Every year we celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas On 26th July. Here we bring you the entire story of the Kargil War in 1999, where the brave hearts of our nation gave a befitting reply to the enemies of our nation who tried to infiltrate into our nation and kept the tricolour high.
1999 War of Kargil At L.O.C
The War started in May 1999 and lasted till July 26th 1999, at the Line of Control of Kargil District. Indian Army named this operation as “Operation Vijay” and Indian Air Force named it as “Operation Safed Sagar“.
Background before the War
The Northern Areas of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir is divided by a L.O.C(Line Of Control) an official demarcation line which came into action after the first Indo Pak War of 1947-1948.
Events Leading to Kargil War
During the late 1980s and 1990s with the increase in the separatist movement in Kashmir which was believed to be funded and supported by Pakistan, Siachen Glacier skirmishes in the 80s and the also the nuclear tests done by both the nation increased tensions between both the countries.
In order to counter these tensions In February 1999, former Prime Minister Atal Vihari Vajpayee on his official visit to Pakistan signed a Lahore declaration with former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.
Main Understanding After the Lahore Declaration
In 1998 both the countries did Nuclear tests and were Nuclear capable nation. So some understanding was made between both the nations:-
-Avoiding the use of Nuclear weapons and its accidental use and avoiding the arms race.
-Resolving the Kashmir Issue internally without any presence of Third Party peacefully with bilateral talks.
-More confidence-building measures(CBM) so that the relation between both the 2 nations improve.
-Indo Pak bus service between Delhi and Lahore.
-There are many high altitudes posts of both of Indian army as well as of Pakistan army along the LOC which are generally occupied by them during spring and summer(April-October) and they retreat back to a lower altitude Posts during the winters.
Between February and May of 1999, the Indian posts on higher altitudes along the LOC in Kargil were occupied by the Pak Army way before the summer when these posts get occupied by their respective Army’s on their side along the LOC.
Pakistan army disguised themselves in the forms of tribal fighters and Mujaheedin, Kashmiri Militants which was initially not accepted by Pak officials and former PM Nawaz Sharif but later admitted in the further press conferences done.
Initially, the local shepherds in the region spotted these activities at these Posts and informed the Indian Army about this.
After these high altitudes post were occupied along the LOC in Kargil region by the Pak Army, a big threat was there on the National Highway NH1D which links Srinagar to Leh and runs parallel very near to LOC and which could be easily targeted through these high posts and the highway would have been blocked and the supply to Siachen Glacier would have been closed as all its logistics supplies come from Leh, so the security for this link was a major concern.
The main aim of Pakistan in this war was to block the National Highway 1D in the Kargil region so that connectivity to Siachen would have been obstructed and India would have to come to a forced negotiations Pakistan for the settlement of Kashmir Issue.
However, this didn’t go as per the plan made by Pak, Indian Army and Indian Air Force launched their respective operation(Vijay and Safed Sagar) around May 26 1999, on the Pakistani Posts.
The Kargil war was fought by our soldiers in such extreme conditions where the temperature dropped to -10 to -15 degree Celcius in summer also
Most of the attacks were to be carried out in the night because in the military terms “where you are fighting from lower altitude with an enemy a higher altitude you are having a strategical disadvantage” so the attacks need to be carried in the night only otherwise, the soldiers would have come in the sight of the enemy during the day.
For a better understanding of Mountain Warfare please watch the climax of “Lakshya” movie.
Indian Air Force carried out several attacks during the night at the Pak posts and 2 IAF jets Mig-21 and Mig-27 were shot down on 27th May and the next day a Mi-17 helicopter was shot down after that Indian Army launches a major operation on Kargil on June 6.
On 9th June Indian Army recaptures 2 strategic points in Batalik followed by Tololing on June 13th and after 11 hours of a fierce battle on July 4th, Tiger Hill was captured.
Recapturing Tiger Hill was so important because the Army installations in the Kargil sector was directly in Line of Sight from the hill and would have been an easy target if artillery attacks would have been started.
Initially, Pakistan refused any involvement of their Army in Kargil war but later on, former PM Nawaz Sharif accepted the involvement of their army and it was believed General Parvez Musharraf was the mastermind behind this war and he even stated that he didn’t have any clue about this attack.
