9th Jun, 22 yrs back - tortured and mutilated remains of Lt Saurabh Kalia and 5 Jawans were given by Pak in gunny bags!!
19th Jun, 22 yrs back pt 5140 near Tololing was captured (B Coy Lt Sanjiv Singh Jamwal and D Coy Lt Vikram Batra of 13 JAK RIF led the operation). This was the famous 'दिल मांगे more' moment of Lt Vikram Batra.
7TH Jul, this day 22yrs back point 4875 in Mushkoh Valley was captured. Capt Vikram Batra was martyred during the capture. It is now named as Batra Top. The martyrdom of Lt Saurabh Kalia and Capt Vikram Batra shook up the nation and we Indians saw the fourth war with Pakistan.
8th Jul. This day 22 yrs. back Tiger Hill was recaptured. This was a decisive point in Op Vijay. The tables turned and India regained the lost ground.
In memory of OP VIJAY here is a two-part KUCH KARO –
Part 1 – कूछ करो ।
Part 2 – बारी हैं फिर कुछ करने की ।
10 Jun 1999. 6 am. 7 Race Course Road. Prime Minister’s residence. ..
Brajesh Mishra, Principal Secretary to PM was at the door with an important message to Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee. They had a short talk and it was decided that Cabinet Committee with Chief of Staff Committee would meet at PM’s residence at 9 am same day. Before calling on, Brajesh Mishra had been briefed by Joint Intelligence Committee chief and Service Chiefs along with Dte Gen Mil Ops.
There was unusual somber atmosphere when the emergency cabinet meeting began. PM was in a huddle with Defence Minister George Fernandes and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, on his right. On his left sat, Mr Brijesh Mishra who was also National Security Adivisor, followed by Defence Secy and the three service Chiefs. The meeting started with a presentation by Joint Intelligence Committee chief which was under Chiefs of Staff Committee. It was just a repetition for all the stakeholders as most of them were briefed in the midnight itself. This meeting was to bring all agencies to the same level of information and decide the future course.
The JIC chief presented the situation to the PM, Cabinet ministers and others present including the Service Chiefs.
With grim face JIC chief started . ..
"Yesterday at Bajrang Post, Pakistanis called and handed over six gunny bags to the 4 Jat Regiment Long Range Patrol (LRP) scouts in the Kaksar sector. All six gunny bags had mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers. The tortured and mutilated bodies of Lt Saurabh Kalia and 5 sepoys were handed over by Pakistani rangers".
JIC chief further said - "Earlier on May 3, the Indian Army’s 121 Brigade in Kargil received reports of armed intruders in the Kargil sector. In the first half of May, patrols were sent in the Kaksar Langpa area of Kargil to check whether the snow had retreated enough for the summer positions to be re-occupied. As the terrain consists of high altitude mountains and inclement weather during winters it becomes extremely difficult to sustain and so, by mutual arrangement, both armies vacate certain forward posts during winter. But last winter, with a premediated plan, the Pakistan Army did not vacate its posts, and instead took over vacated Indian Army posts. This is a new behaviour pattern emerged in the history of Pak treachery. To confirm these intrusions on 15th May, LRP was sent from the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector consisting of Lt Kalia and 5 jawans - Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh of the 4th Jat Regiment. Lt Kalia, confirmed large-scale intrusion of Pakistani Army and foreign mercenaries on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) at Kargil".
The briefing of JIC concluded and the Cabinet and the Service Chiefs understood that the aim of Pakistani Infiltration was driven by an ambitious Head of Armed Forces (of pakistan) Gen Pervez Musharraf. Who wanted to show his nation that he solved Kashmir issue to their advantage. Therefore a plan was set in and at the onset of summer, infiltration started and by May this year over 5000 Pakistani infiltrators from Pak regular army Rangers disguised as militants occupied the heights commanding the NH1 with the aim :-
1. To occupy military posts in Kargil as it is a sparcely populated part of Ladakh. It has tactically vital features and many unoccupied posts atop peaks overlooking NH1 (national highway which connects Jammu Srinagar Kargil Leh). Kargil is about 175 km from Pak occupied Skardu so it can be used as logistical and artillery support base.
2. To dominate NH1 and thereby cut Leh from rest of India.
3. To affect the logistical supply route to Leh.
Photo Courtesy – Wiki – This shows the NH1 alignment from Jammu to Leh alongwith Pak Infltration
Briefing finished and all eyes were on Mr PM. We as a nation had to decide our future course. PM had keenly heard the briefing. He had cancelled all his engagements for the day. PM, fluttering his eyelids, looking in the general direction of the three service chiefs but meant for everybody there sitting on his right and left, after a long eerie pause throwing his hands open, uttered heavily loaded two words –
………कुछ करो ।
PM departed the room and drove straight to PMO office.
The task of each one was cut :- To translate KUCH KARO into executable and timebound tasks with least damage to own image and forces and to be able to push the intrusion and get back the territory which was occupied by the infiltrators.
Indian side should be seen winning and strong. For that, the Defence Minister with three service chiefs would have to make a plan for flushing out the intrusion without escalating it into full fledged war.
Foreign Minister would try to shape the world view of what has happened and diplomatically expose Pakistan.
Cabinet secy and Defence secy to take a call on any emergency logistical defence procurement requirement.
Chief of Army Staff along with DGMO spelt KUCH KARO into an executable task to the Northern, South Western Commands of Army. The task of Indian Armed Services was to recapture peaks that were in immediate vicinity of NH1. After this flush out all the infiltrators present.
