India remembers martyrs, commemorates Kargil Vijay Diwas
Army rededicates to defeat enemies of nation at all costs
New Delhi/Drass/Srinagar: President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday led the nation in paying tributes to the armed forces personnel who fought valiantly in extremely harsh conditions to defend the country’s territory during the Kargil conflict.
On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army announced the successful culmination of “Operation Vijay”, declaring victory after a nearly three-month-long battle on the icy heights of Kargil in Ladakh.
The day is observed as ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ to commemorate India’s victory over Pakistan in the war.
“Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of extraordinary bravery, valour and determination of our armed forces. I bow to all the brave soldiers who laid down their lives to protect Mother India. The country will always be indebted to them and their family members. Jai Hind,” Murmu said in a tweet in Hindi.
The President is the supreme commander of the armed forces.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of pride and glory for the country.
“Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of pride and glory of ‘Maa Bharati’. On this occasion, I salute all the brave sons of the country who achieved the height of valour in the defence of the motherland. Jai Hind,” he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to the fallen heroes and said their acts of valour and indomitable spirit will forever remain etched as a defining moment in India’s history.
“On Kargil Vijay Diwas, India salutes the bravery, courage and sacrifice of our armed forces. They fought valiantly in extremely harsh conditions to defend our motherland. Their act of valour & indomitable spirit will remain etched forever as a defining moment in India’s history,” he tweeted.
To mark the day, Singh, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in the memory of the fallen heroes.
Various events were organised across the country, including at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass, to mark the occasion.
“During the Kargil conflict, the gallant soldiers of the Indian Army, with the help of the Indian Air Force, overcame insurmountable odds, hostile terrain and inclement weather to win against the enemy that had occupied dominating heights,” the defence ministry said.
The Army said Kargil Vijay Diwas is a reminiscence of the “undaunted bravery and courage” of the “bravehearts” who inscribed a golden chapter in history with their blood and sacrifice.
“They gave a befitting reply to the enemy’s misadventure and a resounding victory to India,” it said.
Over 500 soldiers laid down their lives in the conflict.
Meanwhile, the soldiers were remembered for their courage during the war waged along the Line of Control in Kargil area of Ladakh Union Territory.
“Kargil War is testimony to the unparalleled saga of raw grit, stoic courage and unmatched resolve of the Indian soldier, fighting in adverse weather conditions in one of the most treacherous terrain,” a defence spokesperson said in a statement issued by the Army.
“To commemorate the 23rd ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’, a host of events were organised under the aegis of Northern Command, culminating into the final event on 26th July 2022,” he said.
Feroz Ahmed Khan, Chief Executive Councillor Kargil, was the chief guest and Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command was the chief host for Tuesday’s event, the spokesperson said.
The events included two cycle rallies, one of which was carried out from Siachen to Kargil War Memorial, and another from Delhi to Drass – both held under a joint initiative by Indian Air Force and Indian Army, the spokesperson said.
Two motorcycle expeditions — one flagged off by the Vice Chief of Army Staff from Delhi to Drass, and the other from Turtuk to Drass, an ultra-marathon run by Sufiya from Siachen to Drass, and a mountain expedition by Bachendri Pal and team, which traversed 37 passes from Arunachal Pradesh to reach Drass, were also part of events this year.
“Kargil Victory Flame was moved through the entire area of Northern Command finally reaching Dras. These events culminated at Kargil War Memorial paving way to a grand ceremony, with multiple cultural and ceremonial programmes,” he said.
The events were followed by laying of wreaths by Air Marshal Shreekumar Prabhakaran, AOC-in-C, Western Air Command, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, Lt Gen Anindya Sen Gupta, GOC 14 Corps, and other military dignitaries.
The Kargil Victory Flame was received at Kargil War Memorial by Air Marshal Prabhakaran, Lt Gen Dwivedi, Col Sonam Wangchuk, Brig Mohit Saxena, and Col Praveen Tomar, all being the awardees of Kargil War, the spokesperson said.
A team of Sikh soldiers performed ‘Gatka’, a martial arts form with roots in Punjab. The team was part of a battalion that had taken active part in the 1999 War.
It had come all the way from Andaman and Nicobar Islands to be a part of the event.
“Commemoration of the Kargil War is not merely a revisit to the war account but showcasing of the indomitable spirit, unflinching dedication and selfless service displayed by soldiers.
“Each story of the war is a saga of honour, courage and sacrifice which is an example to the youth of the entire nation to emulate and strive to make this nation stronger. It is also about sharing with the nation and world at large as to what being a soldier means,” the Army statement said.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen ADS Aujla, GOC Chinar Corps on behalf of all ranks of the Corps paid homage to the Kargil War heroes in a solemn ceremony held at the War Memorial in Badami Bagh Cantonment, Srinagar.
The proceedings included brief narration of the Kargil War highlighting the saga of courage and valour of the martyrs, prayers by religious teachers and laying of wreath in proud remembrance of the valiant heroes who participated in the operations, a defence spokesman said.