You dont need to, posted first by Subin in the Pakistan Thread:
<center>When India Came Close To War
Twice this year, in January and June, India was on the verge of striking against Pakistan. Here's why it didn't.
By Shishir Gupta
Last Christmas, fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force's No. 1 Tiger Squadron of Mirage-2000 H aircraft were not in celebratory mode. Moved a week earlier from home base Gwalior to the forward base Adampur near Jalandhar, the Tigers packed pistols, high-protein Swiss chocolates and a quarter-inch map of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). These would come in handy in case any of them was shot down behind enemy lines.
Their comrades in arms, the Indian Army's para-commandos, looked like the US marines with war paint, MP-5 sub-machine guns, infrared night-vision devices, Kevlar bulletproof jackets and hi-tech frequency-hopping radio sets. For the past week, the two elite forces had been secretly conducting mock raids in the hills of Jammu and Kashmir. This was not a routine exercise. It was preparation for war. Just how close India actually came to war, not once but twice, is emerging only now, and India Today was able to piece together key details.
It all began on December 13, 2001, when Pakistan-based terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) attacked the Indian Parliament, killing nine people. As the real intent of the strike sunk in and evidence of Pakistan's involvement mounted, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee made it clear that India's patience had worn thin. At a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the three service chiefs on December 15, Vajpayee asked the service chiefs, "Can we do something quickly?" All three responded in the affirmative. The CCS-comprising Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh, finance minister Yashwant Sinha, Defence Minister George Fernandes, Planning Commission Chairman K.C. Pant and National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra-agreed on a strike against PoK-based terrorists.
Vajpayee wanted stikes on PoK-based terrorists, but Pakistan cleverly shifted their camps, limiting India's options
> The December 13 attack on Indian Parliament by Pakistan-based LeT and JeM jehadis that left nine dead.
> Pakistan's use of cross-border terrorism as state policy and ISI's abetment of terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
> The extremely low post-9/11 global tolerance for terrorists posing as freedom fighters.
> Government directs force mobilisation on December 18, 2001.
> Defensive corps in the western and southern sectors mobilised by December 28, 2001, the largest build-up since the 1971 war.
> IAF deploys 272 jets in the western sector; the navy moves its eastern fleet to the Arabian Sea.
THE D-DAY PLAN
A Mirage-2000 H, MiG-27 fighters to hit PoK-based terror camps with precision munition.
B Artillery guns to fire across the LoC targeting Pakistani troop bunkers and terrorist launch pads with laser-guided bombs.
C Under cover of artillery fire and air support, special forces to be para-dropped behind enemy lines to destroy terrorists and camps.
> To use air-land battle to open various fronts on the LoC and stretch Pakistani forces in PoK.
> To push in a brigade of army commandos into PoK while regular troop formations retain tactical heights on the LoC against enemy offensive.
> To gain control over terrorist infiltration routes in PoK, destroy terrorist communication network and launch pads near the LoC.
> To stretch Pakistani forces at strategic Haji Pir pass and try to link up the Uri-Poonch axis.
> To occupy dominant heights on the LoC in Siachen, Kargil and in Poonch-Rajouri sectors.
> To hold on to PoK territory near the LoC and use it for future talks on Kashmir.
> Packs the eastern sector with troops by moving two Peshawar-Corps divisions to Muzaffarabad and Punjab. Beefs up the Lahore area to counter the Indian attack in PoK.
> Places the Mangla-based Army Reserve North on red alert. Plans to launch a counter-offensive in Akhnoor sector.
> The focus of the Pakistani Air Force is on the Indian Western Command with 200 jets ready to counter the IAF fighters.
> The Pakistani Navy moves its key war assets from Karachi to Omara, Gwadar and Pasni ports.
THE US FACTOR
> Called for Indian restraint but conceded Delhi's right to respond to Islamist terrorist attacks.
