KARGIL WAR: THE STORY OF BLOOD CRY AND PRIDE
Many wars have come and gone, many bloodbaths have happened and gone, but what still stays in our minds is that how courageously our soldiers have fought and gave their lives just to see our flag raised up high. Kargil War is one among them.
Questions like Who won the Kargil war? Why did Kargil start? What was its financial impact? Etc will be covered in this story.
Let’s take you back to the year, 1947 first.
1947, before the Partition of India, Kargil came under the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, but after the 1st Kashmir war held in 1947-48, most of the Kargil area remained in the Indian territory. But when Pakistan completely lost in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971, the entire Kargil area came under Indian territory. This town of Kargil lies on the Line of Control (LOC is the de-facto border between two nations) between India and Pakistan which is located 120km from Srinagar and it faced the Northern areas of Pakistan.
1999, started off as just a regular year. Unlike the other areas in the Himalayas, Kargil had a temperate climate with summers being cool and frigid at nights, and winters being long and extremely cold. At that time, before even this war began, India consisted of only 1 brigade of the Indian army. This brigade comprised of 3 units, consisting about 2,500 soldiers who were guarding the 300km of the Indian Territory along with the LOC between Zojila and Leh. Before the winter, the Indian posts vacated along with the LOC Kargil at the mountain peaks. Not only this, but many roads to these posts also were not motorable due to heavy snowfall. This thing was quite common in both Indians and Pakistanis that due to the extreme weather conditions in winter they abandon their forward posts and they reoccupy them again during the spring season.
But this year, this happened differently. Pakistan Army already reoccupied the forward posts before the scheduled time of re-occupying them. By May 1999, the Pakistani army was already determined to occupy the Kargil posts and thus they did, they gained control over that area. This area was under the control of Indian Army, but yet they took the advantage, and before spring they re-occupied the areas of LOC Kargil. Pakistani Army along with the elite troops from Special Service groups, 4 to 7 battalions of the Northern Light Infantry, were backed up by the Kashmiri guerrillas and Afghans who set up bases on the points where the control was under the Indian Army. They were all prepared and geared up for this war.
Pakistan played a clever step here, they backed up the infiltrators, by covering them with heavy artillery guns (these are guns which are crucial for destroying the bunkers made by the enemies high in the mountains.) Pakistan also wished to cut off the highway which connected Srinagar with Leh, which would thereby cut off Ladakh and Siachen, this move was not expected by India.
The first action which Pakistan took was when the Indian Army’s Captain Saurabh Kalia and five other soldiers went for patrol at the Bajrang post near Dras. Firings were held between them and thus, they fall out of the ammunition and therefore they were captured, tortured and then killed by the Pakistani troops.
But Pakistan didn’t know that the Indian Army by the second week of May was alerted by a shepherd, who gave a tip-off to the Indian-patrol team regarding the presence of some infiltrators within the Batalik area. And just like this, the information started trickling among the locals regarding the Pakistani intrusion and infiltrators. Mohammed Yusuf, an ex-serviceman retired in 1991, stated that his children had spotted the Pakistani troops climbing up the Totoling, while they were grazing their cattle. Therefore after hearing this from his children he rushed towards an army officer of India and told him that they spotted Pakistani soldiers walking towards Bhimbat from Totoling.
Initially, army officers thought that it might be a bunch of militants who entered Indian territory and had occupied their posts. But they didn’t realise what they were up against. With not knowing who exactly the enemies are and roughly getting an idea that only 4-5 militants were there, Brigadier Kushal Thakur commanded 18 Grenadiers, was asked to move his unit to Dras as a part of “Operation Vijay”. As ordered, the unit left and it reached Dras on May 17. Later that day, a conference held regarding the intrusion, but everyone was so confused as no one knew what had happened, nor did they knew regarding the size of the enemy. On May 20, 1999, 18 Grenadiers were told to recapture Totoling first as it was close to the national highway. Within a few days of firing and conflict with them, they realised that the people who are on top were not some militants instead they were soldiers with mortars, machine guns and some automatic weapons, as they were firing at the 18 grenadiers with high intensity.
Knowing the seriousness of the condition, Brigadier Kushal Thakur, on 26th May, then requested for the Indian Air Force helicopter gunships for firing on the bunkers of Pakistan who were at Totoling. Pakistan was so ferocious that they kept on the firings and blasting bombs, the benefit or advantage they had here was that they were held at the dominant positions. Therefore, they could get a clear idea from up. Thus, as planned Indian Air Force was now ready to send its helicopter with gunships for firing, but when it did, the helicopter was brought down by the Pakistani stinger missile. On 27th May two aircraft, MiG 21 and MiG 27 were shot down by Anza MK II, from the Pakistani Army, thus making Flt. Lt. Kambampati Nachiketa, the prisoner of war for Pakistan, leaving the helicopter burst into flames…
Killings did not stop here, within few days, Thakur lost an officer, Major Rajesh Adhikari, then his second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel R Vishwanathan. Not only them, as this totaling lasted for almost 25 days, but Kargil war martyrs were also increasing and increasing. Days were increasing and soldiers were being martyred, but our heroes will still determined to gain victory. Many of the Pakistani bunkers and soldiers were killed.
