The Kargil war martyrs will always remain in our hearts!! Thus, in order to honor them 26th July, since 1999 has been marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) in India. This one is for our Kargil war officers, our Kargil war Heroes!!
Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna, Ab HamareDil Mein Hai
Dekhna Hai Zor Kitna, baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
The Year of 1999, in the month of July these famous lines of Amar Shahid Ramprasad Bismil were the constant motivation for our army to step ahead and behead the enemies of our motherland.
Going 21 years back, 19th February 1999, Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reached Lahore in Pakistan to sign a declaration, the ‘Lahore declaration’ which stated that India and Pakistan will avoid a war which was sure to bring a lot of blood to the land and solve all the disputes including settling Kashmir peacefully. Little did he know that within just a few months of his historic initiative India and Pakistan would be embroiled in another War that would rip multiple households of their loving sons, brave husbands, and the best fathers! And as we know, that is when the ‘The Kargil War’ happened!
It was the 4th of May when Pakistani intrusion in the Kargil district of Kashmir was reported by local shepherds and Indian Army patrols were sent out in response to earlier reports which stated that Captain Saurabh Kalia went missing. By May 10 intruders were noticed in Drass, Kaksar, and Mushkoh sectors.
Dated on 26th May, the Indian Air Force launched airstrikes against infiltrators. Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa was taken over by Pakistan as a war prisoner. On May 31 Prime Minister Vajpayee said, “It is a war-like situation in Kargil.”
Diplomatic efforts began in June to call of War. The US held Pakistan responsible for intrusions in Kashmir and asked to respect the LOC. Pakistan handed over a war Prisoner Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa to India in ‘Goodwill Gesture’ which proved fake in the near future.
The Pakistan Army took advantage of the shortcomings, especially the lack of Indian troops during winters, and intruded into Mushkoh, Dras, Kargil, Batalik, and Turtuk sub-sectors, between Zojila and Leh. They crossed the LoC and intruded 4-10 km into Indian territory and occupied 130 winter-vacated Indian posts. Pakistan wanted to cut off the highway connecting Srinagar with Leh, thereby cutting off Ladakh and Siachen –– a move India didn’t expect.
Indian Army started ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear out the Kargil sector. Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ was launched by Indian Air Force to flush out the regular and irregular troops of the Pakistani army.
Pakistan started shelling operations on NH1 in Kashmir and Ladakh which is a strategic route of Siachen Glacier and connects Srinagar to Leh and Ladakh. It also serves as a watchtower for India to keep a deep watch on the Gilgit Region of Pakistan.
Parks Mission was to capture NH1 so that they could have a close watch on the Indian Army’s movements. They aimed to cut off all the Indian connections with Siachen Glacier. By June 9 Indian Army launched major attacks and regained control of two key positions in the Batalik sector, and on June 10 Pakistan returned the mutilated bodies of six Indian soldiers of the Jat Regiment. The moment brought uncontrollable tears to the families but a sense of pride prevailed. India fought back and captured the strategic Toiling peak changing the course of the war.
Pakistan faced International pressure when US President Bill Clinton asked Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif to call off his troops out of Kargil on June 15. Indian Army captured point 5060 and point 5100 near Tiger Hill on 20 June 1999.
Nawaz Sharif met US President Bill Clinton in Washington on July 5 and announced the Pakistani Army’s withdrawal from Kargil after this meeting. India recaptured major peaks in batalik on 12th July 1999. On the 14th of July 1999, Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared Operation Vijay a success.
Following this shock, to the Pakistanis, the Indian army launched its final attacks in the last week of July. India had lost its 527 soldiers in this war and around 1300 soldiers got injured by then. With the last of Jihadists in the Drass sub-sector had been cleared, the fighting ceased on July 26, 1999. And, finally after 2 months, 3 weeks and 2 days, Indian Flag was again rising at up-high.
“Freedom doesn’t come to us, we have to fight for it”
Love is something that is stated as the strongest feeling in the world. But different people have different ways to express it. Just like this, our soldiers have previously and even today are showing their love and respect for our country, India. If these Kargil war heroes had not been so courageous and so brave, we would have never made it here.
‘Kar Chale Hum Fida Jano Tan Sathiyon
Ab Tumhare Hawale Vatan Sathiyon’