India celebrates the 21st anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas today. On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army launched 'Operation Vijay' to flush out the Pakistani infiltrator and recapture the Indian territory in the Kargil-Drass sector.
Operation Vijay ended the 3-month war along the Line of Control, India suffered a heavy loss as over 500 soldiers. Every year on July 26, the nation remembers the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives to uphold and safeguard our nation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation through his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat said the nation will remember this day forever.
"On this day, we defeated Pakistan, we will never be able to forget this day. The war happened at a time and in a situation that nobody can forget. India wanted good relations with Pakistan, but that did not happen," he added.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to the Kargil heroes at the National War Memorial. "I congratulate all Indian citizens on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas. The sacrifices made by soldiers, which helped us win the Kargil war, will always be a source of inspiration for the armed forces," Singh told reporters.
Along with Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General M M Naravane, Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh also paid tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the National War Memorial.
After the infiltration of Pakistan Army backed infiltrators as Kashmiri militants into Kargil district of J&K and along the LOC (Line of Control), the Kargil War began and continued for 60 long days (May-July).
The war was fought in harsh conditions under -10 degrees temperature and at an altitude of 4500-5000 metres. Non-motorable roads, inadequate artillery and lack of surveillance posed severe challenges for the Indian Army.
The Indian Army declared victory, successfully capturing peaks like Tiger Hill and Tololing, and hoisted the tricolour atop the high-altitude Kargil.
However, the country lost 527 brave soldiers, and more than 1,563 men were injured fighting at the forefront. Brave hearts like Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, Captain Vikram Batra, Yogender Singh Yadav and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar were awarded Param Veer Chakra for the triumph.
In remembrance, a Kargil War memorial was built by the Indian Army in Dras, in the foothills of the Tololing Hill, located about 5 km from the city centre across the Tiger Hill.
Armed forces, country leaders and netizens paid tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives for the country in 1999.
The Indian Air Force tweeted on the unbeatable courage of the war heroes of Kargil.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah saluted the patriotism and valour of Indian soldiers of the war.
Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh, along with other leaders paid homage to the martyrs who led the nation to victory.
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