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Operation Vijay: A tale of valor and bravery

Wednesday,27 July 2022 12:12 AM IST

Anupama nair

July 26 is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Divas. I am going to talk about a war I remember well. All the others occurred before I was born or just a year-old baby.  The war took place between May and July of 1999 in the Kargil district of  Jammu and Kashmir. The conflict is believed to have been planned by the then Pakistan army chief General Pervez Musharraf without the knowledge of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory. The infiltrators positioned themselves in key locations that gave them a strategic advantage during the start of the conflict.

The main cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani troops disguised as Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC), which served as the de facto border between the two countries in Kashmir. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LoC. After much international diplomatic opposition, Pakistani forces were forced to withdraw from the remaining Indian positions along the LoC.

The Kargil War is one of the most recent examples of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, and as such, caused significant logistical problems for the two sides. It is also the sole instance of direct, conventional warfare between two countries possessing nuclear weapons. India had successfully conducted its nuclear tests in 1974,  while Pakistan conducted its tests in 1998.

India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to save the Kargil sector from infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of LoC. Kargil was the first war between India and Pakistan after the 1971 War that led to Bangladesh's formation. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India at the time of the War. The war took place despite the two nations signing the Shimla Agreement that stated that no armed conflict shall take place on the said boundary. However, as we have witnessed in past Pakistan can never be trusted. For the first time we in India witnessed our brave soldiers through television in Kargil fighting Pakistan, ‘Operation Vijay’ was termed successful when India won a decisive victory. While PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared the operation successful on July 14,  the operation was officially declared closed on July 26, 1999. Safed Sagar, the operation of the Indian Air Force, was a major part of the Kargil War. It used air power at the height of 32,000 feet for the first time. From identifying the Pakistani troops and Mujahideens, all the actions were performed well by the pilots and engineers despite just one week of training. India lost more than 500 soldiers on the Kargil territory while reports from Pakistan claimed that more than 3000 of their soldiers, mujahideens and infiltrates died.

The Kargil War memorial, located in Dras was built by the Indian Army, in the foothills of Tololing Hill. The memorial, which is located around 5 km from the city center across Tiger Hill, commemorates the martyrs of the Kargil War. A poem “Pushp Kii Abhilasha”  written by Makhanlal Chaturvedi, inscribed on the gateway of the memorial greets the visitors of this great place. The names of the soldiers who lost their lives in the War are inscribed on the Memorial Wall and can be read by visitors. A museum attached to the Kargil War Memorial, established to celebrate the victory of ‘Operation Vijay’, has pictures of Indian soldiers, archives of important war documents and recordings, Pakistani war equipment and gear, and official emblems of the Army from the Kargil War.

Indian army is one of the bravest army in the world, after all it is our Jai Hind ki sena!

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