Vijay Divas: Paying tribute to Kargil Heroes

Indian Soldiers after victory in KargilTODAY IS JULY 26TH; it was on this day two years ago when floods gripped Mumbai city and many people lost their lives. Let’s pay our homage to the people who became victims of nature on that day.

Now let me take you few years back when the whole nation stood behind great Indian Armed Forces but seems to have forgotten the young men who gave their life for us in the conditions considered to be unsuitable for human survival. Their families that got enormous support when the heat was on, are now fighting each battle of life alone.

India was busy celebrating the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s successful Lahore visit. Pakistan was busy putting its pawns in place for war with India. The battleground was high, the terrain was inhospitable, and the task was tough. The Indian soldier’s resolve was stronger, and the enemy got a fitting battering.

And it has been eight years today, eight years since our pride was restored.

Because July 26 is Vijay Divas, the day we celebrate our victory in the Kargil War, it is the day the Indian soldiers helped us hold our heads high. It was on this day in the year 1999 that the Indian victory over Pakistan was complete. True to its character despite having to pay a heavy price for fighting a war within its territory, the Indian forces allowed the Pakistanis to return from the Line of Control. It was a gesture which depicted the great Indian tradition of forgiving even the enemy, when it pleads for it. For Pakistan, it was another lesson which it would probably not forget for a long time. It would also put Pakistan to shame, for it chose to torture and kill the Indian prisoners of War, rather than handing them over safely as was done by India through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The war took place between May 8, when Pakistani forces and Kashmiri militants were detected atop the Kargil ridges and July 14 when both sides had essentially ceased their military operations. It is believed that the planning for the operation, by Pakistan, may have occurred about as early as the autumn of 1998. Though Indian forces initially suffered some losses, they were able to gain control of various heights very quickly. The Indian soldiers were victorious everywhere. The Pakistanis were surrounded from all sides. Despite fighting uphill, the brave Indian officers and jawans cut through the Pakistani barricades. And for once the nation stood united like never before.

Unable to face the humiliation inflicted by the Indian forces, Pakistan finally did acknowledge that some of the dead were their men. But then it asked India to hand over the bodies to the ICRC rather than accepting them directly.

Kargil has lessons for both, India and Pakistan.

The lesson for Pakistan is, it must understand that dialogue is the best course for sorting out mutual problems between the two countries. Pakistan should make honest efforts to ensure that a General doesn’t takes steps that sabotage the peace process “I learnt about Kargil war misadventure of Musharraf against India from Indian Prime Minister,” then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said recently.

India ’s policy of peace has earned her recognition from world over, yet it must not take defence preparedness for granted. Kargil is also termed as intelligence failure and negligence. India must make sure that such lapses don’t happen in future and every measure should be taken to make intelligence system more powerful.

It seems that we have now forgotten the unsung heroes of our motherland as it was directed to keep celebrations of Kargil victory, a low profile event in subsequent years. Also you will very rarely find the mention of this day in the news.

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