“Yeh dil mange more”, the slogan by Captain Batra which translates to “My heart wishes for more,” carried on its legacy by featuring in many campaigns and still resonates with the spirit of the ‘Jawans’ of our nation.
Chanting “Durga Mata ki Jai” (All Hail Goddess Durga), Captain Vikram Batra, fired relentlessly till he took down five Pakistani soldiers but ‘Shershah’ succumbed to death while helping out one of his wounded men.
Like him, hundreds of soldiers were martyred in the Kargil war,1999; but their grit deems to be immortal.
The outset of the Kargil conflict began with the intrusion from Pakistan’s end capturing the Indian posts.
For better understanding, let me paint you a picture:
Jammu and Kashmir after independence was divided between India and Pakistan with the northern part under Pakistan and the latter under India.
In 1998, on account of the two nations becoming nuclear powers, their respective Prime ministers signed the Lahore declaration considering the prevention of unauthorised use of their powers which could in turn lead to a conflict.
But the Pakistani army forayed outside the LOC and captured the Indian posts during the winter months. When questioned for their motive by the Indian army, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Nawab Sharif claimed to have not known anything about the same and quoted the ‘infiltrators’ to not have been a part of the Pakistani army but were Mujahideen/Kashmiri freedom fighters. On finding out about the invasion, the Indian army sent their men.
The issue in regards to these posts was its positioning. They were stationed at a high altitude because of which they could easily target and shell the National Highway to Leh. There was a problem not only in terms of security issues of Ladakh but concerning the transport of materials for the army which was via this highway.
The cutting off of Leh would lead to India giving up control over the Siachen glacier, a major supply route, which would give an upper hand to Pakistan in the Kashmir agreement. India launched attacks and retrieved the posts with the help of the Indian air force, but the conquest came at a high price.
By the time India had captured most of the strategic peaks, the Prime Minister, Mr. Nawab Sharif under the US pressure, ordered his army to pull out the troops from the captured Indian posts into their posts. ‘Operation Vijay’, i.e., the mission to recapture the Indian posts was deemed successful on 26th July 1999, and from then the day is yearly celebrated as ‘Kargil Diwas’.
Many villagers lost their livelihood due to the shelling at both ends, with people in Pakistan continuing to struggle in refugee slums till today. Our army lost 500 of its men whereas the loss from Pakistan is said to be between 500-4000 soldiers.
While Pakistan continued to deny responsibility with regards to their direct involvement in the infiltration, after eleven odd years, they released a list to honour the demise of their 500+ soldiers in the war. It was considered to be the “Greatest Blunder” from Pakistan’s end.
This also led to the Indian government introspecting into the follies the Intelligence made, and validated the fact that it had deficits during the operation, which if acknowledged, could have avoided such a grave catastrophe. It is also believed that if our army was allowed to cross the LOC, the war would have ended in minimum fatalities. But this calamity led to India looking to improve the logistics of its defence system for future incursions.
Four of the men that served in the war were awarded the highest Military accolade, the Param Veer Chakra, including Captain Vikram Batra, Manoj Kumar Pandey, Yogendra Singh Yadav and Sanjay Kumar. This war gave birth to the concept of war journalism, with news reporters reporting live from the location. This was highly criticised because the enemy got to know the location of the Indian army which was advantageous for them. The conflict between the two nations had a major impact on its bilateral relations and deemed Pakistan to make irrational decisions. India’s grit strengthened with respect to resolve the Kashmir conflict between the two nations from there onwards.
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