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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Big Salute ~ remembering heroes of Kargil War 1999


We have seen Cine heroes donning role of  Army Jawans and applaud them too –   In our history books, we have read about 3 battles of Panipat, Plassey, Arcot and more …..will we ever read of Tololing or even Kargil ! ~ on every 26th of July, I have been posting on Kargil remembrance (with a tinge of sadness some years as media neglected it) – these years are different as our respected Prime Minister, President, Vice-President all remember this and are paying homage to the martyrs of Kargil war. 

though the Nations share common boundaries and history, India Pakistan have been at logger heads and have gone in war in 1965 & 1971 – both times, India being the victor graciously not pressing any advantage.

Read a newsitem  in Russia Beyond media that in  May 1964, Indian Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan made a visit to the Pentagon, the HQ of the American defence department. Chavan, who was trying to rapidly modernise the Indian military, requested the Americans to sell India the F-104 Starfighter – the most advanced jet fighter of that era.  Although the US had supplied the F-104 and the F-86 Sabres in large numbers – virtually free of cost – to Pakistan, India’s request was rebuffed in an extremely crude manner.

The 1965 War remains memorable for two things. One was a monumental miscalculation by Pakistan. President Ayub Khan, egged on by his scheming and feckless Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, sent a top-secret order to his army chief General Mohammed Musa: “As a general rule, Hindu morale would not stand for more than a couple of hard blows delivered at the right time and the right place. Such opportunities should therefore be sought and exploited.” Secondly, India’s leadership – as it has done consistently over the past 2500 years – frittered away on the negotiating table what the soldiers won on the battlefield.: “In a way, India’s leadership, out of its sense of restraint, fair play and endeavour to seek enduring peace and goodwill with the neighbour, seems to have missed opportunities to solve the problem.” Writes Russia Beyond.

At the end of a bruising 22-day war, India held 1920 square kilometres of Pakistani territory while Pakistan only held 550 square kilometres of Indian land. The Haji Pir pass was also captured by Indian soldiers after an epic battle. And yet India surrendered everything at the Tashkent Declaration in January 1966.

                                        Battle of Asal Uttar was one of the largest tank battles fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was fought from 8 to 10 September 1965, when the Pakistan Army thrust its tanks and infantry into Indian territory, capturing the Indian town of Khem Karan 5 km from the International Border.  The Indian troops retaliated, and after three days of bitter fighting, the battle ended with the Pakistani forces being repulsed near Asal Uttar.  Successful strategy and resilience of the army ensured this success.  This battle is compared with the Battle of Kursk in the Second World War for how it changed the course of the India Pakistan war of 1965 in India's favour.  Asal Uttar means fitting reply and that's exactly what the Indian army gave their Pakistani counterparts when Indian troops, marred by a lack of supplies and ammunition, crushed Pakistani hubris garlanded by an edge in numbers as well as weaponry and tanks.

Now today, is the day of remembrance of our Kargil war heroes. The Nation today pays homage to the jawans who sacrificed their lives in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s leadership for his support to the armed forces during ‘Operation Vijay’. “On #KargilVijayDiwas, a grateful nation pays homage to all those who served the nation during Operation Vijay. Our brave soldiers ensured that India remains protected and gave a befitting answer to those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere of peace. India will always remember with pride, the outstanding political leadership provided by Atal Ji during Operation Vijay. He led from the front, supported our armed forces and clearly articulated India’s stand at the world stage,” he tweeted.

President Ram Nath Kovind, paying his tributes to the martyrs, tweeted: “On Kargil Vijay Diwas, every Indian acknowledges the efforts and gallantry of our Armed Forces. We salute the ultimate sacrifice of the martyrs of Kargil, and record our everlasting debt to their families.”  In Delhi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa paid their tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion.

The Battle of Tololing was one of the pivotal battles in the Kargil War between India's armed forces and troops from the Northern Light Infantry aided by other Pakistan backed irregulars in 1999. The Tololing is a dominant position overlooking the Srinagar - Leh Highway (NH 1D) and was a vital link. The Indian army's casualties on the Tololing peak were half of the entire losses in the whole war. Much of the losses had to do with the nature of the terrain as World War I style frontal charges had to be mounted to reclaim the peaks to dislodge the intruders. The 3 week assault finally culminated with India taking control of the peak and changing the course of the war. 23 Indian Soldiers were killed in the final assault, resulting in one of the costliest battles of the entire war.

We have National Holidays;  We celebrate important days for the Nation including The Independence Day (Aug 15th ) Republic Day (26th  Jan) – we recall the birth and death days of important National leaders.    A day  more important than most of them is … 26th  July…. The Kargil Diwas..   should be  a much celebrated day commemorating the victory in an important  battle for the honour of the Nation.

Great People – Country must remember the Names -  :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav – all should feature  in the history books of the school curriculum.   The illustrious list is not full only some of those 527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are only some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil.

If you can't be a Soldier, admire  a Soldier. If you can't fight at the border, fight the chaos in your neighbourhood. If you can't nurse a soldier's wound, wipe the tears of his family members. If you can’t feed a soldier, pray he sleeps indoors tonight. If you can’t thank him personally, thank his parents. If you can’t help him get back, make sure his body gets home, with all due respect and much more. If you can’t be a soldier, thank them everyday. If you can’t be a soldier, encourage your child to be one. If you can't be a Soldier, learn to always  respect one.

Today,  we remember the martyrs of Kargil.
Jai Jawan, Jai Hind………
Saluting the Warriors guarding us and saving our Nation….

With Great respect to Soldiers – S. Sampathkumar.
26th July 2018.


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