India Army Indian Army General Archive

Zapper

Experienced member
Messages
1,648
Reactions
10 798
Nation of residence
United States of America
Nation of origin
India

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India
Tbh, the Vidhwansak is too bulky for sniper ops...it's more suitable for the role of something like 50cal bmg. Sniper rifles should be able to easily carry, fairly low profile and able to easily switch positions with ease. Also, our boys should use some camo on it if we intend to use it in snow terrain
Bit surprising to see it being deployed in Siachen, because from the specifications, this sounds like a sniper rifle - anti-materiel. One would expect to see it in a theatre where (a) there are fortified positions to be neutralised; (b) there are a number of light mobile vehicles, APCs, IFVs and self-propelled artillery. Helicopters might be accidental targets, but not the natural ones, as they fly too fast for snipers to get a bead on.
 

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India
Bit surprising to see it being deployed in Siachen, because from the specifications, this sounds like a sniper rifle - anti-materiel. One would expect to see it in a theatre where (a) there are fortified positions to be neutralised; (b) there are a number of light mobile vehicles, APCs, IFVs and self-propelled artillery. Helicopters might be accidental targets, but not the natural ones, as they fly too fast for snipers to get a bead on.
So then I looked at Uncle Wiki, and this is what he whispered to me in my ear:

Vidhwansak (Sanskrit: "The Destroyer") is an Indian multi-caliber anti-materiel rifle (AMR) or large-caliber sniper rifle manufactured by Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli. It can be used in the anti-materiel role for destroying enemy bunkers, lightly armoured vehicles, radar systems, communication equipment, parked aircraft, fuel storage facilities, etc. It is also effective in long-range sniping, counter sniping and ordnance disposal roles.

Ahem.
 

Zapper

Experienced member
Messages
1,648
Reactions
10 798
Nation of residence
United States of America
Nation of origin
India
So then I looked at Uncle Wiki, and this is what he whispered to me in my ear:

Vidhwansak (Sanskrit: "The Destroyer") is an Indian multi-caliber anti-materiel rifle (AMR) or large-caliber sniper rifle manufactured by Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli. It can be used in the anti-materiel role for destroying enemy bunkers, lightly armoured vehicles, radar systems, communication equipment, parked aircraft, fuel storage facilities, etc. It is also effective in long-range sniping, counter sniping and ordnance disposal roles.

Ahem.
Too high profile for sniping ops...maybe some heavily fortified posts on the LoC but definitely not for stealth ops. This is best suited for AMR role
 

Zapper

Experienced member
Messages
1,648
Reactions
10 798
Nation of residence
United States of America
Nation of origin
India
IA in Sikkim

1644627226405.png
 

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India
Too high profile for sniping ops...maybe some heavily fortified posts on the LoC but definitely not for stealth ops. This is best suited for AMR role
Completely in agreement; definitely not for any kind of stealth operations. This weapon would stand out, to use Mr. Chappell's colourful piece of Strine, like a dog's balls.
 

Levina

Active member
Messages
54
Reactions
94
Nation of residence
United Arab Emirates
Nation of origin
India

MKU is perhaps one of the very few companies from India which has been providing advanced optronic and ballistic protection solutions.
1645103544130.png

For the first time in India, a Combat Helmet has been designed for and dedicated to the Sikh soldiers. This newly designed helmet by Global Defense and Homeland Security Company MKU, based in Kanpur, will be easy for a Sikh soldier to wear without difficulty and comfortably over their under-turban cloth, if they wish to do so.

According to the company, this helmet is capable of providing all-round ballistic protection against bullets and also fragments of up to Level IIIA.

More about the new helmet — `Veer’​

According to MKU Ltd, like all other Kavro ballistic helmets of the company, ‘Veer’ helmet is compatible with MACS (Modular Accessory Connector System). MACS is a first of its kind multi-accessory mounting system that enables the head-mounted sensors and modern combat equipment like night vision goggles, cameras on helmets, and communication systems.

This helmet is not only lightweight; it is anti-fungal, and anti-allergic.

With excellent shock absorption, this helmet is flame resistant, chemical safe and all weatherproof.

The company has dedicated this newly designed helmet (Model: KAVRO SCH 111 T), to the spirit of valor that Sikh soldiers have embodied for generations – only in India but overseas too.
Source:


India now also plans to bu 80,000 more helmets.


 

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India
1645869295183.png


SECURITY
26/JUL/2021
On Vijay Diwas, which is observed on July 26 every year, glowing tributes are rightly paid to the soldiers who laid down their lives to ensure India’s victory in the historic Kargil War. But the nation also witnesses another drama of a different kind.
A lot of old Army generals, who never saw an artillery shell fall closer than two km, that too during demonstrations in firing ranges, as well as the likes of those who have seen snow only in Bollywood classics like Kashmir ki Kali and Aarzoo, emerge as great experts on TV channels. Some can even be heard yelling their lungs out. They heap praise upon themselves for ensuring India’s victory in Kargil and indulge in a lot of chest thumping from the safe confines of television studios. But the truth behind the fiasco that resulted in the loss of more than 500 Indian soldiers, and another 1,500 wounded during the war gets suppressed in the cacophony.

