Thursday, October 10, 2013

Keran Intrusion

Three-fold Aim of Nawaz Sharif

Col Rajinder Singh Kachhwaha (Retd)

Since 23 September 2013, Indian soldiers have been battling incursion by so called militants in the KERAN Sector of KUPWARA district of North Kashmir. All sort of claims are being made to say that some 30-40 militants backed by Pakistan's army had infiltrated and 12 -15 had been killed, though bodies have not been recovered. 

Some news papers reports now say that the militant strength might be around 100 and their supply lines were intact, even 14 days after counter offensive by Indian army. The scene of action is around an abandoned Shalobatho village near the LC. the area seems to be FIVE SQUARE KMs. I know the terrain backwards. But wait. 

Is the Indian army hiding something as it did during Kargil-99 incident? Strange, present chief, General BIKRAM SINGH, then, was posted as a Colonel in the DGMO branch of army HQ and he daily briefed Indian media along with his mentor, General JJ Singh. Is history repeating itself after 14 years?

I had served for Three years in the KERAN Sector during Kargil operations in 1999. I was deputy commander of KERAN Sector, located at Pharkiyan gali---- I know the terrain Fully and no one can fool me. It is a fact that the terrain is difficult but not so difficult that it can disallow the might of the Indian army to ferret out some 30-40 militants. There is something more to it. 

In the early 90s, in the same sector, Pakistan army had occupied GURJARTUR FORWARD ( called Ramazan by Pakistan) post across the LC in a similar manner. Somehow this was never reported. Similar thing had happened in the MAHCHAL sector, adjoining KERAN Sector and there is no secret about Point 5230 in Gurej sector. You see Pakistan army has been deliberately nibbling at some tactically advantageous positions along the LC in North Kashmir, when ever Nawaz Sharief has come back as PM.  

You will ask me why? My answer is very simple. Nawaz, being a clever business man, has realized that Pakistan to grow economically has to be at peace with India. This was not possible till solution to Kashmir is found. He looks for an advantageous solution to Kashmir within its present realities rather than emotional strains of 1947. In so doing, he has further concluded that only solution to Kashmir problem was to accept the LC with modifications as IB..  

It is this principle which made him invite Indian PM, Mr. ATAL Bihari Vajpayee in 1999 for peace talks, while he asked his army to get into an advantageous position along the LC to be able to negotiate better, when settlement talks begin. It is a different matter that, then Pakistan COAS , General PERVEZ Musharref outsmarted him and went beyond his permission, which led to Kargil-99.  

I have a lurking feeling that Nawaz Sharief plays a double game in such peace talks initiatives. I feel that he wanted his army to be sorted out, then as well as now. Therefore, he might have sounded to Atal Bihari Vajpaee, who along with his then Generals had exuded confidence that there was No intelligence failure. General HM Khanna, then Northern Army commander, had boasted that he would throw out the intruders in 48 hours. Alas! he realized later that he was not only fooling himself but the entire nation.  

Is it the same boast this time, too, when present 15 Corps commander claimed that there were only 30-40 militants, while 12 -15 had been killed. What a laughable excuse he gave that to save own casualties his troops were going slow! Generals engaged in battle do not talk of caution, unless they were faking. How come you have taken 14 days to sanitize the 5 sq KM area with everything at your disposal. Learned military minds would not buy this argument. Certainly, I won't because I had choked LNVR(Lower Neelam valley road---- life line for Pak troops in Northern Areas) of the Pakistan during Kargil-99. 

It is no doubt that Pakistan army has launched a well planned operation, when 20 Kumaon and 3/3 GR were handing taking over. the operation had typical Nawaz Sharief signature for nibbling at the LC. Therefore, though he makes noise for peace, whenever he becomes PM , while at the same time asks his army to straighten the LC TO PAKISTAN's ADVANTAGE 

His offer must have been so tempting that MMS , as AB VAJPAYEE before him, could not say NO to his proposal. I wonder if USA has a hand in it---- with a temptation for nomination of Noble peace Prize.  

Readers should know that KERAN sector dominates NEELAM VALLEY ROAD of POK, which was the life line of NORTHERN AREAS OF Pakistan. However in early 90s , Indian army guns went silent and Pakistan constructed a shunt of 22 KMs outside the range of Small arms fire of Indian troops thus made an alternative route--- this was a Tactical blunder by Indian army and its Generals, then. (Remember GUJRAL DOCTRINE was in operation at that time, with the central theme of LOVE THY NEIGHBOR------- Well! This is emotional baggage of all refugees, whether it was IK GUJRAL, KULDEEP NAYYAR---- Journalist, MM SINGH or even LK ADVANI------they all want to live in their past)  

A village ATHMUQAM, along the banks of Neelam river ( Kishanganga in Indian context) opposite KERAN Village is the launching pad for the terrorists. The shunt of 22 KMs takes off from here and joins the old Neelam Valley road at DUDHNIYAL, just short of RATTU CANTONEMENT of Pakistan army, which feeds Gultari and forces opposite KARGIL. It is this shunt which is now under threat from enhanced weapon ranges of Indian Army. If it can be choked, NORTHERN AREAS of Pakistan can be effectively isolated because the only other route is a circuitous route from an inaccessible terrain in the winters.

This intrusion by Pakistan in KERAN sector is to safeguard its lifeline to Northern areas, which can be easily cut off, as and when Indian army desires----- with this Gilgit, Hunza, Baltistan and Dardistan of NORTHERN AREAS become untenable. Therefore,I personally feel, this KERAN intrusion by Pakistan, under the garb of Militants is to give life to Nawaz Sharief proposal to get into better position before he begins talks for peace with Indian leaders. May be the intrusion is by mix of militants and regular soldiers. This might be Nawaz SHARIEF's way of diverting militants and Taliban from Pakistan and let them be engaged with India. He achieves his triple aim:---

    (a) Get militants and Taliban off his back

    (b) Clip the wings of his army by getting it humiliated by Indian army.

    (c) And most importantly get into an advantageous position to negotiate with India along the LC. Thus find a peaceful solution by asking India to act like a big brother and be magnanimous.

I am of the opinion, Indian Army and its GENERALS should tell the truth to the nation, rather than banking on the lies of politicians. Indian army will lose credibility if continues to mask the truth with white lies.

The author, a military veteran, is an accomplished soldier with rich operational experience in J&K.  

No comments:

Post a Comment