New Delhi- President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday led the nation in paying tributes to the soldiers who fought valiantly in extreme weather conditions to defend the country’s territory during the Kargil conflict.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, along with the chiefs of the three services, laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in Delhi in memory of the soldiers who laid down their lives while defending the country.
Various events were organised across the country, including at the Kargil War Memorial in Ladakh’s Dras, to mark the occasion.
The Army’s Northern Command in Udhampur, Tiger Division in Jammu, Sapta Shakti Command in Jaipur and other formations in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri, Poonch, and Doda also organised events including cycle rallies, motorcycle and mountain expeditions to mark the success of ‘Operation Vijay’.
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,” President Murmu, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, tweeted in Hindi.
Prime Minister Modi described Kargil Vijay Diwas as a symbol of pride and glory of ‘Ma Bharti.
“On this occasion, I salute all the brave sons of the country who achieved the height of valour while defending the motherland. Jai Hind,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said the nation will forever remain “indebted to the martyrs of Kargil for their supreme sacrifice”.
“On Kargil Vijay Diwas, I pay my humble tributes to our valiant soldiers who displayed unwavering patriotism and unmatched gallantry in protecting our nation in 1999,” Naidu’s office quoted him as saying in a tweet.
Naidu, who is also the chairman of Rajya Sabha, led the Upper House of Parliament in paying homage to the slain soldiers.
He said Indian soldiers drove out enemy forces occupying the peaks of Kargil, resulting “in a momentous victory for our country”.
“The exemplary courage, selfless dedication, and unflinching determination displayed by our soldiers in adverse conditions will always be remembered. Their unparalleled valour and gallantry will continue to inspire generations after generations to dedicate themselves to the cause of the nation,” he added.
Paying tributes to the fallen heroes, Defence Minister Singh 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,” he tweeted.
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 memory of the soldiers who laid down their lives in the line of duty.
Pakistan tried to redraw the boundary with India in 1999 through the Kargil misadventure but the Indian security forces foiled the evil design.
The Army organised a number of events in remembrance of its soldiers.
“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 terrains,” the Army said in a statement.
“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,” it said.
The events included two cycle rallies — one from Siachen to Kargil War Memorial, and the other from Delhi to Dras — that were a joint initiative by the Air Force and the Army, the statement said.
Two motorcycle expeditions — one from Delhi to Drass and the other from Turtuk to Dras — were also organised. An ultra-marathon from Siachen to Dras, and a mountain expedition by Bachendri Pal and team, which traversed 37 passes from Arunachal Pradesh to reach Dras, were also part of this year’s events.
“Kargil Victory Flame was moved through the entire area of Northern Command (before) finally reaching Dras. These events culminated at the Kargil War Memorial, paving the way for a grand ceremony with multiple cultural and ceremonial programmes,” the statement said.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann laid a wreath at the War Memorial in Chandigarh and said the valour and sacrifices of the Indian Army during the Kargil conflict will inspire the youth to serve the country selflessly.
“Kargil Vijay Diwas is a symbol of extraordinary valour of the Indian Armed forces as the soldiers had scripted an unprecedented tale of sacrifice, heroism and valour during this war,” an official release quoted Mann as saying.
Recalling the war, the chief minister said patriotic fervour had united the entire country.
Rajasthan Soldier Welfare Minister Rajendra Gudha paid tributes to the soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in Jaipur.
Acting Chief of Sapta Shakti Command Major General Vikram Verma expressed his gratitude to the parents of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the Kargil conflict.
Over 500 soldiers laid down their lives in the conflict.
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