Kargil War of 1999- Fought on the Highest Battleground on Earth

Kargil War

India fought many wars against its neighbor Pakistan and China. Here’s the list of war :- First Kashmir War of 1947, Sino-Indian War of 1962 ,Second Kashmir War of 1965, Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, Kargil war of 1999.

In this article we will read about the last war fought between India and Pakistan. The war witnessed the highest ground battle on earth. 

Kargil War

Kargil War of 1999

The last war India fought was the Kargil War of 1999. This war was fought in the highest battleground in the world which is the Siachen Glacier. The conflict was triggered when Pakistani troops disguised themselves as Kashmiri militants. They infiltrated into strategic positions on the Indian side of the LoC. India launched Operation Vijay and Operation Meghdoot in order to flush out the Pakistani Troops and Militants from the Indian side of LoC. Again this was an utter defeat of Pakistan in the war with around 4,000 casualties and more than 1,000 were wounded. 

Why did the Kargil War start ?

Kargil War of 1999

Actually after the nuclear tests of India and Pakistan both the countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999. But the problem started when the Pakistani Armed Forces  disguised themselves as Kashmiri militants and infiltrated the Indian territory. The infiltration was codenamed “Operation Badr”. Its aim was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh, and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier. Actually they were forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute. Pakistan wanted to internationalize the Kashmir dispute which was against the Lahore Declaration so they believed that any tension would internationalize this Kashmir dispute. 

Pakistani Lieutenant General Shahid Aziz, and then head of ISI analysis wing, has confirmed there were no mujahideen but only regular Pakistan Army soldiers who took part in the Kargil War. Pakistani intrusions took place in the heights of the lower Mushkoh Valley, along the Marpo La ridgeline in Dras, in Kaksar near Kargil, in the Batalik sector east of the Indus River, on the heights above of the Chorbat La sector where the LOC turns North and in the Turtuk sector south of the Siachen area. 

India launched Operation Vijay and Operation Meghdoot in order to flush out the Pakistani Troops and Militants from the Indian side of LoC. Because of the nature of the terrain, division and corps operations could not be mounted and the fighting was conducted mostly at the brigade or battalion level.

In this war all the three arms of Indian Armed Forces– The Indian army, The Indian Air Force and The Indian Navy participated.

Role of Air Force in the Kargil War 

Kargil War of 1999 Air Force

On May 4, 1999, the Indian Air Force (IAF) participated in the Kargil war to provide close support to the Indian Army. The IAF strike was code named Operation Safed Sagar. 

The strikes were launched on 26 May, where the IAF struck an infiltration position with fighter aircraft. Initially MiG-27s carried out offensive roles the MiG-29s provided fighter cover. They also deployed radars in vast numbers to monitor the Pakistani military movements.

The IAF suffered its first fatality on 27 May when they lost a MiG-21 and MiG-27. 

They withdrew helicopters from offensive roles when a Mi-17 Helicopter was shot down by the Stinger Missiles. They took a precautionary measure against the threat of the Man-Portable-Air-Defense-System (MANPAD).

The IAF used Mirage-2000s in the offensive roles as it had better performance in high altitudes and it was capable of countering MANPAD. 

They successfully targeted and destroyed enemy camps and completely disrupted their supply chains. They defended Tiger Hill and recaptured the territory.

By 26 July 1999, Indian forces successfully repelled the Pakistani forces from Kargil.

Role of Indian Navy 

Kargil War of 1999 Navy

The Indian Navy also prepared to blockade the Pakistani ports to cut off supply routes under Operation Talwar. The Indian Navy’s western and eastern fleets joined in the North Arabian Sea and began aggressive patrols and threatened to cut Pakistan’s sea trade. This exploited Pakistan’s dependence on sea-based oil and trade flows. Later, then–Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif disclosed that Pakistan was left with just six days of fuel to sustain itself if a full-scale war had broken out.

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