Rudradev wrote:Primus, it was what we did then based on the best (I trust) information and assessments available to the Vajpayee govt. Clinton was in an intervening mood, Madeline Albright was in a China-pasand mood, Robin Raphel and Karl Inderfurth in a Pak-pasand mood. Just a year previously, Albright had threatened India with a military response over the nuke tests... and we were still under US sanctions at the time. Maybe we could have gone defiantly ahead with crossing the IB, but were we ready for a US intervention of the Yugoslavia type, SEAD and no-fly-zones that could have helped the Pakis forcibly change the situation on the ground? Also, this was a newly unipolar world where the Russians wouldn't have lifted a finger for us, just as they didn't for the Serbs. Meanwhile, the US hadn't experienced 9/11, or the effects of its lovely 2001-2016 embrace with Pakistan yet. So risks were there.
I'm not sure Vietnam is the appropriate point of comparison. They were fighting the third of many serial existential fights, for the very survival of their nation... after the Japanese and the French, the Americans. No doubt if we were invaded on such a scale, with a puppet govt. established by the Americans (or anyone else) in one half of the country, we too would fight like that... total war, no questions asked, until we were all dead or we won. The situation at Kargil was qualitatively different... we didn't want an existential war of any kind, and in fact a chance to grow what was then a fledgling market economy. Which also depended on the goodwill of the world order, led by the US in large part.
No question that ABV was essentially a dove with Nehruvian romantic pretensions (his Urdu-couplet-riddled speech made during the Lahore bus visit is truly nauseating). He would probably not have been assertive enough to cross the IB even if the international climate had been more neutral and less likely to intervene against us. My observation was really about how much that climate has changed... in fact, how much we have made it change just by having a PM who goes ahead and asserts Indian interests without giving a f**k about the "log kya kahengey" mentality. When you get out and do what needs to be done, most busybodies will just shut up and watch. It took Modi to prove that.
I attended an event organized by the local BJP chapter here during ABV's term and one of the 'highlights' was a reading of his poem 'Hum Jung Nahin Hone Denge'. Knowing him at a personal level too, he was a bit of a dreamer. A great Statesman no doubt but without the killer instinct - a malady that so many Indians, not just our leaders, have suffered from.
Regardless of how unfavorable our coin was with the US, China's hostility etc, it was lack of political will that resulted in the deaths of so many of our Bravehearts. A nation cannot hope to hold its head with pride when it cannot respond to the brutal torture of Lt. Kalia. Yes, there was a distinct possibility that we may have had a much harder time antagonizing the superpower but the 15 yrs following Kargil gained us nothing in terms of 'peace' or cessation of hostilities from Pakistan. They had infiltrated our land and we were unable to reply in a fitting manner, no matter that we 'won' in the end.
After Kargil came Rupin Katyal and Kandahar and the list of continued terrorist attacks on our soil that we are all familiar with. In this Game of Thrones, it is all about perception and 'jo dar gaya, samjho mar gaya'. We became known as a soft target, that would do nothing, no matter how many times they hit us and how terrible the toll was. They did Akshardham, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Parliament, Mumbai and we kept waiting for Massa to do something for us. Meanwhile the peacenik lobby and the breaking India forces continued to work from within, hollowing us out, all with impunity because there was a pusillanimous government at the center.
I wonder what Modi's response to Kargil would have been. And had he hit back hard then, would we have had 16 years of continued terrorism? I know what MMS would have done after Uri - nothing.
This attack on terror camps has not bought us a lasting solution, but what it has done is sent a clear message to not only Pakistan, but the World, and that includes our own fifth column. You mess with us and we will hit you in your home, nuclear retaliation be damned.
My own message to the Pakis:Us Lal ki nadaani se mila tumhe Kashmir
Jaise bandar ki ho khul gayi takdir
Aitomi takat ki aad mein
Barson lete rahe hamse panga
Aaj Bharat ke IS Lal ne ek jhatke mein
Kar diya tum sabko nanga