So, even as I salute those young men without whose bravery and sacrifice India could have never won the Kargil War, there is a dark underbelly to Kargil which must be spoken about.

The events which led to the Kargil fiasco, which I will go on to narrate in some detail in this story, are not classified. They are available as court records, information procured through RTI queries and from books published by those involved in the war, including General V.P. Malik, Major General Verma, Captain Amarinder Singh and a few others. In fact, all relied upon action reports supplied to them by General Malik, as also briefings provided at Army headquarters, in order to put together their books.

A reading of the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) report lays bare the details of how military decisions were taken at the highest levels vis-à-vis the intelligence inputs that were at hand. But the KRC report fell far short of providing the full picture.

The genesis of the Kargil War can be traced back to 1984, when India took control of what is known as the highest battlefield in the world: the Siachen Glacier. We preempted Pakistan and occupied the glacier on April 13, 1984, following Operation Meghdoot. Apart from India, Siachen is strategically important for Pakistan as well as China. Thereafter, to prevent the Pakistanis from doing the same to us in the thinly held area of Kargil, a division was specially raised by the Indian Army and deployed to plug the gaps.

The Pakistani strategy, therefore, was to again create gaps in Kargil, and to raise and train enough forces from locals from their side of Kargil and the Northern Areas. Their strategy was also to replace regular troops from ground-holding roles and use the regulars for capture of areas not held by India in Kargil. For Pakistan, a total secrecy in the military build-up was to be maintained over the years.
Kargil-war-memorial.jpeg

A memorial for soldiers who lost their lives during the Kargil War. Photo: PTI

In the early 1990s, Indian intelligence agencies detected that Pakistan had raised 10 Northern Light Infantry (NLI) battalions. The issue was discussed in detail between Military Intelligence (Military Intelligence Directorate) and Military Operations (Military Operations Directorate). During these discussions, it was agreed that these new raisings were intended to relieve regular troops from ground holding roles but how the relieved regular troops would be used was not vigorously discussed and left at that due to the bizarre logic that we did not have enough troops to counter that.

Pakistan resorted to two steps to create gaps in Kargil again. First, they kept the Kargil Sector absolutely quiet for years. Second, they inducted terrorists into the Kashmir Valley in large numbers. As anticipated by them, our generals reacted to the infiltration by moving the division specially meant for Kargil to the Valley. Kargil was left to the Kargil Brigade, with very large gaps.

At this point, it would be pertinent to mention that in 1980, when I was company commander of the Kaksar Company in Kargil, Pakistan had intruded onto a height named Point 5108. I was tasked to capture that point, and was successful. The Pakistanis were evicted from Point 5108. However, in later years, India allowed this strategically important height to be occupied by Pakistan. There is no record of any inquiry about it even later. Pakistan also captured other features in the Kargil sector like the Dalunang Bunker Ridge and Sangruti, besides moving a long-range air defence gun to Point 5108 in a direct firing role. This gun hit our vehicle convoys on a stretch of about 14 km and made troop movement very risky and slow. We suffered many casualties there.

After taking over as Chief of Army Staff in October 1997, General Malik took certain decisions which belied military strategy and logic. These actions are all on record. He inter-changed the northern and southern army commanders, as a result of which both officers were new to their jobs. It takes about a year for an army commander to comprehensively study and assimilate all details of the area under his vast command, to understand the working style of his junior commanders, to explain his concept of operations and to project his military personality upon the command. These changes caused the greatest damage prior to the war. The northern army commander, who was transferred out, was thorough in his knowledge of the ground since he was, prior to this assignment, the corps commander at Srinagar and later the army commander. He had, in fact, ordered a standing regular army patrol to be deployed in the Batalik sector, which had the largest gap in the eastern part of Kargil. This patrol was, however, removed by the General-Officer-Commanding of Kargil Division, Major General V.S. Budhwar. When I took over the command of the brigade, known popularly otherwise as the Kargil Brigade, in June 1998, I was not even informed about this.

Further, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) was changed. General Verma, the DGMO, was made the military secretary and General Vij was brought in as DGMO. Battalions and battalion commanders were changed. Brigade commanders were changed. The deputy GOC was posted out and the new incumbent was sent on premature retirement during the war while a third one was brought in. Frontline company commanders were also posted out during the war.

The most important appointments – that of the brigade major and GSO-3, my principal operations staff officers – were posted out during the war. This resulted in the fact that every single important appointment – from army commander down to company commanders, and from DGMO down to brigade major and the GSO-3 – were new to their jobs during the crucial period of the Kargil War.

Furthermore, battalions that had been holding the gaps against Pakistan were removed thereby giving the enemy a clear and unopposed run. General Malik himself left for Poland when the war had already begun and the Kargil ammunition dump had been blown off. He did not return to the country until May 20.

