Hotwash: Webinar – Remembering Kargil War to Chart a Course for Future By Team STRIVE

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General

A webinar was held under the aegis of the STRIVE on the above-mentioned subject on 31 July 2022. A well-attended webinar in good strength. In addition, the proceedings were live streamed on YouTube and Facebook. A total of 18 hits were noticed on Live Youtube during the conduct of the webinar, and it has been observed that till now more than 120 hits have already been reported on Live YouTube.

Details of the Conduct

Speakers-

  1. Lt Gen YK Joshi, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VrC, SM- Keynote Address.
  2. Lt Gen (Dr) KH Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM- Experience of a Commanding Officer during the Operations.
  3. Sri Srinjoy Chowedhury- War as I Saw as a War Correspondent.
  4. 5. Air Marshal, PVSM, AVSM, VM- Operation SAFED SAGAR.
  5. Cdr Sumit Ghosh- Operation TALWAR

Support by the Team STRIVE-

  1. Opening Remarks- Maj Gen A Parmar, VSM.
  2. Moderator- Maj Gen AK Chaturvedi. AVSM, VSM.
  3. Summing Up- Maj Gen Harsha Kakar.

Maj Issues Flagged by Various Speakers

  1. The geostrategic construct at that point in time, which gave Musharraf and his planning team a false sense of confidence that this was the most opportune moment to wrest Siachen from India- obviously they had underestimated the resolve of India in general and the Indian Armed Forces in particular. The outcome of this misadventure was cataclysmic for Pakistan and resulted in regime change there.
  2. Keeping in view that our adversary is a nuclear state and therefore it was in the national interest that the war remains limited, and it is to the credit of India that she managed to keep the Kargil war limited to a limited war against the 1971 War which had degenerated into an all-out war.
  3. The aim of the Pak plan was to cut off the National Highway with the ultimate objective to wrest the Siachen Glacier from India.
  4. Pak surreptitiously captured the dominating heights, which favoured them to meet their operational objective.
  5. The rarefied atmosphere and restrictions imposed by the political leadership not to cross the LoC added to the degree of difficulty to the operations of the attackers.
  6. Criticality of Intelligence was highlighted as a lack of adequate information indeed resulted in the situation becoming awkward.
  7. The need for extreme physical fitness was felt.
  8. Need for enhancing the economic strength of the country.
  9. Need to go for Atma Nirbharta to avoid getting subjected to Arm twisting by the countries which are arm suppliers.
  10. The need for better multi-agency cooperation was felt. Industry and railways contributed substantially to ensuring the smooth supply of equipment and the movement of troops.
  11. Although, the Indian Airforce (IAF) joined the war a little later the contribution of the IAF in softening targets and causing disruption to her supply line was substantial. Similarly, the Indian Navy ensured the blockade of Pakistan from the West which indeed brought Pakistan to her knees. Although both the Services contributed to the success of the war there is a need to bring more integration between the services and the response has to be based on a more integrated organizational structure and with better-combined training. Again, a system of CDS was instituted but keeping that appointment vacant needs to be addressed as a priority.
  12. The role of support agencies like BRO is substantive in ensuring force build-up and ensuring uninterrupted logistic support. It has further been substantiated during the Indo-Chinese standoff of 2020 which is still continuing. Similarly, logistic support in mountains is extremely important. Therefore, commanders at all levels need to ensure that the logistic supply chain remains uninterrupted.
  13. The relevance of the Unintended consequences of the diplomatic heft was widely felt because in some way it helped India to nail the adversary to withdraw.
  14. Post-Gulf War role of media got centre staged and this war brought out that the role of media in an important element in the overall strategy to prosecute war. However, allowing journalists floating around in the battlefield there is a need to have formal arrangements at formation levels to disseminate information through regular briefing. There is a need to have more trained war correspondents. There is also a need to take care of their proper induction in the warzone and adequate protective clothing and arrangement of insurance against injury and death for them needs to be provided.
  15. Future battlefield will witness more of hybrid wars specially in grey zone, India needs to be prepared for it.
  16. Some of the reasons which contributed to the success of Troops in getting positioned occupied by Pak Army vacated, were as follows: –
  17. Valour of Indian Troops and that of supporting arms and services.
  18. Dare of Coy Cdrs and other junior leaders.
  • Multi-directional attacks paid rich dividends.
  1. The innovative use of Arty in the direct firing role paid rich dividends.
  2. Emphasis on the Regimental spirit and personal example of junior leaders added to the motivational level of the troops which helped the troops to go beyond the call of duty.
  3. It came out that while tactically we won the war due to the valour of troops and the daring of the junior leaders but same can not be said about the strategic domain where the Indian State appeared to have faltered. This indeed flagged the importance of the commanding officer in the decision-making. This further led to a conclusion that small team operations assume great importance, especially in mountains and therefore our training methods should take note of it.
  4. There is a need to work on technology infusion which will help the Indian Armed forces to be ready for the future battlefields.
  5. One of the greatest force multipliers for success in operations is faster decision making and biggest impediment to faster decision making is excessive red tape in the staff work.
  6. Professional dishonesty needs to be questioned. There is a need to pay more emphasis on ethics. In training curricula, ethics should be once again included and should be given due weightage at all levels.

Conclusion

The Kargil war was a defining moment in the military history of India. India was surprised and initially, it appeared that Pakistan will be able to achieve her operational objectives but the valour of troops, daring of junior leaders and exemplary support by the other two Services and other agencies turned the tide. However, the steps taken post-Kargil have definitely improved intelligence acquisition but the recent standoff with China brought out that we still need to improve out intelligence acquisition. There is a need to improve the allocation of funds for the Defence budget and also need to lay more emphasis on Atma Nirbhar Campaign. One of the important recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee was the integration of services however, sadly it is still far from realistic. Finally, an important point was flagged by Lt Gen KH Singh about addressing professional dishonesty and lay emphasis on ethics. This indeed is a very important lesson and needs to be addressed on priority.

Webinar on YouTube — https://youtu.be/h0NNCncwtiQ

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation that he belongs to or of the STRIVE.

5 thoughts on “Hotwash: Webinar – Remembering Kargil War to Chart a Course for Future By Team STRIVE

  • August 2, 2022 at 10:55 am
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    An honest and candid critique of any operation will always draw out honest lessons for future.
    And who else can do it better than those who were part of that operation.
    It was indeed a very illuminating discussion. All thanks to the distinguished participants.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2022 at 8:54 am
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    It was a learning for me

    Reply
    • August 2, 2022 at 10:49 am
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      The summing up by Màj Gen Harsha Kakar was really an icing on the cake. Among many issues which he flagged, the most important one was need of theatre commands whose relevance in today’s battlefield scenario needs to appreciated by the Govt and the armed forces hierarchy because any further delay in their formation will be detrimental for the operational effectiveness. I will recommend that Harsha continues to deliberate on it regularly so that the point is driven home to the decision makers loud and clear.

      Reply
  • August 2, 2022 at 8:48 am
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    We enjoyed presenting it to the environment and this hotwash is a reflection of the collective wisdom of the team strive. I assure you that we shall continue to strive to discuss and deliberate on issues related to National Security and the Nation Building

    Reply
  • August 2, 2022 at 8:03 am
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    Excellent coverage. Great lessons for the present and the future. Commendable effort by the organisers.

    Reply

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