Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

The Kargil Crisis 1999 and Pakistan's Constraints

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

The Kargil Crisis 1999 and Pakistan's Constraints

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since the testing of nuclear devices by India and Pakistan in May 1998, the world appeared sensitive towards the developments in South Asia. The Kargil conflict was the first limited military operation between Pakistan and India after the nuclearisation in South Asia. Historically after the partition of India, Kargil has occupied a strategic position and has therefore been the cause of the intrusion by Pakistan. It had become clear that the friendly sentiments expressed by the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India during the Lahore Summit had received a setback due to developments in Kargil. The Kargil conflict which occurred between May and July 1999 involved a limited combat between the Pakistani and Indian military and resulted in approximately 1,300 battle deaths.(Kapur, 2008:116). Kargil operation on the part of Pakistan shows a lack of coordination at the national political level. Due to the negative result of the Kargil Pakistani military has been used as a scapegoat by US, India and by political leaders and civil society of Pakistan. The attempt was to undermine the military institution of Pakistan. In the Kargil conflict between India and PakistantheUS role was important as it put pressure on Pakistan to withdraw. Before analyzing the Kargil crisis it is important to discuss the core issues which are related to it e.g. the Kashmir and Siachin Glacier issues between India and Pakistan.

Kashmir Issue

Thegenesis of the Kargil war can be traced back to the Kashmir dispute. Kashmir is the core territorial dispute emanating from the refusal of a plebiscite by India as a fair mechanism for a popular expression to decide about the future alignment. The two countries share a long border in Kashmir along the Line of Control (LOC). In August 1948, the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) adopted a resolution calling on both countries to conclude a ceasefire agreement in Kashmir. This could then be followed by an internationally supervised process that could determine the future status of Kashmir according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Finally a ceasefire line (CFL) was established between India and Pakistan. As a result, a bulk of Kashmiri territory 139,000 sq.kms out of a total of 223,000sq.kms remained under Indian control along with its population. (Akhtar,1999: XVII, 3-6). The Indian control extended to most of the Jammu and Laddakh regions whereas Pakistan controlled a part of Laddakh which is now Skardu along with Gilgit Baltistan and the issue of Kashmir emerged. United Nations formally divided Jammu and Kashmir by a cease fire line (CFL) in 1949. India agreed to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir in 1948 and in 1949 but it never implemented the relevant United Nations resolutions.After the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, a peace agreement at Simla was announced in 1972 and under this agreement it was decided that both countries would continue to hold their post war positions in Kashmir and the dividing line between the two states was renamed as the Line of Control (LOC) and this arrangement was to hold until the final settlement of a boundary between India and Pakistan. (Sattar,1995: XIII,28)

In early 1990, Indian shelling of Muzzaffarabad-Kel road as it ran through the Neelam Valley resulted in great difficulties for the 10 Corps of the Pakistan Army, and also civilians were dislocated from the Neelam Valley area.These grievances were present among the military leadership of Pakistan. For more than 2 decades, the 10 Corps was subjected to what it viewed as constant encroachment by Indian forces. When thePakistan military attempted to return the favor at Kargil, however, Pakistan was unable to explain its historical grievances and present a strong case for military action in the Northern Areas. ThePakistan military faced a serious challenge in the Neelam Valley; here Indian- controlled heights dominated the road along the river, which supplied Pakistani positions in that area. …

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