> In case of a war by Pakistan, India would be hampered by the US forces in Pakistan and in north Arabian Sea.
> Declared LeT and JeM as terrorist outfits and put the heat on Musharraf to publicly renounce terrorism in Kashmir.
> Feared Musharraf would go nuclear after the Indian strike.
WHY THE STRIKE WAS CALLED OFF
> Indian war planes would have to cross international borders as Pakistan, fearing strikes, moved terrorist camps from PoK to northern areas in Pakistan.
> The global community aligned firmly with India, realising for the first time that Kashmir was facing Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and not a freedom struggle.
> On January 12, Musharraf banned LeT and JeM and announced regulation of madarsas in his speech.
> Delhi's fear that Pakistan would launch full-scale war and call for global intervention in Kashmir.
January 14, 2002
Orders were immediately issued to mobilise troops-more than those in the runup to the 1971 war. Considering that it would take three to four weeks for deployment on the western borders, the armed forces planned action for the second week of January 2002. After much debate, the service chiefs opted for a limited offensive against the terrorists' training camps in PoK. It would essentially entail air force strikes to pulverise zones with a high concentration of camps-that's where the Tiger Squadron came in. A limited ground offensive by special forces of the army would further neutralise the camps and help occupy dominant positions on the loc (see graphic on previous page). D-day was tentatively fixed for January 14.
In Delhi's war calculus, limited action in PoK made sense as it would not only convey the Indian resolve to Pakistan but also keep international retribution to manageable levels. India, after all, was only taking a leaf out of the ongoing US action against Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan. The daunting prospect of Pakistan launching an all-out offensive in response to the Indian action weighed heavily on the CCS. But the intelligence assessment that the Pakistani Army was not well prepared loaded the dice in India's favour. This meant that the chances of Pakistan launching a full-scale war were minimal. The Indian plans were also backed by a sound economy that was bolstered by low inflation, high forex and petroleum reserves. Sinha went on record saying the economy was prepared for war even though it was the last option.
A limited strike was a clever tactical option. The build-up indicated to the world, especially the US, that India was serious. If Pakistan wasn't reined in, India would have no option. Delhi also stepped up the diplomatic offensive, recalling its high commissioner and banning civilian flights from Pakistan. Picking up the war signals, Pakistan went into hypermode: it began mobilising forces and exchanged frantic calls with the US, getting President George W. Bush into the act. Secretary of State Colin Powell called India and Pakistan to cool down temperatures. British Prime Minister Tony Blair even flew to India in the first week of January to say that they were leaning on Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. As proof, the US declared LeT and JeM as terrorist groups. Advani, meanwhile, flew to the US on January 8, where he was briefed on the contents of Musharraf's impending landmark speech. The speech finally came on January 12, when Musharraf declared that terrorism in the name of Kashmir was unjustified. Practically giving in to Indian demands, he also announced plans to regulate madarsas and ban known terrorist groups operating out of Pakistan.
Besides Musharraf's speech, there was another factor that shot down the CCS plans of an immediate war when it met on January 13. Satellite imagery revealed that Pakistan had moved out most terrorist training camps from PoK in January, implying that the Indian forces would have to cross the international borders to achieve militarily significant results. This was risky as it would show India as an aggressor and could invite global intervention on Kashmir. So the CCS decided to give Musharraf another chance but keep the armed forces fully mobilised for war. And in a symbolic gesture on January 14, the Tiger Squadron destroyed an "enemy" bunker at Pokhran in Rajasthan with a laser-guided bomb.
> Terrorists attack an army camp at Kaluchak on May 14, leaving 22 dead.
> Cross-border infiltration rises after a low spell in February and March.
> Musharraf fails to deliver on his January 12 speech.
> Pakistan-based jehadis become active in Kashmir, PoK camps return.
> CCS favours action against terrorists at its May 18 meeting.
