You are on page 1of 3


The 1999 conflict between India and Pakistan near the town of Kargil in contested
Kashmir was the first military clash between two nuclear-armed powers since the
1969 Sino-Soviet war. Kargil was a landmark event not because of its duration or
casualties, but because it contained a very real risk of nuclear escalation. Until
the Kargil conflict 1999, along with academic and policy debates over nuclear
deterrence and proliferation have occurred largely on the theoretical level. This
conflict offers scholars and policymakers a rare account of how nuclear-armed
states interact during military crisis.
The whole area of Kargil belonged to Pakistan. It was captured by India in the war
of 1965, but restored to Pakistan under Tashkent Agreement. In the 1971 war, Kargil
was again occupied and retained by India by use of force. Thus categorically
speaking, the seeds for the 1999 operation along the Srinagar highway was planted
way back when the Indian Army High Command had ventured to thrust across the 1949
UN Ceasefire Line in Kashmir and then renamed it as the Line of Control (LOC) in
December 1972. In 1984, India violated even the LOC and sneaked into Siachin, part
of the northern areas of Jammu and Kashmir, when Pakistan`s military leader was
caught off-guard. At that time it was deeply involved in reigning the country but
doing so at the cost of their strategic and professional acumen and capability.
Who started the War and Why?
The cause of the war of 1999 was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and
Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC, which serves as
the unreal border between the two states. During the initial stages of the war,
Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but
documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime
Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary
forces, led by General Ashraf Rashid.
The Indian Army, later on supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority
of the positions on the Indian side of the LOC infiltrated by the Pakistani troops
and militants. With international diplomatic pressure mounting, the Pakistani
forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LOC.

Another point of view about this issue is that, the Pakistani army backed freedom
fighters, and successfully attempted a direct and frontal approach to this extra-
ordinary military operation. With an abiding faith in their ability to make deep
inroads and cut off road arteries, they showed their mind-boggling skills realizing
that the poorly led but strong Indian army which was too busy killing and
kidnapping innocent Kashmiri civilians, had not still occupied the high ground
(18,000 to 21,000 feet) India had captured during the 1971 war. The Freedom
fighters changed their tactics and entrenched themselves above the road which links
Srinagar to India occupied Laddakh.


Kargil operation was clearly an upshoot of the Kashmir dispute. Kashmir is both
cause and consequence of the India-Pakistan conflict and misery. From historical,
geographical, cultural and strategic point of view, Pakistan could not remain aloof
from the question of freedom of over 13 million people of Kashmir. Hence Pakistan
has always been obliged and committed to support the Independence movement of the
people of Kashmir and sought to get the issue resolved as quickly possible so that
they could get their right of self-determination. Kashmir has contributed to the
overall tension between India and Pakistan.
Why that particular Year?
Pakistan opted for that season because it was severe season in Siachin Sector.
There, life was harsh and brutal. The Pakistani Army thought that India would not
expect an attack. On the other hand there were political dialogues in progress
between the political leaderships of the two countries, held against the wishes of
Pakistani Army. In this process, the Kashmir issue was not given more attention
from Pakistan side, so army used this option for recovering Kashmir and Siachin
Who made the decision?
The Pakistani Army has always taken a straight forward stand over the Kashmir
issue. Many opportunities came in to the hands of the political leadership to
recover Kashmir but they did not availed themselves well at those opportunities.
According to a top army source, the Kargil operation was planned months in advance
and kept a top secret that was confined to a very few top army officers. The
Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Chief of General Staff (CGS), Director
General Military Operations (DGMO), GOC 10 Corps and GOC Force Commander Northern
Area (FCNA) who was in overall charge of operations in the Kargil sector, were the
only ones aware about the actual operation. Even the Corps Commanders were not kept
in picture. It suggested that only an �in principle� concurrence without any
specifics be obtained from the Pakistani Prime Minister.
The top brass believed that in this manner they would force India to concede to
negotiations with Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute, and, that these would have
succeeded had the army been allowed to continue on its tactical adventure. The crux
of the matter is that the Army secretly planned and started the execution of this
operation without considering all its pros and cons. They did not bother even to
inform the prime minister of Pakistan about what they were going to do, and give
him enough time to proceed with diplomatic moves and take into confidence the
people of Pakistan. On one hand he could not thus, gain moral support of brotherly
and friendly countries like Arab and China. On the other hand, India concentrated
on a diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan and succeeded owing to her economic
potential as a market for world goods particularly in purchase of military
The Pakistani army thought that the operation would help in internationalizing the
Kashmir issue. In the event the Army was right in its opinion of globalizing the
Issue but at the same time this operation left us alone on the international
system. Consequently, the Army failed to get the desired results from Kargil
Diplomatic Approaches to solve the Issue:

