July 26th was the date on which 19 years ago, the Indian Army succeeded in recapturing all the Indian posts during the Kargil War that the Pakistani Army has occupied. Ever since then, Indians annually observe July 26th as the day to commemorate all the sacrifices that the soldiers made in the Kargil War. Here is everything that you need to know about this war!
- The Kargil war took place between the months of May 1999 and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The conflict was orchestrated by General Pervez Musharraf, who was then the Army Chief of Pakistan without informing the Prime Minister of Pakistan during that time, Nawaz Sharif.
- The war began when the Pakistani terrorists, as well as troops, infiltrated the Indian territory.
- The Pakistani infiltrators also positioned themselves in strategic locations. This gave them an added advantage before the conflict began.
- According to the information that the Indian Army received from the local shepherds, they were able to gauge the points of incursion. They then launched “Operation Vijay.”
The mission was declared successful by the Indian Army on 26th July 1999. Ever since that day, 26th July is observed and annually celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
However, the victory in the Kargil war came at a very high price. According to the official toll, there were 527 deaths in the Indian Army,and the Pakistani Army lost somewhere between 357 and 453 soldiers.
- Due to the fact that the Pakistani terrorists and soldiers positioned themselves at Kargil at higher altitudes, they were at an advantage during combat. This is because the soldiers easily fire down at the Indian troops who were steadily advancing their positions.
- Pakistan also shot down at least two Indian fighter jets,and another fighter jet apparently crashed while the operation was still ongoing.
- Pakistan also requested the intervention of the United States of America. However, Bill Clinton, who was the President at that time, declined the request to participate until such time as the Pakistani troops completely withdrew from the Line of Control (LOC).
- Just as the Pakistani soldiers withdrew, the Indian troops and armed forces took advantage of the retreat and attacked the remaining outposts. Thereafter, they managed to recover the last of the outposts by July 26th, 1999.
After the War
- Initially, Pakistan denied having any role in this conflict and said that the war was all about India facing off with the Kashmiri freedom fighters. That said, at a later stage, Pakistan awarded all its soldiers medals for their participation in the conflict, which eliminated any doubt of the country’s involvement in the Kargil War.
- India also increased its defense expenditure after the Kargil war.
The Kargil War is still remembered today as much for the bravery of the Indian soldiers who showed immense strength in the face of adversity as for the colossal massacre that was caused due to the war itself. The following soldiers won gallantry awards posthumously for their bravery:
- Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav was awarded the Param Vir Chakra
- Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra
- Lt. Manoj Kumar Pandey was awarded the Param Vir Chakra
- Rifleman Sanjay Kumar was awardedthe Param Vir Chakra
- Captain Anuj Nayyar was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra
- Captain Haneef-u-ddinwas awarded the Vir Chakra
- Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra
- Major Mariappan Saravanan was awarded the Vir Chakra
- Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja from the Indian Air Force was awarded the Vir Chakra
- Hawaldar Chunilal was awarded the Sena Medal for his gallantry while he lived and the Ashok Chakra as a Naib Subedar posthumously
The Kargil war definitely left behind countless casualties as a result of a conflict between India and Pakistan. The Pakistani Army took advantage when the Indian Army was not particularly vigilant and disguised themselves as Kashmiri militants to infiltrate the Indian side of the Line of Control.
This LOC served as the de facto border between the two countries and hence, disguised as Kashmiri militants, Pakistan totally left the blame on the independent Kashmiri insurgents of the time. Nevertheless, the KargilWar is still remembered,and the loss of the martyred soldiers is still felt greatly.