Kargil Vijay Diwas: Why it is so special!

Well Kargil war was fought between India and its Arch enemy Pakistan during May-July 1999. Captain Vikram Batra, Captain Saurabh Kalia, Lt. Manoj Kumar pandey, Captain Haneef-u-ddin …. do these names ring  bells into your ears? Recently Pervez Musharraf said that it would be hard for India to forget those time when Pakistani troops ‘grabbed India by the throat’. What a joke! Hah! An ideal example of an insensitive and cruel a person could be who is still justifying the causes in some way even when he is responsible for thousands of men under his command to be buried deep down the icy layers of Siachen who did not even receive a proper burial. The bloodshed just after the peace visit by our then Prime minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee resulted in lot of criticism of Pakistan among international communities. Even Pakistan friends and Allies like US and China criticised its action openly and an immense pressure of UN countries resulted in exclusion of Pakistan along with the dilution of its Kashmir Stand.

But do you know It costs us too bloody much too. Not only we lost some highly trained and disciplined million dollar soldiers who were just an asset to our country but also many hopes,dreams,beliefs and ambitions were also lost in that war. That war left us mourning over how all those brave men would have made India a better place to live if they had been among us and not turned into all those marble statues and monuments. And that is why my friend we need to celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas every year again and again to remind us of all those men who lost their lives to secure ours. Here comes few facts which need to be known by all without fail!

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Troops of 13 JAK Rifles after their capture of Point 4875(Tiger Hill). The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Y K Joshi can be seen in the foreground

The war broke out after the Indian side received the mutilated bodies of captain Saurabh Kalia and other soldiers who have been on the patrolling duty in the area.Though there were reports of Pakistani intrusion earlier but Indian command related it to those regular cross border intrusions. And how big mistake that proved to be!

The Indian  and Pakistani Commander in chiefs during war were General Ved Prakash Malik and Pervez Musharraf.

‘Operation Vijay‘ was executed to clear up the area from insurgents and infiltrators with mobilisation of 200,000 Indian troops.  In effect, two division of the Indian Army,numbering 20,000, plus several thousand from the Paramilitary forces of India and the air force were deployed in the conflict zone. The total number of Indian soldiers that were involved in the military operations on the Kargil-Drass sector was thus close to 30,000 The number of infiltrators, including those providing logistical backup, has been put at approximately 5,000 at the height of the conflict.

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the 12th anniversary of Army’s victory in 1999 Kargil war at the Drass War Memorial

The Indian Navy also prepared to blockade the  Pakistani Port to cut off supply routes under Operation Talwar. The Indian Navy’s western and eastern fleets joined in the North Arabian Sea and began aggressive patrols and threatened to cut Pakistan’s sea trade. Later, then PM of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif disclosed that Pakistan was left with just six days of fuel to sustain itself if a full-scale war had broken out.

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Indian special forces during war

The Indian Army’s first priority was to recapture peaks that were in the immediate vicinity of NH 1D. This resulted in Indian troops first targeting the Tiger Hill and Tololing complex in Dras, which dominated the Srinagar-Leh route.This was soon followed by the Batalik-Turtok sub-sector which provided access to Siachen Glacier. Some of the peaks that were of vital strategic importance to the Pakistani defensive troops were Point 4590 and Point 5353.

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Indian Army men at peaks during the war

The Battle of Tololing among other assaults, slowly tilted the combat in India’s favour. The Pakistani troops at Tololing were aided by Pakistani fighters from Kashmir. Some of the posts put up a stiff resistance, including Tiger Hill (Point 5140) that fell only later in the war. Indian troops found well-entrenched Pakistani soldiers at Tiger Hill, and both sides suffered heavy casualties. Ultimately resulting in Indian Side win!

As the operation was fully underway, about 250 artillery guns were brought in to clear the infiltrators in the posts that were in the line of sight. The  Bofors FH 77B field howitzer played a vital role, with Indian gunners making maximum use of the terrain that assisted such an attack.

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On May 24, 1999, the Indian Air Force joined the war. However it was told not to cross the LOC at any cost.It launched Operation Safed Sagar in support of the mobilisation of Indian land forces.

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Oh the bravehearts! what you have given to the country!

On 27 May 1999, Flt. Lt. Nachiketa developed engine trouble in the Batalik sector and bailed out of his craft. Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja went out of his way to locate his comrade but was shot down by a shoulder-fired Stinger missile. According to reports, he had bailed out of his stricken plane safely but was apparently killed by his captors as his body was returned riddled with bullet wounds.

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Following the outbreak of armed fighting, Pakistan sought American help in de-escalating the conflict. But President Clinton refused to intervene until Pakistan had removed all forces from the Indian side of the Line of Control.

14th of July saw both sides ceasing the fire and Indian Army’s ‘Operation Vijay’ a called a success. On July 26 Indian Army announced complete cleansing of the valley from the intruders. This 26th July we celebrate as ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’.

Based on military tactics much of the frontal assaults by the Indians could have been avoided if the Indian Military had chosen to blockade the supply route of the opposing force, virtually creating a siege. Such a move would have involved the Indian troops crossing the LoC as well as initiating aerial attacks on Pakistan soil, a manoeuvre India was not willing to exercise fearing an expansion of the war and reducing international support for its cause.

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one of the interesting tweets I got on vijay diwas

 

The war was unique in two aspects, firstly . It is one of the very few instances of direct, conventional warfare between nuclear states, So International communities were concerned that if the Kargil conflict intensified, it could lead to nuclear war. Secondly  The conflict became the first “live” war in South Asia as it was given such detailed media coverage.The conflict soon turned into a news propaganda war, in which press briefings given by government officials of each nation produced conflicting claims and counterclaims.

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Oh! It hurts, Salutes to the bravehearts!

Here are some more links on army

Sandesh2Soldiers this diwali: A tribute to Indian Army

URI Attacks in Jammu and Kashmir

India’s Invisible Army : Marcos!

Is celebrating Vijay Diwas alone is enough for our veterans?

 

 

 

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