Kargil Vijay Diwas: 'Will never forget'; from PM Modi to Rajnath Singh, politicians commemorate 21 years since India-Pakistan war
The Indian Army on this day in 1999 declared an end to 'Operation Vijay' and announced victory after the nearly three-month battle in the icy heights of Kargil.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, among other leaders, paid tribute to Indian soldiers on the 21st anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas.
The day is marked to commemorate India's victory over Pakistan after the Kargil War ended on 26 July, 1999, after Indian soldiers pushed back Pakistani troops, a bulk of them drawn from the neighbouring country's Northern Light Infantry, from the captured peaks in Kargil.
The Indian Army on this day in 1999 declared an end to "Operation Vijay" and announced victory after the nearly three-month battle in the icy heights of Kargil, where it lost more than 500 soldiers.
Modi recalled the sacrifices made by the troops in his 67th Mann Ki Baat address, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh conducted a wreath-laying ceremony at New Delhi's National War Memorial, while Kovind and Shah took to Twitter to praise the soldiers.
'Will never forget': Modi
In his Mann Ki Baat address, Modi said, "On this day, we defeated Pakistan. We will never be able to forget this day. This war occurred at a time and situation nobody can forget. India wanted good relations with Pakistan, but that did not happen."
Modi, recalling how Indian soldiers defeated an enemy "perched on mountain heights", further urged the public to visit www.gallantryaward.gov.in to read about the bravery of the Indian soldiers.
Modi, playing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's message from Red Fort on Kargil, observed that it "resonates even today."
"Before taking any action, let us reflect on whether is is worthy of the sacrifice our soldiers made in Kargil," Modi urged the public.
He also urged the public to avoid posting anything on social media that would demoralise the spirit of the troops.
Modi, prior to his Mann Ki Baat address, praised the valour of the Indian troops on Twitter using the hashtag CourageInKargil:
On Kargil Vijay Diwas, we remember the courage and determination of our armed forces, who steadfastly protected our nation in 1999. Their valour continues to inspire generations.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 26, 2020
President Ram Nath Kovind said the country is forever grateful to soldiers who laid down their lives during the Kargil war to defend ''Bharat Mata.''
Kovind, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, paying tribute to the soldiers on Twitter, said Kargil Vijay Diwas is "a symbol of fearless determination and exceptional valour of our armed forces".
Kovind also presented a cheque of Rs 20 lakh to Delhi's Army Hospital to honour all the soldiers who fought valiantly and made the supreme sacrifice. The money will help doctors and paramedics effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Kovind said on Twitter.
'Source of inspiration'
Singh, at the muted and somber wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial on Sunday, was accompanied by Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General M M Naravane, Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria and Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.
"I congratulate all Indian citizens on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas. The sacrifices made by soldiers, which helped us win the Kargil war, will always be a source of inspiration for the armed forces," Singh told reporters.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the country is proud of the heroes who are dedicated to protecting it and who drove away the enemy from the arduous hills of Kargil.
Shah added that the "Kargil Vijay Diwas" is a symbol of India's self-respect, amazing valour and steadfast leadership.
"I bow to the bravehearts, who, with their indomitable courage, drove the enemy from the difficult hills of Kargil and waved the Tricolour there again. The country is proud of the heroes of India who are dedicated to protecting the motherland," Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.
With inputs from PTI
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