In the Kargil conflict of 1999, we unilaterally declared that we would not cross the LoC. The argument that India's restraint won it global support holds no water. The West (meaning the hyperpower, the United States) changed its stance not because the justice of the Indian case on Kashmir had suddenly dawned on it, but because it was a part of its re-assessment of the world in the post Cold War era. By our lack of understanding and timidity, we have now established a 'rule of the game' that while Pakistan can cross the LoC we will not, even when it is tactically unsound. Thus, the duo of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then defence minister George Fernandes [Images] forced our soldiers to adopt virtually suicidal tactics to re-capture the Kargil heights. Lack of geo-political vision India never understood the vital strategic importance of the Northern Areas of Kashmir (comprising Gilgit and Hunza). This is an area where India, China and Central Asia meet. The British, well schooled in the art, engineered a revolt in Gilgit (led by Major Brown and Captain Matheson) and unfurled the Pakistani flag there on November 3, 1947. Lieutenant Colonel Sher Jung Thapa then defended the Skardu fort for nearly eight months. But without ammunition and supplies, he finally surrendered on August 14, 1948. Major Brown's action were not in isolation. A year earlier, a freelance explorer, Sir Francis Tillman, had undertaken the arduous trek from Urumachi in Chinese Sinkiang to Chitral. Right from the early days Britain saw Pakistan as an imperial outpost of the West in Asia (V K Krishna Menon in Michael Breacher's Krishna Menon's View of the World). In 1971, we had a golden opportunity to concentrate our military efforts in the direction of Northern Areas, if the military was told in advance about the intention to keep territory captured in Kashmir. It appears that no such directive was given and retention of land captured in Kashmir was an afterthought at Simla. The success achieved in capturing Turtuk and various peaks in the Partapur sector was a 'freelance' operation by the great Colonel Rinchan, almost a solo effort.