Why did the government ignore intelligence warnings of flare-up along the LoC after the Lahore bus trip of the Prime Minister? Though the report has suggested several sweeping changes, there is already sceptism within the establishment about its implementation. Sources told rediff.com this morning that "recommendations are really good, but it is doubtful if they would ever be implemented".
The committee report is noticeable in absolving the Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau of most of the responsibility.
"The critical failure in intelligence was related to the absence of any information on the induction and de-induction of battalions and the lack of accurate data on the identity of battalions in the area opposite Kargil during 1998," the report says.
The units which were ultimately confirmed to be part of the assault party and were stationed along the Pakistani side of the LOC did not "figure in the Order of Battle supplied by RAW to the Director General of Military Intelligence in April 1998".
"Since then and until Indian troops came into contact with these battalions in May-June 1999, there was no information of their presence in the area. RAW issued another ORBAT on June 1, 1999, which also did not indicate any movement of troops in the area opposite Kargil between April 1998 and May 1999."
The committee has called for a two-stream approach to download and interpret the imagery obtained from a proposed spy satellite. "Kargil highlighted the gross inadequacies in the nation's surveillance capability, particularly through satellite imagery. The committee notes with satisfaction that steps have been initiated to acquire this capability."
It has also called for deployment of Unmanned Aerical Vehicles for surveillance, while asking the army to deploy platforms other than the existing Cheetah helicopters to provide accurate pictures.
The committee has also recommended setting up of a National Defence Headquarters, which could directly interact with the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and others. "Structural reforms could bring about a much closer and more constructive interaction between civil government and the services," it says.
On the nuclear front, it has called for the publication of a white paper on the Indian nuclear weapons programme. "The record clearly establishes that the Indian nuclear weapons programme had a much wider consensus than is generally believed."
On media management, the committee calls for more specialised officers at field levels to manage journalists, while asking the army to train more reporters in the task of war reporting. It has also asked the government to immediately publish records of all its war, including the Kargil operations. Till this day, there is no authentic record published by the government on the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars.
The report also calls for better co-ordination between the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the defence forces, while admitting that the Indian Army is not adequately modernised.
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