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INTERVIEW-Indian general fears return to proxy war

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    INTERVIEW-Indian general fears return to proxy war

    NEW DELHI, July 13 (Reuters) -
    Watching vanquished Islamic
    guerrillas retreat to Pakistan, India's
    top general fears they will return as
    Islamabad reverts to running a
    ``proxy war'' in Kashmir.

    Chief of Army Staff General Ved
    Prakash Malik said comments by
    Pakistan's political leaders in the
    wake of an ignominious withdrawal
    from Kashmir suggested they will
    again support Islamic militants
    exporting a ``jihad,'' or holy war, to

    ``Some of the statements which have
    been made at the political level (by
    Pakistan) are alarming because that
    means they are going to encourage
    more proxy war and that is indeed
    dangerous,'' Malik told Reuters on

    Militants have sneaked into India's
    side of Kashmir from Pakistan
    throughout the 1990s intent on trying
    to rekindle the popular uprising that
    swept the country's only Moslem
    majority state in the early years of the

    But this was the first time they had
    occupied a swathe of territory,
    prompting India in May to launch
    Operation Vijay, an air and ground
    offensive, to expel the intruders.

    Malik, 59, a veteran of two wars
    with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 and
    a border war with China in 1962,
    said in his first interview since the
    flareup began that he never
    considered using India's new found
    nuclear option.

    He was less confident that the
    Pakistani side would act responsibly
    with any nuclear weapons, but
    believed they would also shy away
    from making the ultimate escalation.

    ``There were some irrational
    decisions taken on the other side, but
    even then I never thought they would
    be so irrational as to take such a

    While Kashmir's frontiers, in
    diplomatic speak, are returning to the
    ``status quo ante,'' it will be less easy
    to rebuild any trust formed at the
    Lahore Declaration signed by the
    country's two prime ministers in

    ``We thought there was a genuine
    effort at Lahore when the two prime
    ministers met, but even that has now
    been neutralised.''

    But the defeat of the guerrilla force,
    which India said contained a heavy
    contingent of Pakistan army regulars,
    and Pakistan insists were Kashmiri
    freedom fighters, means the worst
    may be past, for now.

    ``All is not over yet. This is a delicate
    period when you cannot afford to let
    your guard down. Maybe the more
    turbulent period is over,'' General
    Malik said.

    New Delhi has given the infiltrators
    until the morning of July 16 to get out
    of India completely, and the army for
    the next few days will monitor the
    withdrawal sector by sector.

    There is no formal ceasefire, but
    Indian troops will train guns on the
    retreating guerrillas without pulling
    the trigger, so long as they stick to a
    schedule agreed with Pakistan's

    General Malik will only declare
    Operation Vijay successfully
    completed when the last fighter is
    expelled from Indian soil.

    ``The time limit that has been laid
    down for withdrawal from the
    Kaksar sector is over. We are in the
    process of verifying now on the
    ground that they have gone. They
    have also started withdrawing from
    Mushkhoh and that will go on until
    the 14th.

    General Malik said the bodies left
    behind confirm the role played by the
    Pakistani Army, primarily the
    Northern Light Infantry, in the
    occupation of the mountains on the
    Indian side of the military Line of

    ``There is so much of evidence in
    terms of dead bodies, in terms of
    prisoners, documents they have left
    behind, the weapons they have left
    behind, the identity cards and letters.
    These are littered all over the place.''

    India says it lost nearly 400 men and
    close to 600 were wounded in the
    two months of bitter fighting in the
    inhospitable Himalayan territory. It
    put the number of dead on the
    Pakistan side at almost 700.

    Pakistan said more than 1,700 Indian
    soldiers were killed while its own
    dead and missing amounted to just
    over 200.

    Malik said the enemy had surprised
    India's border patrols by executing a
    commando style operation to secure
    heights commanding a highway
    linking the Kashmir valley to the
    remote Ladakh region.