During the war Nawaz Sharif went on US visit for their aid in the war, however former US President Bill Clinton declined any help and pressurized and ordered Nawaz Sharif to withdraw their forces from Kargil. Later on, 4th July Pak PM ordered to pull out their forces from LOC and from India side.
26th July is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas as the final fighting was over the same day with around 527 deaths of Indian Soldiers and around 737-1200 deaths of Pak Soldiers.
One Indian Air Force Pilot K Nachiketa became a wartime prisoner, he remained in Pakistan custody for 8 Days when his MiG 27 aircraft were shot down by Pak Jet.
Nachiketa took part in Air Strike in the Batalik sector where is Aircraft was shot down after that he ejected from his aircraft and remain in Pak custody. On 3 June 1999, he was repatriated to India. Later on, he was awarded Vayu Sena medal, Operation Vijay Star medal.
For their utmost Gallantry 4 soldiers of India Army were Awarded Param Vir chakra
–Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav
–Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey
–Captain Vikram Batra
–Rifleman Sanjay Kumar
and 11 other Bravehearts were given Mahavir Chakra
-Captain Anuj Nayyar
-Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari
–Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri
-Naik Digendra Kumar
–Lieutenant Balwan Singh
— Naik Imliakum Ao
–Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum
–Captain Neikezhakuo Kenguruse
—Major Padmapani Acharya
—Major Sonam Wangchuk
—Major Vivek Gupta
Pepsi slogan “Yeh Dil Mange More” was initially raised by Vikram Batra during the Kargil war.
–Israel also played a major role in the Kargil war and helped India with ordinance, UAVs and armaments after that Indo-Israel diplomatic relations went on much stronger.
-Bofors FH-77B Howitzers played a major role in this war and efficiently worked on such high altitudes.
-However, according to some sources that the US denied providing GPS coordinates, later on, India indigenously built their own Independent Regional Navigational Satellite system which got fully functional in 2016 also known as “Navic“.
After this blame game started in Pakistan and called Kargil war was a huge blunder. General Parvez Musharraf became the President of Pakistan after he staged a Coup d’etat against Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan even declined the bodies of their Pak Soldiers who died in the Kargil war without military honours later in 2010 only they were given full military honours.
Why the 1999 Kargil War was so significant:-
-This was the first direct conflict between 2 nuclear-capable nations, as we know both have done their nuclear tests in 1998 and other nuclear-capable countries were expecting that both the countries might use their nuclear warheads.
-Before the war of Kargil, India went on war with Pakistan in 3 different frontiers, North, East, West with the indulgence of Army, Air Force and Navy but this war only limited to a small area only with Indian Army and Indian Air force only involved in this one.
-This war took place at a very high altitude of 4500-5000 mtr where the delivery of logistics and armaments couldn’t easily be transported with very low temperature, even the air at such height was so thin that the jets and helicopters couldn’t be efficiently used at such heights.
-This was the 1st time where many countries of the middle east, US, G8 nations, Israel, ASEAN, EU saw Pakistan as the aggressor and criticised Pak for violating the LOC and all of them supported India on the global front. Even the long -term ally China didn’t support Pakistan in this war.
-Kargil War was the first to be broadcasted on Tv.
Kargil War Memorial
Kargil war memorial was built by Indian army in the Dras sector in the foothills of Tololing hill to commemorate the 527 Indian Soldiers who lost their lives in the Kargil War of 1999 fighting valiantly against the enemies.
All the names of soldiers who lost their lives in the war are inscribed which can be read by the visitors.
A giant National Flag weighing 15 Kg has been hoisted and a museum has been established where the pictures of Indian soldiers and archives of war documents have been displayed to celebrate the “Operation Vijay”.
Ways to reach
Nearest Airport is:-Srinagar(160 km) and Leh (270)
Nearest Railway Station:-Katra (370 km away)
Kargil Vijay Diwas will always remind us about the bravery, fierceness and valiant operations of all the 527 Indian soldiers who lost their lives and others who got injured in the 1999 Kargil War at the highest frontier of India.
Also, read about the Malabar Rebellion of 1921.
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