Earlier, the corps commander had brought in a brigade to thwart enemy operations in Dras sector, where high-profile objectives including the Tiger Hill, Tololing, Mashkoh Valley, Point 5140 and Point 5608 are located. However, just before our attack was to be launched and the troops had already started moving, the COAS stopped the operation and ordered the brigade to move out of Kargil sector to the Kashmir valley. This is a fact that is recorded in the Kargil Review Committee report.

On taking over the brigade in June 1998, I conducted an extensive reconnaissance of the LOC and a detailed analysis of our own defences, enemy deployment, intelligence inputs, and the vulnerability of our own area. This revealed an enemy buildup and an enhanced threat perception which required a relook of defences and a re-prioritisation. Therefore, I briefed the GOC and also the COAS. A detailed report, including on the vulnerability of Tiger Hill and other heights was prepared and discussed with the division commander, Maj Gen Budhwar. He wanted the same to be war gamed, which was done, and he was briefed in detail sometime in September/October 1998. Instead of releasing permanent defence stores, he again directed me to give him a presentation at Leh, which I did. I asked for defences on Tiger Hill, Talab (which is ahead of Tiger Hill), Point 5608 on the LOC (a small southern part of it was the temporary post of Bajrang) and other locations in writing.

A report was sent to the divisional HQ on January 30, 1999. But the division commander refused to release the necessary defence stores and equipment. Nothing was heard till the first week of May 1999, when these were denied in writing by the division HQ. At that time, my brigade and I were already grappling with the enemy.

Though I made written requests for aerial photographs, aerial photo flights and satellite imagery, these were never supplied. Helicopters that were meant to be located in Kargil were shifted to Leh and were not permitted to fly within 10 kilometers of the Line of Control (LoC). Since the helicopters were stationed at Leh, they had to cross Fatula Pass on their way back before 12 noon. As a result, we had just 10 minutes of reconnaissance time on the day they were made available. And they were rarely made available.

Again, no mines could be laid during the war as all mine marking tapes had been taken by the GOC to Leh for the purpose of marking the ground for renovation of the garrison there and for construction of the infamous zoo. Frontline fighting troops and technical support troops were not only ordered to catch animals and birds but also to build and fabricate cages for the zoo. Though there was no bar by higher authorities on firing of artillery, local restrictions had been imposed upon me. I was not permitted to use artillery, whereas Pakistan used its artillery to hammer us at will.

Kargil-War.jpg

A memorial for soldiers who lost their lives during the Kargil War. Photo: PTI

The Leh Division did not have an Operations Order (Op Order). No one knew exactly what to do when it was required by everyone for executing their roles. There was no clear channel of communication with this division. During the inquiry, all that officers of the division could produce in terms of an Operation Order was a pencil-written draft by some GSO-1 Operations of 1991 vintage.
The Strike Corps were rendered ineffective as tanks had been mothballed (greased) and their crew had been sent to perform infantry and police jobs of road opening in the Kashmir valley. De-mothballing and marrying up of these troops require anywhere between one and two months. The then MGO confided to a journalist that the tank ammunition was down to two days of contact rate fighting.

Our only major communication centre housing the Tropo-Scatter was burnt in an accidental fire just before the war. The inquiry for this crucial loss, as also the inquiry regarding the blowing up of the Kargil ammunition dump, was hushed up as war losses.

The division which was raised for Kargil was temporarily moved out to the Kashmir valley for anti-terrorist duties thereby leaving wide gaps which were temporarily held by transiting battalions. The division was not brought back for its primary task of defending Kargil. Also, General Hukoo’s Division – he had earlier commanded the Kargil Brigade and was well versed with its details – which was a reserve for Kargil was not moved in despite being available. A new division was brought in its place which was not familiar with the area.

A brigade headquarter was moved in without any additional troops in September-October 1998 but not given any operational task for seven to eight months. It, in fact, remained totally idle near Leh till 20 days before the war. And after taking over full charge of Dras and Mashkoh areas, they were shifted out elsewhere, creating severe problems of command and control. This denuded the Dras and Mashkoh areas of any troops and reserves. It was only when the enemy had reached right on the Srinagar-Kargil Road that I, with my brigade major and staff captain, were sent there to stall their onslaught. And we did push them back to recapture important positions and restore unhindered movement on the Srinagar-Kargil Road.

The day on which the Kargil operations began, the Army Commander, Lt. General H.M. Khanna, was in Pune attending to his personal affairs. The corps commander, who was also in Pune for his wife’s surgery, returned immediately though. These are not normal events in the working of the army.

Another serious issue that can only be answered by those in charge at the time is why Point 5353, which not only dominates the Zojila-Kargil Road but also the alternative route from Dras to Kargil, was left with the enemy. Also, before I handed over charge, I had captured and established a battalion (minus) behind the enemy on Point 5140. However, this battalion, which was one of the greatest tactical achievements by us, was removed and the enemy allowed to occupy that. This is the topmost point of Tololing.

