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July 15, 1999
'Kargil is not the end. Militancy is not going to die down'
The Kargil intrusion was aimed at bleeding India economically and redrawing the Line of Control, a former military commander of Jammu and Kashmir has said.
Lieutenant General Y N Sharma (retired), who was the general officer commanding in Jammu and Kashmir for several years, said Pakistan had fought five jihad wars, including a proxy from 1985-98.
The neighbour was repeating 'a cycle of hate and aggression'. "The humiliation inflicted on the enemy in Kargil would not reduce its adventurism against India," said General Sharma, who lost a leg in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, "Kargil is not the end as militancy is not going to die down."
Pakistan, he continued, was "doing a Saichen on us." By occupying strategic heights in the Kargil sector, it wanted to cut off the national highway and unbalance the armed forces.
Pakistan was aware that it would cost India about Rs 150 million per day to maintain its soldiers along the 740 km LoC. If Pakistan continued its aggression, it would "bleed India economically."
The general said Pakistan tried to use "nuclear blackmail" hoping that the United States would intervene. Now it was time for the government to evolve a "coercive diplomacy" and see that the US puts pressure on Pakistan to stop its militancy in India.
"We have to evolve a pro-active punitive doctrine, an integrated politico-military response and build up the military if we are going to have a psychological domination over the enemy," he added.
He regretted that the defence budget had been reduced to two per cent from 3.5 per cent of the gross domestic product in the last 12 to 14 years, resulting in Indian troops not being well equipped. Pakistan was spending seven per cent of its GDP on defence, while China was spending much more, he pointed out.
General Sharma described the Kargil conflict as a 'wake-up' call for the government and the military. "We should have to be more ruthless. We are no more to act as a soft country and need to do a Soviet Union in Pakistan if it tried any of its tricks in the future," he said.
He had appreciation for the government's 'successful handling' of the crisis.
The coverage of the war by the media in the country had brought the whole nation together. However, the news coverage outside the country, particularly by the British Broadcasting Corporation was biased, he said.
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