NEW DELHI: On the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the Kargil War, the nation on Thursday paid homage to the brave Indian soldiers who made supreme sacrifices in securing the country's frontiers while giving a befitting reply to Pakistan's misadventure in 1999.
Paying tributes to the fallen heroes, President Ram Nath Kovind took to Twitter and tweeted, ''On Kargil Vijay Diwas, every Indian acknowledges the efforts and gallantry of our Armed Forces. We salute the ultimate sacrifice of the martyrs of Kargil, and record our everlasting debt to their families.''
कारगिल विजय दिवस पर, प्रत्येक भारतीय हमारी सशस्त्र सेनाओं के प्रयासों व पराक्रम की सराहना करता है। सभी देशवासी कारगिल के शहीदों के परम बलिदान को नमन करते हैं; हम उनके परिवार-जनों के प्रति सदैव ऋणी रहेंगे – राष्ट्रपति कोविन्द
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 26, 2018
PM Modi too took to Twitter and praised the exemplary courage and supreme sacrifices made by the Kargil War martyrs.
On #KargilVijayDiwas, a grateful nation pays homage to all those who served the nation during Operation Vijay. Our brave soldiers ensured that India remains protected and gave a befitting answer to those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere of peace.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2018
India will always remember with pride, the outstanding political leadership provided by Atal Ji during Operation Vijay. He led from the front, supported our armed forces and clearly articulated India’s stand at the world stage. #KargilVijayDiwas
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2018
Armed Forces personnel and families of soldiers who lost their lives in 1999 Kargil War also paid their tributes at the Dras War Memorial.
Several top politicians, military personnel and people from all walks of life paid their tributes to the fallen heroes on the occasion.
— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) July 26, 2018
On #KargilVijayDiwas we salute the unflinching courage and supreme sacrifice of all those soldiers who fought valiantly in 1999. Every Indian citizen is proud of their heroism and service to the nation.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) July 26, 2018
#KargilVijayDiwas , named after the success of Operation Vijay. On 26 Jul 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts of Kargil, which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated on 26 July every year in honour of the Kargil War Heroes. pic.twitter.com/uufWLRu4vZ
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 26, 2018
26 July immortalized as #KargilVijayDiwas is saga of glorious victory of the Nation during Kargil Conflict in May-July 1999. #IndianArmy soldiers fought legendary battles in Dras, Kaksar, Batalik & Turtok Sectors. #Salute to courage, valour & sacrifice of our martyrs & heroes. pic.twitter.com/pG1gam5xRl
— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) July 26, 2018
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) July 26, 2018
— ANI (@ANI) July 26, 2018
Ahead of the Kargil Vijay Diwas, the Army invited families of 1999 Kargil War martyrs to remember their supreme sacrifices. During the occasion, some of the family members and wives of the martyrs shared their experiences of the unbearable loss they had to bear after the war.
The 1999 Kargil War is considered as a turning point in the history of Indian armed forces, which fought and won a rare high altitude battle that tested the fraught nerves of two nuclear-armed nations.
Interestingly, it was also the first war to be televised across India.
The war occurred after the peace overtures of the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, were spurned by the growing ambitions of then Pakistan Army chief General Pervez Musharraf, whose Kargil misadventure ended with India’s ferocious victory.
The Indian Army was informed of Pakistani intruders by local nomads, who spotted multiple infiltrations bids in and around the strategically important Batalik, Dras and Kaksar sectors.
Though Pakistan's alleged misadventure came as a big setback for the country, the Indian armed forces resolved to re-capture all strategic locations and dismantle fortified Pakistani bunkers there.
The Bofors howitzers anti-tank guns played a major role in breaking the Pakistani defences during the 60-day-long war.
The shelling from Pakistan began on May 9, 1999, as cover fire to engage India as more intruders crossed over to the Indian side. After gathering actionable inputs, the Army soon began to position its troops in the Kargil sector and, by the end of May 1999, the IAF launched massive air strikes.
Though the IAF lost two of its fighter jets and one helicopter, which was shot down, it helped the ground troops to regain control of several key positions in the Batalic sector.
Tiger Hill, a Pakistani stronghold and the highest peak in the Kargil-Dras sector, was captured after an eleven-hour-long battle.
In view of growing international pressure on the then Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Shariff, status quo ante bellum (the state existing before the war) was maintained and India declared July 26, 1999, as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
Since then, July 26 is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas, marking the successful conclusion of the war with Pakistan in the Kargil-Drass sector of Jammu and Kashmir in 1999.
Though, the Indian soldiers successfully gained back the high altitude outposts occupied by Pakistani intruders culminating under the 'Operation Vijay', the country also lost over 500 brave sons of the soil who laid down their lives during the 60-day long war.