New Delhi, July 26: Kargil Vijay Diwas marks the valour of our Army. It was on this day, 19 years back, that India defeated Pakistan in the Kargil war. India lost over 500 soldiers in the war that went on for three months.
Incidentally this was the first war to be broadcast live as our brave soldiers fought on the icy peaks and treacherous slopes of Kargil. The Pakistani intruders had perched themselves comfortably on top. It needed a gritty operation known as Operation Vijay to take down the intruders and recapture, Tiger Hill.
The war was fought between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir. It was in fact the local shepherds who first reported the intrusions by the Pakistanis on May 3. The Kargil Brigade told the commanding officers, ' some rats have come in, throw them out.'
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The Indian government had hoped that it would be able to evict the intruders in 48 hours, but the operation went on for three months. The operation was hard because the intruders had the advantage of height and they were able to shoot with precision. It was a bit later on that the Army realised that these persons they were fighting were not intruders, but the Pakistani army who had set up bunkers.
Kargil conflict explained:
- Kargil war was fought in 1999 between India and Pakistan in Kargil, Ladkah, intially Baltistan district, separated by the LOC after the first Kashmir war.
- This was the first war after the war in 1971, which led to the formation of Bangladesh.
- Atal Bihar Vajpayee was the Prime Minister at that time.
- Operation Vijay was launched to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri terrorists on the Indian side of the LoC The war was fought in May-July 1999 in Kargil and also along the LoC. Safed Sagar, the IAF's operation was a major one.
- Air power at the height of 32,000 feet was used for the first time to identify Pakistan troops and infiltrators.
- Operation Vijay was declared successful on July 26, 19 years back.
- Vajpayee declared the operation as successful on July 14, but it was officially declared closed on July 26 1999.
- India lost more than 500 of its men. Pakistan on the other hand lose 3,000 of their men including terrorists.
- The Kargil war was a rare instance of a war being fought by two nuclear states.
- Kargil was the toughest war due to a high-altitude warfare. Such wars are considered most dangerous due to rough terrain and natural habitat.