Lessons learnt, say former Army officials on Kargil anniversary

New Delhi/Srinagar, July 14 (IANS) As the country commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Kargil war, former senior military officers said that lessons have been learnt from it and it is now impossible for Pakistan to repeat 1999.

In early May 1999, an intrusion by armed men, initially thought to be terrorists or ‘mercenaries’, was detected in the mountain peaks of Kargil sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

When the Indian Army launched an operation to evict them, it was found that the intruders were personnel of the Pakistan Army who were heavily armed.

A conflict ensued in the mountains of Kargil sector, which lasted around three months and cost India 526 soldiers.

The ‘Operation Vijay’, launched by India to evict the Pakistani Army entrenched in well fortified posts, ended on July 26.

It was an “intelligence failure”, former Navy Chief Arun Prakash told IANS, adding that the same has been well established by the Kargil Review Committee, headed by former bureaucrat K. Subrahmanyam, which was set up by the government after the war.

Former army officials said the Kargil sector was thinly manned till 1999 but after the conflict, everything has changed and the gaps have been plugged.

Brigadier (retd) Khushal Thakur, who was the Commanding Officer of 18 Grenadiers which was involved in capture of Tololing and Tiger Hill, also said that intelligence failure was the main reason behind the Pakistani incursion in Kargil.

He said a proper assessment was not carried out.

The Kargil war veteran added that all the gaps have since been plugged and the borders are well manned.

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