30 December 2009

India's self-examination, 10 years after Kargil War

10 years after the Kargil War, the Indian military brass takes a look back and assess the challenges and progress since then.

A decade after guns boomed in Kargil, the top brass speak about whether things have changed for our men in uniform and what the future holds

It has been 10 years since the Indo-Pak Kargil war, which took place in 1999. Today, in 2009, as the year and decade rolls to a close, a number of experts analyse Indian defence and security.


Major General Seru Thapliyal (retired) was Brigadier at the Army headquarters in 1999 when Kargil happened. He was in charge of, what is called, perspective planning of the Kargil war.

Thapliyal believes that the government has failed to implement the suggestions of the Kargil Review Committ-ee (KRC).

He says, "A lack of implementation of the KRC report and lack of follow-up action has made the situation
worse than Kargil."


1 Intelligence was a total failure in the Kargil war. The review committee had suggested that the intelligence
be made more accountable, but it was hardly taken into consideration.

26/11 is a recent example of that intelligence failure.

2 The committee suggested we have ground censors in frozen areas like Siachen. This has yet to be implemented.

3 No artillery guns have been purchased since 1987. Bofors was the last. Artillery is the backbone of the Army.

4 The review committee suggested that a Chief of Defense be appointed. That has still not been taken care of.

This is because politicians feel that doing so will make the defence forces more powerful and they might seize power one day.

Air Force

20th Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi retired in 2007. His take is...


1 The number of fighter jets has gone down since Kargil, as we have grounded MIG 23s and MIG 25s, but have not purchased more jets. More fighters and air defence are the basic requirements right now.

We have bought Sukhoi 30s and Hawk's trainers, but we need more to strengthen the Air Force.

2 We have grounded the basic trainer HPT 32, so we are short of trainers too.

Improved since Kargil

1 Air-to-air refuelling aircraft available, training modules designed and introduced in a timely manner. The air defence radar, training syllabi and courses have been updated; flight safety records have also improved.

2 The Indian Air Force has held joint exercises with the US and European powers.

3 Since Kargil, the Air Force has been involved in disaster relief operations like post-Tsunami operations in Sri Lanka. The Air Force also played a major role in disaster relief within the country.

Tyagi signs off, saying, "One thing that the IAF can assure Indians is that the country is safe in the hands of the IAF."

Navy Manohar Nambiar, spokesperson, Indian Navy, says it has been a mixed bag for the Navy.


1 Lots of international exposure for the Navy as a result of joint exercises with the naval forces of the US, UK, France, Germany and Russia.

2 There has been an introduction of marine front line ships, which is a positive development.

3 The number of war ships is more or less the same, but we are expecting Admiral Gorkshov (the biggest warship of the Indian Navy) from Russia in the coming years.


1 The Indian Navy has been operational in the anti-piracy drive in the Gulf of Aden.

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By: Brant

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