BY SHAHID SHABIR HUSSAIN MAKHDOOMI
Decks were being cleared for Indian and Pakistani governments to move forward on the path of negotiations in order to resolve disputes. Militancy was at its peak in Kashmir, India and Pakistan had successfully tested their nukes and the scenario around was changing.
Indian Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpai boarded the bus for Lahore to meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif in order to deliberate upon the issues and resolve them peacefully.
In Lahore historic welcome was accorded to Shri Vajpai and Lahore Declaration was the outcome of the negotiations and deliberations that took place on the Pakistani soil between the two leaders.
This definitely sent a message across that India and Pakistan are going to have peace with each other but this was an illusion as Pakistani establishment was busy in hatching conspiracy against India and sending its troops along with other intruders to occupy the heights in Kargil and wage war against India.
The whole operation was masterminded by some of the top military officers of Pakistan in consultation with the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In the month of May it came to the fore that Pakistani regulars and intruders capturing the heights of Kargil are ready to strike any moment.
The Pakistani forces were at the advantage of having been positioned along the high altitude mountains posing significant challenges for the Indian army.
The main aim of this misadventure of Pakistan under the leadership of its the then Military Chief General Parvez Musharaf was to cut off the supply lines to Siachen and make an attempt to capture it besides helping the militants in Kashmir to intensify their actions.
Initially Pakistan did not accept the involvement of its regulars and other army units in Kargil war and attributed it to “Mujahideen”. After later while India released intercepts of conversations between top Pakistani military officials as a proof of Pakistan army’s involvement in the infiltration thus blocking all the escape routes for Pakistan army.
In order to thwart enemies invasion India launched operation Vijay. The war lasted for 60 days and on 26th July 1999 India successfully took command of the high outpost which had been occupied by Pakistan.
There was loss of lives from both the sides but the tragic part of the story is that Pakistan refused to take the bodies of its fighting soldiers back and committed war crimes by capturing and killing the Indian army personal and later on mutilating their bodies which was against the Geneva Convention and other rules of the war. Indian officers and Jawans valiantly fought Pakistan and the bofors proved its might dismantling the positions of Pakistan army on the highest mountain peaks.
Kargil war as described by some Generals and Politicians of Pakistan was a blunder and repetition of the mistakes that Pakistan had made in 1965. Pakistan army and the government had not anticipated the India’s response to this misadventure. They accept that Kargil war defamed Pakistan and lower down its image in the world because on one hand it was busy having negotiations with India on different issues and on the other hand it was carrying out mission of Kargil. Pakistan’s double standards with regard to the strategy and tactics of war discredited it labeling it as a nation not to be trusted by any means. Kargil war was a strategic and diplomatic victory for India. It helped India to strengthen its relations with America and leverage the benefits of better understanding with the west.
On 26th of July 1999 Pakistani troops were pushed back and completely driven away from Kargil heights, and Indian army announced the successfully culmination of “Operation Vijay”, declaring victory after a nearly 3-month-long battle on the icy heights of Kargil in Ladakh.
The day is observed as “Kargil Vijay Diwas” to commemorate the victory of Kargil.
During Kargil war, fought at high altitudes, officers and Jawans of India army showcased their gallantry and professional commitment as rightly said by the President of India Droupadi Murmu “Kargil Vijay Diwas” is a symbol of extraordinary valor of the armed forces and people will always be indebted to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives to protect mother India.
Nearly 490 Indian army officers, soldiers and Jawans made supreme sacrifice during the course of the battle.
Some of the Kargil heroes are:-
Captain Anuj Nayyar
Captain Anuj Nayyar was an Indian Army officer of the 17th Battalion, Jat Regiment, who laid down his life while battling at the Tiger Hill on 7th July 1999 during the Kargil War. He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his exemplary valor during combat operations.
Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nongr
Lieutenant Keishing Clifford Nongrum of the 12th Battalion, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, attained martyrdom on July 1st, 1999 while capturing Point 4812 during the Kargil War. He was honoured with Maha Vir Chakra for his chivalry in the combat operations.
Major Padmapani Acharya
Indian Army Major Padmapani Acharya of the 2nd Battalion, Rajputana Rifles, was killed by the enemy at Lone Hill on June 28, 1999, during the Kargil conflict. He was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his heroic act of bravery despite succumbing to injuries.
Major Rajesh SIngh Adhikari
Major Rajesh SIngh Adhikari was an Indian Army Officer who died in the Battle of Tololing on May 30, 1999 during the Kargil War. He was awarded the gallantry honour, Maha Vir Chakra for his bravery in warfare.
Colonel Sonam Wangchuk
Colonel Sonam Wangchuk is an Indian Army officer serving the Ladakh scouts regiment. In the 1999 Kargil War, then Major Wangchuk led an operation against Pakistani troops on Chorbat La Top, for which he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra.
Major Vivek Gupta
Major Vivek Gupta of the 2nd Battalion, Rajputana Rifles, died in the Kargil conflict on June 12, 1999, after capturing two important posts in the Drass sector. He was felicitated with Maha Vir Chakra for his heroism at the war front.
Naik Digendra Kumar
Naik Digendra Kumar served the 2nd Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles during the 1999, Kargil War before retiring in 31st July, 2005. He was awarded the Mahavir Chakra on 15th August 1999, for his heroism in the battlefield.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, 13 Jammu and Kashmir rifles was the leading Scout of the team entrusted with capturing Area Flat Top, which was being held by enemy. He was shot in the chest and forearm but sustained the attack despite bleeding profusely. Charged by his act of daredevilry, the rest of the platoon attacked the enemy bunkers and captured Area flat Top. Rifleman Kumar was awarded with Param Vir Chakra.
Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav
Part of the Commando ‘Ghatak’ Platoon given the task to capture three strategic bunkers on Tiger Hill, Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, was leading the assault and climbing the cliff face. He was fixing ropes for the rest of the platoon. He was awarded the highest military honour in India, Param Vir Chakra, for his 4 July 1999 action during the Kargil War.
Captain N Kenguruse
Captain N Kenguruse was an Indian Army officer of 2nd Battalion, Rajputana Rifles. He was martyred at the Lone Hill, Drass Sector on June 28, 1999 in the Kargil War. He was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his bravery at the battlefield.
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey of 1st Battalion, Gorkha Rifles, participated in a series of boldly led attacks during ‘Operation Vijay’ and forced back the intruders from the Batalik sector on June 11, 1999. His leadership led to the capture of Jaubar Top and Khalubar on early hours of July 3, 1999. Pandey succumbed to his injuries on the hilltop and was honoured with the Param Vir Chakra.
Captain Vikram Batra
Captain Vikram Batra, 13th Jammu And Kashmir Rifles, was ordered to recapture the highest point on Tololing Ridge, peak 5140, where Pakistani invaders had taken positions in bunkers. He was martyred on July 26, 1999 while trying to rescue an injured soldier. The peak he died on, Point 4875, is now called ‘Batra Top’. He was awarded with the Param Veer Chakra, the highest military honour.
(Courtesy: PIB Srinagar)
Author is a freelance writer.
(The views expressed are author’s own.)