No general officer was ever held responsible for all these glaring ill-conceived decisions. All of these events, which weakened our effort (to use the mildest words) before and during the war, need serious investigation. The same mindset of brushing things under the carpet is one of the reasons why the Chinese were able to prepare, concentrate and move to Eastern Ladakh last year, occupying territory up to Finger 4 at Pangong Tso.

Though I was removed from service, there was no charge against me either in terms of professionalism, valour or anything concerned with fighting the war. In fact, I was praised in writing in my ACR (compiled after I was removed from the Kargil command). The action against me was only for making photocopies of letters which contained 68 pages written to General VP Malik and getting them delivered to my residence (my Ops. Room bunker). And, that I had got these photocopies delivered through a messenger instead of an officer. I am told that others also removed documents from the Directorate of Military Operations to make photocopies for their personal use in books, etc. For example, the Hindustan Times reported in 2012, ‘RTI reply hints at unauthorised use of confidential documents’. However, action was never initiated against anyone.

The Kargil War is now more than 22 years behind us. The corps commander has since died, while other high-ranking officials, including the army commander and his chief of staff, the DGMOs, the MSs, the DGMI, the divisional commander and other brigade commanders are already very old. A proper inquiry involving some of these old generals and others may reveal several issues. These revelations may have serious implications for the national security of India.

Much has been written about Kargil. But when the above-mentioned facts are considered, many of the claims made in support of how the war was handled fall flat. Along with the soldiers lost and injured, truth has been a casualty in this war.

I do not wish to blame anyone and have submitted all this information in the interest of the nation. Only an independent inquiry can point to the shortcomings of the military in the war. The criminal justice system of India is one of the most unjust. My case, in which I have challenged the treatment meted out to me by the Army, has been hanging fire for the past 20 years in courts, including for about 12 years in the Armed Forces Tribunal in Chandigarh. Unless the Chief Justice of India takes suo moto cognizance and orders an inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court, the truth and vital facts affecting the security of India will remain buried forever.

Surinder Singh was a brigadier in the Indian Army and commanded the Kargil brigade during the 1999 war with Pakistan.
 
Last edited:

Jackdaws

Experienced member
Messages
2,759
Reactions
1 1,582
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India
The book by a Pakistani author Zehra Nasim does mention the zoo and how the Pakistanis caught India napping - "From Kargil to the Coup".

They expected to capture a few peaks but were surprised at how many they could capture simply because India had vacated them.

Of course, the Pakistanis did not account for the Bofors and what would happen to them once India brought in the heavy artillery.
 

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India
The book by a Pakistani author Zehra Nasim does mention the zoo and how the Pakistanis caught India napping - "From Kargil to the Coup".

They expected to capture a few peaks but were surprised at how many they could capture simply because India had vacated them.

Of course, the Pakistanis did not account for the Bofors and what would happen to them once India brought in the heavy artillery.
Uploaded two, at least one more left. Do read them when you can.
 

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India

I Witnessed the Kargil War. That's Why I Won't Celebrate It.​

A war correspondent writes about why he hates war.
I Witnessed the Kargil War. That's Why I Won't Celebrate It.

Indian soldiers in Batalik during the Kargil War. Photo: PMO
Sujan Dutta

Sujan Dutta





SECURITY
19/JUL/2019
Like marbles on a slope, first the black pebbles roll down. They are followed by black rock and scree on the brown incline. The little rumble is muffled by the thump-thump of shells burying into soft cliffs behind.

The first of the casualties is about to be here, the stumbling stretcher-bearers have kicked off a small avalanche to warn of their imminence. The first of the stretcher-bearers, indeed the first casualty, is being brought down from Tiger Hill Top. Even as the bearers lay the stretcher on the hillside, a helicopter chops the air and the grass and flowers with its rotors, and touches down in front of this grey stoned primary school building by a rivulet. The bank of the rivulet is a school playground that is now the makeshift helipad for casevacs (casualty evacuations).

The patient is bundled into the small Cheetah helicopter, a derivative of the French-origin Alouette, and off she goes.

The casualty in tattered fatigues has a white cone of solid bone jutting from a red tear around where his left shoulder should have been. The cloth is drenched, the fatigues are dripping red, the bearers have bloodied hands and smears on their faces.

Then one of the stretch-bearers who is sprawled on the earth from exhaustion but remembers me speaking to his officer in the grey-stoned school gestures.

“Saabji (sir),” he beckons. “Dekhiye (see).”
He holds out his helmet.

It has two clean holes for entry and exit. The bullet aimed at his head has passed through it, between the inside of his netted fibre-glass headgear and the top of his scalp. Meaning, he had such luck that an enemy bullet aimed at his head tore through his helmet without grazing his hair.
§
In recalling the battle for Tiger Hill, on the 20th anniversary of the Kargil ‘war’, it should be noted that in those weeks this skirmish climaxed a 50-day event. Officially, the hostilities in Kargil in 1999 are still not recognised as a ‘war’. It is important however to draw lessons from collective experience. It is time to put paid to hype about a ‘fearless’ series of heroic stories and the gooey nonsense about ‘guns and coloured flowers’ surrounding what was essentially a ‘limited’ conflict and is even now not recognised as a full-fledged war.

