Bengaluru: It has been 20 years since the Kargil conflict, but the debate regarding lessons learned continues to rage. The South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) data show 942 Naxal attacks in India between January 1, 2014, and April 11, 2019. These attacks have left 451 people dead and 1,589 injured.
Major Rakesh Sharma, a Kargil war veteran, disagrees with the defence analysts who opined that after the 1999 war between India and Pakistan, the lessons were learned.
“To brush away the issue with a narrative that Kargil cannot be clubbed with 26/11 Mumbai attack or 2016 Uri attack would amount to being naive and silly. Lack of responsibility and accountability at the senior level and negligible synergy amongst various operators, and lack of empathy or alienation of subordinates in the armed forces and public at large in civil administration,” Major Sharma said. He suggests a faster politico-military decision making and synergy amongst the three services not only during the war but also in peace time.
“Unfortunately, none of the above exist even today - also, as a matter of fact we don’t want to accept that we are at war all the time - Uri is war, Mumbai attack is war and so is Pulwama.”
Lambasting at the political and bureaucratic machinery, Major Sharma said Kargil was won on grit and determination displayed by the young officers, and a wrong message could be sent when they see veterans sitting on hunger strike and getting lathicharged by the police.
“Kargil was won on sheer grit and determination of young officers and men. Will such grit be demonstrated when they see those out of service sitting on hunger strike? One who is serving today will be a veteran tomorrow. What will he think when he see the veterans being thrashed by Delhi Police at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi ?” he questioned.
The Kargil hero calls India’s intelligence system as one of the worst in the world and puts the blame squarely on it for the Pulwama attack.
“India will remain vulnerable unless it creates the will and the capability to deter and dissuade the adversaries. One lesson of Kargil war which the Indian Leadership needs to own up is that sound defence and security enables sound domestic and foreign policies. Else, enemy will keep hitting you at will, as is being done till date," he explained....