Nation salutes Kargil martyrs

Tribute: They sacrificed their lives defending Indias unity, says PM

Nation salutes Kargil martyrs


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Navy chief admiral Sureesh Mehta at the India Gate to commemorate Kargil war's 10th anniversary on Sunday. AFP

 The day marked the 10th anniversary of the armed forces’ victory over Pakistani troops.

“I join the entire nation in paying homage to the martyrs of the Kargil war. They sacrificed their lives in defence of Indian unity and integrity,” the Singh wrote in the visitor’s book at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.

During the Kargil conflict, the Congress had attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for the lapses that led to incursions by the Pakistani soldiers, who had to be evicted from 13 mountain peaks after a nearly two month-long war.

The BJP has always criticised the Congress for downplaying the events organised to commemorate the end of the conflict.  As the Prime Minister, accompanied by Defence Minister A K Antony and other senior armed forces officials, laid the wreath, a contingent of tri-services guards presented the salute and buglers sounded the last post. A two-minute silence was observed in memory of brave officers who laid down their lives for the country.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the Operation Vijay, the Army is holding a series of events in the Kargil-Drass sector, which are being attended by the officers who took part in the war, gallantry award winners and their families and senior Army officials. “ The Army and Air Force personnel will be heli-dropped on the recaptured peaks, which will be lighted during the night and photo exhibition, beating retreat and felicitation of war awardees will be the highlights of the programme,” Army officials said.

As many as 610 jawans and officers had sacrificed their lives while re-capturing 13 hill points from Pakistani troops after they had sneaked into Indian posts and occupied the heights in 1999. Joining the war, the Indian Air Force had launched its Operation “Safed Sagar” to evict the enemy troops sitting on the peak. It had lost two MiG 27s and one Mi-17 helicopter in the battle.

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