There is nothing romantic while in a war. War is dirty, bloody, grimy, sweaty, urinary, shitty and bare-boned. All of it literally and at once.

Its stench lingers in the nostrils and in the mind for years. I am a war correspondent – I went on to cover Iraq and Afghanistan after Kargil – but I hate war.

The 20th anniversary of the Kargil War – the first cable-TV armed conflict, as it were – is celebrating all of that what is abominable.

We, people, I believe, are born at least to be humane. War is nowhere near human; it is alien to our nature. In the normal course of things, with disagreements to live by, we don’t slit one another’s throats and behead each other with khukris. We need to be possessed by an evilness to do so. Bloody battles like in Kargil inject that evilness.

The scene I have reported above, where a stretch-bearer showed his bullet-ridden helmet when the bone was sticking out of a soldier, was just outside Holiyal village in Mushkoh Valley at the base of Tiger Hill. The grey-stoned shelter was a desolate primary school tenement. It was chosen as an action station for the main unit that took Tiger Hill because it was not visible to the Pakistani gunners. The Pakistani shells flew over it and bored into a hill behind it.
In July 1999, I could not report to the newspaper I was then working for the names and the places of the incident because the officer who had hosted me was in the thick of battle. He was leading the 18 Grenadiers, I can report today. The ‘action station’ was the school in Holiyal village in Mushkoh Valley, where I had bara-khana – the ‘grand feast’ – the afternoon before the evening the soldiers set off to re-capture Tiger Hill.

Colonel Khushal Thakur, commanding officer of the 18 Grenadiers, later Brigadier, now retired, then told me (my newspaper) over an RT (radio transmitter) “we have reached Tiger Top, we are wrapping it up” the next day (July 4). Tiger Top was at around 15,000 feet. I was at about 13,000 feet. Col Thakur I guess at around 14,000 feet.

I met him quite by chance on one of many forays from Kargil to Drass (about 65 km though hairpin bends within sight of Pakistani gunners) and beyond to Mushkoh, like many reporters, looking for a story to dispatch. Most journalists, certainly the ones loaded with heavy cameras (TV), had made Drass their base. Mushkoh was beyond Drass. I was armed only with pens, notebooks and a satellite phone.

The editors of my Calcutta-headquartered newspaper then had given a week’s notice to get primed for the assignment. It is easier to get physically fit when one is 20 years younger.
Also, because I could sketch a bit and had had a record of meeting deadlines, the editors said there must be copy with graphics every evening. They armed me with a satellite phone that was to be shared with a colleague from a sister newspaper of the ABP Group. On more than one occasion, though, the immediate editor was too concerned for our well-being.

Telecom and the internet then was not what it is like today. Stories had to be sent in bursts like staccato. For a reporter, the sorriest situation is to have a story but one that cannot be despatched. The satphone was a blessing.

It so happened that the satphone networks were available only outdoors and that too for about 90 seconds per call within which we had to dictate copy. So D-Da, the editor I was reporting to daily, feared so much for my safety because of the ambient boom of the shelling that he often said, “Get into the shelter, forget copy, we’ll take agency.”

But what’s the point of being in the middle of a war if you cannot write about it?

In the drives to Holiyal from Kargil (at a height of 90,00 feet), we went through Drass. It is 65 km from Kargil to Drass. The Mahindra Commander 4X4 I had hired from Leh was shared by Rajesh Ramachandran and Manish Swarup who were then with Hindustan Times, and Suman Chatterjee from the Bengali daily the Ananda Bazar Patrika. I was with the Telegraph.
On the night of July 3-4 when heavy artillery and Grad multi-barelled rockets fired from Drass while we were returning from Holiyal, Manish stepped out to capture pictures. The rockets were cutting through the night sky like a fast-bowler’s outswingers across the Himalayas, lighting the snow on the peaks in glows of amber. The Bofors 155mm guns were pounding in “direct firing mode” without an aerial observer. The hills above us were trembling. The ground beneath my feet quaked and quaked.

Manish was to be back in a couple of minutes because we were to move to Pandrass on higher ground, behind a hill from where we would get a ‘panoramic’ view of the events. When he did not, Rajesh went out to look for him. Rajesh was injured by shrapnel as he was trying to get into a bunker in Drass (56) brigade headquarters. We learnt the next day that he had been evacuated to Srinagar and then on to Delhi.

By this time we were east of Tiger Hill, west of Tololing. The war began turning for India from Tololing. Drass, which was known as the second coldest place on earth (after Verkhoyansk in Siberia) despite being on flat land, was directly below Tololing.

