New Delhi, Jul 26 (PTI) President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday led the nation in paying tributes to the armed forces personnel who fought valiantly in extremely harsh conditions to defend the country's territory during the Kargil conflict.
On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army announced the successful culmination of "Operation Vijay", declaring victory after a nearly three-month-long battle on the icy heights of Kargil in Ladakh.
The day is observed as 'Kargil Vijay Diwas' to commemorate India's victory over Pakistan in the war.
"Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of extraordinary bravery, valour and determination of our armed forces. I bow to all the brave soldiers who laid down their lives to protect Mother India. The country will always be indebted to them and their family members. Jai Hind," Murmu said in a tweet in Hindi.
The President is the supreme commander of the armed forces.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of pride and glory for the country.
"Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of pride and glory of 'Maa Bharati'. On this occasion, I salute all the brave sons of the country who achieved the height of valour in the defence of the motherland. Jai Hind," he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to the fallen heroes and said their acts of valour and indomitable spirit will forever remain etched as a defining moment in India's history.
"On Kargil Vijay Diwas, India salutes the bravery, courage and sacrifice of our armed forces. They fought valiantly in extremely harsh conditions to defend our motherland. Their act of valour & indomitable spirit will remain etched forever as a defining moment in India's history," he tweeted.
Pakistan tried to redraw the boundary with India in 1999 through the Kargil misadventure but the Indian security forces foiled the evil design.
To mark the day, Singh, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in the memory of the fallen heroes.
Various events were organised across the country, including at the Kargil War Memorial in Dras, to mark the occasion.
"During the Kargil conflict, the gallant soldiers of the Indian Army, with the help of the Indian Air Force, overcame insurmountable odds, hostile terrain and inclement weather to win against the enemy that had occupied dominating heights," the defence ministry said.
The Army said Kargil Vijay Diwas is a reminiscence of the "undaunted bravery and courage" of the "bravehearts" who inscribed a golden chapter in history with their blood and sacrifice.
"They gave a befitting reply to enemy's misadventure and a resounding victory to India," it said.
Over 500 soldiers laid down their lives in the conflict.