by SWJ Editors
Restraint as a Successful Strategy in the 1999 Kargil Conflict
by Colonel Devendra Pratap Pandey, Indian Army, Small Wars Journal
In 1999, General Pervez Musharraf, then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistan Army, orchestrated a major intrusion into an unoccupied but strategically sensitive complex of Kargil along the northern border of India. The Kargil intrusion was an operation of strategic importance conducted by Pakistan to provide a much required momentum to its weakening proxy war in the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a state of India. Pakistan had waged an irregular war, in J&K, for a decade, exploiting religious similarities to incite secessionist activities, by actively supporting, financing, and training insurgents, while exporting foreign radicals and so called jihadist elements across the borders. This latest aggression across the border by the Pakistan Army was another attempt to redeem its prestige after the defeats of 1947-48, 1965, and 1971. The 1998-99 act of intrusion was of even greater significance because it was enacted during a political peace process when the then Indian Prime Minister was visiting Pakistan on invitation. The surprise intrusion, along a stretch of the border that had historically remained peaceful due to the terrain difficulties, was a spark in an already charged regional tinderbox.