July 26, 2019, marks 20 years of Kargil war victory by India. From remembering the sacrifice of our soldiers to revisiting the brave stories of their fight for the nation, there are many ways to observe this occasion. One way would be to assess what the nation at this juncture is doing to ensure that the the situation that we faced two decades ago in 1999 does not repeat. The political leadership at that time with Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the helm did everything to ensure that our soldiers teach a lesson to the enemies. Cut to this day under Modi government, the nation is evidently confident enough to feel that Pakistan can’t think of repeating a Kargil like misadventure as India has exhibited to the world, what our reactions are like, through surgical strikes and air strikes.
Nevertheless, it is interesting to see through some specific instances how this government has ensured that Kargil kind of situation does not arise in future. After Kargil war, the Kargil review committee set up by the government and many experts in the security domain had pointed out some shortcomings in the system that had given the enemy an opportunity to infiltrate LoC.
Anyway, without going into the details of any particular government report, let’s look at what did the popular opinion thought of the shortcomings at that time. Perhaps, an article in The Economic Times summarises this in a simple term.
Remember that the Vajpayee government was barely a year old and this was the making of decades of neglect.
Let’s ponder over above points and see where we are standing now.
Problem in Kargil war days: Not enough motorable roads to connect the crucial army posts.
Now: Ever since the Modi government came to power, it has put together a great amount of effort to upgrade the roads in border areas of Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.
The Zojila pass tunnel which is set to become the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia has been approved by the Modi government. Apart from easing the life of civilians, how it helps the defence forces is captured in the words of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, reported here.
“Defense forces have to face hard time ensuring supplies to border posts during winters. This pass is most strategic for the entire Kargil sector which has seen intrusion and war in the past.”
Problem in Kargil war days: Though the Bofors guns did commendable job in attacking the enemy’s position at height, the need for more sophisticated fire power was felt at that time.
Now: India’s artillery fire power got boost after 30 years, only under the Modi government as it inducted two new guns, K9 Vajra and M777. Vajra guns which are designed to suit the difficult Indian terrain can fire up to the range of 30 km. BAE Systems M777 guns are ultra-lightweight howitzers which can be picked up by the helicopters and can be deployed in the high-altitude regions. You may read the details in our earlier article on this.
Problem in Kargil war days: Thanks to the locals, India was alerted about the enemy’s intrusion in Kargil.
Now: Modi government has laid the foundation to most sophisticated surveillance system and the intelligence gathering through technology on par with any military power in the world. The below headlines tell you the story.
The Scene in Between
When we count all these developments under the Modi government, it is enough to explain that the UPA government which has ruled the country for two successive terms after the Vajpayee government did little that was noteworthy to improve the security scenario. While the NDA government was in power before 2004, opposition Congress had raked up a non-existent scam over coffins purchased for Kargil martyrs which was later found to be false by the Supreme Court. When it got power, Adarsh housing scam took place in which the apartments meant for Kargil martyrs’ families were illegally allotted to others.
Reflecting upon all these facts is perhaps a good way to observe 20 years of Kargil victory.