On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army recaptured all the military posts in Kargil that had been occupied by Pakistani troops and militants. In honor of the Army’s successful mission (called Operation Vijay), July 26 is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Diwas every year since then.
On this day, the Prime Minister and the President of India commemorate the sacrifices made by our soldiers in this war. The official death toll of the war on the Indian side was 527. Meanwhile, the casualty figure on the Pakistani side is said to be 453.
The Kargil war is believed to have been orchestrated by the then Pakistani Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf. According to media reports, the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wasn’t kept in the loop. In fact, Sharif had flown to Washington and asked the United States to intervene but then US President Bill Clinton declined to do so until Pakistani troops withdrew from the Line of Control (LoC).
Kargil War Timeline
May 3, 1999: Local shepherds in Kargil alerted the Indian Army about Pakistani troopers and militants in the region.
May 5, 1999: At least five Indian Army jawans were killed by the Pakistani troops.
May 9, 1999: Heavy shelling by Pakistan Army targeted the Indian Army’s ammunition depots in Kargil.
May 10, 1999: Pakistan Army personnel and militants penetrated into Dras and Kaksar Sectors across the LoC. On the same day, the Indian Army launched ‘Operation Vijay’.
May 26, 1999: Indian Air Force is called to conduct air strikes. Several infiltrators were eliminated.
June 1, 1999: France and the USA hold Pakistan responsible for the military operation against India.
June 5, 1999: India released a dossier revealing Pakistan Army’s involvement.
June 9, 1999: Indian Army jawans recaptured two key positions in the Batalik Sector.
June 13, 1999: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister of India, visited Kargil. On the same day, the Indian Army regained control of Tololing peak.
July 4, 1999: Indian Army recaptured Tiger Hill.
July 5, 1999: Nawaz Sharif announced the Pakistani Army’s withdrawal from Kargil.
July 12, 1999: Pakistan troopers were forced to retreat.
July 26, 1999: Indian Army recaptured all the positions occupied by Pakistan. ‘Operation Vijay’ was declared a success.
Kargil War significance
The Kargil War made Pakistan realize that it wouldn’t receive international support if its army embarks on such misadventures against India. Pakistani armed forces also realized the strength of India’s counter-response. As for India, the Kargil War proved what India had been telling the world for years — Pakistan is a reckless and financially unstable state and its Army tries to punch way above its weight. However, India also had to come to terms with the fact that its intelligence ecosystem had massive lags.