Everyone had done their homework and started the execution of the plan – The GOC in C Northern Command asked the GOC 14, GOC 15 and GOC 16 Corps Cdr to secure the Vital Ground KAKSAR BATALIK and DRASS. The respective Corps Cdrs in turn asked the GOC Div Cdrs to secure respective ground of tactical importance covering each of the div area which consisted of brigades and battalions. This led to the coordinated attacks on Tololing Point 4590, Pt 5140, Mushkoh Pt 4875, Pimple area, Tiger Hill in Drass and Batalik Turtuk sub sector Point 5353 and other areas.
Navy and Airforce had their tasks spelt out. The IAF launched Operation Safed Sagar, in support of mobilization of Indian Army. Indian Navy launched Operation Talwar to block Pak ports with an aim to cut off supply routes.
The rest is history. This military op was code named as Op Vijay which started from 03 May 1999 till 26 Jul 1999.
To derive correct course of action from a seemingly ambiguous direction given by the top leader needs an uncanny understanding of the person, situation and ramifications. This is a fit case study in management - How to translate ambiguity to executable, verifiable and time bound tasks - which the three Service Chiefs’ showed after that crucial two word कुछ करो dictate.
Part 2 – बारी हैं फिर कुछ करने की ।
Enemy country infiltrations with an intent of area domination and to gobble some posts which happened during Mar – Jul 1999 have international ramifications, have agenda driven media waiting to extract TRPs and opposition parties grabbing the moment to corner the government of the day. Keeping in mind the interests of the country, the government has to act. Most importantly it is to be seen that the citizens remain motivated and their faith is not shaken.
PM Atal Bihari knew his subordinates well and had faith in their capabilities. He knew with his laconic कूछ करो direction, each one would come up with a befitting plan to face the situation. This trust of the top leader in his subordinates, clarity of the senior level, mid level leaders and the soldiers’ will to defend saw us victorious in OP VIJAY.
Today in 2021 when the whole world is ravaged by Chinese Corona virus कूछ करो becomes all the more relevant. This biological war has been unleashed by China but unfortunately nations are not acknowledging this, due to various reasons.
कूछ करो becomes more relevant when China gobbled our vast territory in Aksai Chin and we had bitter experience in Dhemchok and Galwan.
It becomes relevant when Pakistan fights a proxy war in Kashmir.
To translate this कूछ करो into a practical, verifiable timebound plan, the National Security Advisor (NSA) and Chief of Defense staff (CDS) need to ascertain the National Threat Perception (NTP)
1. List out all tactical threats across the border that has to be tackled upto Battalion and Bde level.
2. List out all tactical and strategic threats upto COMMAND level.
3. List out all Nuclear Biological (like CORONA) Chemical threats upto National level.
4. List out similar threats for Navy, Airforce, paramilitary forces.
5. List out Cyber, Psychological, Financial, Religious threats and vulnerable national assets.
6. The NSA and CDS should review these threats periodically.
7. List out the requirements for mitigating these threats.
8. Match the requirements with available technology/ available human resource. Look first in our country itself and if not found then scout outside. Matching is enough. Overkill may impose time and cost penalties which would turn the notional advantage into disadvantage.
1. Example for airborne mitigator for strategic and tactical threats - 42 Sqns of MIG were based on threat perception and prevalent technology in the mid 60s. Even if the threats remain same with the modern technology (e.g. Mirages), there can be a scale down of 42 Sqns. Along with technology the combat scene has under gone a change and military aviation has grown into a superior tactical and strategic arm. Present day fighter aircrafts carryout tasks of several aircrafts in one single modern fighter aircraft. With the fantastic capabilities, the emphasis should be on ‘smart’ capability and not numbers.
2. Example for vulnerable assets - NH1 is very vulnerable. If gets cut by enemy then it will cut Leh/ Ladakh region. To mitigate this a plan was evolved to make another motorable road which would be open whole year. This is the alternate route from Himachal Pradesh. In 1999 the road was not good and used to be closed for almost half the year. With ATAL tunnel (opened in 2019) and Shingo la tunnel (slated to be opened in 2024) Shimla Leh axes would be open throughout the yr. Such kind of decisions which mitigate the threats are needed by NSA and CDS.
3. Example for Biological Warfare – Even if the world does not openly say but the fact is Corona/ Covid is a biological war unleashed by China so that world economy is affected. India has taken steps to develop vaccines to combat covid. Seen from the biological warfare point of view, NSA/ CDS have stake in the program for mitigating this biological warfare. In this context the Indian vaccine program should be encouraged and supported.
Capital procurement for Defence forces (Army, Navy Airforce) is based on Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). DPP is the outcome of Kargil Review Committee. An important aspect of procurement process is Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). AoN is defined as follows - The services based on Staff Requirements makes a case before Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) and only after council accepts the necessity, a go ahead for procurement is given. This ensures acquisition is based on a national threat and is not subjective. The capital procurement based on threat perception of each service is good, but better would be a coordinated capital procurement for three services based upon NTP. As a nation we need to curb the tendencies of expanding the kingdom beyond requirement of NTP by each service. Procurement necessities based upon NTP when viewed from a platform which is at least one level above the Army Navy Airforce services would result in optimum procurement and coordinated spending. Based upon the NTP, The NSA or CDS should be the level for a coordinated capital procurement.