Kovind reaches Srinagar on 4-day visit, will pay homage to Kargil war martyrs today

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha receiving President Ram Nath Kovind on his arrival at Srinagar on Sunday.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha receiving President Ram Nath Kovind on his arrival at Srinagar on Sunday.

LG Ladakh, CDS, top Comdrs to receive Prez at Drass
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, July 25: President Ram Nath Kovind reached Srinagar on a four-day visit to Kashmir and Ladakh today and will tomorrow pay homage to indomitable courage and sacrifice of the Indian Armed Forces during Kargil conflict of 1999 at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass sector in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Ahead of the President’s visit, Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Radha Krishna Mathur, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, Northern Command chief Lt Gen YK Joshi and all three General Officers Commanding (GOCs) of Jammu, Srinagar and Leh Corps have reached Drass to receive Kovind and join the Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations.
The President reached Srinagar this morning where he was received by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and senior officers of civil and police administration. He is scheduled to fly to Drass from Srinagar to pay tributes to the martyrs at around 9 am tomorrow.
He will interact with the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, the Chief of Defence Staff, Northern Command chief, other Commanders and Army soldiers at Drass, which is considered to be second coldest place in the world.
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Tomorrow is 22nd anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in Kargil war. It was on July 26, 1999 that the Indian troops had evicted last Pakistan army men and invaders from the heights of Kargil after over 60 days of conflict in which nearly 500 soldiers were martyred. Pakistan had suffered heavy losses.
The President will fly back to Srinagar after participating in Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations in Drass. He is scheduled to attend 19th convocation of Kashmir University on July 27 and will return to New Delhi the next day.
This is the first visit of the President of India, who happens to be Supreme Commander of three Services, to Drass. In 2019, bad weather had prevented the President from visiting Drass to participate in Kargil Vijay Diwas, and instead, he paid tributes by laying a wreath at a war memorial at the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters in Badamibagh in Srinagar.
Ahead of the President’s visit. Gen Bipin Rawat visited the areas along the Line of Control in Drass sector to review the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness of the troops.
The Indian Army said on Twitter on Sunday, “General Bipin Rawat, CDS visited Drass sector along Line of Control and reviewed the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness.”
“The CDS also interacted with troops and complimented them for their high morale and exhorted them to remain resolute and steadfast,” it added.
Besides the CDS, the Northern Command chief and three GOCs of Jammu, Srinagar and Leh are also camping in Drass.
Earlier, Kovind reached Srinagar this morning. He was received by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and senior officers of the police and the civil administration.
The President was accorded a guard of honour. He then headed to Badamibagh Cantonment, which houses the Headquarters of the Army’s 15 Corps or Chinar Corps.
The President will spend the night in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the epic battles of Tololing, Tiger Hill and others were recalled and 559 lamps lit in a tribute to the martyrs at the Kargil War Memorial in Drass area as events to mark the 22nd Kargil Vijay Diwas commenced on Sunday in the presence of top military officers, family members of the Army personnel and others.
A special meet recalling the many inspiring stories of Operation Vijay was organised by the Army at Lamochen near Drass early this morning which was attended by a number of military personnel including the gallantry award winners and families of Kargil War heroes
An account of the battles on Tololing, Tiger Hill, Pt 4875 and other prominent features of the daring feat achieved by the valiant soldiers of the Indian Army were narrated with these very landmarks visible to the audience as they were taken down memory lane.
At the Memorial, 559 lamps were lit, symbolic of the lives sacrificed for the nation, he said.
A fusion of military bands put up a display which was followed by a solemn ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony.
The last event of the day was ‘A Twilight with Brave Hearts’ with the soldiers at Polo Ground, Drass.
Later in the evening, a performance by the fusion band of Indian Army along with their lighted pipers was conducted.
The trailer of Captain Vikram Batra’s biopic, ‘Shershah’ – produced by Dharma Productions – was also released and ‘Maa Teri Kasam’, a soulful and emotive song, conceptualised by Northern Command screened.
Batra sacrificed his life fighting Pakistani forces during the Kargil War in 1999 at the age of 24 and was posthumously awarded the highest wartime gallantry award — the Param Vir Chakra.