New Delhi, Jul 26: The nation remembers the Kargil heroes killed in the summer of 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistani raiders in an attempt which was met with heroic acts and a decisive military victory.
Defence Minister AK Antony and the three service chiefs - General VK Singh of the Army, Admiral Nirmal Verma of the Navy and Air Chief Marshal PV Naik of the Air Force - paid homage to the 'Kargil martyrs' at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on the day of Kargil Vijay Diwas.
The dignitaries and the deceased members of the family offered wreaths at the war memorial in the capital. Kargil war which went on for two months had killed more than 500 Indian soldiers. For the past 11 years the day has been marked with emotional atmosphere with the parents and siblings of loved ones who died fighting Pakistani raiders in the high altitude of Kashmir.
The opposition party (BJP) marked the day by taking out processions, candle-light vigils and paying tributes to the martyrs as part of its strategy to respect the defence and paramilitary personnel
The war took place as Pakistan-backed Islamist insurgents,regular soldiers sneaking into Jammu and Kashmir and quietly took control of the hills until they were first detected by nomads. With the discovery of the Indian Army it led to full-fledged war between India and Pakistan armies.
The battle for Drass was immortalized by the death of Captain Vikram Batra of 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles who helped capture two peaks and then died fighting for the control of Point 4875.
He came under attack while trying to rescue an injured officer. His final words, according to his colleagues, were "Jai Mata Di"!
The intruders came close as 300 metres to a key national highway which connected Srinagar with Leh and the border town of Kargil.It was Drass town which had a huge damaged in the war.
This intrusion took place when India was celebrating then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's successful Lahore peacemaking visit.
Kargil gave the country many young and fearless champions. Names like Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Vikram Batra and Lieutenant Manoj Pandey became household heroes.