Between Tololing and Tiger Hill is Sando Nullah, through which, unknown to us then, a Gorkha battalion was one of a three-pronged attack, at the centre of which was the 18 Grenadiers.
The second-in-command of the 18 Grenadiers, Lt Colonel Viswanathan – a friend Colonel Khushal Thakur’s ‘2-IC’ – had fallen in Tololing on June 23. When I met them in Holiyal, his place was taken by Lt Col Paugham (I don’t know his current whereabouts) with Major Rajeev Kumar holding the base and the radio in the “action station”, the school in Holiyal over which Pakistani shells whistled.

Paugham had drawn a sketch in my notebook at the bara-khana to explain how the plan included an excursion through the exotically named “Pariyon ki Jheel (Lake of Fairies)” to the North West of Tiger Hill.

That was also part of a plan to recapture a strategic height – Point 5353 – that India was unable to regain and even today continues to be in Pakistani possession. It probably has the best view of National Highway 1A that the Kargil incursion of 1999 by the “intruders” was aiming to interdict.

Let alone wars, even battles and skirmishes often are not conclusive. Kargil is one of a series. It has a history and a future.

The Kargil-Drass-Leh sector was targeted by Pakistan and Pakistan-backed forces in 1947-48 when India could not retain Skardu, then again in in 1965 and in 1971 when India captured and till today holds on to Turtuk near the Siachen south glacier.

With such histories that portend grim and bloody futures, the value of celebrating futile heroism – when bullets through helmets define luck – is questionable.

Sujan Dutta covered the Kargil War for the Telegraph.
 

Joe Shearer

Contributor
Moderator
Professional
Advisor
Messages
1,109
Reactions
21 1,938
Nation of residence
India
Nation of origin
India

Why Is India Still Ignoring Lessons Learnt From the Kargil War?​

The best way to pay homage to those who lost their lives fighting in Kargil is to remember what was learnt and incorporate that in future practice – something India is yet to do.
Why Is India Still Ignoring Lessons Learnt From the Kargil War?

Soldiers enact scenes from the Kargil war in a light and sound show. Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Kabli/Files
Raghu Raman

Raghu Raman





DIPLOMACY
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
GOVERNMENT
SECURITY
26/JUL/2017
The Kargil memorial at Drass. Credit: PTI

The Kargil memorial at Drass. Credit: PTI
Almost two decades later, the Kargil war has many lessons in national security, diplomacy, warfare, strategy and tactics which were paid for in blood, but unfortunately, remain largely ignored.
The first lesson that India must factor into its Pakistan strategy is that we are dealing with dual power centres within our western neighbour. The Pakistani political establishment exercises its powers at the pleasure of the Pakistani military and not the other way around, as is the norm in any democracy. This essentially means that Pakistan is free to make promises or policy statements politically, that can be reneged on at convenience by the military. Most of the Pakistani military’s (mis)adventures have been planned by the former and foisted ex-post facto to political leaders who have been presented with fait accompli. This essentially means that our peace dialogues are unevenly matched. For example, our home secretary’s real counterpart in Pakistan is a serving army general, not the civil servant holding a corresponding title.
Secondly, duplicity is a core component of the Pakistani military strategy. Not that there is anything wrong or ‘dishonourable’ in using deception as a tool of war, however, we must appreciate that subterfuge is fundamental to the Pakistani army who tend to lead most of their conflicts with soldiers masquerading as irregulars. They did that before Kargil, in 1948 and in 1965 as well. Subterfuge necessitates a higher degree of secrecy and Pakistan is good at that, at times keeping not just their political leaders in the dark, but also their own navy and air force, as during Kargil. This gives them the edge of surprise which is a tremendous force multiplier in war, as Indian forces learnt at the cost of several hundred body bags.
In each of the aforementioned conflicts, Indians were largely blindsided and learnt of the intrusions through local sympathisers rather than our numerous and much-vaunted intelligence agencies. So much so, that the National Technical Research Organisation was set up to bridge this gaping lacuna post Kargil. Surprise is an essential principle of war and Pakistan has beaten us to it enough times in the past for us to learn and fix this deficiency.
And that underscores the importance of the third lesson.

The local populations of our western/northern border areas have historically sided with India. Pakistani infiltrators during all the three incursions were spotted, identified, delayed and in some cases even caught and handed over by the local population to Indian soldiers. Very clearly, nationalism prevailed over religious and regional affiliations in each of those instances. India needs to better appreciate the value of the ‘defence in depth’ of the local population and be aware of the irreparable damage that a sense of alienation can cause to such a strategic asset.
The fourth lesson is to respect the capabilities of our adversaries even if we hate them. Pakistani troops began their build up as early as February and March 1999, during which time all movement, including patrolling by Indian soldiers, would entail equipping them to withstand glacial conditions and willingness to accept casualties. Till Kargil happened, the Indian side did not think this necessary or acceptable and instead relied on Winter Air Surveillance Operations, which as we know failed disastrously to detect the large-scale infiltration. The Pakistanis, on the other hand, were willing to take those casualties (and they did) to exploit the element of surprise.
Soldiers enact scenes from the Kargil war in a light and sound show. Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Kabli/Files

