Ahmedabad: Former Army chief General (Retired) VP Malik, who led the Army in 1999 during the Kargil war, said on Monday that then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee succumbed to international pressure and did not allow the Indian forces to enter the Pakistan-occupied territory in 1999.
While 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.
“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’.”
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.”
“After the (recent) surgical strikes, we don’t have to beg to the international community (to build pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terror activities against India). We have to tell them that if they (Pakistan) continue to do this, we will have to go to war,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
“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).”