> Plans to move Strike Corps I at Northern Command by June 3; Corps II moves between Suratgarh and Punjab; Corps XXI from Barmer to Rann of Kutch.
> Contingency plans firmed up by May 27 for second-strike against Pakistan's nuke attack.
THE D-DAY PLAN
A Backed by IAF jets, Stirke Corps 1 to launch attack from Akhnoor-Pathankot secotr.
B Simultaneous division-level hits in Kargil, Uri and Rajouri.
C Strike Corps II and XXI to engage the Pakistani counter-offensive from Multan-based Army Reserve South and target Pakistani economic assets in Singh if needed.
> Synergised attack by the Northern Command to split Pakistan's Army Reserve North and provide an opening in PoK.
> The Indian Navy fleet led by aircraft carrier INS Viraat to engage Pakistani warships and target economic assets. Karachi harbour to be blockaded if Pakistan launches a war.
> To block Indian thrust in PoK, launch counter-offensive in Punjab and Rajasthan.
> Cause maximum attrition in the Indian forces and wait for monsoon stalemate.
> Use Agosta submarines to delay the Indian flotilla.
THE US FACTOR
> A full-scale India-Pakistan conflict could hamper the US operations against bin Laden's Al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan.
> The US told India it was putting pressure on Musharraf to permanently end cross-border infiltration in Kashmir.
> War could damage the growing Indo-US cooperation in nuclear energy, space, hi-tech equipment and defence.
THE NUCLEAR FACTOR
> The US conveyed to India it was unsure about Pakistani
nuclear threshold, particularly after Musharraf and his UN representative
Munir Akram threatened to use nukes against India.
> India began exploring its second-strike options after Pakistan tested
N-capable Ghauri missile on May 25.
> Intelligence reports indicated that Pakistan had mobilised strategic
assets post-Kaluchak. Despite Indian military's assurance, the nuke
threat bothered Delhi.
WHY THE STRIKE WAS CALLED OFF
> Musharraf's May 27 speech assuring nothing was happening on the LoC; infiltration dipped to a new low in May and June.
> A big complication was the oncoming monsoons that could bog down the forces.
> US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage assured India on June 6 that Musharraf would end infiltration in Kashmir and dismantle terrorist infrastructure in PoK.
> Nuclear blackmail by Musharraf raised Indian fears that in case of war, the global community would intervene in Kashmir.
June 10, 2002
The readiness strategy paid off when Pakistan's terrorist groups struck again on May 14. Storming into the army residential quarters at Kaluchak cantonment in Jammu, they killed 22 women and children. Even before the killings, India had accused Pakistan of failing to keep its promise on ending cross-border terrorism. A day after the massacre, a visibly tense Vajpayee told Parliament, "Hamein pratikar karna hoga (We will have to counter it)." On May 18, Vajpayee, along with Fernandes, was briefed on military preparedness by Director-General Military Operations Lt-General S.S. Chahal and Military Intelligence Chief Lt-General O.S. Lochab. Later, after a two-hour meeting, the ccs favoured military action against terrorists in Pakistan.
The political leadership apparently wanted limited action similar to the one in January. But after evaluating various military options, it was decided that action in PoK was not viable as Pakistan had beefed up its forces across the loc. Any action limited to forays across the loc would translate into minimum military gains and would risk attrition in the Indian forces. The military, however, favoured an all-out offensive that would stretch Pakistani troops across the international borders and give India an opening in PoK. So the armed forces came up with a daring plan: destroy Pakistan's war-waging potential and pulverise the terror factories in PoK. The June canvas was bigger than the January one, since Pakistan had packed areas north of Chenab with forces and military logic dictated the battle should not be confined to the loc. But there were serious limitations to the plans that worried the political bosses. With the monsoons imminent, the armed forces warned that the window for attack was extremely narrow. Any miscalculation could see the offensive bogged down with disastrous consequences.
