Remembering unforgettable Kargil War, 18 years on
On this day, 26 July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. Two nuclear-armed nations fought over a key post in a disputed region for almost two months, which resulted in loss of life from both the sides.
Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed not just in the Kargil-Dras sector but also in New Delhi where the Prime Minister of India pays homage to the war heroes at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
What led to war
During the first week of May 1999, India received reports of infiltrators from across the border coming into Kargil occupying it. The security forces initially thought they were Mujahideen, but they soon realized that it was the Pakistani army that had occupied some of the posts. In reaction to the infiltration, India launched Operation Vijay to drive the Pakistani troops out of Kargil.
How did India win the war
India positioned five infantry divisions, five independent brigades and 44 battalions of paramilitary troops in Kashmir. It also deployed as many as 60 frontline aircraft. The Indian Navy launched Operation Talwar to blockade the Karachi port.
Kargil Vijay Diwas
Kargil Vijay Diwas, named after the success of Operation Vijay. On July 14, India and Pakistan ceased firing and the Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared 'Operation Vijay' a success.
On July 26, the Indian Army announced it had thrown out all Pakistani intruders from the Indian side of LOC.
The victory came at a high price. The official death toll on the Indian side was 527, while that on the Pakistani side was between 357 and 453.
Built by the Indian army, the Kargil War memorial wall in Dras has inscriptions of all the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the war. The Memorial also has a museum with documents, recordings and pictures of the Indian soldiers at Kargil.
OneIndia News (Photo credit: PTI)