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General V K Singh praises Musharraf's 'courage'

February 01, 2013 19:36 IST

Former Pakistan military ruler General Pervez Musharraf on Friday received praise from former Indian Army chief General V K Singh, who said the incident exhibited the "courage" of the military commander.

Singh, who headed the Indian Army between 2010 and 2012, said there were mistakes on the Indian side that allowed Pakistani troops to cross over into Indian territory.

"As far as General Musharraf is concerned, I would like to put it in two ways. One, as a military commander, I would commend General Musharraf for coming 11 km (inside Indian territory) to stay with his troops for a night. It is the courage of a military commander (that) he came so far knowing that there was danger," Singh told reporters here.

"Second, what was happening on our side you all know and the facts are before you. Why did we allow him to go? Why did we allow them to enter? I would only say that there were some mistakes which need to be rectified," he said.

Singh was commenting on the revelation by a senior retired officer of the Pakistan Army -- that Musharraf had stayed for a night inside Indian territory with his troops -- before the three-month conflict erupted in Kargil in 1999.

The former army chief said the revelation was just a confirmation that Pakistan had started the Kargil War.

"We, including the Indian Army, know that the Pakistan Army had started the Kargil war. There is nothing new about it," Singh said.

He added that Pakistan had been lying about the incident and "now, its officials are confirming our stand."

Musharraf had crossed the Line of Control in a helicopter and spent a night at a location 11 km inside Indian territory, weeks before hostilities erupted between Indian and Pakistani troops in the Kargil sector in 1999.

Colonel (retired) Ashfaq Hussain, who was a senior officer in the Pakistan Army's media arm, said Musharraf flew across the LoC on March 28, 1999 and travelled 11 km into the Indian side.

He was accompanied by Brigadier Masood Aslam, then commander of 80 Brigade. Musharraf spent the night at a spot called Zikria Mustaqar, where Pakistani troops, commanded by Colonel Amjad Shabbir, were present.

Singh also said that the Pakistani Army had to retreat during the war because they did not have the backing of the political class.

"A war is not fought by the military only, it has to have a backing of political decision-making. The moment there was no backing, they had to withdraw," the former general said.

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