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Key takeaways from the Kargil Review Committee report

The committee consisted of four members — K Subrahmanyam, chairman, Lt Gen (retd) KK Hazari, BG Verghese and Satish Chandra who was designated member secretary of the committee. Two decades since the Pakistani misadventure along the Kargil heights, the recommendations of the committee have been largely implemented by the successive governments, even though a lot still remains desired.

Here are a few key takeaways from the Kargil Review Committee report:
  1. The Kargil Review Committee recommended the creation of a full-time National Security Advisor (NSA), a position then held by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The committee suggested that the ‘full-time National Security Advisor’ should also be accompanied by the second line of personnel for periodic intelligence briefings.
  2. Pointing out the ‘inadequacies’ in country’s surveillance capabilities, the committee suggested induction and deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for effective surveillance along the borders. The committee also recommended that helicopters could be equipped with thermal imaging sensors for effective surveillance along the borders.
  3. 3. Saying that the Army ‘must be fit, the report warned of ‘restructuring’ of the role of the military and paramilitary forces. The seeds of reforms in India’s military that were brought about during the subsequent years, were sown in the Kargil Review Committee report which suggested ‘reduction’ in the age profile of the Army. It also underlined the need for military modernisation and the importance of equipping India’s frontline fighters — the infantry soldiers — with modern weapons and gear.
  4. 4. “India is perhaps the only major democracy where the Armed Forces Headquarters are outside the apex governmental structure”- noted the 277-page report in its recommendations. The suggestions and recommendations of the report paved way for the creation of HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) and the much-needed tri-services integration, a term that became synonymous with modern India’s military doctrines in the years that followed.
  5. 5. Last but not least, Kargil was ‘the first war which Indian correspondents covered by going to the front in significant numbers’- the report noted. “Neither the Northern Army Command, not HQ 15 Corps nor the lower field formations had media cells which could cater to the requirements of the press corps,” it says in chapter no 14. It was KRC’s recommendation that has translated into today’s Additional Directorate General of Public Interface (ADGPI) and the present-day version of the Information warfare (IW) branch of the Army at the Command and formation levels.

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