“KARGIL war was significant in many aspects. There was Intelligence failure, lack of resources, bravery of our soldiers, a lot of learning experiences, jointmanship of the Armed Forces, military and diplomatic co-ordination. Above all, the nation was at its synergetic best. However, Pakistan being Pakistan, India must always stay alert,” said Gen (retd) Ved Prakash Malik, former Chief of Army Staff, who was the Indian Army chief during Kargil war. Gen Malik, an officer decorated with AVSM and PVSM, was the speaker at the Kargil Vijay Diwas programme organised by Prahar Samaj Jagruti Sanstha, Nagpur, on virtual platform on Monday.
Shama Deshpande, President of Prahar Samaj Jagruti Sanstha, welcomed Gen Malik. At the outset, Flt Lt (retd) Shiwalee Deshpande, Member of Prahar Samaj Jagruti Sanstha, introduced Gen Malik and shed light on Prahar Samaj Jagruti Sanstha founded by late Lt Col (retd) Sunil Deshpande. Addressing the participants, Gen Malik appreciated Prahar Samaj Jagruti Sanstha for undertaking the task of inculcating soldierly qualities in society and inculcating patriotism,
discipline, courage in younger generation. “Celebrating Kargil Vijay Diwas anniversary is important to know history and territorial integrity, take stock of lessons learned, to make a promise and resolve that we as a nation shall work together always and everytime with determination whenever such occasion rises,” Gen Malik said. Shedding light on Kargil War, he said that Pakistani intrusion came as a surprise as India had gestured for friendly relations with Pakistan. Despite challenges like high altitude areas, lack of Intelligence and surveillance, lack of weapons and equipment due to paucity of funds, the Indian forces rose to the occasion and won. “The credit for victory goes to all the Armed Forces on ground, bravery and dedication of Indian soldiers, countless acts of gallantry, political leaders and the Government, military and diplomatic synergy. I have never seen the whole nation together as I saw during Kargil War,” he added.
Commenting upon the present-day situation, the former Army Chief said that people were fighting with each other on trivial issues. “I hope there is no political divide. You can have your analysis afterwards, but during the war, the soldiers have to be supported,” he stressed.
Regarding the role of a common man, Gen Malik said that people must extend moral support (not only in terms of money) to the forces and the family of martyrs year after year. He also shed light on the recommendations of Kargil Review Committee and said that it took 20 years for Government to have Chief of Defence Staff in place. Many of the recommendations are still not followed up, in letter and spirit, he rued.
Gen Malik talked about ‘Operation Talwar’ conducted by the Indian Navy during Kargil War. To another question, he replied that it was not possible to forcibly occupy territories like Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin ‘because of time, casualties that may be suffered, and International pressure’. “We might not have been able to recapture PoK but at least some part. But, it was policy of the State…” he said, in reply to another question.
Regarding media experience, Gen Malik said, “It was the first televised war. So, military and media both had a learning experience. But, I must also request media not to forget their responsibility towards nation.” On the possibility of Kargil 2.0, Gen Malik said that Pakistan being Pakistan, India must always stay alert. Prior to political change at the Centre in 2014, he responded to a question, India’s reactions were ‘defensive and cautious, not proactive’. “We did cross the LoC on earlier occasions too, but the Armed Forces were apprehensive whether they would get political support or not. After 2014, the manner in which we have started responding proactively – may it be surgical strike, Balakot action, Sikkim – the Armed Forces are getting political support too. We feel happy about it and it is a better way of ensuring national security,” he concluded. Col Aniruddha Deshpande proposed a vote of thanks.
Gen Malik compliments ‘The Hitavada’
Gen (retd) V P Malik, AVSM PVSM, recalled when he had come to Nagpur to attend the centenary year valedictory function of ‘The Hitavada’.
Gen V P Malik, Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis, and Admiral Sushil Kumar – the Army, Air Force, and Navy chiefs during Kargil War – were the guests at the centenary year valedictory function of ‘The Hitavada’ on March 14, 2012. They had delivered thought-inspiring lecture on the topic ‘How prepared India is to defend herself?’. “I must compliment ‘The Hitavada’ for the wonderful function we attended. My wife and I were happy to have been there,” he said.