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Pakistan Objectives in Kargil

Diplomatic Correspondence

PAKISTAN’s intrusion deep inside the Indian territory in Drass-Batalik sector was not a reaction by hawks in the army to sabotage the so-called peace process initiated at Lahore. Pakistan staked so much and had been putting logistics into action atleast and from the middle of 1998. What did Pakistan gain from this misadventures? Did it not anticipate the global isolation and the domestic humiliation in embarking upon this aggression? Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Prime Minister had even punished General Jehangir Karamat for not agreeing to the adventure. What were the core objectives Pakistan wanted to accomplish through this action.? TAKBEER, an Urdu weekly published from Lahore describes Kargil aggression as the brainchild of Lt. Gen. Azizuddin. Since 1984, when India defeated Pakistani gameplan to annex Siachen, Pakistan has never been at ease. In May 1985 a serious conflict took place between India and Pakistan on the glacier. Gen. Azizuddin, then Brigadier was put in charge of a Brigade in PoK in 1985. He surveyed the entire area  and drew a preliminary plan for capturing Siachen. General Zia-ul-Haque had already  put OPERATION TOPAC in action. Meanwhile,Gen. Azizuddin was recalled back to the headquarters at Rawalpindi. In 1994 he was promoted and sent back to PoK as head of the Northern Command. It was during this tenure that he drew the final gameplan for making India’s position in Siachen area vulnerable. In 1998 he became Major-General. After  1998 nuke tests, conducted by both countries.

Pakistan-Army leadership concluded in case Siachen annexation plan was put into action, India cannot retaliate through a full scale war.

The selection of General Pervez Mushraff and putting Lt. General Azizuddin as incharge of Kashmir Operation is significant. Both are rabid fundamentalists and known for anti-India hate. General Azizuddin was the chief architect of Siachen annexation plan with vast experience of serving in PoK. It was he who developed, nurtured and implemented the Taliban’s war fighting docrine in Afghanistan. Gen. Mushraff and Azizuddin have spent their entire career working with one Mujahideen group or the other during the last two decades.

From 1994, Pakistan had been  probing Indian defences in Kargil and building infrastructure for subversion. It began enticing border youth in Kargil-Turtuk area since 1994 by cultivating one Ibrahim of Turkuk.

Exfiltration and infiltration of terrorists had been going on since 1992 in this sector. In 1992, reports appearing in Tribune and Quami Azad spoke about the existence of a fundamentalist group, which was creating an anti-Indian atmosphere. This group, receivng foreign funds was also engaged in sending youth across for training. Cashing this situation, Pakistan tried to build a support structure for subversion.

That Pakistan was seriously engaged in pursuing Gen-Azizuddin’s gameplan is clear from the sabotage activities, which took place in this sector regularly. On Sept. 30, 1997 Pakistan pounded Kargil leading to many losses.

In October, there was a major flare-up. In April 1998 ISI-trained subversives put IEDs on Drass road. Army lost some vehicles and few Army officers were also killed. In this incident links of some local politicians with infiltrators were suspected.

Since September 1998 attacks on Indian posts in Siachen have been taking place regularly. Only a week after Lahore talks Indian positions were attacked in Siachen. During Kargil war and recently on 11th August Pakistan launched full scale attacks in Siachen area.

Mushraff a couple of months after being appointed during visit to Siachen said, "we are not talking of winning the war, we are taking of the degree of difficulties you can create for the other".

There is definite envidence that Pakistan’s basic objective in Kargil aggression was to threaten Siachen by cutting off Indian garrisons at Turtuk and Siachen before launching an all-out attack on Siachen. It wanted penetration into Indus-Valley through Batalik and Chorbatla and then enter into Shyok valley to recapture 254 sq miles of Turtuk and its adjoining five villages. Plan was link Kargil with Siachen. After Jhelum and Chenab-Valley, Pakistan’s aim is to dominate Indus-Valley.

Gen. Mushraff’s elevation was linked with Kargil plan. He had served in the elite SSG Corpos twice. Mushrraf had stint in Siachen and had remained DG Military operations.

