The Indian northernmost state, Jammu and Kashmir is claimed in entirety by both India and Pakistan. Based on the legality of the Instrument of Accession signed by the last maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, the de jure situation in the state is that the whole of the state belongs to India. But during the 1947-1948 India-Pakistan war, a part of the state was captured by Pakistan, which remains occupied by Pakistan even to this day.

India and Pakistan fought 3 major wars during 1947-48, 1965 and 1971. However, though India was victorious in the wars, the results did not favour India much as India stuck to its humanitarian terms to solve the Kashmir issue bilaterally. However, the Kargil war was the real victory for India, when it thwarted Pakistan’s nefarious designs of occupying the Ladakh region of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (now a separate union territory on its own).

The Kargil war happened between May and July in 1999, when the Pakistan army, disguised as Kashmiri militants, entered the Indian territory in Kargil to incite violence among the locals, and take some part of the Ladakh territory. Operation Vijay was launched by the Indian army to hold back the positions occupied by Pakistan. By July, all the infiltrators were drove away from Kargil sector, creating a major victory for India, possibly the first time at such high altitude and rough terrain.

Pakistan denies being involved in the Kargil warfare. The insurgency in Kashmir was at its peak in the 1990s and its stand was that the Kargil was an insurgency caused by local militants (some from Gilgit Baltistan region, which is under the occupation of Pakistan). The Kargil war was a major boost for the Indian military, again exposing the fact that the Indian military is capable of defending its territory in extreme mountainous terrain also.

The Kargil war occupies an important place in the hearts of Indians. Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated countrywide every year on 26th July, the day when the Indian army declared victory in the battle. Many films have been made, depicting the war, or related to the developments of war during the Kargil war. Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl (2020) and Shershaah (2021) are two latest movies made on the backdrop of the Kargil war.

Written by – Himadri Paul