When the Vajpayee government made the decision public to not to cross the Line of Control (LoC) during the Kargil operation, the then Army Chief Gen V P Malik had requested the prime minister not to say it openly again. The former Army chief also said there was a requirement to carry out more strikes like Balakot “over and over again to have that spirit of deterrence” and send a message to Pakistan that "India can hit back".
Speaking at an event to mark 20 years of the Kargil conflict, Malik said the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Security during the Vajpayee government not to cross the LoC was made public.
Vajpayee also reiterated it during his visit to Chennai.
“The PM spoke about it in Chennai on June 2. When he came back (to Delhi) I met him and said sir we will follow the mandate but please do not speak about it in public,” Malik recalled.
Malik, who led the Army during the Kargil operation, said Prime Minister Vajpayee asked the reasons behind it.
“I said we will try our best to undo what had happened in Kargil but in case we cannot achieve the results fully, then as far as military is concerned, we have no alternative to cross the Line of Control somewhere else. And if I have that requirement, I will come to you and ask you, what will be your answer,” Malik said.
The two were having this conversation while walking together in the corridors of the South Block.
Vajpayee did not say a word, kept quite and just nodded, Malik recalled.
“But that very evening Brijesh Mishra (Vajpayee’s Principal Secretary and National Security Advisor) gave an interview to a channel. During the interview he very deliberately said not crossing the LoC or border holds good today. We don’t know about tomorrow. This helped us to carry on with our military strategy,” Malik said.
The Indian Army did not cross the LoC during the Kargil operation.
The Vajpayee government also refused to give the permission to the Indian Air Force to cross the Line of Control, former Air Chief Anil Tipnis had claimed at an event last month.