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2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff


2001-2002 India-Pakistan standoff

2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff
Indian Codename: Operation Parakram
Part of the Indo-Pakistani conflict

The United Nations map of the LoC.
Date 13 December 2001 – 10 June 2002
Location Kashmir, Indo-Pakistan border
Result Mutual retreat, reinforcement of the LoC
  • Indian Army
  • Pakistan Army
Commanders and leaders
Atal Vajpayee
(Prime minister of India)
Kocheril Narayanan
(President of India)
S. Padmanabhan
(Chief of Army Staff)
S. Krishnaswamy
(Chief of Air Staff)
Madhvendra Singh
(Chief of Naval Staff)
Pervez Musharraf
(President of Pakistan)
Aziz Khan
(Chairman Joint Chiefs)
Yusaf Khan
(Chief of Army Staff)
Mushaf Ali Mir
(Chief of Air Staff)
Abdul Aziz Mirza
(Chief of Naval Staff)
S. Karimullah
(Commander Marines)
500,000–700,000 soldiers[1] 300,000–400,000 soldiers[1]
Casualties and losses
789–1,874 killed.[2][3] unknown

The 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff was a military standoff between India and Pakistan that resulted in the massing of troops on either side of the Indo-Pakistani border and along the Line of Control (LoC) in the region of Kashmir. This was the second major military standoff between India and Pakistan following the successful detonation of nuclear devices by both countries in 1998 and the most recent standoff between the nuclear rivals. The other had been the Kargil War in 1999.

The military buildup was initiated by India responding to a terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001 (during which twelve people, including the five men who attacked the building, were killed) and the legislative Assembly on 1 October 2001.[4] India claimed that the attacks were carried out by two Pakistan-based terror groups fighting Indian administered Kashmir, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, both of whom India has said are backed by Pakistan's ISI[5] a charge that Pakistan denied.[6][7][8]

In the Western media, coverage of the standoff focused on the possibility of a nuclear war between the two countries and the implications of the potential conflict on the American-led "Global War on Terrorism" in nearby Afghanistan. Tensions de-escalated following international diplomatic mediation which resulted in the October 2002 withdrawal of Indian[9] and Pakistani troops[10] from the international border.


On the morning of 13 December 2001, a cell of five armed men attacked the Indian Parliament by breaching the security cordon at Gate 12. The five men killed seven people before being shot dead by Indian Security Forces.

World leaders and leaders in nearby countries condemned the attack on the Parliament, including Pakistan. On 14 December, the ruling Indian National Democratic Alliance blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) for the attack. Home Minister L.K. Advani claimed, "we have received some clues about yesterday's incident, which shows that a neighboring country, and some terrorist organisations active there are behind it,"[11] in an indirect reference to Pakistan and Pakistan-based militant groups. The same day, in a demarche to Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, India demanded that Pakistan stop the activities of LeT and JeM, that Pakistan apprehend the organisation's leaders and that Pakistan curb the financial assets and the group's access to these assets.[12] In response to the Indian government's statements, Pakistan ordered its military on standing high alert the same day.

The Pakistan military's information sources, the ISPR's spokesman Major-General Rashid Qureshi, claimed that the Parliament attack was a "drama staged by Indian intelligence agencies to defame the freedom struggle in 'occupied Kashmir'" and further warned that India would pay "heavily if they engage in any misadventure".[13] On 20 December, amid calls from the United States, Russia, and the United Nations to exercise restraint, India mobilised and deployed its troops to Kashmir and the Indian part of the Punjab in what was India's largest military mobilization since the 1971 conflict.[14] The Indian codename for the mobilization was Operation Parakram (Sanskrit: Valor).[15]



In late December, both countries moved ballistic missiles closer to each other's border, and mortar and artillery fire was reported in Kashmir.[16] By January 2002, India had mobilized around 500,000 troops and three armored divisions on the Pakistan's border concentrated along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Pakistan responded similarly, deploying around 300,000 troops to that region.[1]

On 12 January 2002, President Pervez Musharraf gave a speech intended to reduce tensions with India. He declared that Pakistan would combat extremism on its own soil, but said that Pakistan had a right to Kashmir.[17] The Indian Prime Minister told his generals that there would be no attack "for now."[18]


Tensions escalated significantly in May. On 14 May, three gunmen killed 34 people in an army camp near Jammu, most of them the wives and children of Hindu and Sikh soldiers serving in Kashmir. The Indian Army was angered by the attack.[18] On 18 May, India expelled the Pakistani High Commissioner. That same day, thousands of villagers had to flee Pakistani artillery fire in Jammu.[19] On 21 May, clashes killed six Pakistani soldiers and 1 Indian soldier, as well as civilians from both sides.[20] On 22 May, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee warned his troops to prepare for a "decisive battle".[21] Beginning on 24 May and lasting for several days, Pakistan began conducting a series of missile tests. On 7 June the Pakistan Air Force shot down an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle near Lahore.[22]

At the same time, attempts to defuse the situation continued. Both Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf blamed each other for the standoff, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to mediate a solution, but in vain.[23] But by mid-June, the Indian government accepted President Musharraf's pledge to end militant infiltration into India, and on 10 June, air restrictions over India were ended and Indian warships were removed from Pakistan's coast; Pakistan's warships soon followed suit and returned to friendly waters.[24]

While tensions remained high throughout the next few months, both governments began easing the situation in Kashmir. By October 2002, India had begun to demobilize their troops along her border and later Pakistan did the same, and in November 2003 a cease-fire between the two nations was signed.[25]

The Indian Navy was a part of the joint forces exercise, Operation Parakram, during the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff. The operation included 26 Naval Cadets from various part of India under the command of Senior Cadet Captain Ajithkumar Nair from the Kerala and Lakshadweep Directorate. This was the only operation to include Cadets in the history of Indian Defence.


