The history of Kargil War actually goes back to the year 1984 when the Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir was an unmarked territory. Both Pakistan and India had not claimed it. The 1949 Karachi Agreement and the 1972 Shimla Agreement did not mention as to which country had the claim over the area. It just stated that CFL (Cease Fire Line) terminated at NJ9482 (map coordinates of Siachen). Since Siachen was a cold and a barren land unfit for habitation, the agreements did not think about the possibility of a dispute that could occur between both the countries over this unclaimed land.
The glacier’s water melts into the Nubra River which in turn falls into the Shyok River. The water of the Shyok River then merges with the Indus River, a site important for both India and Pakistan. China was Pakistan’s ally during that time. Pakistan was the first to see potential of oropolitics (political aspect and use of mountains) in Siachen. Hence, they started building a strategy to achieve it.
In 1970’s and early 1980’s, Pakistan would give permits to mountaineering expeditions on the Siachen glacier. Pakistan had begun to take control over the unclaimed land. This alarmed the Indian Army and Operation Meghdoot was launched on 13th April, 1984 to secure Siachen. The Kumaon regiment of the Indian Army and the Air Force were sent to the glacier. Pakistan as a response deployed it’s troops from the region and India raced it’s way on to the top of Siachen. India had claimed it’s victory over Pakistan by taking control over the Siachen Glacier. This 1984 incident had wounded the ego of the Pakistan Army who were now waiting to take revenge. The Kargil War was a result of the Siachen Incident of 1984.
Thus in 1999 when Pakistan saw a chance, it sent Army troops and Kashmir militants to the capture the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and along the LOC (Line of Control). The Kargil area divided the Ladakh area of India from the north areas of the State. This infiltration was strategically planned during the winters since the Indian Army withdrew its soldiers from the Kargil peak because of extreme cold and harsh conditions.
Kargil was targeted partly because it’s vital features and peaks could serve as well prepared defensive posts. It would give any defender or soldier the advantage of a war fortress.
Pakistan was also planning to destroy the supply lines of India namely NH-1 that connected India to Leh, Ladakh and Kashmir. Operation Vijay was immediately launched by the Indian Army to remove the enemy from the Kargil area. Pervez Musharaff, the then Army Chief of Pakistan is said to be the mastermind behind the attack. India used it’s massive army and with the help of the Air Force they were able to push the Pakistani forces back into their territory. After a fierce war of over 60 days, India once again claimed their victory over Pakistan in 1999.
The consequences of the Kargil War were in favor of India. The International Relations of Pakistan with other countries deeply suffered. It is said that during the war, Pakistan Prime Minister went to the US to ask President Clinton for help. But, US had refused to offer Pakistan any help and had instead asked them to withdraw their troops from Kargil. This was also a beginning of a friendly relation between India and US. The Kargil was also India’s first televised war. Hence, India meticulously made use of the media to shape the domestic and international response in it’s favor.
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