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Indian Army rubbishes Musharraf's Kargil claims

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf claims of "victory" in the 1999 Kargil conflict in Jammu and Kashmir.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 21:41 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Indian Army on Monday rubbished Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's claims of "victory" in the 1999 Kargil conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and that a lesser Pakistani force had tied down four divisions of Indian soldiers.

"Everyone knows who got a bloody nose and the circumstances under which the fighting ended (after then US President Bill Clinton summoned then Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Washington and directed him to order a ceasefire)," a senior Army official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It was Pakistan who sued for peace and we responded immediately," the official added.

Musharraf has made his claims in his book In The Line of Fire, which was released in New York on Monday.

The official also contested Musharraf's claims that five Pakistani units had tied down four Indian divisions during the fighting.

According to the official, Pakistan had deployed six battalions of the Northern Light Infantry, then designated a paramilitary force, apart from units of the regular Pakistani Army, as also commandoes of the Special Services Group (SSG).

Against this, the Indian Army had sent in two divisions and two brigades, the official said. He also gave figures of casualties and arms and ammunition recovered at the end of the conflict to support his contention.

Against 580 Indian soldiers who died, Pakistani casualties were a staggering 1,042, including 45 officers.

"We buried the bodies of 249 Pakistan soldiers and handed back five. The Pakistanis managed to recover the bodies of 725 soldiers, including 45 officers and 68 SSG commandoes," the official pointed out.

"It is a cardinal principle of warfare that the force that is attempting to evict intruders would suffer larger casualties, particularly since the intruders held the heights. In this case, the Pakistanis suffered bigger casualties because they had more forces deployed," the official noted.

After the conflict ended, the India Army recovered four anti-aircraft guns, 46 heavy machineguns, 198 rifles, 19 recoilless guns, 12 light mortars, three howitzers, one Stinger missile with its launcher, 1,200 artillery rockets, 1,400 anti-personnel mines and 35 tonnes of ammunition.

"Such a large recovery makes it quite evident that much more than five Pakistani units were deployed in Kargil," he said.

Many in the Indian defence establishment have expressed surprise at the contents of Musharraf's book.

The president had all along been maintaining that Kashmiri "freedom fighters" had taken on the Indian Army in Kargil. He now admits that five units of the Pakistani Army had supported the intruders.

Musharraf also contests Sharif's claims of being kept in the dark about the Pakistan's intentions in Kargil, saying two detailed briefings were conducted on the Army's plans in the area.

Musharraf was the Pakistani Army chief at the time of the conflict. He ousted Sharif in a bloodless coup later that year and sent him into exile soon after.

First Published: Sep 25, 2006 21:41 IST