We won Kargil because of them
By Vinod Tuli
Thousands of brave Indian soldiers had fought the Kargil war, some laid down their lives and suffered injuries. Let us salute them and the PVC awardees : Captain Vikram Batra?13 J&K Rifles; Captain Manoj Pandey, 1/11 Gurkha Rifles; Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, 13 J&K Rifles; Havaldar Yogender Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Captain Anuj Nayyar, 17 Jat: Posthumous Maha Vir Chakra winner.
It is generally acknowledged that India had won the limited Kargil War, in military and diplomat terms. The entire world media had unequivocally condemned the Pakistani adventure. Similarly, many European and Asian nations had criticised it. During the course of the Kargil War and its afterwards, several Indian journalists from print media and TV channels had reported eyewitness accounts. Nitin Gokhale in the Outlook (July 5, 1999) had narrated the valiant action of Captain Vikram Batra of 13 J&K Rifles on the crucial night of June 19/20, 1999. To quote Nitin Gokhale: ?Capt Vikram Batra of 13 J&K Rifles, whose code-name for the operation to recapture Point 5140 on the night of June 19-20 was Sher Shah, was greeted by the enemy at 16,000 feet on the radio: ?Sher Shah, upar aa gaye ho, ab wapas nahin ja sakoge? (You?ve come up, now you can'tgo back). To which Capt Batra replied ?Ek ghante mein dekhte hein kaun upar rahega? (We?ll see in an hour who remains on top). And sure enough, by 3.35 am on June 20, Capt Batra and his Delta Company had secured the peak? Not that the fight to capture Point 5140 was a cakewalk. It took two companies?one led by Batra and the other by Capt Jamwal?to evict the enemy.?
In a long interview with Rediff.com, after the War, the then Army Chief analysed the scenario in a candid manner. He spoke about the lessons learnt. He said, ?In terms of collation, assessment and dissemination, there were major weaknesses in our intelligence at the strategic level. The joint intelligence committee did not function properly? There are other lessons. For example, we must always be conscious of the fact that terrorist operations and militancy are part of a conflict spectrum. It can escalate and shift into a conventional war quite easily. It happened in 1947, it happened in 1965 and it happened in 1999.?
Let us salute our heroes of Kargil war 1999 on Vijay Diwas?July 26, 2005
General Malik had described the highlights of the War in the above mentioned interview. He specifically mentioned that Drass and Batalik sectors were more important as maximum infiltration has been taking place there. The offensive started from Tololing and continued with Tiger Hill, Point 4875, etc. Before the ceasefire was announced, Indian troops had cleared almost 90-95 per cent of the Batalik area and had cleared all the major features overlooking Drass. He goes on to warn that the security situation in the subcontinent has deteriorated and requires the country to always remain prepared. As regards the future talks between India and Pakistan, the General said, ?I can only speak till the time I retired. I don'tthink there was much change. By the time I retired, which was a year after, there was a fair amount of bitterness on both sides. Now that more time has elapsed and I am not wearing the uniform, I feel there is a need for greater interaction and more CBMs (Confidence Building Measures). At that time, things hadn'timproved much.?
Operation Vijay brought home an Indian victory in the Kargil War between India and Pakistan, a war that was forced upon us. The innumerable young soldiers and officers who like true heroes fought unto their last atop the excruciating mountains of Kashmir Valley made this victory possible. It is on record that Pakistan has always ignored and repeatedly violated all the agreements made between the two countries starting from 1948. As a result, in hindsight it is observed that it is Pakistan that has suffered. It lost its Eastern Part in the form of Bangladesh. Her image in the world has not been taken kindly so far as terrorism is concerned.
(The writer is a retired Para Military Officer and a member of ABPSSP. He can be contacted at G-61, Sector 39, Noida, UP.)