Nov 292011

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had knowledge about infiltration from the neighbouring country in 1998, but his government did not pay attention to intelligence reports on the Pakistan Army’s intrusions in Kargil in 1999, according to an army think tank.

"Atal Bihari Vajpayee"

The study titled ‘Perils of Prediction, Indian Intelligence and the Kargil Crisis’, said the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had also warned in its October 1998 assessment that the Pakistan Army might launch “a limited swift offensive with possible support of alliance partners (reference to mercenaries).”

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had also sent a secret note to the then Prime Minister Vajpayee on Pakistani logistics building across the Kargil.

The Indian Army’s think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies ( CLAWS) made these revelations in an internal study it undertook on Indian intelligence and the Kargil crisis.

“What went wrong, was not lack of intelligence, but the lack of coordination, assessment and predicting in specific terms in which way the attack will be enacted,” says the classified study.

The study shows that the Indian intelligence agency had accurately assessed Pakistani intentions prior to the Kargil crises and as early as in 1998, a year prior to detection of the intrusions.

As many as 43 reports were produced between June 1998 and May 1999 by three intelligence agencies-the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Military Intelligence (MI). The Indian border guards stationed in Kargil also generated two other reports.

The study says the analysis, origins and destinations of these reports is quite revealing: Army intelligence produced 22 reports, none of which were shared with any civilian agencies, including the JIC. RAW generated 11 reports and IB produced 10 reports, of which three were distributed widely.

On June 2, 1998, the IB had dispatched a note to the Prime Minister, containing details about Pakistani logistics building efforts along the LoC in the areas opposite to Kargil. The note was personally signed by then IB chief, meaning the contents were extra-sensitive requiring attention from the highest political level.

Again in the winter of 1998-99, both RAW and IB had predicted an escalation of the mercenary infiltration, with the thrust in the direction of Kargil. In its October 1998 threat assessment, RAW had even warned that Pakistan the Army might launch “a limited swift offensive with possible support of alliance partners-a reference to mercenaries.”

“But credible reports suggest that RAW was informally pressured to retreat from the alarming projections it had made in October 1998, as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was preparing to undertake a peace journey to Lahore,” the study says.

It says it was after the nuclearisation of South Asia that four Pakistani Generals, including then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, had drawn up plans for an incursions into the Indian Kashmir, code named Operation Badr.

The paper believes that reconnaissance for Operation Badr had begun in November 1998, when Pakistan troops had probed Indian defence lines in Kargil. “Unmanned aerial vehicles were used to verify the laxity of Indian border security. Actual Movement of troops into Indian territory began late February 1999,” says the paper. (ANI)

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