to Siachen glacier and Indian  troops stationed  along the Line of Control in Ladakh .

Twenty-five years later – the situation of the critical times can be imagined with little connect to the reality . It was not a fiction  but a reality in which the soldiers died because of the  stones thrown from heights and  their body bags going home with no time for mourning . But this is the time to find some of the questions that have lingered on  over all these years, why did Kargil happen . Was it purely the betrayal by Pakistan or there was an element of complete complacency on the part of the army generals responsible for guarding the borders.

It is now an acknowledged truth that Pakistan went in for this military   misadventure  by none other than newly elected Pakistan Muslim League ( Nawaz) president Nawaz Sharif  who was Prime Minister of Pakistan when Kargil happened . It was plotted and executed by the then army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf . On being elected  as president of the party , Nawaz Sharif stated it very  candidly that “ Pakistan violated the agreement that he had signed with the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.” His reference  was to the Lahore declaration that was made during Vajpayee’s   bus journey from Delhi to Lahore   in February 1999. Vajpayee, in his poetic style, had declared “ Ab Jang Na Hone Denge ( we will not allow war to take place between the two countries  from now onwards).” But within three months India and Pakistan were locked into a war in Kargil heights in May 1999 .

Nawaz Sharif made a statement of facts .But he was late by 25 years in acknowledging this blunder of his country and the military . As Prime Minister , it was his pronounced weakness that came to fore when the  military did to sabotage the peace process between India and Pakistan .If Nawaz Sharif really means to usher in an era of peace , he should advise  the PML-N government to ask the military to stop all sorts of export of terrorism into Jammu and Kashmir . Otherwise , his statements , howsoever  profound and perfect , would be nothing more than a rhetoric .

Pakistan military is mounting similar acts of aggression , though on a mini scale  as compared to Kargil, by sending terrorists and terror machinery into Jammu and Kashmir. Frequent infiltration bids and the terror attacks  on this side of the LoC bear evidence to that . Now is the time for Pakistan to tame its army , and unless the Pakistani army , the real power in the country, stops its machinations in promoting and stoking terrorism in J&K , nothing will change . The spirit of Kargil will continue to live on.

 Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.


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