India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26 to mark the anniversary of the Indian Army's victory against Pakistan on this day in 1999, after a long-drawn armed conflict in Kargil in Ladakh. The victory was a part of 'Operation Vijay' where the Indian Army embarked on recapturing territories occupied by the Pakistani Army. Since then this day India comes together to pay tribute to the war heroes who fought to keep the country safe. On the 22nd anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas let us remember a few of those names that are etched in history.
Capturing Important Peaks
Captain Vikram Batra, born to a family of teachers, joined IMA in the Manekshaw Battalion in June 1996. After graduating in December 1997, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant into the 13th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles. Captain Batra had once said, "Either I will come back after hoisting the tricolor (Indian flag), or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure." True to his words, on being posted in Drass, Jammu, and Kashmir on June 5, 1999, he recaptured Peak 5140. After this, he went on to recapture Peak 4875 which was one of the most difficult missions. One of the men was shot in the battle and in order to save him, Captain Batra took the lead. However, he was martyred while clearing enemy positions.
Given his valor and courage on the battlefield, he is rightly known as the Hero of the Kargil War. Posthumously, he was awarded Param Vir Chakra, India's highest and most prestigious award for his martyrdom.
The Crucial Tiger Hill
Lieutenant Balwan Singh along with his Ghatak Platoon on 3 July 1999 was tasked to assault the Tiger Hill Top from the North-Eastern direction as part of a multi-pronged attack. Although he spent very little time in service before the war, he led his team and moved for over 12 hours along the precarious route under intense artillery shelling to reach the spot. The use of cliff assault mountaineering equipment to reach the top was a surprise for the enemy troops and they engaged in a desperate firefight to stop the team from reaching the spot. Lt. Singh was seriously injured but continued the fight and killed four enemy soldiers. His leadership and bravery were very crucial in capturing Tiger Hill, thus he was awarded Maha Vir Chakra.
An Army Man's Instant Decision
Major Vivek Gupta was part of 2 Rajputana Rifles on 13 June 1999 and was leading Charlie Company, when his Battalion launched an attack on Tololing Top in the Drass Sector. When men from his company were hit under a multi-directional intense fire he used his presence of mind and immediately fired a Rocket Launcher at the enemy position. Without giving the enemy a chance to retaliate, he charged onto the enemy position. This led to him being hit with two bullets but continued the fight despite it. After reaching the position, he kept engaging the enemy in hand-to-hand combat and managed to kill three enemy soldiers. However, he came under a direct hit of the enemy bullet and finally succumbed to his injuries. His company took inspiration from him and ousted the enemy and captured Tololing Top. Major Gupta's leadership and resilience earned him the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously.
The stories of courage are unlimited. One of the toughest wars that go down in Indian history recorded the courage and valor of many but in the words of Yogendra Singh Yadav another war hero "A soldier is like a selfless lover. With this unconditional love, comes determination. And for this love for his nation, his regiment, and his fellow soldiers, a soldier doesn't think twice before risking his life."