President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to martyrs on the ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ today.
Tributes were paid in the Parliament, at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass, the Tiger War memorial in Jammu as well as across states as a grateful nation saluted its soldiers.
The day marks the victory of Indian forces over Pakistan in the hills of Kargil and the success of India’s Operation Vijay in 1999.
“On Kargil Vijay Diwas, every Indian acknowledges the efforts and gallantry of our Armed Forces. We salute the ultimate sacrifice of the martyrs of Kargil, and record our everlasting debt to their families,” the president said.
Vice President Naidu said he saluted the valour, courage and sacrifice of the brave jawans that resulted in a “spectacular victory for our country in the Kargil War in 1999”.
Vijay Diwas helps in reminding our countrymen of the bravery of soldiers who are all the time alert in extremely difficult situations and environment in defence of our country and for the safety and security our lives,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Modi said a grateful nation pays homage to all those who served the nation during Operation Vijay and remembered former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for the leadership he provided during the operation.
“Our brave soldiers ensured that India remains protected and gave a befitting answer to those who tried to vitiate the atmosphere of peace.
“India will always remember with pride, the outstanding political leadership provided by Atal Ji during Operation Vijay. He led from the front, supported our armed forces and clearly articulated India’s stand at the world stage,” he said on Twitter.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs — Army chief General Bipin Rawat, Naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa — laid wreaths and paid tributes to the martyrs on the 19th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi.
“We salute all the bravehearts who proudly protect the nation,” the defence minister said.
Other ministers, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union Minister Arun Jaitley also paid tributes.
In the Rajya Sabha, Naidu, who is the chairman of the House, paid tributes on Kargil Vijay Diwas. “Today, on behalf of the whole House and on my own behalf, I pay glowing tributes to our brave soldiers who faced extreme conditions and difficult situation to defend our country to secure our lives,” Naidu said.
Hundreds of miles away, in Drass, top Army officials and families of martyrs remembered the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers.
The 19th Anniversary commemoration of the ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ culminated in Drass, in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, a defence spokesman said.
He said a solemn wreath laying ceremony at the Kargil War Memorial was led by Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Northern Command.
The Kargil Vijay Divas was commemorated at the “Balidan Stambh” and Tiger War Memorial in Jammu also.
Several Chief Ministers, including Himachal Pradesh’s Jai Ram Thakur and Uttarakhand’s Trivendra Singh Rawat also paid tributes.
Rawat said apart from the bravery of the Indian Army, Kargil war would also be remembered for the strong political will shown by then prime minister Vajpayee.
Thakur said his government was committed to the welfare of serving soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families.
“As many as 52 brave sons of the state laid down their lives for the cause of the nation in the Kargil war, out of which seven were from Bilaspur district,” he said.
Out of the four Param Vir Chakras given for the Kargil war, two were given to the brave sons of Himachal Pradesh, he added.