While then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in Pakistan in February 1999, the Pakistan army led by General Pervez Musharraf was preparing to intrude in Kashmir, seize peaks in Kargil with the grandiose aim of forcing India out of Kashmir militarily. Instead of treating the Pakistani nuclear capability as a deterrent against aggression, its military thought of using it as an umbrella to carry out covert aggression. In order to keep the restless militia groups busy and political opponents quiet, Pakistani strategists suggested a scheme wherein the army, supported by militia groups, would establish a small enclave across the Line of Control at a location which would be tactically strong and hurt India.
They believed that India's conventional military superiority has been neutralised by Pakistan's nuclear weapons. There was therefore little risk of their limited plan escalating into a full-fledged war. They were sure that this would result in the intervention of the United States and the United Nations and a reopening of the Jammu and Kashmir issue to Pakistan's advantage.
IMAGE: Then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with then defence minister George Fernandes, crouching, third from left, then Jammu and Kashmir governor Girish Chandra 'Gary' Saxena, standing second from left, and then army chief General Ved Prakash Malik, fourth from right, meet the troops in Kargil.