Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's
to The Nation During The Kargil Crisis
June 7, 1999,
My dear countrymen,
You are well aware of the situation which has developed in Kargil :
It is a serious situation;
It is a situation fraught with danger;
It is a situation that has arisen from one simple fact: the decision
of Pakistan to cross the Line of Control, to send its men and materials
to occupy our territory.
No government can tolerate such an incursion - our Government certainly
Countries the world over have recognised that we have the full right
to evict these intruders from our soil. But for me, and for my Government
this is not just a matter of our having a right. It is our duty to rid
our sacred Motherland of every single intruder.
For this reason, as you have seen, our armed forces have launched
a major operation to drive them back. No one should entertain the slightest
doubt: they shall not stop till they have completely attained their
objective. No one shall stop them till they have done so.
You know well that our relations with Pakistan, as with all our
neighbours, were improving rapidly:
The Prime Ministers and other ministers of the two countries were in
Dialogue among officials of the two countries was proceeding constructively,
Areas of cooperation had been identified, and, at various levels, plans
were afoot to work together on each of them;
Most important, people-to-people contacts and exchanges had opened up
as never before in fifty years - there had been an outpouring of goodwill
on both sides.
In the midst of all this, regulars of the Pakistan Army and infiltrators
have been sent across. Fomenting insurgency here was heinous enough.
But this time Army regulars have been sent. They have been sent to occupy
our territory. And, having occupied it, to choke off our links with
other parts of our country - in particular with Siachin and Ladakh.
This step has been taken after a great deal of preparation. It was
a preplanned operation.
It is a repudiation of the letter and spirit of the Lahore Declaration.
It is a violation not just of one article of the Simla
Agreement, but an eightfold violation of that solemn Agreement.
The Simla Agreement binds each side to respect the territorial integrity,
sovereignty, and independence of the other. The Clauses repeatedly enjoin
that neither side shall use the threat of force or force to affect the
territorial integrity of the other.
The Agreement deals specifically with the Line of Control. It lays
down that the Line of Control resulting from the cease-fire of December
17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides. Furthermore, that "Neither
side shall seek to alter it unilaterally". The Agreement goes a step
ahead and specifies, "Both sides further undertake to refrain from the
threat or the use of force in violation of this Line."
And yet that is exactly what Pakistan has done: it has used force in
an attempt to unilaterally alter the Line of Control.
This having been done, it has now been said that the Line of Control
is vague. This is nothing but an ex post artifice to justify aggression.
After Agreement in Simla in 1972, the military authorities of the two
sides went over the Line of Control - section by microscopic section.
The salients, the locations, the coordinates were marked out on detailed
maps. The exercise was done thoroughly: five months were expended on
delineating the maps so that no ambiguity may remain.
Not just that, at no time in the last 27 years has the Line of Control
been called in question - not once, not on a single occasion.
The new assertion, therefore, is just a contrivance to explain away
the aggression. It will fool no one. And I do want to make it plain:
if the stratagem now is that, the intrusion should be used to alter
the Line of Control through talks, the proposed talks will end before
they have begun.
India is always open to talks. But the talks must have a definite,
specific purpose. In the present instance, the subject is one, and one
alone: the intrusion, and how Pakistan proposes to undo it. To discuss
this, our doors are always open, and all dates are convenient to us.
India wants peace. We are at peace with all other neighbours of ours.
We were taking major steps with Pakistan also - towards undoing the
fifty-year history of bitterness. Our people desire it. Our Government
is committed to it. We have travelled quite some distance for it.
I remain confident that the people of Pakistan too yearn for peace
and harmony. They know the possible costs of hostilities - of how these
will push economic gains even further beyond the horizon. They know
that in today's world whosoever launches aggression of any kind will
get isolated in the international community.
Moreover, both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. Our responsibilities
in this regard are all the greater.
Therefore, I once again urge the Government of Pakistan: undo the armed
We must hope, my countrymen, that even now reason will prevail, that
those within Pakistan who see the folly of aggression will have their
But till that happens, we have a job on our hands.
Our first thought, and our last thought must be for our jawans, for
our airmen and our officers who are fighting back the intruders. I want
each one of them to know: the entire country stands with you, every
Indian is grateful to you. The whole operation has been thrust upon
us. To ensure victory, you would not be wanting in your requirements.
Our jawans and officers are laying down their lives. Should we be
continuing our petty squabbles at such a time? We should stand by them
and avoid unnecessary debates.
Let us use this occasion to learn from our defence forces: let us translate
into our own conduct some of the discipline for which they are renowned.
The whole world is watching how our brave armed forces are defending
the Motherland in inhospitable hilly terrain and at grave risks to their
lives. In this hour of crisis, we must maintain an equanimity and act
We should not be disheartened by some momentary mishap. We must realise
the gravity of the situation and emulate the fortitude with which our
fighting men take such events in their stride;
Have confidence in the ability of our armed forces.
The armed forces shall accomplish this task and ensure that no one
dares to indulge in this kind of misadventure in future.