Kargil was a military, political and diplomatic victory for India. It was on this day 18 years ago that the Indian Army recaptured all the Indian posts in Kargil that had been occupied by Pakistan’s army. Since then, July 26 has been observed annually to commemorate the sacrifices made by soldiers in this war.
As the nation remembers its brave heroes on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas, Postman News takes a look at how the war unfolded in 1999.
The Kargil war was fought in 1999 between India and Pakistan in Kargil, Ladakh which was initially Baltistan district, separated by the LOC after the first Kashmir war.
The conflict is believed to have been orchestrated by the then Pakistan army chief General Pervez Musharraf without the knowledge of the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory.
India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by the Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of the Line of Control.
Kargil was the first televised war viewed extensively by the country. Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government was in power at the time of this war.
Here is how the war unfolded:
1999: The war
May 4: Reports of infiltrators atop heights of Kargil. Strategic heights taken over by infiltrators, say reports.
May 5-15: Army patrol sent up to survey. Captain Saurabh Kalia goes missing. He is allegedly tortured and killed in captivity by Pakistani troops.
May 26: Indian Air Force launches air strikes. Flying from the Indian airfields of Srinagar, Avantipur and Adampur, ground attack aircraft MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Jaguars and the Mirage 2000 strike insurgent positions.
May 27: An IAF MiG-27 goes down. Pilot, who ejects and is taken a prisoner of war by Pakistan, is released after eight days.
May 31: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says it’s a “war-like situation” in Kargil
June 10: Pakistan returns mutilated bodies of six soldiers, India enraged. The six bodies were those of Lt. Saurav Kalia and his men who went to Kaksar area following reports of incursion by Pakistani infiltrators.
June 12: Deadlock at first crisis-time meeting between foreign ministers Jaswant Singh and Sartaj Aziz in Delhi. Aziz told intruders must leave
June 15: US President Bill Clinton urges the Pakistan PM to withdraw troops from Kargil
June 29: Army captures two important posts near Tiger Hill
July 4:Tiger Hill captured. Three battalions — 18 Grenadiers, 2 Naga, and 8 Sikh — assault the peak with support from artillery. Nawaz Sharif meets Clinton in Washington
July 5: Sharif announces pull-out of Pakistani troops from Kargil
July 11: Pakistan begins pull out
July 14: India declares operation Vijay a success
July 26: Kargil war comes to an end. India announces complete eviction of Pakistani troops
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.
* Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, Param Vir Chakra
* Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous
* Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous
* Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles, Param Vir Chakra
* Captain Anuj Nayyar, 17 JAT Regiment, Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous
* Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, 18 Grenadiers, Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous
* Captain Haneef-u-ddin, 11 Rajputana Rifles, Vir Chakra, posthumous
* Major Mariappan Saravanan, 1 Bihar, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
* Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Indian Air Force, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
* Hawaldar Chuni Lal, 8 JAK LI, Vir Chakra. Also awarded Sena Medal for gallantry and posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra as a Naib Subedar.
Reports from Pakistan claimed that more than 3000 of their soldiers, mujahideens and infiltrates died.
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.
Kargil is one of the most recent and infamous examples of high-altitude warfare i.e wars that are fought on mountainous terrain. Such wars are considered more dangerous due to the rough terrain and natural habitat.
It was one of the few instances when war was fought between two nuclear states. It was also the first war between the two countries widely covered in the media.
Tributes to All our brave soldiers who fought valiantly & sacrificed their lives to protect our borders on the day of Kargil Vijay Diwas.