By Lt Col BM Thapa (Retd)
Dehradun, 26 Jul: The General Officer Commanding of Uttarakhand Sub Area along with other defence personnel and veterans paid floral tribute to the martyrs of the Kargil War at the Lal Gate War Memorial in Cantonment, here, today.
Others who were present on the occasion were the Station Commander, Commander, 42 Infantry Brigade, CO, 12 Garhwal, Col A, Col Veteran, Lt Gen GS Negi (Retd), Chief Patron Dehradun Ex-Services League, Vice Admiral HCS Bisht (Retd), Lt Col BM Thapa (Retd), Senior Vice President, Dehradun Ex-Services League, etc.
It was recalled on the occasion that on 26 July, 1999, showing great courage, indomitable valour, steely grit and unshakable determination, India’s Defence Forces recaptured every inch of the motherland and killed every Pakistani infiltrator, who had deceptively and treacherously occupied the top most features like Tiger Hill, Point 4875 and other hills.
During this war, 527 Jawans, JCOs and Officers achieved martyrdom and over 1363 were seriously wounded and disabled. This war was fought at the heights of over 14,000 to 16,000 feet above sea level in the most inhospitable and steep mountain ridges. History will always recall how military operations were launched and victory gained in such a short span of time in such difficult terrain and altitude. For the bravery and valour of the soldiers “who sacrificed their today for your tomorrow” the President of India awarded four Param Vir Chakras (PVC) two posthumously, Nine Maha Vir Chakras (MVC), six posthumously, and 55 Vir Chakras (VrC) and many more gallantry awards. Capt Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rif (posthumous), Lt Manoj Pandey 1/11 Gorkha Rifles (posthumous), Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar 13 JAK Rifles were the recipients of the PVC.
The Pakistani intruders had positioned themselves on Tololing Top, Tiger Hill, Pt 4875, Pt 4590, Pt 5100 and Pt 5140. The names of these hilltops became familiar to the people of India as these were getting reported in the Press and Electronic Media during the successes of Indian Forces. Capt Vikram Batra played a sterling role in the capture of feature Pt 5140, a critical peak from the point of view that it overlooked the Srinagar–Leh highway which was important for logistics and supply of reinforcements for the Indian Army. Its capture facilitated the subsequent capture of other hill tops, i.e., Pt 4750, 4875 and Tiger Hill and finally led to victory of India. After the capture of pt 5140, Capt Vikram Batra radioed his commanding officer and said the success signal, “Yeh Dil Mange More”, which made the entire nation admire this war icon.