Kargil Vijay Diwas
|Kargil Vijay Diwas|
Kargil War Memorial
Kargil Vijay Diwas is a holiday observed in India on the 26th of July. On this date in 1999 India successfully took command of the high outposts. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days and ended on 26 July 1999, when the Pakistani army took advantage of the melting snow and - betraying the bilateral understanding of both the nations that the post would remain unattended during the winter season - took command of the high outposts of India. The Pakistani army denied involvement in the war, claiming that it was caused by independent Kashmiri rebel forces, however documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces, led by General Ashraf Rashid. The Kargil war resulted in loss of life on both the sides and was ended when India regained control over the post and ejected the Pakistani Army out of the territory.
Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated on 26 July every year in honour of the Kargil War's Heroes. This day is celebrated in the Kargil–sector and the national capital New Delhi, where the Prime Minister of India pays homage to the soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate every year. Functions are also organized all over the country to commemorate the contributions of the armed forces.
After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, there had been a long period with relatively few direct armed conflicts involving the military forces of the two neighbours – not with standing the efforts of both nations to control the Siachen Glacier by establishing military outposts on the surrounding mountains ridges and the resulting military skirmishes in the 1980s. During the 1990s, however, escalating tensions and conflict due to separatist activities in Kashmir, as well as the conducting of nuclear tests by both countries in 1998, led to an increasingly belligerent atmosphere.
In an attempt to defuse the situation, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999, promising to provide a peaceful and bilateral solution to the Kashmir conflict. During the winter of 1998–1999, some elements of the Pakistani Armed Forces were covertly training and sending Pakistani troops and paramilitary forces,into territory on the Indian side of the line of control (LOC). The infiltration was code named "Operation Badri". The aim of the Pakistani incursion was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute. Pakistan also believed that any tension in the region would internationalize the Kashmir issue, helping it to secure a speedy resolution. Yet another goal may have been to boost the morale of the decade-long rebellion in Indian State of Kashmir by taking a proactive role.
Initially, with little knowledge of the nature or extent of the infiltration, the Indian troops in the area assumed that the infiltrators were jihadis and declared that they would evict them within a few days. Subsequent discovery of infiltration elsewhere along the LOC, along with the difference in tactics employed by the infiltrators, caused the Indian army to realize that the plan of attack was on a much bigger scale. The total area seized by the ingress is generally accepted to between 130 km² – 200 km².
The Government of India responded with Operation Vijay, a mobilization of 200,000 Indian troops. The war came to an official end on July 26, 1999, thus marking it as Kargil Vijay Diwas.
527 soldiers from Indian Armed Forces lost their lives during the war.
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