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Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's Address
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 will not.

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 regular contact;
Dialogue among officials of the two countries was proceeding constructively, and satisfactorily;
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 intrusion.

We must hope, my countrymen, that even now reason will prevail, that those within Pakistan who see the folly of aggression will have their way.

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 with confidence.

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.

Jai Hind.





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