Former Indian army chief General (r) VP Malik, who led the army in 1999 during the Kargil war, has said that the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee succumbed to international pressure and did not allow the Indian forces to enter Pakistan-occupied territory in 1999.
Delivering a speech on leadership and motivation during the ongoing Switch Global Expo here, Malik extended “full support” to Indian army’s surgical strikes along the Line of Control (LoC).
“On June 2, PM Vajpayee told the army not to cross the border. The then national security adviser Brajesh Mishra had said in an interview that the army was told not to cross the border today, but we don’t know about tomorrow,” he said.
Malik added that he was “very unhappy” when Vajpayee asked to “let go of Pakistan”. He said, “It required three long meetings in a single day and a lot of convincing from the then prime minister to make me let them (Pakistan) go. I was unhappy and so were the soldiers. Among the many reasons, one was that the international community pressuring India, another was the general elections (held later that year). In the hindsight, it was a right decision.”
“I am not optimistic that Pakistan will change after one surgical strike. We must be prepared for more action from them and more reaction from us,” he later said while responding to a query.
Responding to the war of words erupted among political parties, he said, “We have to tell them that when it comes to national security, we must work together. Also, politicians who do not have the knowledge about national security should not speak (on the matter).”