It was on this day 18 years ago that the Indian Army recaptured all the Indian posts in Kargil that had been occupied by Pakistan’s army. Since then, July 26 has been observed annually to commemorate the sacrifices made by soldiers in this war.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hailed the Indian armed forces for their prowess and sacrifices for the country on the occasion of ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ July 26 is celebrated as the anniversary of India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan.
What was this war about?
Indian and Pakistani armies fought the war in May-July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LoC). The Kargil conflict in the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region took place after Pakistani troops occupied Indian posts on the heights. India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by the Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of the Line of Control. Kargil was the first televised war viewed extensively by the country.
The Hindustan times presents the chronological order of the kargil took place briefly. Here is how the war unfolded:
1999: The war
May 4: Reports of infiltrators atop heights of Kargil. Strategic heights taken over by infiltrators, say reports.
May 5-15: Army patrol sent up to survey. Captain Saurabh Kalia goes missing. He is allegedly tortured and killed in captivity by Pakistani troops.
May 26: Indian Air Force launches air strikes. Flying from the Indian airfields of Srinagar, Avantipur and Adampur, ground attack aircraft MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Jaguars and the Mirage 2000 strike insurgent positions.
May 27: An IAF MiG-27 goes down. Pilot, who ejects and is taken a prisoner of war by Pakistan, is released after eight days.
May 31: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says it’s a “war-like situation” in Kargil
June 10: Pakistan returns mutilated bodies of six soldiers, India enraged. The six bodies were those of Lt. Saurav Kalia and his men who went to Kaksar area following reports of incursion by Pakistani infiltrators.
June 12: Deadlock at first crisis-time meeting between foreign ministers Jaswant Singh and Sartaj Aziz in Delhi. Aziz told intruders must leave
June 15: US President Bill Clinton urges the Pakistan PM to withdraw troops from Kargil
June 29: Army captures two important posts near Tiger Hill
July 4: Tiger Hill captured. Three battalions — 18 Grenadiers, 2 Naga, and 8 Sikh — assault the peak with support from artillery. Nawaz Sharif meets Clinton in Washington
July 5: Sharif announces pull-out of Pakistani troops from Kargil
July 11: Pakistan begins pull out
July 14: India declares operation Vijay a success
July 26: Kargil war comes to an end. India announces complete eviction of Pakistani troops
The official death toll on the Indian side was 527, while that on the Pakistani side was between around 450.
A number of Indian soldiers earned awards for gallantry:
· Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, Param Vir Chakra
· Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous
· Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous
· Rifleman 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, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
· Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Indian Air Force, Vir Chakra, Posthumous
· Havildar Chuni Lal, 8 JAK LI, Vir Chakra. Also awarded Sena Medal for gallantry and posthumously awarded Ashoka Chakra as a Naib Subedar