Sharif's Kargil White Paper more propaganda, less substance
Tuesday August 8, 05:01 PM
By Sudhakar Jagdish/Suman Sharma
New Delhi, Aug.8 (ANI):Indian war veterans who were involved in Operation Vijay to flush out Pakistani Army units in Kargil in 1999 have rubbished the Pakistani Muslim League Nawaz's White Paper claim that New Delhi was aware of Pakistan Army's Kargil attack plan eleven months in advance.
They termed the assumption as "completely baseless" and "without foundation".
Speaking to ANI over phone, Lieutenant General S. Chandrashekar, who was the Vice-Chief of Army Staff at the height of the April-July 1999 Kargil war, said: " If India was aware of the Pakistan Army's plan, then they would not have allowed the Pakistan Army units to come inside Indian territory. Who would have allowed so many casualties (over 450 killed) to take place in the effort to throw them out?"
The 100-page White Paper quotes June 22, l998 as the day when the Indian Government came to know about Pakistan Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf's plan to launch an offensive in Kargil area of Jammu and Kashmir. This suggests that former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was aware of Pakistan Army's plan when he signed the Labore Declaration in February 1999 -- a plan which Nawaz Sharief claims he was not aware of.
According to the Kargil Committee report submitted by strategic expert, Mr. K. Subramanyam, the armed intrusion by Pakistan took India by surprise.
The report, which was tabled in Parliament on February 23, 2000 states: "The Review Committee had before it overwhelming evidence that the Pakistani armed intrusion in the Kargil sector came as a complete and total surprise to the Indian Government, Army and intelligence agencies as well as to the Jammu and Kashmir State Government and its agencies.
The six-member committee further went on to say that the Indian side detected Pakistani intrusion for the first time on May 3, 1999, through the help of "shepherds". This development was confirmed four days later by an army patrol group.
It also said that the Indian Army was unaware of the magnitude of the Pakistani intrusion and the profile of the intruders till the middle of May 1999. This was made "evident from the statement of the Corps Commander on May 10".
According to former Defence Minister George Fernandes, India was completely in dark about Pakistan's motive, but said then that enemy troops would be evicted in "48 hours".
Apparently the PML-Ns white paper bases its contention on an Intelligence Bureau(IB) Communication which pointed out that some unusual activities were taking place in the Kargil Sector. The Kargil Report states that the IB acquired certain inputs on activities in the FCNA (Frontier Corps Northern Areas) region, which were considered important enough by the then Director IB and was immediately communicated to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director-General Military Operations.
However, the date of the IB communication in the report has been given as June 2, 1998, rather than June 22, 1998 as cited by the PML-N's White Paper.
The then Chief of Army Staff, General V.P.Malik, was away on the formal visit to Poland when the Indian Army became aware of the Pakistan Army's intrusion in Kargil and the seriousness of the situation.
The Kargil report emphatically states that the inputs were unverified by other Intelligence agencies, including the Research and Analysis Wing, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and the Director-General Military Intelligence.
The Kargil report has already nullified Sharif's claim that he was not aware about his army intruding into Indian territory and that it was completely General Musharraf's brainchild.
It is quite plausible that General Musharraf had not taken Sharif fully into confidence about the Kargil invasion plans. The transcript of the telephone conversation between General Musharraf, who was in China, and his Chief of Staff on the eve of Kargil invasion gives an indication of the extent of power that the Pakistan Army enjoyed during the period.
The White Paper appears to be an attempt to rekindle Sharif's political career, especially with a view to next year's general elections in Pakistan. (ANI)