New Delhi: The nation today led by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, President Ram Nath Kovind, along with chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, today paid homage to the Kargil War heroes which victory remains fresh even after 22 years.
President Kovid who was to Dras today to pay homage to the soldiers at the Kargil War Memorial located on the foothills of Tololing could not reach Kargil due to an inclement weather. The day was marked with tributes to the heroes of Kargil War. In 1999, the Indian armed forces defeated Pakistan’s attempts to capture strategic heights in Kargil in ‘Operation Vijay’ (victory).
Both the Houses of Parliament stood up to pay their respects to the Kargil martyrs. Recalling the war, Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu said the Indian army showed “exemplary courage and dedication and unflinching determination” in Operation Vijay. He said this momentous victory of Indian soldiers “who went beyond their call of duty” will remain in India’s “memory forever.”
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, “On this occasion, the House applauds the bravery of our soldiers. Our soldiers overpowered the enemy fighting all obstacles and adverse climate conditions. The country is obliged to all the brave hearts….”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to say, “We remember their sacrifices. We remember their valour. Today, on Kargil Vijay Diwas we pay homage to all those who lost their lives in Kargil protecting our nation. Their bravery motivates us every single day…”. He also shared an excerpt from his last year’s Mann Ki Baat radio programme.
With the President being unable to reach Dras, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, was already in Kargil where he took stock of the security situation on Sunday, army officials said.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh visited the National War Memorial in the where he laid a wreath to pay tributes to the martyrs. He said he bows down to the “indomitable valour and sacrifice of the Indian Army.” Singh also made an entry to the visitor’s book at the memorial saying, “nation will continue to follow their ideals.”
Minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt, Chief of Air Staff RKS Bhadauria, Chief of Army Staff MM Naravane, and defence secretary Ajay Kumar also paid homage to the martyrs at the National War Memorial.
Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman also paid respects to the “valour and sacrifice” of the Indian army in Kargil. She tweeted that India’s armed forces have “always risen to every challenge” and held sovereign rights of Indians high.
Union minister G Kishan Reddy said he “salutes and bows in reverence” to all soldiers who fought and laid down their lives for the freedom, sovereignty & territorial integrity of “Maa Bharati.” “Victory of India in Kargil is a testament to our personnel’s unparalleled patriotism,” he said. While defence Minister Rajnath Singh also laid a wreath in Delhi for these soldiers.
Indian army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information (ADGPI) also released a video on Twitter to pay a tribute to these soldiers. Calling the army “strong and capable,” ADGPI said, “26 July Kargil Vijay Diwas epitomises the Saga of Valour of our soldiers during #KargilWar. The gallant soldiers of #IndianArmy triumphed over Pakistani Invaders with undaunted courage & determination.”
Union minister for law and justice, Kiren Rijiju, sharing his photo while laying a wreath for the martyrs, tweeted, “Today, on Kargil Vijay Diwas, we pay homage to all those heroes of our great nation who lost their lives in Kargil protecting our nation,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Opposition party Congress took to Twitter saying that they honour the “bravery and sacrifice” of the army. “Our tribute to the heroes who protect us & inspire the nation.”
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Heartfelt tributes to every soldier who laid down his life for the dignity of our tricolour.” “We will always remember yours and your family’s supreme sacrifice for the security of the country. Jai Hind,” he said.
The day was also celebrated in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where CINCAN Lt Gen Ajai Singh laid wreath at Birchgunj Military Station and called for jointness among Armed Forces and the function was attended by veterans of all the three services.
To mark the occasion, Eastern Naval Command paid homage to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives fighting for the country. Vice Admiral Sreekumar Nair, Director General Naval Projects, Visakhapatnam, Manish Kumar Sinha, Commissioner of Police, Visakhapatnam and Commodore Rahul Gokhale, Commanding Officer INS Circars participated in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at ‘Victory at Sea’ War Memorial, Visakhapatnam.
A 50 men Guard of Honour performed the ‘Salami Shastra’ and Vice Admiral Nair placed the floral wreath. While the bugler sounded the ‘Last Post’, a two-minute silence was observed.