India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26 July every year to mark the victory of Indian soldiers in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan. This day the citizens remember the valour and sacrifice made by Indian soldiers to protect the motherland. On this day, the Prime Minister of India pays homage to the martyr soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti near India Gate in Delhi every year. Moreover, functions are organized all over the country to commemorate the contributions of the armed forces. The day is celebrated in the country in honor of the Kargil War’s Heroes.
On this day in 1999, Indian troops emerged victorious over their enemy by recapturing all the Indian posts that had been occupied by Pakistani infiltrators. The Kargil war started from May 3 in the year 1999 and came to an end on July 26. Through this blog, we are paying a small tribute to all the Indian soldiers who stand day and night just to safeguard our country’s pride, honour and integrity.
History of Kargil Vijay Diwas
There was a long period of silence with relatively few direct armed conflicts after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Even though, by putting up military outposts on neighboring mountain slopes, both countries repeatedly tried to control the Siachen Glacier. As a result of this, a new situation of conflict was arisen in 1980s. Later in 1990s, it got more severe. Both the countries, India and Pakistan performed nuclear tests in 1998 and this exacerbated the situation. But, in February 1999, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration and took a pledge to find peaceful solutions to the Kashmir problem. Despite the Lahore Declaration, Pakistani military forces were secretly training their troops to cross the Line of Control (LOC) into India and Indian Army anticipated this move of Pakistan and this triggered the Kargil war.
The motive behind the intrusion by Pakistan was to cut off the connection between Ladakh and Kashmir and to force the Indian Armed Forces to leave the Siachen Glacier. Initially, the Indian Army assumed the intruders as Jihadis and planned to evict them in a matter of days. But, later they recognized Pakistan’s attack strategy was far larger. So, the Indian Armed Forces planned a mission named ‘Operation Vijay’ and replied firmly. Around 200,000 Indian troops were recruited for this battle. After fighting the war for more than 60 days, the Indian soldiers achieved victory on July 26, 1999. Since then, the same day is being celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
Significance of the Kargil Vijay Diwas
Since 22 years ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ is observed to rekindle the pride and valour of the soldiers who took part in Operation Vijay. This day marks the victory of Indian soldiers in recapturing the mountain heights that were occupied by the Pakistani Army in the Kargil war. To honor our ‘Bharat Ke Veer Jawan’, we celebrate the Kargil Vijay Diwas every year. It is a proud occasion for every Indian and is widely observed across the country. On this day, we commemorate the bravery and commitment of our armed forces. The celebration of this day also inspires our future generations and makes them remember the selfless sacrifice of our brave soldiers.
Fatalities during the War
‘Service before Self’ is the motto of our Indian Army. A soldier has been taught to fight and win. They do not think twice while sacrificing their life to save our country. In the Kargil war also, the victory of Indian soldiers came with a high price. We lost more than 500 soldiers during the war. Whereas, the official death toll on the Pakistani side was around 700.
Kargil War Memorial
The Kargil War memorial, also known as Dras War Memorial was built by the Indian Army in November 2014. The memorial is situated near the town of Dras on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway 1D at the foothills of the Tololing Hill. It was constructed in the memory of 1999 Kargil War.
A poem written by Makhanlal Chaturvedi, ‘Pushp Ki Abhilasha’ is inscribed on the gateway of the memorial. The names of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil War are inscribed on the Memorial Wall. A museum was also established which is attached to the Kargil War Memorial. The museum has pictures of houses and family members of Indian soldiers, archives of important war documents, recordings, war equipment, gear and official emblems of the Army that show the success of ‘Operation Vijay’.
Operation Safed Sagar
‘Operation Safed Sagar’ or ‘Operation White Sea’ was the code name given to the Indian Air Force for its role in the Kargil war. The Indian Air Force acted jointly with the ground troops during the 1999 war and was aimed to flush out regular and irregular troops of the Pakistani Army. The ‘Operation Safed Sagar’ successfully removed the Pakistani intruders from vacated Indian Positions in the Kargil sector along the Line of Control. This operation was the first operation that used airpower at such a large scale in the Jammu and Kashmir region since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Indian MiG-21, MiG-27 and Mirage-2000 fighters fired rockets and missiles throughout the Kargil War from their side of the Line of Control (LoC).
Celebration of Kargil Vijay Diwas 2021
The Kashmir Valley has already started the celebration of Kargil Vijay Diwas 2021 a few days earlier. On July 21, Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations begin with a musical evening at Army Headquarters in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir that filled the environment with patriotic emotions. The very next day, a bike rally was also organized by Northern Command from Udhampur to Dras which was led by Lieutenant General YK Joshi. The major fought the Kargil war in 1999 and in the event he talked about the homage that India is paying to the martyrs and his colleagues.
While addressing the media, the Lieutenant General expressed his happiness about the efforts taken by the nation in remembering the brave soldiers. Other Army Majors who were also present in the event also felt proud that the nation is not just only recognizes the brave soldiers but also remembers them. On 25 July, the bikers reached Dras and on 26 July, a big event is being organized in the Dras Memorial. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind is the chief guest of the event.
Few Facts about Kargil Vijay Diwas
- The Kargil war was fought between India and Pakistan between the month of May and July in 1999 in the Kargil district under the temperature of minus 10 degree Celsius.
- The Pakistani intruders had a strategic advantage of fire during the start of the conflict as they positioned themselves in the key locations on higher grounds.
- The Indian Army ascertained the points of Pakistani incursion based on information from some local shepherds and then launched Operation Vijay.
- Indian Air force launched its air operations under the name ‘Operation Safed Sagar’ on May 26 to support the Indian army.
- The Indian Navy also launched its ‘Operation Talwar’ on the ports to block the entry of Pakistani intruders, especially on the Karachi’s side so that Pakistan could not get oil and fuel for war from India.
- Pakistan had asked for the support of US but then American president Bill Clinton declined the request to intervene.
- Indian armed forces last attacked on the outposts on July 26 and forced Pakistani troops to withdraw.
- After the war, Indian government made some changes including the set up of India’s intelligence and creation of a younger and fitter army and increased spending on defense in the budget.
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