Walk To Battle Sites, Flame to Mark 20 Years of Kargil Victory
- The government will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Kargil War against Pakistan this year in Dras, Leh and Delhi with events such as expeditions to the battle sites, ‘victory flame’ and an outreach programme to highlight the conflict being planned.
- Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated on July 26 – the day the over two-month-long war ended in 1999 after Indian troops recaptured the positions that were intruded upon by Pakistani soldiers – every year to honour the soldiers who laid down their lives in the war.
- This time the celebrations are planned to be held in a much grander way than in the previous years, officials said.
- This will be one of the biggest events for Rajnath Singh as the defence minister. Also, Lieutenant General Y K Joshi, the commander of the 14 Corps that oversees the Kargil area, had fought the war as the commanding officer of the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles unit. Therefore, there is a renewed focus on the celebrations, officials said.
- The army has made a tentative plan of the celebratory events. While it awaits approval, officials said the theme this year is ‘remember, rejoice and renew’.
- ‘Remember’ relates to a planned media campaign on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The army is already posting pictures and information on the war on Twitter. “Programmes, documentaries and TV series on acts of bravery during the war are being planned as well,” said an official.
- ‘Rejoice’ relates to the start of the celebrations. Several activities as run-up to the main events will be carried out. An important activity is expeditions to the places where the battle was fought. This will include an expedition to ‘Batra Top’, where Captain Vikram Batra – known for using the advertising slogan ‘Yeh dil maange more’ – died during its capture. Another expedition is planned to Tololing.
- A victory flame is planned to be flagged off from the National War Memorial on July 14 and is expected to reach the Dras War Memorial on July 26, officials said. A Kargil anthem is also planned to be released and its video will be shot in Kargil and surrounding areas. A Kargil microsite, which will show stories of valour, photographs and videos of the war, is being created. The aim is to motivate the youth.
- Other activities such as sports tournaments for the local youth in Ladakh is also being planned. A seminar by a strategic think tank on 20 years of the war will take place in July.
- The main events will take place from July 25-27. One of them will be a commemoration ceremony in Delhi on July 27 morning, while another event will be held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in the evening.