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History and Significance of Celebrating 'Kargil Vijay Diwas'

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Jai Jawan

Why Kargil Vijay Diwas is Celebrated

In India, Kargil Day is commemorated to honor the sacrifices made by our soldiers during the 1999 Kargil war. In the Kargil sector of Jammu & Kashmir, India and Pakistan fought a battle known as ‘Operation Vijay.' After over three months of combat on the freezing heights of Kargil, the Indian Army got victory on July 26, 1999, bringing ‘Operation Vijay' to a triumphant conclusion. 

The Indian Army reclaimed the Army's peaks from the Pakistan army and raised the tricolor atop the high-altitude Kargil. Let's take a look at this historical occurrence. 

What triggered the Kargil War? 

Even though both countries have repeatedly tried to control the Siachen Glacier by putting up military outposts on neighboring mountain slopes, the two sides have rarely engaged in direct combat battles since the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. In the 1980s, this resulted in military scuffles, which worsened in the 1990s. The nuclear tests performed by both India and Pakistan in 1998 exacerbated the situation. But, just when it appeared that all hope was lost, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999, pledging to find peaceful solutions to the Kashmir problem. 

However, according to certain sources, Pakistani military forces were secretly training their troops to cross the Line of Control into India the same year (or LoC). Their goal was to cut off the connection between Ladakh and Kashmir, as well as to force the Indian Armed Forces to leave the Siachen Glacier. 

The nature of the incursion was initially unknown to the Indian military forces. Indian armed forces anticipated to evict them in a matter of days, assuming they were jihadis. However, it wasn't until later that they recognized Pakistan's attack strategy was far larger, and they discovered penetration along the LOC. 

With Operation Vijay, the Indian government replied firmly, recruiting around 200,000 Indian troops to fight. 

In the name of Kargil Vijay Diwas, the conflict that concluded on July 26, 1999 is remembered and commemorated every year on the same day. This day is a proud occasion for every Indian, and it is thus widely observed across the country. 

About Kargil War: 

Pakistani forces were stationed at higher elevations than their Indian counterparts, giving them an edge in that they could easily shoot them down. As a result, Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets, while another crashed during the mission. Pakistan had requested that the US intervene in the conflict. In response, then-US President Bill Clinton stated that if Pakistan wanted the US to intervene, it would have to withdraw from the Line of Control. While Pakistani troops were being evacuated, Indian forces attacked the remaining outposts. By 26th of July, the Indian Army had retaken the last of them. 

Fatalities: 

During the war, a total of 527 Indian Armed Forces men died. Pakistan had suffered a loss of 700 men. 

Following the War: 

Pakistan initially denied any involvement in the war. It backed up its position by claiming that India was fighting "Kashmiri freedom fighters." The government afterwards gave medals to its soldiers for their service in the conflict. This made their involvement in the Kargil battle abundantly evident. 

When it comes to India, the day after the Army pronounced the mission a success on July 26 is today known as Kargil Vijay Diwas. The country's defense spending will be increased in the coming fiscal year as a result of the war. 

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