21st Kargil Vijay Diwas

21st Kargil Vijay Diwas

India celebrated the 21st Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) of the Kargil war on 26 July. Let us take a look at what happened, and how it has been received by the world and in culture.

Crux of the Matter

21 Years Of Kargil
On 26 July, 2020, India celebrated the 21st Kargil Vijay Diwas to commemorate India’s victory against Pakistan in the Kargil war, which was achieved on 26 July, 1999. President Ram Nath Kovind “saluted” the brave martyrs who went to fight and won the war.

History Of Kargil War: Operation Vijay

  • 1998-99: Pakistani soldiers infiltrate Indian borders while disguising as Kashmiri militants, with an aim to off Leh and Ladakh from Kashmir.
  • 3-15 May, 1999: Indian shepherds spot Pakistani troops, and Indian soldiers go for inspection.
  • 15 May: 6 Indian soldiers, headed by Captain Saurabh Kalia, are captured by Pakistani army, and are tortured while being held as prisoners.
  • 26-27 May: Indian Air Force (IAF) launches airstrikes. However, MiG-21 and MiG-27 of the IAF are shot down. Flight Lieutenant K. Nachiketa of the latter plane captured by Pakistan.
  • 28 May: IAF Mi-17 is also shot down by the Pakistan army.
  • 31 May: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee states that Kargil is in a “war-like situation”, and continues with airstrikes while operating to curb the threats.
  • 10 June: Pakistan returns mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers, including Captain Saurabh Kalia and 5 other soldiers.
  • 12 June: First “crisis-time” meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries ends in deadlock.
  • 13 June: Indian army captures the Tololing peak, which marks a turning point in the war.
  • 15 June: President Bill Clinton of the US urges Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif to withdraw troops, and praises India for restraint and proper conduct.
  • 4 July: While India captures the Tiger Hill from Pakistani intruders, Sharif receives no support from the US or China, and is firmly told to withdraw troops.
  • 11 July: Pakistani troops begin to withdraw.
  • 14 July: Prime Minister Vajpayee declares Operation Vijay successful.
  • 26 July, 1999: India announces the complete withdrawal of Pakistani troops, and declares ‘Vijay Diwas’. However, the war had a severe impact on India, as 527 Indian soldiers were martyred.

World Reaction
India did not cross the Line of Control (LOC) in the war and only regained its lost territories. Consequently, India received support from the US, the EU, and G8 for its proper conduct and “restraint” in actions. Even China, the longstanding ally of Pakistan, remained neutral and urged Pakistan to withdraw and make peace talks.

Netflix recently announced the release of the movie Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. The movie is based on the life of Gunjan Saxena, who became the first Indian woman pilot to fly into a war zone when she rescued soldiers in the Kargil war. She also won the Shaurya Vir award for her act of bravery

  • The name Kargil is said to derive from the words Khar, meaning castle, and rKil meaning “centre”. “Kargil denotes a place between many forts, a central place where people could stay”. It appears to be a fitting description for a place that is equidistant from Srinagar, Leh and Skardu (the capitals of the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Baltistan respectively).
  • LOC Kargil is a 2003 Indian historical war drama film based on the Kargil War fought between India and Pakistan. The film is based on the 1999 Operation Vijay and Battle of Tololing around the Line of Control.
  • The Battle of Tololing was a pivotal battle in the Kargil War between India’s armed forces and troops from the Northern Light Infantry. The Tololing is a dominant position overlooking the Srinagar – Leh Highway (NH 1D) and was a vital link.