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‘Restraining service chiefs during Op Parakram biggest challenge’

Army was unable to gauge the depth of the situation.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 25, 2013 12:47:17 am

One of the biggest challenges during Operation Parakram was to restrain the three service chiefs who wanted “to have a crack” at Pakistan in the aftermath of the attack on Parliament in December 2001,former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh has written in a new book.

Singh,who was in the thick of things as a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security,has written that India had three aims in mobilising the army to the border — defeating cross border terrorism without conflict,containing the national mood to “teach Pak a lesson” and in the case of war,degrading the neighbouring nation’s war fighting capabilities.

Identifying “internal challenge” during the operations as the most difficult,Singh has said that the service chiefs had to be convinced that restrain was a strategic asset. “The chiefs so wanted a chance,‘to have a crack’ as the military would put it — I had not only to persuade but also convince them otherwise,” Singh has written in his new book India at Risk.

The book captures Singh’s views and personal experiences on most matters relating to national security that the nation has faced since Independence. It borrows extensively from his experience as a cabinet minister in the NDA government and identifies “mistakes,misconceptions and misadventures of security policy”.

In a chapter that includes recollections about the Kargil war,he recalls how in the initial days the army was unable to gauge the depth of the situation,believing it to be an attack by “irregulars and terrorists”. Singh says that initially,he was against the use of the air force to evict the infiltrators as it would “escalate the conflict” and the loss of an aircraft would become an “issue that catches the public eye”.

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