NEW DELHI — Outrage poured in on Monday over former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf's claim that the neighbouring country's army had used a second line of force, alluding to infiltrators, during the 1999 Kargil war.
"We entered Kargil from four points of which India was not aware," Musharraf is heard telling the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), reported Paksitan's Geo News. Musharraf also said New Delhi will never forget the battle of Kargil and that Pakistan had India "by its throat."
"There was a second line force, too, which caught India by throat and that was later given the status of army," Musharraf said.
Kargil, India and Paksitan's most serious military engagement since 1971, was fought in the summer of 1999 after militants backed by Pakistani troops occupied the mountain peaks of the district in Jammu and Kashmir.
But Musharraf's claim has been largely rubbished by Indian politicians who see it as nothing but posturing to help him win an upcoming local election.
News agency ANI quoted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman Nalin Kohli as saying that "The whole world knows about the Kargil War and how the Indian forces violently pushed out the intruders from Pakistan, and how, Pakistan was defeated in this exercise. I don't know how Pakistan has arrived at this conclusion. But, it is not uncommon for Pakistan to create history, rather than look at the events, and even if required, fabricate history."
"India won the Kargil War. Musharraf should understand that. Now, he is an ex-army chief of Pakistan and he should understand that there are efforts to normalise the situation between India and Pakistan. He should not have made such provocative statements. Perhaps, he is doing this to find some space in the politics of Pakistan. Why is he digging up the past issues? The fact of the matter is India won the Kargil War," Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja told ANI.
Congress Party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "It is best for Musharraf to introspect on his tragic state as well as more tragic state of his country, rather than preaching to or giving statements on India or on Kargil. It is the classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. This is not the right approach to be adopted, because it diminishes both Pakistan and Musharraf."
The Kargil War resulted in the complete withdrawal of Pakistani forces from Indian territory to the Line of Control and led to the worldwide condemnation of Islamabad's policies. It is reportedly also the only instance of a direct conflict between two nuclear states.
Speaking to Times Now, strategic affairs expert Maroof Raza called Musharraf a "master of self illusion".
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)