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Kargil was planned in advance: Musharraf

September 23, 2006 23:36 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has confirmed in his book that the Pakistani military had begun preparations for the 1999 Kargil incursion months before the conflict in May.

He claimed that the move was in response to activities on the Indian side.

The book In the line of fire, to be released on Monday in New York, suggests the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was aware of the Pakistani army plan well before he hosted Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indian Prime Minister at that time, in Lahore on March 20,1999, according to excerpts reported by NDTV.

In the book, Musharraf, then Pakistan's army chief, says, 'Whatever movement has taken place so far in the direction of finding a solution to Kashmir issue is owed considerably to Kargil conflict.'

'1999 may have been the most momentous year of my life,' he says, adding, 'It is time to lay bare what has been shrouded in mystery.'

'A plan calling for plugging gaps between our positions was formally presented and approved towards the middle of January 1999,' the book says.

'There was specific information of a possible Indian attack in Saqna sector. It was aimed at positions we had used to shell the road between Dras and Kargil in early summer of 1998,' Musharraf says in the book.

'On May 15, I ordered the FCNA to improve our defensive positions in coordination with freedom fighters,' says the army chief, who seized power in a coup on October 12, 1999.

The book says army had 'briefed the prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) in Skardu on January 29, 1999 and Kel on February 5, 1999. During these briefings, our defensive manoeuvre was explained as a response to all that was happening on the Indian side.

"He (Sharif) subsequently was briefed on March 12, 1999 at the Directorate-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).'

Vajpayee had traveled by bus to Lahore on March 20 to hold talks with Sharif and less than two months later, India detected intrusions in Kargil leading to a four-month bloody conflict.

Sharif, whose government was overthrown by Musharraf, later claimed that the Kargil aggression was the handiwork of the army and he had no knowledge about it.

On reports that during the conflict, Pakistan had prepared to carry out a nuclear strike against India, Musharraf says in the book, "I can say with authority that in 1999, our nuclear capability was not yet operational. Any talk of preparing for a nuclear strike is preposterous.'

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