Lessons and future security challenges
Astrategically conscious nation commemorates its historical national security events for three reasons: to remember and pay homage to those who sacrificed their lives for the nation’s future, to recall lessons that emerged from that event and to pledge for a safer and better future. When the nation celebrates the 13th anniversary of the Kargil War, it is an appropriate occasion to recall its important lessons and our capability to meet future security challenges.
The Kargil War can be remembered for its strategic and tactical surprise, the self-imposed national strategy of restraint keeping the war limited to the Kargil-Siachen sector, military strategy and planning, in keeping with the political mandate, and the dedication, determination and courage of our soldiers and junior leaders despite several deficiencies in weapons and equipment. In fiercely fought combat actions, on difficult terrain that gave immense advantage to the enemy holding mountain-tops, we were able to evict Pakistani troops from most of their surreptitiously occupied positions. Pakistani leadership was forced to sue for ceasefire and seek withdrawal of its troops from the remaining areas. Operation Vijay (code name for the war) was a blend of determined political, military and diplomatic actions, which enabled us to transform an adverse situation into a politico-military victory.
Several lessons emerged from the war, which required a holistic national security review as well as rethinking on the nature of conflict in the new strategic environment and conduct of wars. Some important lessons were: - ventional war between two nuclear weapon states but as long as there are territory-related disputes (currently we have them with China and Pakistan), the adversary can indulge in a proxy war, a limited border war, or both. strategy invariably leads us to a reactive military situation. Besides, no loss of territory is acceptable to the public and the political authority. It is, therefore, essential to have credible strategic and tactical intelligence and assessments, effective surveillance, and close defence of the border. our ability to react rapidly. The new strategic environment calls for faster decision-making, versatile combat organisations, rapid deployment and synergy amongst all elements involved in the war effort, particularly the three services. of credible deterrence and escalation dominance. Such deterrence may prevent a war; it will also give more room for manoeuvre in diplomacy and conflict. close political oversight and politico-civil-military interaction. It is essential to keep the military leadership within the security and strategic decisionmaking loop. much greater transparency of the battlefield. The political requirement of a military operation and to retain moral high ground (and deny that to the adversary) needs a comprehensive media and information strategy. In the last 13 years, the armed forces have followed up on many of these lessons. The war had highlighted gross inadequacies in our surveillance capability. Some action has been taken to improve all-weather surveillance and closer defence of border along the line of control (LoC). This capability along the line of the desired level. Individual service and joint services doctrines have been revised. More Special Forces units have been added to the strength of each service.
Higher defence management
National Security Review in 2002. The Security Review had recommended creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to provide a single-point military advice to the government and to resolve substantive inter-service doctrinal, planning, policy and operational issues. This is necessary because in India, turf wars, inter-service rivalries, bureaucratic delays and political vacillation in decision-making become major hurdles in defence planning which is tardy, competitive and thus uneconomical. Due to lack of political will and inter-service differences, this important recommendation was not implemented. Selective and cosmetic implementation of recommendations, without changing rules of business, has ensured a status quo in the higher defence control and its decision-making processes.
In the new strategic environment of unpredictability, enhanced interactivity and much faster planning