The standoff inflicted heavy casualties. 789 Indian soldiers were killed, a majority of them as a result of mine laying operations.[2] Further, the total Indian casualties were 1874, which include soldiers killed or wounded[3]

Cost of standoff

The Indian cost for the buildup was [26]

Threat of nuclear war

President Musharraf refused to renounce the use of nuclear weapons even after pressure by the international community. Whereas Prime Minister Vajpayee asserted from the beginning that nuclear weapons would only be used if the other side used them first.

As both India and Pakistan are armed with nuclear weapons, the possibility a conventional war could escalate into a nuclear one was raised several times during the standoff. Various statements on this subject were made by Indian and Pakistani officials during the conflict, mainly concerning a no first use policy. Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said on 5 June that India would not use nuclear weapons first,[27] while Musharraf said on 5 June he would not renounce Pakistan's right to use nuclear weapons first.[28] According to one think tank of the Pakistan government, the possession of nuclear weapons by Pakistan prevented escalation to an all out war by India.[29] In 2009, Pakistani economist Sartaj Aziz asserted that:

It was a big upset about what happened to the economy after the [atomic] tests in 1998, but was consoled that in 2002, when India mobilized half a million troops on the Line of Control after an attack on its parliament in 2001, but was finally forced to withdraw the "due to the danger of a nuclear retaliation by Pakistan....
—Sartaj Aziz, defending Pakistan's decision to tests its nuclear capability in 1998[30]

There was also concern that a 6 June 2002 asteroid explosion over Earth, known as the Eastern Mediterranean Event, could have caused a nuclear conflict had it exploded over India or Pakistan.[31]

Development of Cold Start

After the deescalation and the substantial diplomatic mediation, the Indian government, however, learned the seriousness of the military suspension by Pakistan in the region. Adjustments and development on offensive doctrine, Cold Start, was carried out by India as an aftermath of the war.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Kashmir Crisis Global
  2. ^ a b "Op Parakram claimed 798 soldiers". The imes Of India. 31 July 2003. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  3. ^ a b India suffered 1,874 casualties without fighting a war, THE TIMES OF INDIA.
  4. ^ Rajesh M. Basrur (14 December 2009). "The lessons of Kargil as learned by India". In Peter R. Lavoy. Asymmetric Warfare in South Asia: The Causes and Consequences of the Kargil Conflict (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 326. ISBN . Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Who will strike first", The Economist, 20 December 2001.
  6. ^ Jamal Afridi (9 July 2009). "Kashmir Militant Extremists". Council Foreign Relations. Retrieved 4 February 2012. Pakistan denies any ongoing collaboration between the ISI and militants, stressing a change of course after 11 September 2001. 
  7. ^ Perlez, Jane (29 November 2008). "Pakistan Denies Any Role in Mumbai Attacks". Mumbai (India);Pakistan: Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  8. ^ "Attack on Indian parliament heightens danger of Indo-Pakistan war". 20 December 2001. Retrieved 2012-01-31. 
  9. ^ "India to withdraw troops from Pak border", Times of India, 16 October 2002.
  10. ^ "Pakistan to withdraw front-line troops", BBC, 17 October 2002.
  11. ^ "Parliament attack: Advani points towards neighbouring country", Rediff, 14 December 2001.
  12. ^ "Govt blames LeT for Parliament attack, asks Pak to restrain terrorist outfits", Rediff, 14 December 2001.
  13. ^ "Pakistan forces put on high alert: Storming of parliament", Dawn (newspaper), 15 December 2001.
  14. ^ "Musharraf vows to stop terror activity in Pakistan". USA Today. 22 June 2002. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Gen. Padmanabhan mulls over lessons of Operation Parakram". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 6 February 2004. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2008. 
  16. ^ Pakistan, India 'move missiles' to border CNN, 26 December 2001.
  17. ^ Musharraf declares war on extremism, BBC, 12 January 2002.
  18. ^ a b "The Stand-off", The New Yorker, 13 February 2006.
  19. ^ "India expels Pakistan's ambassador",, 18 May 2002.
  20. ^ "Six more Pak soldiers killed", The Tribune, 21 May 2002.
  21. ^ "Indian PM calls for 'decisive battle' over Kashmir", The Guardian, Wednesday 22 May 2002. Retrieved on 7 February 2013.
  22. ^ "IAF's Searcher-II Loss on June 07, 2002". Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  23. ^ "Putin Attempts to Mediate India-Pakistan Tensions", VOA, 3 June 2002. Retrieved on 7 February 2013.
  24. ^ India-Pakistan Conflict,
  25. ^ "India-Pakistan Ceasefire Agreement", NDTV. Retrieved on 7 February 2013.
  26. ^ Aditi Phadnis (16 January 2003). "Parakram cost put at Rs 6,500 crore". India Limited. Archived from the original on 3 February 2003. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  27. ^ "India will not use nuclear weapons first: Singh". BNET. 3 June 2002. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  28. ^ Irish Examiner – 2002/06/05: "Musharraf refuses to renounce first use of nuclear weapons", Irish Examiner, 5 June 2002
  29. ^ "IPRI :: Islamabad Policy Research Institute". Retrieved 2012-01-13. 
  30. ^ Aziz, Sartaj (2009). Between Dreams and Realities: Some Milestones in Pakistan’s History. Karachi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press. p. 408. ISBN . 
  31. ^ "Near-Earth Objects Pose Threat, General Says". Retrieved 2012-03-01. 

External links

  • Gen. Padmanabhan mulls over lessons of Operation Parakram
  • Thoughts on Operation Parakram
  • Operation Parakram
  • Nuclear Proliferation in India and Pakistain from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
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