Soldiers enact scenes from the Kargil war in a light and sound show. Credit: Reuters/Fayaz Kabli/Files
The fifth lesson would be to implement learnings from previous experiences. The Kargil Committee, set up in the aftermath of the war, gave recommendations ranging from the strategic reorganisation of intelligence, reducing the army’s commitment in counter-insurgency commitments, improving operating procedures and inter-services cooperation, right down to tactical elements like equipment acquisition, including a lighter rifle that enables soldiers to fight in ultra-high altitudes.
Two decades later, most of the seminal recommendations of the Kargil Committee report have been avalanched under political one-upmanship, bureaucratic apathy, turf protection, diffused accountability and the victor’s hubris wherein many claim accolades for ‘evicting’ the infiltrators but no one seems culpable for losing the territory in the first place. Many awards and compensations are declared for the dead and wounded, but very little done to prevent soldiers from dying in future conflicts. This has become our national narrative in the aftermath of every security incident now. And anyone who dares to point this out is labelled as ‘anti-national’.
But perhaps the most seminal lesson from Kargil is to understand the difference between tactics and strategy. Winning battles is mere tactics, whereas winning wars is strategic. And if we don’t understand that distinction, we might continue to celebrate winning battles, while we are continually losing the war.
There are many hypotheses for why Pakistan initiated the Kargil war. Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister, vociferously denied knowledge of this betrayal while Parvez Musharraf insists that the operation had the prime minister’s approval. Given the supremacy of the military in Pakistan and the fact that even the air force and naval chiefs of Pakistan were oblivious to this operation, and that Sharif had to scurry to the US begging for intervention, it is likely that he was indeed unaware of the operation. But the animosity between India and Pakistan has its roots in another war that has been raging in Pakistan from literally its inception. And that is the war between the civilian democracy and the power-grabbing military.
Pakistan is a military junta’s dream country. For all practical purposes, it is the military which calls the shots in Pakistan, consuming a disproportionate percentage of the countries’ resources, while saddling accountability of the country’s deteriorating condition squarely on the civilian political establishment. This convenient arrangement needs an India bogey to be kept alive within the Pakistani populace. In 1997, Sharif was in a position to change that narrative.

Sharif had the popular support to take some previously unimaginable steps. He had just won a landslide victory against Benazir Bhutto and the passing of the 14th amendment to the constitution guaranteed him immunity from ‘no confidence motions’, making him the most powerful prime minister since independence. He successfully removed the president, the chief justice and the then army chief General Jehangir Karamat, replacing him with General Musharraf while superseding two generals. Moreover, the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998 largely diminished India’s conventional superiority. If Sharif, or any other prime minister for that matter, could convince Pakistanis that signing a peace accord with India could divert military resources into much-needed nation building efforts, this was the opportune moment. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s overtures were reciprocated by Sharif and applauded by the world community, who welcomed the defusing of tensions between two nuclear nations. But the Pakistani military saw the rapprochement as a threat that could erode their relevance and pole position within their national narrative, and did what they do best – scuttle the peace talks and keep the India bogey alive.

Indian territory was invaded and occupied by a few hundred soldiers, which necessitated the mobilisation of virtually a fifth of the Indian army. After weeks of bloody fighting and expending hundreds of lives and millions of dollars, the Indian army wrested back posts that were ours to begin with. We neither damaged Pakistan’s war-waging capabilities, nor gained any territorial advantages, nor diminished the Pakistani army’s adventurism which continues till date. Beyond a few months of international isolation, it did little to change Pakistan’s international polices which are based on canards and denials as displayed a decade later, when they were caught harbouring Osama Bin Laden. At best, this was a tactical victory of recapturing lost territory for the Indian army.

The strategic winner of the Kargil war was the Pakistani army. Sharif lost his domestic and international credibility and by the end of the year, was ousted in a bloodless coup giving Pakistan’s reins to Musharraf for the next decade. The Kargil betrayal muddied peace talks for all practical purposes and reverted the Indo-Pak status to ‘no war, no peace’ – the situation designed and sustained by the Pakistani military till date.

War is a very expensive way to learn lessons and hence wasting opportunities to learn from past operations is a criminal dereliction of duty. The best way to pay homage to the 1,800 troops who lost their lives or were wounded in Kargil is to make sure that those mistakes don’t happen again.

Raghu Raman is a former soldier and the founding CEO of NATGRID. He tweets @captraman. Views are personal.
 

Nilgiri

Experienced member
Moderator
Aviation Specialist
Messages
9,298
Reactions
96 18,873
Nation of residence
Canada
Nation of origin
India
Yes war can never be celebrated....

.....some footage of this one compiled here by major samm (his other vids do bear checking out as well) of our brave jawans:


Almost at 600k views so far...

