New Delhi: There were those who applauded the Indian restraint in Kargil War, and pressured Pakistan to blink and pull back after three months of combat. And there were those who actually jumped into the war zone to help India hunt down the aggressors.
Israel sprung to India's aid for providing the desperately-needed imagery about Pakistani positions on the Kargil heights.
"The terrains where they came from was all stones. The intruders merged in the background and it was not very easy to locate them. Secondly the targets where they had occupied the peaks, were also on the other side of the hills," Air Marshal PS Ahluwalia told CNN-IBN.
Tel Aviv stepped in with unmanned reconnaissance aircraft or drones in the battle zone to assist India direct its war effort. This was one force multiplication Pakistan had not reckoned with.
"Unmanned UAVs make a lot of difference. They fly for much longer - up to 24 hours and are able to sense even simple movements on the ground,” he said.
The Israeli Heron and Searcher UAVs were critically useful for target information, as most of India's aerial surveillance aircraft were either too quick, or vulnerable to enemy missile fire.
An Indian Air Force Canberra snooping over the Batalik was hit by a Pakistani stinger on May 21, exposing the limitations of India's photo reconnaissance platforms.
Did the operation show India’s desperation? “In war you have to try everything and come across with whatever methods you have got,” said Air Marshal PS Ahluwalia.
The Israeli Heron and Searcher UAVs are now flown by the Indian Armed forces. And strategic ties with India's undeclared war ally are on fast track.