Published: 26th July 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: It is Kargil Vijay Diwas. Do you know about its importance? And how it changed Indo-Pak relations?
The Kargil War or initially known as Operation Vijay which started in May 1999, came to an end on July 26, 1999. Here are the details
It is Kargil Vijay Diwas Day! Indeed, a day where every Indian salutes the Kargil warriors and remembers their sacrifices for the country. Also, the Kargil War reflects the strength and the power of the Indian Army as they ousted Pakistani troops who occupied positions in the Northern Kargil District in the Lakdhak region in 1999.
This idea to occupy Kargil by the Pakistanis was a well-planned attempt, of which, the Indian troops were not aware. While the Indian troops assumed it to be a small-scale attack, in reality, it was planned from a larger perspective. Around 20,000 Indian Army were sent to fight the battle and 527 soldiers reached the doors of heaven while serving the country.
The Kargil War, initially known as Operation Vijay, which started in May 1999, came to an end on July 26, 1999. But why is it celebrated, what are the highlights of this historic war? We bring you several other details with #WhatTheFAQ.
Why is today celebrated?
To commemorate the victory of India in the Kargil War along with the sacrifices and struggles of the Indian Armed Forces during the armed conflict between India and Pakistan, Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated across India on July 26.
Several events are organised and conducted in several parts of the country every year to observe the day.
What are the highlights of the Kargil Operation?
After the 1971 war which led to the formation of Bangladesh as a separate country, the Kargil War is the first war between India and Pakistan. Additionally, the troops were also fighting against their opponent across the Line of Control (LoC) to clear Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants from the Indian side of the Line of Control.
One of the most important aspects of this war is that of the Indian Air Force's operation in the air at a height of almost 32,000 feet for the first time. Even though the pilots and engineers were given only a week of training, they excelled in identifying and restricting the Pakistani soldiers and Mujahideens' actions.
This war, the historic Kargil War, was dangerous and high-altitude warfare fought on mountainous terrain. Not to forget, this war was fought between two nuclear countries, that is, India and Pakistan, who started using their nuclear weapons.
What were some of the inspiring statements made by the jawans?
Captain Vikram Batra: Either I will come hoisting the tricolour or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will come back for sure
Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey: If death strikes before I prove my blood, I swear I'll kill death
Major Sudhir Kumar Walia: I won't die in an accident or die of any disease I will go down in glory
Captain Vijayant Thapar: I have no regrets, If I have another life, I will join the army and fight for India again
Major Padmapani Acharya: Tell mamma that combat is an honour of a lifetime and I could not think of anything less. What better way to serve the Nation?
How is the relationship between India and Pakistan now?
Ever since the time of India's Independence in 1947, there were territorial disputes between India and Pakistan, especially with regards to the Kashmir region. Similar to this, the Line of Control (LOC) is the point of tension which engages both troops in war/fight. The LoC is the frontier which separates Kashmir into two regions, one under India and another under Pakistan. This LoC was demarcated after the 1972 Simla Agreement. The 1972 Simla Agreement was a peace treaty signed between the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi and Pakistan's President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
After the Simla Agreement, a bilateral agreement Lahore Declaration was signed between both countries in February 1999 under the leadership of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Both reaffirmed their commitment to Simla Agreement and agreed to undertake a number of ‘Confidence Building Measures' (CBMs). But despite this agreement, the war was initiated by the Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri fighters by occupying positions along the Indian side of the LoC
Post the Kargil War, in 2001, the tensions at the LoC remained high and led to many attacks by Pakistan on India. Namely, in 2001 the attack on Kashmiri Assembly in Srinagar, and the attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi which led to a massive standoff between both militaries along LoC. Later in 2006, with a change in government in India and Manmohan Singh in power as the new Prime Minister, the deployment of troops was reduced from Jammu and Kashmir. Even though this eased the tensions a bit, both countries were unable to reach an agreement on withdrawing forces from the Siachen glacier.
In the later years, there were many deliberation and discussions regarding anti-terrorism and peace-making steps during several global summits. Multiple attempts were made by the Pakistanis like the most famous and horrific Mumbai 26/11 incident where many died during attacks on Taj Hotel and several other places in Mumbai. Despite these attacks and changes in governments, the tension along the LoC is always there. Additionally, the Pulwana attack in 2019 by the Indian troops was one of the counterattacks from India.