India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26 every year to mark the anniversary of the Indian Army’s victory against Pakistan on this day in 1999, after more than 60 days of armed conflict on the highlands of Kargil in Ladakh. Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed in honour of Kargil’s war heroes, the lives that were lost as a result of the war; soldiers who died in the line of duty serving their motherland.
Kargil Vijay Diwas 2021 arrives in the backdrop of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in India, for which the celebrations will be toned down this year. The epic battles of Tololing, Tiger Hill and others were recalled on Sunday and 559 lamps lit at the Kargil War Memorial in the Drass area of Ladakh, in a tribute to the martyrs. Top military officers, family members of the army personnel and others were present to mark the commencement of the 22nd Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations. President Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to visit Drass on Monday to pay homage at the memorial, located on the foothills of Tololing. On this day every year, the Prime Minister pays his tributes to the armed forces at the ‘eternal flame’, Amar Jawan Jyoti, at India Gate in Delhi. Celebrations are also conducted in the Kargil sector and elsewhere across the country to commemorate the contributions of the Indian Army.
Dubbed ‘Operation Vijay’, the military campaign held in the month of July in 1999 saw the Indian Army troops clearing the Kargil sector of the infiltrators, which included both Pakistani soldiers and rebel forces. Defeating its adversaries in the war, the Indian Army finally hosted the national flag at Kargil on July 26. It is estimated that as many as 527 Indian soldiers died in the war, while more than 1,300 were injured.