Kargil Vijay Diwas – 26 July 1999 – In this edition of This Day in History, you can read all about the Kargil War and its impact on India and its relations with Pakistan.
Kargil Vijay Diwas – What happened?
India observes Kargil Vijay Diwas on 26th July every year to mark the anniversary of the day we achieved victory over Pakistani infiltrators in the 1999 Kargil War. This day is also a day of remembrance for the hundreds of Indian soldiers who were martyred in this war initiated by Pakistan.
The Kargil War is important in Modern History and International Relations, hence read the facts and details on the topic to prepare for the upcoming IAS exam.
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Kargil War Background
- The Kargil war which broke out in May 1999 continued for 60 days up until 26th July when the war was officially declared over.
- Local shepherds first reported the presence of Pakistani infiltrators in Kargil in District Baltistan in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir on 3rd May 1999.
- The Indian army set up patrol units along the area on 5th May.
- Five Indian patrolling soldiers including Captain Saurabh Kalia were captured by Pakistani forces alive and brutally tortured to death.
- Heavy shelling by the Pakistanis started on 9th. This was meant as cover fire to engage the Indian troops so that infiltrators could enter Indian Territory along the LOC.
- Infiltrations occurred in the Dras, Mushkoh and Kaksar sectors.
- The Indian Army moves its troops from the Kashmir Valley to the Kargil sector during the middle of May. The Indian Air Force also engages the infiltrators by the end of May.
- Intense fighting continued from both sides.
- In early June, the Indian army released documents that confirmed the involvement of the Pakistani army which rubbished claims by the latter that the infiltrations were done by Kashmiri “freedom fighters”.
- Even though initially taken by surprise, the determined Indian Army recover many positions and posts from the other side. Our soldiers fought bravely in hostile environments of mountainous terrain, extremely high altitudes and harsh cold weather conditions.
- On 4th July, the Indian army captured Tiger Hill after a battle that lasted 11 hours. The next day, India recovered Drass. These were major breakthroughs.
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Kargil War – Impact
- Internationally, Pakistan was losing face because of vital proof regarding its army’s involvement in the war. The USA led by Bill Clinton had asked Pakistan’s Nawas Sharif to withdraw troops.
- On 5th July, Sharif announced after meeting with Clinton that Pakistan was withdrawing troops.
- The pull-out by Pakistani forces started on 11th On 14th July, the then Indian Prime Minister A B Vajpayee announced that Operation Vijay (the codename given to the Kargil War) was a success.
- The war officially came to an end on 26th May when All Pakistani intruders evicted from Indian soil.
- Pakistan initiated the war despite India’s overtures of talks such as the inauguration of the Delhi-Lahore and the signing of the Lahore Declaration.
- Countries that supported India on the conflict were –
- Even China insisted on a pull-out of troops and restoration of the pre-war status quo.
- India was also praised for showing amazing restraint by not crossing the Line of control – LOC and escalating the situation into an all-out war between two nuclear states.
- The official Indian death toll was 527. A further 1363 Indian soldiers were wounded in the conflict. Let us remember those who sacrificed their lives and youth for the sake of our safety and security. Jay Jawan!
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Kargil War – Importance
- It was on this day that the Indian victory over Pakistan was complete. True to its character despite having to pay a heavy price for fighting a war within its territory the Indian forces allowed the Pakistanis, who were pleading almost on their knees, to return across the Line of Control (LoC).
- The advancing Indian forces left no stone unturned to ensure that not even one Pakistani soldier remained on the Indian soil. With the backing of the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Indian Army achieved a feat which would be hard for any of the armies around the world to match.
- It was also a milestone in the history of military aviation, as this was the first time that air power was employed with such effectiveness in such a hostile environment. The lessons from Kargil would also be applicable to all the world’s Air Forces.
Kargil Vijay Diwas – Important Pointers For UPSC
- Our policy of restraint and resolve during the Kargil crisis was appreciated by the international community also.
- The blatant misadventure of the Pakistani military establishment in Kargil failed miserably on the politico-diplomatic and military fronts.
- The Pakistani attempt in Kargil has had such far reaching effect that it has still not been able to emerge from the indignity it invited upon itself.
- Viewed against the background of the historic initiative taken by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to visit Lahore in February 1999 and the signing of the Lahore Declaration, which clearly reflected India’s willingness and determination to resolve its differences with Pakistan through a process of dialogue and confidence building, the Pakistani intrusion in Kargil was a betrayal of trust., Even while accepting India’s extended hand of friendship in Lahore, Pakistan was planning its clandestine, unprovoked full-scale intrusion across the LoC.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.