“I am a Soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.” That is the motto of Indian soldiers who fight for our country, India. They don’t even think twice while putting their lives at risk to save the country’s pride, honor, and future. In order to honor our ‘Bharat Ke Veer Jawan’, we celebrate the Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26th July, every year. This blog is a token of a small tribute to all the Indian soldiers who fight day and night just to safeguard our country and its citizens. Let’s know more about the Kargil war on the occasion of 22 years of Kargil Vijay Diwas!
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What is Kargil Vijay Diwas?
Kargil Vijay Diwas is commemorated on July 26 in honor of the troops who gave their lives in the Kargil conflict. The war lasted from May 3 to July 26, 1999, after Pakistani soldiers were discovered at the top of the Kargil highlands. This day marks the success of “Operation Vijay,” which was started in 1999 to reclaim Indian territory taken by Pakistani invaders in the Kargil-Drass region. The Kargil war happened for more than 60 days and ended on 26 July 1999, thus making it the Kargil Vijay Diwas.
The Cause of Kargil War
The infiltration of Pakistani forces dressed as Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LoC, which acts as the de facto boundary between the two nations in Kashmir, was the cause of the conflict. Initially, Pakistan attributed the battle to independent Kashmiri militants, however, documents left behind by victims and subsequent admissions by Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff revealed the involvement of Pakistani paramilitary troops led by General Ashraf Rashid. The Indian Army, subsequently aided by the Indian Air Force, reclaimed the bulk of locations on the Indian side of the LoC.
What Happened in the Kargil War?
After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, there were relatively few direct armed conflicts involving the military forces of the two neighbours. Dring the 1990s, there were escalating tensions and conflict due to separatist activities in Kashmir. Also, the conducting of nuclear tests by both countries in 1998 had led to a questionable relation and tensions between the two.
To make the situation better, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999, which promised to provide a peaceful solution to the conflict in Kashmir. During 1998–1999, Pakistani Armed Forces were training and sending Pakistani troops into the territory on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LOC). They aimed to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier. This would force India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute.
Initially, with little knowledge of the infiltration, the Indian troops assumed that the infiltrators were jihadis and declared that they would evict them within a few days. Later on when they got to know about the infiltrators in different areas, the Indian army realized that the plan of attack was on a much bigger scale. The total area seized by the ingress is generally accepted to between 130 km² – 200 km².
The Government of India came up with Operation Vijay, with 200,000 Indian troops. The war came to an end on July 26, 1999, which is since then celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas. But, the victory came at a great cost. The official Indian death toll was 527, while the Pakistani death toll was between 357 and 453.
Kargil Vijay Diwas: The Kargil War Memorial
The Kargil War memorial was built by the Indian Army in November 2014. It is located in Dras, in the foothills of the Tololing Hill. The memorial commemorates the martyrs of the Kargil War. A poem called ‘Pushp Ki Abhilasha’, which means ‘Wish of a Flower’ by Makhanlal Chaturvedi has been inscribed on the gateway. The names of the soldiers who lost their lives in the War are inscribed on the Memorial Wall. A museum attached to the Kargil War Memorial has been established to celebrate the victory of Operation Vijay. This museum has pictures of houses and family members of Indian soldiers along with archives of important war documents and recordings, war equipment and gear, and official emblems of the Army from the Kargil war.
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On Kargil Vijay Diwas, we commemorate the bravery and commitment of our armed forces in protecting our country. Their bravery continues to inspire future generations. This is all you need to know about the Kargil Vijay Diwas. For more educational and informative content like this, stay tuned with Leverage Edu.