Vijay Diwas: Revisiting The Kargil War 20 Years Later; When & What Happened

Celebrations were held across the country on the occasion of Vijay Diwas on Friday to commemorate India’s victory in the Kargil war.

The Kargil War was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan between May and July 1999 in Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LoC). In India, the conflict is also referred to Operation Vijay, which was launched to flush out Pakistani troops and infiltrators from their mountain holdouts.

Here’s the timeline of the events as they unfolded in 1999:

3 May: Local shepherds in Kargil first report about Pakistani infiltrators

5 May: Indian Army sends patrol team. Five Indian soldiers captured and tortured to death

9 May: Heavy shelling by Pakistani army damages ammunition dump in Kargil

10 May: Infiltrations first spotted in Dras, Kaksar and Mushkoh sectors

Mid-May: Indian Army confirms that 600 to 800 infiltrators have crossed the LoC and are stationed in and around Kargil. Army moves in more troops from Kashmir Valley to Kargil sector

26 May: Indian Air Force (IAF) launches air strikes against infiltrators

27 May: IAF loses two fighters—MiG-21 and MiG-27. Flight Lieutenant Nachiketa taken prisoner of war by Pakistan

28 May: Pakistan shoots down IAF MI-17, killing four air crews

31 May: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declares that it’s a “war-like situation with Pakistan”

1 June: Defence Minister George Fernandes offers “safe passage” for the intruders back to Pakistan. USA and France begin diplomatic efforts to end tension and hold Pakistan responsible for crossing LoC. Pakistan steps up attacks and bombs National Highway-1

5 June: Indian Army releases documents recovered from three Pakistani soldiers indicating Pakistan’s involvement

6 June: Indian Army launches major offensive in Kargil

9 June: Indian Army re-captures two key positions in the Batalik sector

10 June: Pakistan returns the mutilated bodies of six soldiers of the Jat Regiment, fueling condemnation for the barbaric act

13 June: Indian Army captures Tololing peak in Dras sector, changing the course of the war. Prime Minister Vajpayee visits Kargil

15 June: US President Bill Clinton telephones Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and tells him to pull out Pakistani troops from Kargil

29 June: Indian Army captures two vital posts—Point 5060 and Point 5100—near Tiger Hill

2 July: Indian Army launches three-pronged attack in Kargil

4 July: Indian Army recaptures Tiger Hill after an 11-hour battle. Clinton meets Sharif in Washington DC and reiterates call for withdrawal of Pakistani troops from Kargil

5 July: Indian Army takes control of Dras. Sharif announces Pakistani army’s withdrawal from Kargil following his meeting with Clinton

7 July: India recaptures Jubar Heights in Batalik

11 July: Pakistan begins retreat; India captures key peaks in Batalik

12 July: Sharif addresses Pakistan in a televised speech to explain the retreat and proposes talks with Vajpayee

14 July: Vajpayee declares Operation Vijay a success. Government sets condition for talks with Pakistan

26 July: Kargil conflict officially comes to an end. Indian Army announces complete eviction of Pakistani intruders

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