NEW DELHI: While General VP Malik counted the surveillance and intelligence failure as the biggest failures of the Kargil conflict 20 years back, serving army chief General Bipin Rawat informs that it has changed immensely.
General VP Malik (Retd) was the Army Chief when Kargil intrusion took place. While speaking at the seminar on 20 years of Kargil organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) in Delhi, General Malik said, “It was Failure of surveillance over 160 kilometres when Kargil occured. We were not aware over one and half to two months."
"We lacked surveillance equipment, helicopters were also not able to detect enemies. We were entirely dependent on foot patroll," He said.
Former Chief admitted that we were caught off guard as there was not intelligence information of any such move from Pakistan Army. “There was Intelligence failure as there was absolutely no awareness that Pakistan Army was preparing for it. Even after that people had no clue where they (intruders) were sitting." he said.
Lack of information led to wrong steps taken during the initial days of the Kargil conflict in which we lost 527 soldiers. He acknowledged, “This resulted in wrong tactics adopted by the Indian Army in the initial days of Kargil conflict. “So the tactics adopted was of anti-insurgency, anti-terror.
There were not even special equipment authorised in that area. There was a single artery of road for supply chain. There was shortage of weapons as we had raised 26 RR Battalions without the War Establishment paper.
On the issues of the surveillance and intelligence General Bipin Rawat said that a lot of change has taken place since 20 years.
“Surveillance has changed immensely. Surveillance is carried out in number of ways. We have now generated capabilities with which we are able to ensure surveillance, I won't say round the clock but we have revisit capabilities in a reasonable time frame to ensure that such intrusions do not happen. said General Rawat.
Army Chief added, “We are able to pick up misadventures by our adversaries in real time and best to take necessary action."
Giving the details of equipment the Army Chief said, “For this we have been able to get a lot of equipment. You know that we have UAVs (The Searchers and the Herons), Air assets with the Air Force. And, We are now also looking at Quadcopters and the tactical UAVs which will help us in better surveillance over our areas." This is coming everywhere, not just Kargil. It's for LAC, LC and IB.