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The Commanders Who Failed

Between May 3 and 9, 1999, one Indian Army patrol went missing, another was ambushed. This led to the urgent redeployment of two battalions from Siachen at Batalik. In spite of heightened enemy activity along the Line of Control, the four generals in

The Commanders Who Failed

Gen V.P. Malik
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS)

August 1998: Ignored advance warnings of enhanced threat perceptions during briefings by 121 Brigade in Kargil
November 1998: Failed to give credence to intelligence reports of enemy activity
May 9, 1999: Proceeds on a 'goodwill' visit to Poland though aware of Pakistani intrusions
May 20, 1999: Returns to India after a brief holiday in Europe

Lauded by the government for winning the Kargil war. Bows out on Sept 30, 2000.

Northern Army Commander

May 12, 1999: Despite reports on intrusions, tells the defence minister that only a "handful of intruders" were in Indian territory and would be thrown out in 48 hours
May 14, 1999: Proceeds to Pune, ostensibly to consult Lt Gen S. Padmanabhan, his predecessor in the Northern Command
May 20, 1999: Returns to Northern Command HQ

Decorated with Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal. Continues as the Northern Army Commander.

Lt Gen Kishan Pal
Commander, Srinagar-based 15 Corps

May 9, 1999: Diverts two battalions from Siachen to Batalik. But five days later, his situation report underplays the extent of intrusions
May 14, 1999: Tells a Unified Command meeting in Srinagar that the "situation was local and would be dealt with locally". Ignored the serious differences in perceptions between GoC, 3 Infantry Division, Leh, and commander, 121 Independent Brigade, in Kargil

Awarded Uttam Yudh Seva Medal. Currently, Quarter Master General, Army HQ.

Maj Gen V.S. Budhwar
GoC, 3 Infantry Division, based in Leh

Nov-Dec 1998: Gives go-ahead for withdrawal of a winter post in Kaksar area, facilitating the intrusions
Jan-Feb 1999: Orders COs to collect rare animals for a zoo being set up by the army in Leh. Has major differences with commander of 121 Brigade over "threat perceptions" in the run-up to the Kargil war
March, 1999: Ignores pleas from battalion commanders for additional troops

Escapes censure/punishment for his role in the fiasco. At present posted as Staff Officer of 12 Corps, Jodhpur.


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