Kargil War facts for kids

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Kargil War also called as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between Indian and Pakistani forces that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and along the Line of Control. In India, the conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay (Hindi: विजय, lit. "Victory") which was the name of the Indian operation to clear the Kargil sector. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Pakistan backed militants into areas on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) to occupy military posts vacated in the winter. India responded by launching a major military and diplomatic offensive to drive out the Pakistani infiltrators. Reportedly, the Pakistan infiltration in the Kargil sector was reported by the local shepherds. The Indian Army launched a number of patrols to the area to estimate the extent of the infiltration. Initially, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri militants, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff revealed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces, led by General Ashraf Rashid. The Indian Army, later on supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LOC within two months of the conflict that were trespass by the infiltrators, according to official count, an estimated 75%–80% of the intruded area and nearly all high ground was back under Indian control. Fearing large-scale increase in seriousness in the military conflict, the international community, led by the United States, increased diplomatic pressure on Pakistan to withdraw forces from remaining Indian territory. Faced with the possibility of international separation, the already fragile Pakistani economy was weakened further. The morale of Pakistani forces after the withdrawal declined as many units of the Northern Light Infantry suffered heavy casualties. The Pakistani government refused to accept the dead bodies of many officers, which provoked anger and protests in the Northern Areas. Pakistan initially did not admitted many of its casualties, but Nawaz Sharif later said that over 4,000 Pakistani troops were killed in the operation and that Pakistan had lost the conflict. The Indian casualties during the conflict stood at 527 soldiers killed, and 1,363 wounded.

The conflict officially came to an end on July 26, with India regaining its earlier hold on Kargil. 26 July, since then, is celebrated in India every year as Vijay Diwas, or Victory Day. India registered decisive military and diplomatic victory in the war.

The Kargil war is one of the most recent examples of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain.

Footnotes

  • Names for the conflict: There have been various names for the conflict. During the actual fighting in Kargil, the Indian Government was careful not to use the term "war", calling it a "war-like situation", even though both nations indicated that they were in a "state of war". Terms like Kargil "conflict", Kargil "incident" or the official military assault, "Operation Vijay", were thus preferred. After the end of the war however, the Indian Government increasingly called it the "Kargil War", even though there had been no official declaration of war. Other less popularly used names included "Third Kashmir War" and Pakistan's codename given to the infiltration: "Operation Badr".

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