Kargil Vijay Diwas 2022 - Know about 1999 Indo-Pakistan war

India marked its victory on 26 July and since then, the day is celebrated annually all across the country with immense pride

July 26 is commemorated as an important day in Indian history. The day is dedicated to martyred soldiers who lost their lives for their country. The day is observed on July 26 every year in honour of the Kargil War Heroes. Indian and Pakistani armies fought the Kargil War in May-July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LoC). 

India launched 'Operation Vijay' to clear the Kargil sector of infiltration by the Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of the Line of Control. 

The Beginning

After the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, both nations rarely engaged in direct armed battles. However, they were trying their best to control the Siachen Glacier by setting up military outposts on nearby ridges which resulted in military scuffles in the 90s. 

When the situation was going out of control after both countries conducted the nuclear tests in 1998, the Lahore Declaration was signed in February 1999 to provide a peaceful solution.

But the Pakistan Army was running a secret mission to enter the Indian side of the Line of Control (LOC) with the aim of severing the link between Ladakh and Kashmir. Their other aim was to force the Indian soldiers to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier. 

After finding out about their plan, the government of India responded immediately and wasted no time in mobilising approximately 200,000 Indian troops in that region. They named this counter mission ‘Operation Vijay’.

The War

After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, there had been a long period of relatively few direct armed conflicts involving the military forces of the two neighbours – not withstanding 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 tension 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, with the eviction of Pakistan Army troops from their occupied positions, thus marking it as Kargil Vijay Diwas. 527 soldiers from the Indian Armed Forces lost their lives during the war.