LION HEARTED PATRIOTS AT KARGIL

AUM
LION HEARTED PATRIOTS AT KARGIL
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Twenty years ago we Indians fought a war at Kargil against wily Pakistanis to evict them from our land that they had surreptitiously occupied during winter season contrary to an understanding between the two nations. We won the fiercely fought war from May to July 1999 and it was on 26th July that our Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee declared that the Kargil and adjoining areas were vacated by the intruders. Thereafter every 26 July is marked for celebration as Kargil Vijay Divas. We are observing the Twentieth anniversary of our victory over Pakistan this year.
Indeed it was a military, political and diplomatic victory of ours. Our three armed forces and the civil administration had whole heartedly united to achieve the great goal. Of course, different names were given by the three services. The Army called it Operation Vijay, the Air Force named it Operation Safed Sagar and the Navy called it Operation Talwar. The Navy’s role was rather limited in blocking the Karachi Port during the period of conflict.
Let us deal with the role of the Indian Air Force and then move on to the Indian Army for the biggest slice of the cake.
The Indian Air Force flew as many as 5,000 sorties over Kargil and the adjoining territory to bomb, rocket and strafe the Pakistan Army soldiers and their cohorts, terrorists and sundry infiltrators. Mig 21, Mig 29, and mainly Mirage 2000 were our main war horses. The daredevil pilots of Mirages flew at an elevation of 32,000 ft above sea level to carry on their assigned missions. They did precision target practice to destroy the enemy supply dumps and break their morale. Pakistan had no wherewithal to counter the fierce attack of our Mirage 2000 fighter-bomber jets. It put a stop to the supply line of the enemy of fighting munitions, weaponry, ration and sundry supplies. Their troops came to such a sorry state of affairs that they were forced to subsist on sugar rations alone. It broke their back and will to fight.
Operation Safed Sagar of our Air Force was indeed a turning point. It has been termed as a landmark in military aviation.
The Indian Army walks away with the cake and the credit for winning the Kargil war rightly goes to the wisdom and valour of officers and Jawans of the Indian Army. Our officers and men suffered serious casualties and privations but they fought on with high morale. Patriotism was the main motivating factor for them to kill the enemy and throw them out of our land.
The Indian journalists also played their important role. Both print and TV journalists risked their lives to do objective reporting from the frontline boosting the morale of our troops. Many a time the diehard journos incurred the ire of top brass of the military owing to objective and truthful reporting even to the point of criticizing the burra sahibs for their lack of imaginative planning , preparation and execution of plans. Some of journos were on the verge of being thrown out of the theatre of war but their objective coverage of battles fought and won earned them grateful thanks of junior officers and jawans. So much so that the troops shared their rations and helmets to provide sustenance and protection to scribes from enemy fire. Indeed a fine example of bon-homie it was.
Our Army made a break through with the capture of Tololing peak and the finale was occupation of the Tiger Hills by evicting the enemy. Of course, in these military operations our Army suffered many casualties. Some brave hearts made the supreme sacrifice but that encouraged their soldiers to battle on. Four of them were awarded Param Vir Chakra for displaying chivalry beyond the call of duty.
Caot Vikram Batra of 13, Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and Lt Manoj Pande of the first battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles fulfilled their assigned task despite making the supreme sacrifice eventually. One major peak there is named after Capt Vikram Batra as Batra top and beckons all ranks to move on and on until the goal s achieved. Vikram had a sense of humour too. When his senior officers asked him to take some rest from his arduous mission, he jokingly replied “ Yeh Dil Mange More” and pressed on with the dangerous tasks.
The other two awardees of the Param Vir Chakra were sepoys or riflemen who lived on and on to fulfil the mission of killing the enemy and getting them out of our areas. Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav of the 18 Grenadiers is a brilliant example of a military hero. The other soldier of grit and determination who carried the day was Rifleman Sanjay Kumar of 13, JAK Rifles. Both are Junior Commissioned Officers now and march past the Rashtrapati in their jeeps on every Republic Day. Indeed they are perennial sources of inspiration to our new generations.
Indeed there are many officers and soldiers who were killed in action. They made the supreme sacrifice while on duty to protect our motherland from intruders, terrorists and undeclared enemies. Their names are engraved on a Memorial Wall at Dras and many hundreds of visitors pay their Shraddhanjali to them. The Kargil War Memorial at Dras is worth visiting. The place of pilgrimage is a perpetual source of inspiration to our youth. The Army organizes visits of students and kith and kin of those who are no more with us to enable them to pay their obeisance to the loved ones who made an exit from this world while doing their duty.
The Kargil War Memorial at Dras records names of martyrs. It epitomizes the valour and wisdom of officers and Jawans who cared for Bharat and paid little heed to their own safety. Indeed we are proud of them.
It would be befitting to record here that as many as 524 brave Indians in uniform find a place here on the Roll of Honour. The enemy had lost 700 plus men in their misadventure. We as good soldiers buried the enemy dead because their own countrymen refused to accept their mortal remains for the last rites. Of course under political pressure of Pakistan top brass they came down on their knees begging for the bodies of men who mattered.
Let there be no meaningless bloodshed. We do not go to war of our own volition but if it is thrust on us by wily enemies like Pakistan, we do not shirk our duty to our country. The good Indian men and women are always prepared to do the utmost for the motherland. Maryada Purshottam Shri Ram told his Lanka admiring compatriots that our Mother and Motherland take precedence over Heaven:
JANANI JANMABHUMISHCH SWARGADAPI GARIYASI.
Email: aumchitranjansawant@gmail.com Mobile: 9811173590.

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About vedicupvan

AUM. I AM 82 YEARS OLD AND BY THE GRACE OF ISHWAR AND GOOD WISHES OF LOVED ONES AM ENJOYING GOOD HEALTH. I AM A RETIRED ARMY BRIGADIER AND HAD HUNG MY SPURS MORE THAN A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AGO. I AM A MEDIA COMMENTATOR AND HAVE BEEN DOING RUNNING COMMENTARY ON THE REPUBLIC DAY PARADE AT RAJPATH NEW DELHI AND INDEPENDENCE DAY CEREMONY AT THE RED FORT FOR OVER FOUR DECADES. I AM HAPPILY MARRIED. OUR TWO DAUGHTERS AND A SON ARE WELL SETTLED IN LIFE. NOW I TRAIN THE NEW GENERATION IN THE ART OF PUBLIC SPEAKING.
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