    But he said the Pakistani strategy
    was a gamble that appeared to lack
    an end-game.

    ``I think it was a huge miscalculation.
    I really don't know why they couldn't
    see it through and through because
    yes, they were able to surprise us in
    the beginning, but they should have
    been able to see beyond that, that
    there was no chance of success.''

    General Malik said he expected the
    armed forces performance would
    help win support for boosting the
    defence budget, which has been kept
    in check for the past few years.

    ``There is a need to spend more
    money. There are some systemic
    changes that are called for.''

    Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All
    rights reserved. Republication and
    redistribution of Reuters content is
    expressly prohibited without the prior
    written consent of Reuters. Reuters
    shall not be liable for any errors or
    delays in the content, or for any
    actions taken in reliance thereon.

    mujahideens will return to kashmir unless kashmir is freed from indian butchers.. they will regroup & return in larg numbers with more weapons & better equiped better trainned. withthe same plan as last time. now the mujahid's know which plan will defently be the most effective..

    I feel sorry for poor indian army.. who have to see there fellow men die..


      and no pakis die. according retd. gen. mirza aslam beg at least forty officers have died. since it has been a hush hush affair, ordinary pakis are under impression that none died.


        1700 men are killed and your army is still telling the public that they only lost 300+ men.


          ZZ, why is that you think India has come out victorious? Is it because of the fact that you have had to impose 'war tax' to cover for the cost or is it just a myth that every war india fights it wins! Sorry pal, Pakistan wanted international attention, that's what it got for Kashmir. As for the men both sides have lost I feel sorry for their families and my heart goes out for them.

          But only a silly man would claim that its side was able to kill more men who were on top of mountains from the valleys of those mountains, with a little brains, anyone can find out that that is not possible!



            The age we are living in, people are not important, its the land and resources what counts. People are plenty, the land limited and the resources are depleting.

            Fata Morgana


              Hamid, no. of people dead do not determine victory. Otherwise US should have won Vietnam. India regained the teritory. If that is nort victory what it is.

              I have not said anything about number of people died for the simple reason that I do not trust either India or Pak govt's figures. However, given that 40+ Pakistani officers died according to Retd. Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, u can guess how many soldiers died. This does not take in account Taliban casualties.

              I objectyed simply because Pakis seem to believe that there are no casualties on their side. Now Pak has officially admitted 257 casualties. We don't know real number yet.

              What internationalization? Internationalization is not goal of Pak. Goal of pak was internationalization in its favor. If each and every country in the world describes as 'Pakistani intruders' to what pak describes as 'freedom fighters', what is the gain?

              Pak has messed up the whole thing in toto. There is no doubt about that.


                India regaining the territory was not really victory as it was evident that they will do so as they were fighting with all their might against a handful of freedom fighters. However I agree that the government of Pakistan made a mess of handling it.


                  The aim of the kargil war was from indian point of view is that it should regain its land and Pakistan that it should be able to bring in third party in namely USA. India won the war as it took back its land and Pakistan lost because USA has refused to get involved as Mr Clinton has told the press that he would not like to get involved in the issue and the Simla Accord and the Lahore Declaretion is the only solution to the Kashmir problem.


                    Why it was not a victory? A military proverb goes that "A machinegun and a dog can stop a batallion from taking hill." Indians did it. The scaled heights with slopes higher than 70 degrees with no cover. Although Pakis are doing their best t belittle the Indian army, the turnaround after takeover of Toololing was unparalleled in military history. Every western newspaper and some Paki newspapers like "Dawn" acknowledge it. Pakistani Urdu press doesn't. None cares.

                    One more thing, as Paki newspapers are saying, this is not a diplomatic failure. It was a military failure too. The rifges that were supposed to be held till winter has started falling.

                    Nobody, friends or enemies believed Pak since operation was based on a lie that Pak army is not involved and everyone could smell they are.

                    [This message has been edited by ZZ (edited July 18, 1999).]