Kargil is on highway NH1A, the midpoint when driving between Leh (capital of Ladakh) and Srinagar (summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir). Kargil is also the point from where avid bikers begin the exploration of the awesome Zanskar valley. Militarily it is important because It forms the strategic node for the vital link between Leh and the rest of India.
The Pakis, helped by the presence of the grossly incompetent govt of Atal Behari Vajayee, occupied strategic points on hills overlooking the NH1A, which put the traffic on the vital higway at risk from Paki shelling. For the BJP
, this war was perfectly timed as it turned this failure into a propaganda exercise to show Vajpayees "leadership". The initial military operation to dislodge the Pakis failed miserably and India had to bring in the Bofors artillery. But even round the clock shelling didnt help to dislodge the intruders. Finally it was the Americans who had to step in to help Vajpayee. After all Vajpayee had to face an election and America couldnt let its favorite stooge loose?
Kargil happened because of sheer incompetence and a criminal neglect of the security at the borders. All the Intelligence agencies, RAW, IB
, even the state CID
had submittted reports on the infiltration MONTHS before, which the PMO and the Home Ministry chose to sit on. While analysing the Kargil conflict, it is important to take a look at this aspect. Why wasnt any action taken on intelligence reports?
But what else can you expect from a PM
like Vajpayee who preferred to spend his time nursing his favorite Sherry (90 ml a day is good for his heart, or so Pramod Mahajan told us!) and writing film songs for Shahrukh Khan while our troops were battling the Pakis to win back the land lost thrugh his incompetence.
What did Time Magazine have to say on Vajpayee again: "Asleep at the wheel"! Pretty accurate assesment!