New Delhi: There is a new war of words over a war fought 13 years ago. A book by a former Pakistani officer points towards more blunders by General Pervez Musharraf and that he may have actually spent a night on the Indian side after crossing the Line of Control (LoC) ahead of the Kargil war.
The book on Pakistan's Kargil operation authored by a senior ISI officer has raised questions about the conduct of the war and of then army chief General Pervez Musharraf. Colonel Ashfaq Hussain says, "The Pakistan army crossed the LoC when Indian troops were not present in the area. The army thought that till June, the Indian troops would be unaware of the infiltration. Musharraf says Kargil was an excellent operation, but it was such an operation till the Indian forces were unaware of Pakistan's presence."
Lt General Shahid Aziz's book labels the Kargil operation a misadventure and he sees no merit in capturing a territory empty of Indian troops. The larger objectives were never clear as Musharraf did not allow any evaluation of the war.
Meanwhile, the architect of the operation responded within hours. Musharraf said, "There was no need to keep all informed and militarily it was a success. It exposed India's unpreparedness. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lost the political battle."
Reactions in India were mixed - especially after the claim that General Musharraf spent a night 11 km inside Indian territory with his troops. Former Indian Army Chief General VK Singh said, "I praise General Musharraf if he crossed the LoC to be with his soldiers. It was brave of him knowing that it would be dangerous if he came."
However, former Army Commander Lt Gen PN Hoon (Retd) said, "Musharraf is facing charges in Pakistan. If he enters his country again he will be arrested. His claim that he crossed the LoC to be with the troops is his political game to gain favour in Pakistan. "
The Kargil war remains a touchy issue for the Pakistan army which until now has not acknowledged the deaths of so many of its troops. It may boost the morale of Pakistan's tiny civil society struggling for a democratic order but more than anything else, the controversy will help boost the sales of General Aziz's book.