Exactly nineteen years back India defeated Pakistan in a war which was fought on the mountains of Kashmir in Kargil at an altitude more than 15,000 feet. The Kargil war was fought from May-July 99. It was generally an untold tradition that the armies of both the sides leave their bunkers at high altitude places move downwards and later during summers they reoccupy their bunkers. But in 1999, Pakistan took undue advantage of India’s trust and when Indian soldiers vacated their bunkers during the winters, mujahideens and Pakistan army soldiers occupied the bunkers.
The Kargil war was an example of betrayal of Pakistan as just three months before in February, the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Yajpayee visited Pakistan with a message of peace and with a firm determination to solve the Kashmir issue peacefully. A bus service was also started between New Delhi and Lahore. According to reports, the then Pakistani Army chief General Parvez MUsharaf without any consultation with the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif started the infiltration into the Indian Side along the Line of Control.
India came to know about the Pakistan’s plan in May, when the Indian Army’s patrol party led by Captain Saurabh Kalia, who went to the area did not report back to headquarters. The army realized the gravity of the situation launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to wipe out the infiltrators. Later, Pakistan sent back mutilated bodies of the captain and his four soldiers. The Indian Army then launched a massive operation to wipe out the Pakistani army soldiers of 12 Northern Light Infantry and terrorists. The war was fought at regimental and battalion level. The main aim of Pakistan was to cut the connectivity of Leh with rest of India by controlling NH 1 D highway, which connects Srinagar and Leh.
The Indian Air Force also launched ‘Operation Safed Sagar’ in the war zone to provide a support to the Indian Army. The army captured the highest and the most significant peak, Tiger Hill on the morning of July 8. Later in the war, the army also used Bofors artillery guns to provide cover fire to the troops. On July 26, The Indian government declared Operation Vijay a success and from then on, every year it is celebrated as ‘Vijay Diwas’.
Heroes of Kargil War:
Shaheed Capt. Vikram Batra, PVC (9 September 1974 – 7 July 1999) was posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War. Batra joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun, in June 1996 in the Manekshaw Battalion. The brave officer captured the Peak 5140 in Drass sector, without any casualties. He sacrificed his life while capturing the Point 4875 on July 7.
Shaheed Lt. Manoj Pandey, PVC (25 June 1975 – 3 July 1999): He was also posthumously awarded with the Param Veer Chakra. On the night of 3 July 1999 during the advance to Khalubar as his platoon approached its final objective, it came under heavy and intense enemy fire from the surrounding heights. Captain Pandey was tasked to clear the interfering enemy positions to prevent his battalion from getting day lighted. He got a fatal burst on his forehead while achieving his objective.
Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav, PVC: Yadav was awarded with Param Veer Chakra for his 4 July 1999 action during the Kargil War. He was part of the Ghatak team of 18 Grenadiers who launched an offensive after climbing the Tiger Hill from the rear side, taking the enemy by surprise. In spite of being grievously injured he kept on fighting.
Subedar Sanjay Kumar, PVC: On 4 July 1999, as a member of the 13th Battalion, Jammu & Kashmir Rifles, he was the leading scout of a team tasked to capturing Area Flat Top, during the Kargil War. Having scaled the cliff, the team was pinned down by machine gun fire from an enemy bunker, about 150 meters away. He kept advancing towards te enemy and in a close fight killed three enemy soldiers. He was awarded the Param Veer Chakra for his bravery.
Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Vijayant Thapar, Major Rajesh Adhikari also fought bravely and sacrificed their lives for the Mother India. As per official data India lost 537 soldiers during this war and 1363 wounded.
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Long live the Indian Army.