Statements by Pakisan army officers and the Foreign Minister also point to a conspiracy to grab Siachen. Tahir Mehmood, a brigade commander operating in Kargil told Nawa-ie-Waqt that aim was to isolate Ladakh and destroy India’s strategic control in Siachen area. Lt. Col. Muhammad Nawaz, who commanded a battalion in Shingo sector along LoC told Dauid Orr of the Times that purpose of Kargil intrusion was to starve Indian forces on Siachen of supplies. Gen. Hamid Gul (retd) former ISI chief said if Pakistan could hold in Kargil for two months, India would lose hold over Siachen. General Aslam Beg, former Army chief also agreed that purpose was to sever line of communications and supplies to troops in Siachen. The Pakistan Foreign Minister told the visiting US mediator Gen. Zinni that respect for LoC means India should withdraw from Siachen.

Second objective for Pakistan was to tie down Indian security forces along the LoC in order to defuse the intensity of anti-militant drives in hinterland and then stepping up miliant strikes in interior area, picking up soft targets as well as convoys of security forces. After the end of Kargil war Kashmir valley in particular has seen regular and dare-devil attacks on police stations, and army camps.

The Central objective of Pak ISI  is to bleed Indian military and state through hundred cuts. It implies forcing dispersal of Indian secuity forces over the wides possible area. Pakistan through Kargil aggression has compelled India to have Siachen type (Siachenisation) security for Drass-Turtuk sector also.This imposes an additional financial burden of Rs four to five thousand croes. ISI gameplan is to raise economic, political and military costs for India in the proxy war. So for India has been reacting from a defensive mode.

Thirdly, Kargil operations, may have been a part of Pakistan’s ‘riposte doctrine’. It involves making thrusts  through narrow corridors, advancing and holding  Indian territory and bargaining afterwards. Pakistan wanted to isolate Kargil and thereby to strengthen her position for talks with India if that stage ultimately came. Then she would stake claim over Doda, Rajouri and Kargil. Paksitan belives that ultimate solution would be around LoC, so Pakistan was trying to question the validity of LoC politically and cartographically. Its aggression was also aimed at shifting the alignemnt of LoC further east into Indian territory. During Kargil war, Pakistan Foreign Ministry oficials repeatedly said that LoC was not properly demarcated. As part of the ‘riposte doctrine’ Pakistan made attacks on Nikkial (Poonch) AKOAoor, Uri, Gurez, Kupwara, RS Pura capturing lateral valleys also indicates that Pakistan’s proxy war has been  upgraded.

Wider anti-India conspiracy was also behind the intrusions. Big powers desirous of bringing India under NPT regime wanted Kargil to escalate into a nuclear flashpoint thus forcing India into an acquiscense to a treaty objective of Pakistan and its western collaborators was to internationalise the Kashmir dispute against the backdrop of a nuclear region after tactical gains have been made in Kargil sector. The statement of Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Shamshad Ahmed that "we will not hesitate to use any weapon in our arsenal to defend our territorial integrity," was sheer blackmail.

Pakistan’s brandishing of Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint guaranteed to US a leverage it would not surrender Pakistan linked time bound talks on Kashmir with withdrawal from Kargil.

Pakistan was also using intrusion as a probing exercise to assess the thresh-hold for Indian military and national response. It wanted to see at what point India will cross LoC and launch full scale war. Mr Brijesh Mishra Senior advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security said, "in Kargil a new situation has arisen where our capabilities are being tested." In Kargil there was a firm reply by India that it will not tolerate any territorial inrusion. Pakistan miscalculated the Kargil plan. It did not visualise air strikes and total war with India.

Lastly, through Kargil plan Pakisfan was trying to put Taliban factor to use in Kashmir. The methodology of the operation mirrored that of Pakistan led Taliban forces in Afghanistan where a 60:40 mix of irregulars and regular soldiers are employed with regular army providing leadership element down to sectional level.General Azizuddin, who conducted Taliban, operations in Afghanistan, his choice as incharge of military operations in Kashmir, needs to be viewed in this context.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

Pakistan's Role

Kargil 1999



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