Army chief reviews operational preparedness in Drass

Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and top Army Comdrs chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ in Drass on Friday.
Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and top Army Comdrs chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ in Drass on Friday.

Top Comdrs brief Gen Rawat

Rajnath arrives today

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, July 19: A day ahead of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Drass and Kargil, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat today visited Drass sector and reviewed operational preparedness of the troops along with top Army Commanders including Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and General Officer Commanding (GOC) Leh based 14 Corps Lt Gen YK Joshi.
Gen Rawat was briefed on prevailing situation and operational preparedness by Lt Gen Joshi.
India shared Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Kargil district, which has been peaceful after 1999 war, whose 20 years the country is celebrating with great fanfare this year. It was on July 26, 1999 that India had won the two months long war by killing and pushing back all Pakistan Army personnel and intruders, who had occupied the heights in Kargil.
The Army chief inter-acted with soldiers deployed on the LoC and appreciated their tenacity and resolve of guarding the borders in harsh terrain and extreme weather conditions.
Recalling valour and sacrifice of troops who fought during `Operation Vijay’ in 1999 in Kargil sector, Gen Rawat exhorted all ranks to execute their assigned task with same spirits, vigour and responsibility. He called upon all ranks of ‘Fire & Fury Corps’, as the Leh based 14 Corps in known, to re-dedicate themselves towards upholding the values that the Indian Army stands for.
Top Army Commanders including Gen Rawat, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Lt Gen YK Joshi would stay in Drass today and receive the Defence Minister early tomorrow morning. Rajnath would pay tributes at ‘War Memorial’ in Drass before returning to Kargil and holding high-level review of security situation.
President Ram Nath Kovind is also scheduled to visit Drass on July 26, the day ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’ is observed. Kovind will pay tributes to the Kargil martyrs.
Meanwhile, an official statement issued by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will lay a wreath at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass on Saturday to commemorate 20 years of the Indian Army’s Operation Vijay.
The Defence Ministry said Singh will also dedicate to the nation two bridges built by the Border Roads Organisation at Ujh in Kathua district and Basantar in Samba district.
Rajnath will lay the wreath at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass on Saturday on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of ‘Operation Vijay’ that was against the intrusion by militias as well as regular troops of Pakistan in the Kargil sector in Jammu and Kashmir, the statement said.
“Brave soldiers of the Indian Army had overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, hostile terrain, weather and a determined enemy occupying dominating heights, to win the Kargil war with the help of the Indian Air Force, which gave air support to the Army,” the Ministry said.
A host of events have been organized and a few major ones are lined up to mark the 20 years of the conflict.
‘Operation Vijay’ refers to the Indian Army’s limited war against Pakistan’s infiltration in 1999 fought at the icy heights of Kargil, including super-high altitude locations such as Tololing and Tiger Hill.
One of the major events is the relay of a Victory Flame from the National War Memorial (NWM) New Delhi to the Kargil War Memorial at Drass.
The Defence Minister had on July 14 handed over the flame to ace Army shooter Subedar Jitu Rai, who represented India as the first torchbearer at the NWM here.
The Victory Flame is being carried by the Indian Army’s outstanding sportsmen and war heroes from Delhi to Drass.
It will pass through nine major towns or cities of north India and finally culminate at the Karambhoomi of the martyrs at the Kargil War Memorial at Drass on July 26, where it will be received by the Army chief, the Defence Ministry statement said.
All along the journey, Indian Army personnel will pay homage to the heroes who fought valiantly for the nation at the icy heights of Kargil in 1999.
The Victory Flame and the journey of the eternal flame from the National War Memorial to the Kargil War Memorial brings alive the theme of the 20th anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas – ‘Remember, Rejoice and Renew’.
“We ‘remember’ our martyrs by revisiting their sacrifices, we ‘rejoice’ by celebrating the victory in Kargil and we ‘renew’ our resolve to safeguard the honour of the tricolor,” the statement said.