Musharraf defends Kargil, says he brought Kashmir to the negotiation table

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Islamabad, July 24 (ANI): Defending his Kargil misadventure, former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has described the 1999 Kargil conflict as a "big success" as it forced India to bring Kashmir onto the negotiation table.

"Yes, indeed, it was a big success because it had (an) impact even on the attitudes of the Indian side. How did we start discussing the Kashmir dispute? How was it that the Indians agreed that we will discuss Kashmir and there must be a negotiated settlement? Before this there was no such thing at all," Musharraf said in a television interview.

"Kashmir couldn't be spoken. Kashmir must not be mentioned even in United Nation's speeches by our leaders. This was the Indian side. So, how did the Indians come on the negotiating table on Kashmir?" Musharraf added.

When asked whether he would like to repeat Kargil, fully aware of the fact that the operation resulted in a major humiliation for Islamabad, Musharraf said : "I don't want to comment."

Contrary to the earlier claims by Pakistan that the Kargil operation was carried out by independent 'freedom fighters' and that the Pakistan army had no role in it, the then military chief , for the first time, admitted that Pakistani Army's Rawalpindi Corps and Force Command Northern Areas were involved in the operation.

Referring to his book "In the Line of Fire" in which he has said that the Pakistan military was "second line forces", Musharraf said: "What I have written is final. I am not going to get into the details at all."

Despite the evident success of India in Kargil, Musharraf claimed that the conflict ended with Pakistani forces in a "very favourable" position.

"Because if you are talking about India-Pakistan, Indians had moved all their forces against Kargil and there was as a result weakness elsewhere.So, we knew what the Indian forces are capable of and what we are capable of.The situation was very favourable in Kargil, in Kashmir and on the entire border. We were capable of responding to any Indian action," The Nation quoted Musharraf,as saying.

Musharraf also said that the pressure from the United States and other countries prevented him from convincing then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not to agree to a cease-fire with India. (ANI)

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