At Tashkent, Simla and afterward at Lahore unreasonable demands were made to change
over this issue into a reciprocal one between India and Pakistan. It was sure to
fall flat. None, of these agreements prompted any result of the Kashmir issue, nor
did the Simla Agreement have clear approach to it, while the Lahore Declaration
neglected to take off.
Consequences of the War:
The Kargil war was fought on a limited scale, but it was not altogether the flop or
failure as the Indians impress upon the world. It left a deep impact; its lessons
are indeed imperative and may be taken as a useful input when we discuss the future
Indo-Pakistan relations, or peace and stability in South Asia:
� Indians ought not to take lightly the fitness and proficience of the Pak Army and
must recollect that they were discovered resting on the land of Kargil. What's
more, in Siachin too, the Pakistan Army is giving a great record of itself.
� No significant achievement might be normal on Kashmir question in the advancing
years unless both the nations are ready to change their stand. This was the fourth
war over Kashmir, not including the constant ongoing small scale progressing
engagements over the Siachen Glacier range. That makes it completely clear that the
Kashmir issue can't be determined militarily by Pakistan or India. The Kashmir
issue is not a clash between Pakistan and India alone.
� The greatest loss of the Kargil War, separated from 1,200 lives lost on both
sides of the LOC, was trust and certainty in Indo-Pak relations, which was at the
time of three years on the highest point of motivation.
� General Musharraf is by and large considered responsible for the disappointment
of the Kargil Operation. He wanted to perform an epic in Kargil for dissolving this
issue, but he failed. The reason was that he deliberately took the decision without
taking in confidence the political leadership.
� After all, the principle objective that was behind the Kargil Operation appears
to be recognized that the best strategy might be that Indians go to the negotiating
table to find a feasible solution to the problem, but actually it created more
What sway has Kargil had on South Asian dependability? This section tries to answer
this inquiry quickly by returning to prior RAND work on prevention breakdown in
South Asia that was attempted in 1994. That work contended that soon, South Asia
might encounter a state of "terrible soundness"�that is, the persistence of
eccentric clashes on the grounds that traditional wars of it is possible that
boundless or restricted points had gotten to be either restrictively exorbitant or
past the simple scope of both India and Pakistan for pursuance�s of national
arrangement. Further, owing to the vicinity of atomic weapons, India and
particularly Pakistan might be especially tempted to take part in different sorts
of sub-conventional clashes at the easier end of the clash range. Past examination
in this way pronounced war to be doubtful with the exception of under certain
tragic changes in the generally Speaking power-political harmony between India and
Pakistan, so the inquiry of whether prevention could break down benefits
revalidation in the result of Kargil. Some of the key arguments in support of the
claim that �ugly stability� will obtain in the foreseeable future.
Second, it explores whether these conclusions still hold in the post-Kargil South
Asian environment.

In a national security meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Joint
Headquarters, General Musharraf became heavily involved with serious arguments with
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Fasih Bokhari who ultimately called for a court-
martial against General Musharraf.
Benazir Bhutto, The Opposition leader in the Parliament and former Prime Minister,
called the Kargil War "Pakistan's greatest blunder". Many ex-officials of the
military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (Pakistan's principal intelligence
agency) also believed that "Kargil was a waste of time" and "could not have
resulted in any advantage" on the larger issue of Kashmir. A retired
Pakistan Army's Lieutenant-General Ali Kuli Khan, lambasted the war as "a disaster
bigger than the East Pakistan tragedy", adding that the plan was "flawed in terms
of its conception, tactical planning and execution" that ended in "sacrificing so
many soldiers." The Pakistani media criticized the whole plan and the eventual
climbdown from the Kargil heights since there were no gains to show for the loss of
lives and it only resulted in international condemnation.

Mairaj ul Hamid Quaid i azam University Islamabad