How Pakistan’s Faulty Missiles Stopped a Nuclear War During Kargil
During 1998-1999 Pakistani Army started an operation code-named as “Operation Badr” in which they trained their army to disguise themselves as Mujhaideen. They started sending these troops into Indian territory through LOC. They wanted to force India to withdrew its army from Siachean glacier. They wanted to gain global attention in order to showcase that this whole operation was orchestrated by the local separatists and mujaheedeen groups.Kargil gained a lot of attention from foreign countries especially from United States of America, as both the countries involved in conflict were nuclear power.
A retired Pakistani nuclear scientist has claimed that former Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s 1999 military adventurism in the Kargil region of divided Kashmir failed in part because the North Korea-aided, nuclear-capable Ghauri missiles he wanted to deploy then had a faulty guidance system.
With substantial aid from North Korea , Pakistan developed its own Ghauri missile which is actually a Pakistani derivative of Rodong 1 missile. First tests were carried out on April 6, 1998 and many defect were highlighted. The design was a highly flawed one with the missile cone section suffering intense damage due to shock and awe while on re-entry phase. Another fault was with its guidance systems and its electronics which were obsolete along with its engines and its cumbersome liquid-fuel which effectively decreased its deployment time.
When General Musharraf went off with his ill-founded military adventurism in Kargil , Musharraf was unaware of the Ghauri missile’s faulty guidance system even as he oversaw the covert occupation by Pakistan troops and mujahedeen “freedom fighters” of the inhospitable, snowbound outposts in Kargil that the Indian Army had vacated for the winter.
He said Musharraf only learned the truth in March 1999 from Lt. Gen. Zulfikar Khan, who then commanded the army’s Combat Division.
Musharraf then ordered another Ghauri test, which took place on April 14, 1999, just three days after India tested its Agni-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile and several weeks before India detected the extent of the Pakistani side’s penetration in Kargil.But this test also failed,
Pakistan which was boasting off its newly-found nuclear capability declared the test a success. This lead to a row between Abdul Qadeer Khan ( Pakistani former nuclear physicist ) and Musharraf. This led the Pakistan not to go nuclear during Kargil War. Obviously top brass in Pakistan would have known its repercussions if they would have launched a nuclear missile against India and what further events it would have triggered which would have been the biggest bane for Pakistan as a nation.
About Pakistan nuclear capability during Kargil War , Musharraf said, “I can also say with authority that in 1999 our nuclear capability was not yet operational. Merely exploding a bomb does not mean that you are operationally capable of deploying nuclear force in the field and delivering a bomb across the border over a selected target.”
Source:- Harsh B Mishra On Quora, Japan Times