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May 28, 1999
Indians should not expect the operations to be over in a jiffy: expert
Amberish K Diwanji in New Delhi
Lieutenant General (retired) V R Raghavan served as director general, military operations, and general officer commanding-in-chief, northern command.
These two sections of the army are now involved in the operations to clear the Drass-Kargil-Batalik area of intruders.
He warned that Indians should not expect the operations to be over in a jiffy. "This is not some sort of crowd violence where you send in some constables to clear the trouble-makers. It has to be planned meticulously and executed methodically, ensuring maximum gains at minimum cost. And such operations cannot be completed in just a few days. It will take time," he said.
He said the operations were a serious business, which required a major effort. However, he doubted if the conflict would spread beyond the present confines and has urged the government to keep the operations localised and low-key and at conventional thresholds.
He felt there was no other option available to the government but to respond the way it did. "The government has to respond to demonstrate its will. If we don't do anything, the enemy will be become stronger," he said.
He pointed out that this was the first time that Pakistani-aided militants had actually captured and held on to territory. "Earlier, they used to simply infiltrate and kill civilians," he added, pointing out that any attempt by Pakistan to alter the Line of Control unilaterally must not be allowed.
He said the response must be so strong that Pakistan does not carry out such missions again. "If we had delayed our operations, then we could have come under international pressure, hence it is best to clear them now," he clarified.
He also said that other steps must be taken along with the military action to persuade Pakistan to change its line. He said diplomatic and political initiatives too should be taken to defuse the situation. "Ultimately, some solution will be found, but till then the military will do its duty," he said.
He has on numerous occasions come across Pakistani militants and Afghan mercenaries who today flood the valley, seeking to capture Kashmir for Pakistan. He agreed that the Afghan militants are a tenacious lot.
"They are ideologues who truly believe that they are fighting a jihad (holy war). However, jihad has different meanings for different people. These very same ideologues who come across to wage jihadare not above raping the wives of the villagers or killing the villagers or burning down their houses if they don't get support or help from the villagers or even suspect them," he pointed out.
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