NEW DELHI: The 20th anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas is being observed on Friday to commemorate the success of ''Operation Vijay'' which was launched by the Indian Army to recapture the strategic Indian territories held by the Pakistani intruders in the Kargil-Drass sector in 1999.
Since 1999, July 26 is celebrated as the Kargil Vijay Diwas every year to commemorate the victory of Operation Vijay. While the 60-day long war resulted in the loss of several lives on both the sides, India eventually won the unofficial war by regaining control of all the previously held territory, re-establishing the status quo ante-bellum.
One of the most prominent wars between India and Pakistan, the Kargil War or the Kargil Conflict took place between May 3 and July 26, 1999, in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC).
To honour the Kargil War's Heroes, who laid down their life for the country, July 26 is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas in their memory. From Kargil–Dras sector in North India to Delhi and Assam, a host of events and functions are organised all over the country to commemorate the contributions of the armed forces.
After the signing of peaceful Lahore Declaration in February 1999, promising to provide a peaceful and bilateral solution to the Kashmir Conflict, some elements of the Pakistani Armed Forces infiltrated into the Indian side of the line of control (LOC). The infiltration, named as ‘Operation Badr’, aimed at severing the link between Kashmir and Ladakh and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier.
However, the Government of India responded with Operation Vijay, with the war coming to an official end on July 26, 1999, thus marking it as Kargil Vijay Diwas. A total of 527 Indian soldiers bravely lost their lives during the war.
Numerous events have been planned to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas across the country on Friday.
President Ram Nath Kovind will join the Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations in Drass town of the Kargil district.
According to official sources, the President, supreme commander of the armed forces, will arrive in Drass town to attend the 20th anniversary of the Kargil victory.
State's Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh will receive the President on his arrival.
A 'Victory Flame' lit by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on July 14 at the National War Memorial in Delhi will be received by the Army Chief in Drass on Friday.
It will be merged with the eternal flame at the Kargil War Memorial.
Along with Defence Minister, the three Service Vice Chiefs will pay homage to Kargil martyrs at National War Memorial in the national capital on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas.
The central theme of this year's celebrations is 'Remember, Rejoice and Renew'.
Meanwhile, PM Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will launch 'Tree Plantation' programme near Parliament Library Building in New Delhi.
The day - July 26 - reminds the nation of extreme valour, sacrifice and exemplary courage of Indian soldiers against an adversary which had the advantage of being pitched at an elevated position on the mountain peaks.