Week-long celebrations of Vijay-Diwas conclude, nation pays homage to war heroes

KARGIL :  Nation paid homage to Kargil War Heroes on the concluding day of the week-long celebrations of 16th Vijay-Diwas, the victory of Indian Army to evict the Pakistani intruders who had occupied all heights in Kargil and Drass sectors in 1999.
A number of programs were organised during the week-long celebrations at War Memorial at Drass, the second coldest place in the world after Siberia on strategic national highway, connecting the Ladakh region with Kashmir.
Large number of people, including the families of brave soldiers who made supreme sacrifice during about two-month-long Kargil war, joined a number of functions at War Memorial yesterday. In the evening, people lit candles near the memorial.        The martyrs made supreme sacrifice to evict the Pakistani intruders, who had occupied almost all heights in Kargil and Drass sectors in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in 1999.     The main function was held at the Dras Memorial at the base of the famous Tololing feature.
The memorial has been constructed by the Army in the memory of the brave sons of the soil.
It took Indian Army about two months to push back or kill the intruders, who had occupied these heights when the Indian troops had withdrawn during winter.
During the winter months, both Indian and Pakistani Army personnel used to withdraw from their posts to reoccupy them in summer as the temperature on the Line of Control (LoC) dips to about minus 20 degree celsius to minus 40 degree during winter.
However, to the surprise of the Indian troops, Pakistani intruders had occupied the heights on this side of the LoC in 1999.
The proceedings began with a solemn Wreath Laying Ceremony organised at War Memorial by senior serving and retired officers, gallantry award winners as well as family members of gallant martyrs.
This was followed by Sainik Sammelan, where speakers recalled how our Armed Forces had always risen to the occasion and especially during ‘Operation Vijay’,  unmindful of the adverse terrain and extreme weather conditions.
“Our troops braved untold hardship and demonstrated indomitable spirit and excellent fighting skills to safeguard the honour and territorial integrity of the nation,” the speakers said.        They called upon all ranks and file to draw inspiration from the unity of purpose, steely resolve and spirit of sacrifice, displayed then by our Armed Forces and continue to strive hard to maintain these standards.
However, they said the victory was not possible without the contribution and sacrifice of the people of Kargil and the country has to remember their contribution also.
Later on, the Sainik Sammelan culminated with the honouring of Veer Naris and next of the kin of martyrs and an interaction with them.
This event led to the exhibition of War Memorabilia which showcased a variety of equipment used by both sides during the conflict. (AGENCIES)


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