A comment there on the page:

Aryan Singh
1 year ago (edited)

Hey MajorSamm, I don't know if you will read this ,but, I have no words to thank you for covering the Kargil war from an Indian perspective, we really appreciate it. My family has a long tradition of sending its sons to army for the service of nation in all its glory. The sons of my family have participated in almost all major military engagements, right from the malaysian and burmese campaigns of ww2 before the independence, to all Indo pak wars after the independence. Kargil war in particular is more close to my heart as it is the most recent and my own father gave his service as a military physician during the war. Trust me, he rarely talks about it, but when he does it always amuses us to know about the amount of bloodshed that happened during such a brief period. Now its my turn to uphold my family customs, and I will try to join the military just after I am done with my med school( yes my mother didn't want me to go in the military without a medical degree) . I once again thank you for uploading this video.
 

OverTheHorizon

Active member
Messages
47
Reactions
45
Nation of residence
United States of America
Nation of origin
India
You cannot expect a very disciplined armed forces in an indisciplined country. Indian politics of the 90s was abhorrent with PMs being changed almost every two years. Combine the bankruptcy in 1991, the extreme poverty and the really bad politicking in the 90s, any enemy, one as weak as even Pakistan would smack their lips at the opportunity to further their strategic goals. India was in an existential crisis in the 90s thanks to decades of misguided socialism and extreme corruption. Despite East Asian economies proving that a more disciplined form of democracy is required for both economic prosperity and military might, Indians especially the Congress just couldn’t get there. They actually made the situation worse by promoting indiscipline in the form of emergency, bad coalition forming that ignored the massive corruption of State politicians, and generally poor economic policies that peaked poverty for everyone and destroyed entrepreneurship and creativity - thereby significantly destroying tax revenues needed for running a country properly and driving the best and brightest out of India to foreign lands. Clearly the misrule and poverty played a key role in Pakistan Army’s strategic determination that India can be brought to its knees with the Kargil misadventure. What they didn’t count in was that Pakistan was in an even worse shape than India was partly because of their constant self propaganda that Pakistan is a superior nation and one Islamic soldier is the equivalent of 10 Hindu soldiers and other such terrible nonsense, only echo chamber participants like a military’s top leadership can think of. But the main reason was the massive anarchy in Indian politics in the 90s and a very weak central government that led to Pakistan Army miscalculating that it was time to avenge their Siachen debacle. The military of a nation is only as strong or weak as the general political situation would allow it to be , which ultimately reflected In the high human toll paid by Indian soldiers. Since then I have maintained that India needs an authoritative democracy of the likes of Singapore and East Asian democracies and not the liberal democracy model that almost disintegrated India in the 90s.
I actually support constitutionally making India a more disciplined democracy like mandatory military service for a couple of years for every adult post college, banning communist parties and communism, abolishing free gifts for votes, banning state governments from running vice businesses like liquor shops, banning governments from providing services to citizens below the cost of these services like subsidized electricity, having right to recall an elected member midway due to poor performance or outright criminality, voting requires taking a six month training in the rights and duties of citizens and mandatory community service (this copied from Singapore), taxing everyone that can be taxed (excluding agricultural income was a mistake), putting limits on a government’s ability to interfere in the entrepreneurial and industry of a citizen including abolishing nationalizing assets (a very very bad idea) and so much more. Everything about India’s constitution says it is an inefficient, patchy document put together by copying ideas from colonial western democracies, without much thinking and innovation; and worse, not really adapted for Indian people’s historical ways of living, working, and making money - which was all very individualistic and entrepreneurial.
Only now with the repeal of several restrictive laws (especially the colonial laws) and with a huge stability in governance, are we seeing entrepreneurship mushrooming again. The absence of scams is a significant development. A majority voted-in government is able to do things a coalition government cannot. India’s very first defense export is a major indicator. Infrastructure especially border infrastructure improving by leaps and bounds is key. And Indian military getting access to sophisticated weapons on time puts her ahead.
Right now the version of governance is like a pseudo authoritative democracy but still not authoritative as I would like it to be. Systems like rewarding the right people for doing the right job in a meritocratic fashion is still missing in all institutions. Respect for wealth creators is still missing. Bad politics still prevails. Communist tendencies that destroyed India are still active. Internal security is still not top notch. Justice system is still very broken. Unequal taxation and political representation are still there. A lack of spending on science & technology and overall tertiary education is still a bane. Much needs to be quickly corrected and if India needs heavy handed democracy for a decade to correct all this, let her have it.
 

OverTheHorizon

Active member
Messages
47
Reactions
45
Nation of residence
United States of America
Nation of origin
India
Yes. Kargil was a great opportunity for India to take territory and keep Pakistan Army forever in a defensive position.India’s bad political situation combined with a lack of money to hold onto captured territory did India in. I have explained this in a very detailed post in another Kargil related thread. I think all Kargil related threads should be combined to one thread. Decades of underinvestment in border infrastructure, military technology and nurturing of bad economic and political systems cannot be undone in a few years. What the author above fails to point out is how India’s hands were tied due to the poor economic and political situation. A strong and richer india would have surely taken territory. Let’s pray that india gets there by voting in authoritarian democracy promoting parties for a decade or two. Gotta go the Singapore way.
 
Top Bottom