The nation on Thursday paid homage to the brave Indian soldiers on the occasion of the Kargil Vijay Diwas who sacrificed their lives to secure India's frontiers while fighting Pakistan's misadventure in the Kargil War of 1999.
The Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed on 26 July every year, in honour of the Indian Army's win in the war in the Kargil-Drass sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian soldiers successfully gained back the high altitude outposts which were infiltrated by Pakistani intruders culminating in Operation Vijay of 1999.
Over 500 Indian armed forces personnel were martyred during the three-month-long war. The war occurred after the then Pakistan Army chief General Pervez Musharraf spurned the peace initiative of the then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The shelling from Pakistan began on 9 May 1999, as more intruders crossed over to the Indian side. After gathering actionable inputs, the army soon began to position its troops in the Kargil sector and, by the end of May 1999, the IAF launched massive air strikes to regain control of several key positions in the Batalic sector. Tiger Hill, a Pakistani stronghold and the highest peak in the Kargil-Dras sector, was captured after an eleven-hour-long battle. The Kargil War Memorial was built by the Indian Army in Dras, in the foothills of the Tololing Hills.
Paying tribute to the war heroes, President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, ''On Kargil Vijay Diwas, every Indian acknowledges the efforts and gallantry of our Armed Forces. We salute the ultimate sacrifice of the martyrs of Kargil, and record our everlasting debt to their families.''
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa paid their tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti in Delhi on Thursday morning.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "On Kargil Vijay Diwas, a grateful nation pays homage to all those who served the nation during Operation Vijay. Our brave soldiers ensured that India remains protected and gave a befitting answer to those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere of peace."
Whereas speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GOC-in-C, Northern Command said that the "Indian Army is fully prepared to take on any challenge along the Actual Line of Control and the Line of Control."