Operation Vijay was a Blend of Political Military and Diplomatic Competency: Experts

Indian Army

New Delhi: The Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) commemorated the 20th Anniversary of India’s victory in Kargil by organising a Seminar on ‘India’s National Security: Kargil to Present Times’ on August 6.

In his Welcome Address, Director General, IDSA, Ambassador Sujan R. Chinoy, began by lauding Government of India’s decision to repeal Article 370 in relation to Jammu and Kashmir. He paid rich tribute to the soldiers who fought the war, leading to a glorious victory and described it as an epochal moment, which witnessed the participation of the entire nation in giving a befitting reply to the enemy’s transgression of our territorial boundary.

The IDSA Director General said that the lessons learnt and the experience gained from the war are of relevance today even after the passage of twenty years.

Emphasising that the threats and challenges that India experiences today from its neighbours are far more diverse than the ones experienced in the past, Amb. Chinoy asserted that the Shimla and Lahore Agreements call upon India and Pakistan to engage in a bilateral dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues.

However, Pakistan needs to dismantle its terrorist networks and its support for terrorist groups for talks to resume, he pointed out.

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Amb. Chinoy firmly reiterated that India did not then, during the Kargil War, and does not now, encourage third party mediation on matters concerning internal security. In recent years, India has shown a new capacity for resolve and willingness to take risks in dealing with unilateralism on its borders.

Today, the nation has demonstrated willingness to cross the LoC publicly for ground and air strikes. Such a stance adds to its flexibility of options in response to grave provocations, said the Director General.

Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), while reflecting in his Special Address on the military strategy during the Kargil War said that ‘Operation Vijay’ was a blend of political military and diplomatic competency, along with courage, commitment and determination that contributed to India’s victory in the Kargil War.

Gen. Malik spoke of the need for larger forces to prevent Pakistan from causing greater damage to border areas. Even though India has been a victim of intrusion it continues to exercise restraint, he insisted. In a combat situation there is a need to engage all services optimally, he observed.

Insisting that the successful outcome of a border war depends on the ability to react rapidly, Gen Malik, observed that the new strategic environment calls for faster decision making, versatile combat preparedness, rapid deployment and high level synergy. Future wars will require close political insight, and positive civil military interaction, he pointed out.

Also delivering a Special Address was former Deputy National Security Advisor Ambassador Satish Chandra, who lauded the Indian political and defense strategy that helped India contain Pakistan’s aggression. He emphasized on the need to widen the envelope of retaliatory response and increase preparedness to avoid conflicts in future.

Describing stealth secrecy and deception as hallmarks of Pakistan’s intrusion in Kargil, Amb Satish Chandra said that India gave a befitting reply that was supported globally.

During the Session ‘Kargil to Present’, chaired by Amb. Chinoy, Amb T.C.A. Rangachari, Distinguished Fellow, VIF, who spoke on Pakistan as a Diplomatic Challenge, observed that Pakistan does not have the capability to be a nuisance beyond India’s control. However, India should be willing to change its mind set with regards to Pakistan and China and pay attention to the latter the way it deserves.

Lt Gen Prakash Menon (Retd), while reflecting on ‘Limited Conflicts under Nuclear Overhang’ said that India as a nuclear nation needs to divert itself from Pakistan and start thinking about other nuclear countries like China.

Lt Gen Satish Dua, (Retd) former CIDS, spoke on ‘Evolution of Joint Structures’. Emphasising on the need of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) he said that India is the only country, which despite being major military power, has not integrated it’s military.

The Session on ‘Leadership Challenges in Combat’ was chaired by Deputy Director General, IDSA, Maj Gen Alok Deb (Retd). The speakers included Air Marshal V.K. Bhatia (Retd), who spoke on ‘Leadership Challenges of Air Combat’. He stressed upon the capabilities of the Indian Airforce.

Giving an in depth analysis of ‘Challenges of Leadership Against an Entrenched Enemy’, Brig Devinder Singh (Retd), spoke on the operations in detail, with regards to troop movement, logistics, artillery and prisoners of wars, explaining the technicalities and complexities involved in the recapture of the Batalik sector.

Rear Admiral S.Y. Shrikhande (Retd), speaking on ‘Educating Future Military Leaders’, laid stress on the importance of education in developing strategic, operational and tactical thinking in the defence forces

A Special Issue of the Journal of Defence Studies, a quarterly publication of the IDSA and book: Kargil: Past Perfect, Future Uncertain? by Col Vivek Chadha (Retd) were also released on the occasion.

The event was attended by military veterans, serving members of the armed forces, members of the strategic community and the media.

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