On: India and Her Neighbors
Done by: Tatinee Dey
1.The Kargil War
• The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two nations. Directly after the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents; however, documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control (LoC).
• The area that witnessed the infiltration and fighting is a 160 km long stretch on the border of the LOC, overlooking a vital highway on the Indian side of Kashmir. Apart from the district capital, Kargil, the front line in the conflict encompassed the tiny town of Drass as well as the Batalik sector, Mushko Valley and other nearby areas along the de facto border. The military outposts on these ridges were generally around 5,000 metres (16,000 feet) high, with a few as high as 5,600 metres (18,000 feet). One of the main reasons why Kargil was specifically targeted for incursions was its terrain lent itself to a pre-emptive seizure. With tactically vital features and well-prepared defensive posts atop the peaks, it provided an ideal high ground for a defender akin to a fortress.
• Any attack to dislodge the enemy and reclaim high ground in a mountain warfare would require a far higher ratio of attackers to defenders, which is further exacerbated by the high altitude and freezing temperatures. Additionally, Kargil was just 173 km (108 mi) from the Pakistani controlled town of Skardu, which was capable of providing logistical and artillery support to the Pakistani combatants. All these tactical reasons, plus the Kargil district being a Muslim majority, were probably contributing factors to why Kargil was chosen as the location to attack.
• After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, there had been a long period of relative calm among the two neighbours. But during the 1990s, escalating tensions and conflict with terrorism in Kashmir as well as nuclear tests by both countries in 1998 changed the scenario. Despite the belligerent atmosphere, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999 to provide a peaceful and bilateral solution to the Kashmiri issue. However, elements in the Military of Pakistan covertly trained and sent troops and paramilitary forces, some allegedly in the guise of mujahideen, into the Indian territory. The aim was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh, and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute. Pakistan also believed that any tension in the region would internationalise the Kashmir issue, helping it to secure a speedy resolution. Yet another goal may have been to boost the morale of the decade-long rebellion in Indian Administered Kashmir by taking a proactive role.
c) War Progress
• There were three major phases to the Kargil War. First, Pakistan captured several strategic high points in the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir. India responded by first capturing strategic transportation routes, then militarily pushing Pakistani forces back across the Line of Control.
d) Indian Territory Recovery
• Indian army soldiers wave the Indian flag on a mountain peak after securing the mountain from Pakistani forces. Following the Washington accord on July 4, where Sharif agreed to withdraw the...