Drass (Ladakh), July 26: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday saluted the brave sons of the soil, who put the nation first and did not hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice in the Kargil conflict with Pakistan in 1999.
Addressing a sombre commemoration event after laying a wreath at the Kargil War Memorial in the memory of the fallen bravehearts in the icy heights of Kargil, on Wednesday, Singh said, "I salute the brave sons of our soil, who sacrificed their all in the service and protection of their motherland. I salute our jawans, who put the nation first and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to defend our motherland." "I draw a lot strength and feel empowered whenever I find myself standing among our jawans. As I was paying tribute to the fallen jawans, I couldn't help recollect the misadventure from across the border. I will never forget this day," the Defence Minister said.
"The blood that our brave jawans have spilt on the frontlines have helped make India what it is today," Singh added.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, the Raksha Mantri met with the family members of the soldiers, who made the ultimate sactifice in the 1999 Kargil conflict.
He also handed them mementos and shawls as a mark of respect to the fallen Kargil heroes.
Later, he paid a visit to the 'Hut of Remembrance' museum in Drass, which holds memorabilia testifying to the valour and sacrifice of the Indian Army in the Kargil conflict.
Earlier, on Wednesday, Singh on Wednesday arrived in Drass in the Kargil district of Ladakh for the 24th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.
The day is marked every year to pay homage to the fallen soldiers in the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan.
The Raksha Mantri laid a wreath at the Kargil War Memorial here in memory of the fallen bravehearts in the icy heights of Kargil. He was the chief guest at the sombre commemoration event.
Army Chief General Manoj Pande, too, paid floral tributes to the fallen jawans at the Kargil War Memorial while Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar also laid a wreath in memory of the bravehearts.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Anil Chauhan, also laid a wreath at the Kargil War Memorial in tribute to the fallen soldiers in the Kargil conflict.
In the conflict, which lasted over two months, the Army managed to push back the Pakistani intruders, who had been occupying certain vantage points in Kargil, raising the Tricolour on the territory wrested from the enemy.
The conflict played out in the frontlines in the Dras, Kargil and Batalik sectors of Kargil district.