Kargil Vijay Divas is observed, the day when Indian soldiers overcame the Pakistani insurgents and successfully regained control over the high posts in Kargil and Drass sector, earlier lost to Pakistani intruders.
Kargil on Map
In honour of Kargil heroes
527 Indian soldiers were martyred, and around 1088 soldiers were wounded in this Kargil War. Kargil Vijay Divas was instituted to honour these Kargil war heroes. Every year, citizens of the nation, pay homage to the Kargil heroes at Amar Jawan Jyoti at Indian Gate, Delhi and at Kargil hills, in Kashmir valley.
Kargil Hills Memorial
Many programmes are held all over India to remember the sacrifices made by the Indian Army then. Shaurya, valour awards were given to these soldiers and officers.
Amar Jawan Jyoti
Pakistani soldiers indisguise
In the year 1999, Pakistani Armed Forces were training and sending soldiers, disguised as jihadi militants, into the Indian side of the Line of Control (LOC).
To delink Ladakh & Kashmir
This infiltration which they called “Operation Badr” was intended to break the link between Ladakh and Kashmir by forcing the Indian soldiers to retreat from the Siachen Glacier. The goal was to force a negotiated solution from India.
Indian Soldiers caught unawares
Initially, the Indian soldiers were not aware of the nature of this infiltration. The Indian forces thought that this infiltration was by jihadis and resolved to eliminate them.
In the next few days, another infiltration was observed along another part of LOC. The nature of this infiltration was very much different from the previous one which made the Indian Army to seriously study these infiltrations.
Discovering the nature of attack
On further analysis, the Indian forces realized that the enemy’s plan was much bigger and that Pakistani soldiers in disguise, had infact captured around 200 kms of Indian Territory.
The Indian Government soon launched the Operation Vijay with 2 lakh Indian soldiers. The Battle which began on May 27th, lasted for 62 days and ended on July 26th.
Indian Soldiers attacking the intruders
Indian Soldiers in action during Kargil
India stood steadfast
India stood steadfast all through the war, whereas the Pakistani Prime Minister went to US on July 4th to meet the then President Clinton and then to China, to seek help. Incidentally, July 4th was American Independence Day.
Whereas, India did not go soliciting for help, to maintain its territorial integrity.
Nawaz Sharif with Bill Clinton seeking help
The Indian soldiers were successful in pushing back the Pakistani intruders beyond the Line of Control and regaining the lost territory. It is to be noted that it was India’s conscious decision not to escalate the war beyond the Kargil and Drass sectors.
Indian soldiers hoisting Indian flag after regaining Kargil
The victory lifted the morale of every Indian. The sentiment in India was so high, that, a number of films were made on this war. LOC Kargil was one of the first films. Shot in Ladakh, this film gives a detailed account of Operation Vijay. The Film Dhoop was released in 2003 with the Kargil war as a backdrop. Another film Lakshya was released, a fictional story based on the Kargil war.
Not to forget
This year, the 18th anniversary of the Kargil victory is being observed. The war might be over, but we should not forget those who sacrificed their lives in the battle. It is not enough we if just recall the sacrifices of those who gave up their ‘today’ for our ‘tomorrow’. It is time we ensure that, they get their injury benefits without any delay, which has sadly been delayed for the last many years on petty grounds.
Make it a Policy
It should also be made a policy that the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, along with ministers visit the Kargil Hills Memorial, every year, to pay homage to our Kargil martyrs who then saved Kashmir for us by giving up their lives.