August 1999 News

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Pakistan was ready to launch major offensive: Dixit

2 August 1999
The Hindustan Times
By: Vijay Dutt

The Pakistanis had set up missiles, built about 10 helicopter bases near the LoC and were in full readiness to launch a major offensive on India within days of the start of conflict by them in Kargil, revealed Mr. J. N. Dixit, member of the National Security Advisory Borard and former Indian Foreign Secretary during his short stopover in London.

This contradicted the earlier report from Washington that India had been about to attack Pakistan. India had only taken measures to counter the attack Islamabad had planned, Mr. Dixit clarified. The Western countries did not and could not believe Pak assertion that its army was not involved. Their intelligence knew that C-13 transport planes regularly brought supplies for the intruders.

In London on his way to Washington, Mr. Dixit at the International Institute for Strategic Study told a number of specialists on international relations and on South Asia and defence analysts, that as per reports in Western media, Pakistan was the aggressor and that India's restraint prevented further escalation. Despite the concern and a national upsurge against the Pak intrusion, there was no fanaticism in the people in demanding that the LoC be crossed by Indian forces, Mr. Dixit pointed out.

"We were pleasantly surprised at the reaction of the US to the Kargil situation", he said at the meeting of the Indian Journalists Association, while discussing "India after Kargil". But, more surprising, he said, was the reaction of China. He however, cautioned that their concern was limited to the fact that there should not be any nuclear war. "The Western or Chinese reaction should not be interpreted as a qualitative change in their over-all approach. Their concern is impartial".

In fact, China's reaction has been very "nuanced and consistent", he explained. Its adverse reaction was because of the direct involvement of Pakistan in the Kargil intrusion and an attempt to change the LoC, and also because of the speed with which Islamabad linked the conflict with nuclear threat. To top it all this, some resolutions at the OIC regarding Islamic terrorism were annoying to Beijing. It also faces problems in Sinkiang from Islamic fundamentalism.

Mr. Dixit said that he found the British very respective this time and after Kargil there have been no "lecturing either by them or Americans. "They are impressed by the Indian restraint. Even the multinationals, who have large interests in India, have apparently conveyed to their governments that the Indian economy has shown a commendable resilience. The inflation has come down and no post-war taxes have been levied".

The West has also realised that India is a stable country, can cope with crisis with strategic planning, and overall it has true democracy.

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