India is observing Kargil Vijay Diwas on Sunday to commemorate its victory over Pakistan in the high-altitude conflict in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district and along the Line of Control (LoC) and pay tributes to soldiers who lost their lives more than two decades ago.
India launched Operation Vijay to clear the posts in the Kargil sector, which was occupied by the Pakistani soldiers and infiltrators on the Indian side of the LoC.
The armies of the nuclear-armed nations fought the war between May and July in 1999.
The Indian Army, with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF), wrested back the glaciated heights of Kargil, in the Ladakh sector, from the Pakistan army.
The Kargil War, which lasted a little over two months and ended on July 26, 1999, led to 527 deaths on India’s side.
Here are some facts about the Kargil War:
* India and Pakistan fought the Kargil War between May and July of 1999 in Kargil district under the temperature of minus 10 degree Celsius.
* The conflict began after Indian forces detected infiltrations by Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory. The Pakistani side had a strategic advantage during the start of the conflict as they positioned themselves in key locations and could fire at advancing Indian troops.
* The Indian Army was able to ascertain the points of incursion based on information from local shepherds and launched Operation Vijay.
* IAF’s launched its air operations under Operation Safed Sagar in support of the army on May 26. Indian MiG-21, MiG-27 and Mirage-2000 fighters fired rockets and missiles throughout the Kargil War at the “fortified enemy positions” from their side of LoC.
* IAF had planned to bomb targets in Pakistan during the Kargil War. But the then National Democratic Alliance or NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee instructed the then IAF chief air chief marshal AY Tipnis that his fighter jets must not cross LoC under any circumstances.
* IAF also wanted to cross the LoC slightly during the Kargil War but this request was also rejected by the government.
* Pakistan shot down two Indian fighter jets while another crashed during the operation.