Even as the debate raged, the military made its plans. The launch of the offensive was entrusted to Strike Corps I led by Lt-General J.J. Singh, who had directed military operations in Kargil war. The IAF, along with Strike Corps I, would initiate action in the Shakargarh bulge and engage Pakistan's Army Reserve North (ARN) spread from Muzaffarabad in PoK to the Shekhopura-Lahore area. The idea was to lock Pakistan's key strike corp in battle that was essentially a boxer's feint. The real offensive would be in PoK by strike formations moved in from the east and tasked to capture strategic points used by Pakistan to push in terrorists (see graphic).
The period considered for limited strikes was between May 23 and June 10. On May 22, at Kupwara brigade headquarters near the loc Vajpayee declared that "it was time for a decisive battle". A day later, the CCS met to assess the readiness of the country's key sectors in the event of a war. An economic review was also undertaken: Sinha said India's economy was a hundred times stronger than Pakistan's to bear hostilities, and RBI Governor Bimal Jalan pointed to a low inflation rate of 1.56 per cent and all-time high forex reserves of $55 billion (Rs 2,64,000 crore) to tide over the crisis. The crude oil and petroleum stock reserves, which should sustain the country for more than a month in a war, were also sufficient.
With the CCS endorsing a strike, Vajpayee wrote to Bush, Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac, saying Musharraf had failed to deliver on his January 12 speech and that India's patience was running out. Hectic diplomacy followed as Bush, Putin, Blair and even Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called and pleaded with Vajpayee not to take the extreme step. The global community conveyed to Delhi that it would impress on Musharraf to clarify his promise on stopping cross-border infiltration.
That June was an option considered seriously by the Vajpayee Government is borne out by the Defence Ministry's SOS for defence supplies to Israel during the month. But the global community urged restraint as it was worried Pakistan would use the nuclear card to address its conventional asymmetry against the Indian armed forces. Musharraf had already played the nuclear brinkmanship-hinting he would use nukes against India-in an interview to German magazine Der Spiegel in April. Pakistan had even tested three missiles-Ghauri (N-capable), Ghaznavi and Abdali-between May 25 and 28 as a deterrent to India's posture.
This belligerence forced India to review its N-capability to strike back-Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Anil Kakodkar and Defence Research and Development Organisation Secretary V.K. Aatre reportedly participated in a CCS meeting in late May. In the absence of any formalised strategic force command, the nuclear strategy was handled on a need-to-know basis by Mishra, who reportedly attended an AEC meeting on May 24 in Chennai and later flew to Manali to brief Vajpayee.
Pakistan's nuclear theatrics also led to Powell calling Musharraf five times in the last week of May and reading the riot act to him. Bush sent Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Pakistan on June 5. He apparently asked Musharraf three times whether he would "permanently" end cross-border infiltration and help dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. He conveyed Musharraf's commitment to Powell while flying to Delhi on June 6, and to India, on arriving. On June 10, Powell disclosed Musharraf's promise to the world, by which time India had already called off its strike plans. The political logic was understandable as a full-frontal attack would translate into war. It was better to give Musharraf another chance. Or perhaps, the build-up was a shrewd ploy by India, not only in June but also in January, to force Pakistan as well as the world community into action.
Last week, Fernandes denied (to India Today) that India had been on the brink of war, claiming that at no point had the ccs given directions to the armed forces to take action against Pakistan. He, however, did not put it beyond the army generals to prepare for contingency plans. Mishra, on the other hand, reiterated that India had indeed been "close to war" in January and May. While refusing to disclose dates, he pointed out that on June 23, Vajpayee had said in an interview to the Washington Post that it was a "touch and go affair".
The Tiger Squadron, on its part, did have its share of action. On August 2, four Mirage fighters evicted Pakistani intruders 800 m across the loc in Machhil sector of Kashmir. In Washington, it was dubbed Kargil II. The Tigers know that given the murky Indo-Pak relations, all it will take is another carnage for them to be back in air, in action.