A lot of bloodsheds was happening, but a lot of bloodsheds was yet to happen. It became quite difficult for our soldiers to reach up the Totoling, due to the dominant position of the Pakistanis, as they noted their every moment, thus any movement had to do only during the night. Due to which high casualties were seen. The infiltrators were full with small arms and grenade launchers, artillery, anti-aircraft guns, which made it quite difficult to protect the national highway no. 1A. This problem was serious because the Pakistanis, from their observational posts, had a clear view to lay down indirect artillery fire on the NH-1A. Thus, the protection of the national highway and the recapturing of the forward posts was an ongoing process throughout the war…
India regained its strength, and after getting the situation under control/ recapturing of the Totoling area, 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (JAKRIF) was allotted the task to recapture, Point 5140. JAKRIF was not successful during its first night, as they couldn’t figure out the enemy bunkers, and thus lost two of its men. In order to save the National Highway, Totaling and Tiger hills were very important. Again, the 18 Grenadiers were instructed to capture the Tiger Hills. This time they were fully prepared, as now they had an idea of the enemy. They prepared around 120 artillery guns, Bofors guns and got adequate high-altitude clothing and shoes. 18 Grenadiers were supported by the 8 Sikh Regiment in order to launch the Operation to Capture the Tiger Hills on 3rd July 1999.
Before this, India was successful in releasing the intercepts of the conversation between the Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aziz Khan in Rawalpindi, as a proof that Pakistan Army was involved. This was done as other countries were stating that this was all done by some infiltrators or some militants. Thus, On 11th June this was proved. Therefore on 15th June, U.S. President Bill Clinton, forced the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Shariff to pull out from Kargil, through a telephonic conversation. Due to this, Pakistanis army’s reinforcements and weapons supply were cut by their own Prime Minister. This led the Pakistani army to move backwards and the Indian army move forward towards the Tiger Hills.
Now coming back to launching of capturing the tiger hills on 3rd July, the army now was well prepared. India and Pakistan fought for continuous 11 hours, with all these firings and blasts, counter attacks, India was successfully reaching the top of the Tiger Hills, the next day. It was a shock for Pakistanis, as they never thought that the Tiger Hills would fall off so easily from their reach.
Following this shock, to the Pakistanis, the Indian army launched its final attacks in the last week of July. With the last of Jihadists in the Drass subsector had been cleared then the fighting ceased on July 26, 1999. And, finally after 2 months 3 weeks and 2 days, Indian Flag was again rising at up-high.
FINANCIAL EXPENSES DUE TO THE KARGIL WAR
Every war not only loses its soldiers but also it loses its finances. War leads to expenses. With this, there were few financial aspects which were made for the military aspect and our economy. Since the moment when the war ended until February 2000, the Indian economy was bullish. This war had faced so many casualties due to which a specific percentage of the amount was given to the casualties.
Not only this, but the Indian Government also planned to increase majorly in military spending. Kargil War led them to raise the defence budget so that the military could acquire more equipment, artillery guns and other equipment.
IMPACT ON THE STOCK MARKET DURING AND AFTER THE KARGIL WAR-
As stated by the source, the Kargil war had cost India close to $1 billion per week. From the end of the war until February 2000, the Indian stock market rose by more than 30%. During the Kargil conflict in 1999, the benchmark indices — Sensex and Nifty — gained 33 per cent each. During the 3-month conflict, the Sensex rallied 1,115 points and Nifty surged 319 points. The leading indices of Indian stock markets showed an initial decline but strong recovery thereafter. The Sensex and Nifty declined 286 points and 79 points in initial 3 trading days, but recovered strongly thereafter and ended higher by 652 points and 191 points when the conflict ended. The overall impact of the Kargil war thus was actually market positive.
During the Kargil War, Indices corrected from higher levels until the war continued. Investors who took part in that correction makes a huge return from their portfolio if they invested in quality or value stocks. The markets only went up even during the first few days of the war. The war had no impact on the GDP growth which was 6.5% in 1999-2000, same as the preceding year.
Also, during the period, Rupee has depreciated by 1.2% against the dollar, while a minor change of 2 bps in 10-Yr G-secs. It may be noted that India had a fiscal deficit of close to 6% in FY2000. Interestingly, the rupee stayed at nearly the same level during the rest of the FY2000 indicating that the value of the rupee is more determined by external factors.
“Freedom doesn’t come to us, we have to fight for it”
Love is something which is stated as the strongest feeling in the world. But different people have different ways to express it. Just like this, our soldiers have previously and even today are showing their love and respect for our country, India. If these Kargil war heroes not been so courageous and so brave, we would have never made it here.
These Kargil war martyrs will always remain in our hearts!! Thus, in order to honour them 26th July, since 1999 has been marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) in India. This one is for our Kargil war officers, our Kargil war Heroes!!
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