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Nation celebrates Vijay Diwas: This is how the 1999 Kargil War was won

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.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2017 12:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

July 26 marks 18 years of India’s victory over Pakistan in the Kargil War, a high altitude mountain war that broke out in May 1999 along the peaks of Kargil near the Line of Control, the de-facto border that divides Kashmir between the two nations. This fourth full-fledged military showdown between the two countries followed earlier encounters in 1947, 1965 and 1971, erupting after military infiltrators from Pakistan were detected taking control of hills by local nomads in the Indian territory. (Manish Swarup / HT Photo)

As the nation remembers its brave heroes on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas, HT takes a look at how the war unfolded in 1999.

Indian and Pakistani armies fought the war in May-July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and 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.

Kargil was the first televised war viewed extensively by the country.

Here is how the war unfolded:

1999: The war

May 4: Reports of infiltrators atop heights of Kargil. Strategic heights taken over by infiltrators, say reports.

May 5-15: Army patrol sent up to survey. Captain Saurabh Kalia goes missing. He is allegedly tortured and killed in captivity by Pakistani troops.

May 26: Indian Air Force launches air strikes. Flying from the Indian airfields of Srinagar, Avantipur and Adampur, ground attack aircraft MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, Jaguars and the Mirage 2000 strike insurgent positions.

May 27: An IAF MiG-27 goes down. Pilot, who ejects and is taken a prisoner of war by Pakistan, is released after eight days.

May 31: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says it’s a “war-like situation” in Kargil

June 10: Pakistan returns mutilated bodies of six soldiers, India enraged. The six bodies were those of Lt. Saurav Kalia and his men who went to Kaksar area following reports of incursion by Pakistani infiltrators.

June 12: Deadlock at first crisis-time meeting between foreign ministers Jaswant Singh and Sartaj Aziz in Delhi. Aziz told intruders must leave

June 15: US President Bill Clinton urges the Pakistan PM to withdraw troops from Kargil

June 29: Army captures two important posts near Tiger Hill

July 4:Tiger Hill captured. Three battalions -- 18 Grenadiers, 2 Naga, and 8 Sikh -- assault the peak with support from artillery. Nawaz Sharif meets Clinton in Washington

July 5: Sharif announces pull-out of Pakistani troops from Kargil

July 11: Pakistan begins pull out

July 14: India declares operation Vijay a success

July 26: Kargil war comes to an end. India announces complete eviction of Pakistani troops

The casualties

The official death toll on the Indian side was 527, while that on the Pakistani side was between around 450.

The honours

A number of Indian soldiers earned awards for gallantry:[97]

· Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, Param Vir Chakra

· Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous

· Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, Param Vir Chakra, Posthumous

· Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles, Param Vir Chakra

· Captain Anuj Nayyar, 17 JAT Regiment, Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous

· Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, 18 Grenadiers, Maha Vir Chakra, Posthumous

· Captain Haneef-u-ddin, 11 Rajputana Rifles, Vir Chakra, posthumous

· Major Mariappan Saravanan, 1 Bihar, Vir Chakra, Posthumous

· Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Indian Air Force, Vir Chakra, Posthumous

· Havildar Chuni Lal, 8 JAK LI, Vir Chakra. Also awarded Sena Medal for gallantry and posthumously awarded Ashoka Chakra as a Naib Subedar

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 11:32 IST