It all started way back in 1947 when two nations saw their genesis on a global level. One being the State of India and, the other being the State of Pakistan. When turmoil and chaos started running amok inside the minds of both the nations, war was the closest event towards reality.
Both the nations locked horns through the decades for almost 4 times. Apart from the conflict of 1947, the others included the Indo-Pak war of 1965, Bangladesh Liberation war of 1971 and The Kargil war of 1999.
While India celebrates the 20th anniversary of Operation Vijay, here’s insight regarding the 7 necessary facts, one needs to know regarding the Kargil war:-
The Kargil conflict started off on 3rd May 1999 and continued for 3 months and 23 days. It came to an official end on 26th July 1999. From an official point of view, three months of prolonged conflict is quite a long period of time, to be honest.
While theories and certain pieces of evidence shed light on the fact that intrusions occurred as far as April 1999, but due to the lack of patrolling in the suspected areas, coupled with intense artillery fire by the Pakistani side, the intrusions couldn’t be detected. It was a tip given by a local shepherd which gave rise to the first patrol team conducting a scouting operation. This team was lead by then Lt. Saurabh Kalia.
Highway of fire:-
The war took its full shape when Pakistani intruders established observation posts in strategic locations on various hilltops which overlooked the NH1. The NH1 connects Srinagar to Leh, being a two-lane road only, the traffic speed was comparatively slower than other highways. Pakistan had marked NH1 for indirect artillery strikes and was adamant towards disrupting the supply route of the Indian Army. Heavy shelling caused a lot of casualties on the Indian side.
News of the strategic positions being taken over by Pakistani intruders had already started an inferno in the national capital (New Delhi). An immediate order to mobilize 200,000 troops in the Kargil sector was given a green light. But due to tough terrain and weather conditions, approximately 30,000 personnel were involved in the heavy fighting which was about to begin on those hills.
The Indian Air Force conducted operations during the Kargil war. It should also be noted that this was the first time that aerial warfare was conducted at such altitudes with low air density. Certain weapons such as laser-guided bombs and missiles weren’t accurate enough to be used to their maximum potential. While most of the bombing runs were conducted by Mig 21s and Mig 27s, the Mirage 2000s also took part in several strategic operations.
All hell broke loose when bullets started whizzing past soldiers from both sides. Temperatures were no joke, day time missions were suicidal therefore planned night attacks were carried out for the most part. While mercury touched -11 to -15 degrees Celsius, soldiers carried out intense warfare with small arms, artilleries, mortars, airstrikes and even close hand to hand combat.
With the news of the war reaching all the corners of the globe, international pressure from several nations forced Pakistan to withdraw its troops from the Indian side of the Line Of Control (LOC). Display of supreme courage in the face of danger, sacrifice against all odds and love for the flag and country enabled the victory of the Indian Army, by 11th July 1999 the Pakistani troops began pulling out of the Kargil sector hence declaring Operation Vijay, a success for the Indian side.
War is probably the last thing which a nation opts for, but in the face of grave danger and foreshadowing turmoil, it is the only remedy. While global theatre addressed this conflict as a condemnable crime, Pakistan had already lost its fair share of favors from its allies.
The victory was attained, but it came at a price. We lost many brave souls, certain legendary officers who lead their battalions into gruesome battles laid their lives while protecting the brothers they fought alongside. Here’s a list of all those brave sons of the motherland who laughed in the face of death:-
Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, Param Vir Chakra
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous)
Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous)
Subedar 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 Regiment, Vir Chakra (Posthumous)
Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Indian Air Force, Vir Chakra (Posthumous)
Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, 8 JAK LI, Vir Chakra, Sena Medal, later Ashok Chakra (Posthumous)
Colonel Magod Basappa Ravindranath, 2 Rajputana Rifles, Vir Chakra
Naik Digendra Kumar, 2 Rajputana Rifles, Maha Vir Chakra
Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to our saviors. Both named and unnamed, both remembered and forgotten.