NEW DELHI: During the 1999 Kargil War, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, spoke on the phone at least five times, with the latter turning to the opinion that Mr. Sharif had been bamboozled into confrontation by then-Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, The Hindu said on Sunday, quoting from a new private book by Mr. Vajpayee.
The book on the turbulent tenure of Mr. Vajpayee, Vajpayee: The Years That Changed India, by former bureaucrat Shakti Sinha, who worked as Vajpayee’s private secretary for several years, goes on to state that after a telling incident between Mr. Sharif and R.K. The man chosen for back-channel talks to end the war was Mishra, a former director of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
The role of Sharif was tenuous, and he suggested to Mishra in a later meeting that they should take a walk in the garden, clearly suspecting that his own house had been taped. “The latter took this as an indication that Sharif was more a prisoner of circumstances than anything else when Mishra reported this to Vajpayee,” says the novel.
One of the calls came from Srinagar in June, after Vajpayee had visited Kargil. Vajpayee asked me to connect him to Sharif upon his arrival in Srinagar. My little team and I tried, but we just didn’t manage to get through. Then one of the local officers present told us that it was prohibited to dial Pakistan (+92) from Jammu and Kash-mir. “The telecommunications authorities were told to open the facility for a brief period of time, so that the two prime ministers could speak,” the book reports.
Two telephone recordings that Arvind Dave, then head of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s foreign intelligence service, took to Prime Minister Vajpayee were a major factor in the withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the LoC, the book states. R&AW chief Arvind Dave produced two telephone recordings between Pakistan Army chief Pervez Musharraf and his general staff chief, Lt. Gen. Mohammad Aziz. The Pakistan Army was clearly interested, with the Mujahideen playing a minor part, if any,” the book says.
The tapes were later shared with the media, but Mr Sharif was also smuggled into Pakistan along with diplomat Vivek Katju and back channel point person R.K. via the diplomatic route. Mishra. Mishra.