Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed on July 26 every year, marking the successful conclusion of the war with Pakistan in the Kargil-Dras sector of Jammu and Kashmir in 1999. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July and resulted in the loss of life on both the sides. The war ended with India regaining control of all the occupied territory and Pakistan withdrew it forces accepting defeat.
The town of Kargil is located 205 km (127 mi) from Srinagar, facing the Northern areas across the LoC. Like other areas in the Himalayas, Kargil has a temperate climate. Summers are cool with frigid nights, while winters are long and chilly with temperatures often dropping to −48 °C (−54 °F). The war is one of the most recent examples of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, which posed significant logistical problems for the combating sides.
Kargil was targeted partly because the terrain was conducive to the pre-emptive seizure of several unoccupied military positions. With tactically vital features and well-prepared defensive posts atop the peaks, a defender on the high ground would enjoy advantages akin to a fortress. Any attack to dislodge a defender from high ground in mountain warfare requires a far higher ratio of attackers to defenders, and the difficulties would be exacerbated by the high altitude and freezing temperatures.
The aim of the Pakistani incursion was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute. Pakistan also believed that any tension in the region would internationalise the Kashmir issue, helping it to secure a speedy resolution.
On the Vijay Diwas Day, we all remember Kargil war heroes. Initially, we were showing apathy on Kargil war heroes and totally forgotten them. But for print media’s wide coverage, no one is paying much importance to the services rendered by the Army at the crucial hour to kill our enemies and make them retreat. The yeomen services rendered by them should not be forgotten even after 100 years.
On the other hand, we give undue importance to the Indian Cricket team. The hype, hoopla, and hysteria can be bestowed on the Kargil team for their bloodshed in a royal battle. Let us remember Kargil war heroes, who showed grit, fighting spirit, determination and gumption to the world that how a fighting unit can make things to happen in the best way possible even in the adverse conditions. It is time to recognise Kargil War Heroes.
While briefing about the war and its strategy, it was informed that 30,000 personnel of the Indian Army were engaged with close coordination and unified command during the war, Operation Vijay became successful and defeated the Pakistani Army. The Kargil War Heroes must be remembered on the Vijay Diwas day of the historic war, which kept Pakistan packing.
Nineteen years have gone by. On July 26, 1999, Indian flag was hoisted as Indian army occupied Kargil Dras sector on the success of Mission Vijay. The victory was not an easy one; it was made up of the sacrifice of lives of those 527 Indian soldiers who gave their lives for their Motherland. It was made up of the tears of a mother, who lost her son; made up of the cries of a bride who was now a widow; made up of a child’s sadness who lost a father’s shoulder to climb on, made up of a sister’s dead emotions who lost the wrist she has always tied rakhi on, made up of the hard work and sleepless struggle of our brave and dedicated Indian Army and their families.
On the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas (Victory at Operation Vijay, 1999), my salute to the martyred ones during this prestigious war!
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)