South Asia Monitor: Kargil: What Does It Mean? - July 19, 1999
July 19, 1999
Pakistan's first effort in 35 years to seize and hold territory on India's side of the Line of Control backfired. Pakistani prime minister Sharif's July 4 agreement with president Clinton made clear Pakistan's responsibility for both the incursion and the withdrawal. In return, the United States promised a more active role in encouraging an Indo-Pakistan rapprochement. On the surface, this meets Pakistan's long-standing goal of getting the outside world's help on the neuralgic Kashmir dispute. But the Kargil operation has sparked international interest in a settlement that would essentially freeze the status of Kashmir with the key areas still in Indian hands.
This first serious combat after the nuclear tests in the subcontinent suggests a disturbing Pakistani willingness to try brinkmanship, but a degree of effective restraint by both sides in pursuing strategic targets.
As for the Indo-Pakistan dialogue, nothing serious will happen until after India's elections.