Revisiting ‘Kargil’ on its 20th anniversary

By Manish Deep Roy

Photo Courtesy: Live

In any normal case we do not enter someone’s house, when the owner or the guardian of the house is not at home, but this is something, which we cannot expect from Pakistan. Things though are changing now, as India too have taken the stand to go beyond its border to brought to book the perpetrators through 2 surgical strikes in recent time. 

We have witness Kargil war, where India registered glorious victory by defeating Pakistan. In the winter of 1998-1999 as we all know Indian-Pakistani forces left their key post as per the understanding because of the heavy rainfall in the front areas such as Siachen, Drass and Kargil. As practice the posts would remain unmanned till the start of summer. But 1999 was different. 

The crooked Pakistani Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf planned to capture the Indian bunkers in order to isolate ‘Siachen’ from Srinagar. To make it practical they started ‘Operation Badr’ which envisages the same in Batalik, Muskoh and Drass and they were successful in capturing the some of the prominent posts. 

It was on 3rd May 1999 a local Shepherd Tashi Namgyal spotted some Pakistani Intruders at ‘Banju’ top while he was out to search his lost yak. Following that incident he reported the development to Army Officials. Accordingly Indian Army sent sent 4 patrol parties, but they never came back. On 6th May when the Defence Ministry was confirmed about the intrusion, by that time Islamabad and Rawalpindi launched an attack on our ordinance factory making colossal damage of Rs 127 crore. Next day the CCS meeting took place on a very short notice.

On 14th May Indian Army received the mutilated bodies of the search party led by Captain Saurav Kalia of Jat Regiment. On 18th May 1999 the then Defence Minister George Fernandez was briefed about the strategic location, which were captured in between Mushkoh and Batalik.

After Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was briefed about the development he order 3-armed forces to go all out. Five days into the war, Indian Army asked the ‘IAF’ to barge into Pakistan starting ‘Operation Safed Sagar’. Although we got early setback when they captured our Flight Lieutenant Nachiketa and had killed Squadron Leader Ajay Abuja but a dedicated ‘IAF’ went full throttle as we captured the most strategical point ‘4590’

On 1st June 1999,Pakistan started heavy shelling on NH-1, which continues till 4th June. 5th June was seen as the major turning point when ‘Indian Army’ spotted the first weakness of Pakistani Army, who are one sided and directly involved in this battle. Army Chief Gen Malik then ordered three way attack cutting the Pakistani force from the behind.

Accordingly we got our first victory when the ‘Rajputana Rifles’ along with some Jammu and Kashmir Rifle Armymen captured the ‘Tololing’. It was a major boost. Action continued in a stalemate position until ‘Indian Army’s captured two game changer positions of Point 5060 and Point 5100, which later helped us in reclaiming the ‘Tiger Hill’. Meanwhile Gorkhas captured ‘Jubar top’ and ‘Khalubar’ at Muskoh. Batalik too came fully under the control of Indian Army and Pakistani Army was forced to surrender.

On 14th July, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee officially declared the success as ‘Operation Vijay’. Officially 26th July is celebrated as ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ so that we must not forget the valour of the likes of PVC Captions Vikram Batra, PVC Captain Manoj Pandey, Vir Chakra Anuj Nayyar, Vir Chakra Vijayant Thapar and 527 soldier (officially), who sacrificed their life for the safety and honor of Mother India.