On the occasion of the nation’s armed forces and the martyrs’ 24th anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas, prominent individuals from all political groups in India paid their respects.
Rajnath Singh, the defense minister, spoke at the Kargil War Memorial in Ladakh to honor the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers, and he blamed Pakistan for the conflict.
“We understand completely that as long as our brave soldiers stand guard at our borders, there will be no room for anyone to view India with a negative perspective. Your bravery has elevated the country numerous times since independence, he added in his speech, not just during the Kargil conflict.
“Indians were made to fight in the Kargil War. Pakistan “stabbed us in the back” at the time when India was attempting to work out its differences with Pakistan through diplomacy, according to the minister. According to his words, “Throughout Operation Vijay, the Indian Armed Forces conveyed a resolute message to Pakistan and the global community, reaffirming that our valiant soldiers will never back down in safeguarding our nation’s interests.”
(Kargil Vijay Diwas) – About Kargil War
On July 26, 1999, the last Pakistani military personnel and unofficial fighters were successfully driven off the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC), bringing an end to the Kargil War.
Infiltrators from Pakistan crossed the Line of Control and established themselves in key locations in the Kargil region of Ladakh, sparking the fighting. At first, Islamists were assumed to be the intruders. After the scale of the penetration was made public, it became clear that the Pakistani state was taking part.
The Indian Army steadily reclaimed strategic sites from the Pakistani invaders between May and July, despite suffering significant casualties and major tactical and logistical difficulties. Finally, in July, the Indian Army reported that all Pakistani regular and irregular soldiers had been completely removed from Kargil.
According to official statistics, during the war, India lost 527 soldiers, suffered 1,363 injuries, and had one prisoner of war (Flt. Lt. Nachiketa, whose MiG-27 was shot down during a strike mission).
Conditions that were challenging: (Kargil Vijay Diwas)
The Kargil War confronted the Indian military with a number of difficulties. First, there were the well-prepared infiltrators who were assisted by Pakistani artillery firing nonstop across the LoC. However, the challenging topography and altitude of the region made matters more challenging.
In the Kargil War zone, which was located in a bitter desert, wintertime lows of -30 degrees Celsius were not uncommon. Even though the summers were more comfortable, the battleground remained incredibly hostile because to the subzero temperatures and desolate surroundings. Guns jammed and soldiers had to waste a lot of energy to stay warm in the cold, which had an impact on both the soldiers and the equipment.
Low oxygen levels at high altitudes resulted in a variety of physical side effects and illnesses, some of which were potentially lethal. High elevations frequently cause acute mountain sickness (AMS), which manifests as headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, and general exhaustion.
The performance and precision of weapons and planes were also impacted by the lower air pressure at high altitudes. Weapons with engines had less power, while helicopter rotors had less efficiency.
Additionally, the difficult terrain constrained military tactics and placed important restrictions on soldiers. It reduced maneuverability, frequently giving the opponent cover, and constrained the range of operations. India experienced severe reverses during the Kargil War as the infiltrators occupied commanding heights and overlooked Indian defenses.
How the Indian Forces Achieved Victory: (Kargil Vijay Diwas)
The initial phases of the war taught valuable lessons as the military and air force realized that they were not adequately prepared for warfare at such high altitudes. Many soldiers fell sick due to the altitude, resulting in some fatalities. The lack of appropriate equipment for the cold weather posed yet another challenge. Additionally, relentless shelling by Pakistan’s artillery on NH 1A (the only major road connecting the region with the rest of India) created significant tactical difficulties.
Eventually, the Indian forces adapted their strategies to overcome these challenges. Units began conducting better acclimatization and training programs to prepare soldiers for the conditions. The military acquired better equipment for the extreme weather, although shortages remained throughout the war. The techniques for high-altitude assaults were further refined. Instead of frontal attacks, swift and smaller groups were shown scaling heights close to enemy positions.
“The most critical thing is that the army demonstrated an incredible blend of courageous combat and exceptional tactical capabilities. Akhilesh Kumar Sharma, an Indian Army officer, writes in his article “The Kargil Conflict and the Future” (2019) that before any assault, extensive artillery bombardments were conducted on the enemy positions in the hilly locations.
The Kargil War’s challenging victory depicts the Kalayugi (modern era) challenges of high-altitude warfare, which can be equally or even more deadly than the enemy itself.