New Delhi: Since 1999, July 26 is celebrated as the Kargil Vijay Diwas to commemorate the victory of Operation Vijay. The operation was launched by the Indian Army to recapture the Indian territories from Pakistani intruders in the Kargil-Drass sector in 1999.
The anniversary is observed each year across the nation to show respect and gratitude to the brave servicemen of the armed forces who laid down their lives to re-capture all positions that had been seized by the Pakistan Army.
Here’s a brief timeline of the 1999 Kargil War:
- May 3: Pakistani intrusion in Kargil reported by local shepherds
- May 5: Indian Army patrol sent up to check; five Indian soldiers were captured and tortured to death.
- May 9: Heavy shelling by Pakistan Army damaged ammunition dump in Kargil
- May 10: Infiltrations were first noticed in Dras, Kaksar, and Mushkoh sectors
- By mid-May, Indian Army moved in more troops from Kashmir Valley to Kargil Sector
- May 26: IAF launched air strikes against infiltrators
- May 27: The IAF lost two fighters – MiG-21 and MiG-27;. Flt Lt Nachiketa was taken POW
- May 28: IAF MI-17 shot down by Pakistan; four air crew were killed in the attack.
- June 1: Pakistan stepped up attacks; bombed NH 1
- June 5: Indian Army released documents recovered from three Pakistani soldiers indicating Pakistan’s involvement
- June 6: Indian Army launched major offensive in Kargil
- June 9: Indian Army re-captured two key positions in the Batalic sector
- June 11: India released intercepts of conversation between Pakistani Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf, while on a visit to China and Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Aziz Khan in Rawalpindi, as proof of Pakistani Army’s involvement
- June 13: Indian Army secured Tololing in Dras
- June 15: US President Bill Clinton, in a telephonic conversation, asked Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to pull out from Kargil
- June 29: Indian Army captured Point 5060 and Point 5100 near Tiger Hill
- July 2: Indian Army launched three-pronged attack in Kargil
- July 4: Indian Army recaptured Tiger Hill after an 11-hour battle
- July 5: Indian Army took control of Dras. Sharif announced Pakistani army’s withdrawal from Kargil following his meeting with Clinton
- July 7: India recaptured Jubar Heights in Batalik
- July 11: Pakistan began pullout; India captured key peaks in Batalik
- July 14: Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared Operation Vijay a success. Government set condition for talks with Pakistan
- July 16: Kargil conflict officially came to an end with the Indian Army announcing complete eviction of Pakistani intruders.
Notably, there were three major phases to the Kargil War. First was when Pakistan infiltrated its men into the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir and occupied strategic locations, in the process bring NH1 within range of its artillery fire. The second was India discovering the infiltration and mobilising forces to respond to it and the final stage involved major battles by Indian and Pakistani forces resulting in India recapturing most of the territories held by Pakistan.