Army begins celebrating Kargil war anniversary

DRASS, J&K: The Indian Army in its full military grandeur today began the two-day celebrations of the 13th anniversary of its victory in the 1999 Kargil war with the hoisting of a massive national flag at the War Memorial in Drass sub-sector of the district.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Army’s Northern Command Lt Gen K T Parnaik and Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal were the chief guests at the flag-hoisting ceremony, which was held earlier this morning.

“Since independence, the Indian Army fought several wars and in every war it was victorious. The war of 1999 was a unique war,” Lt Gen Parnaik said as he paid tributes to the officers and soldiers who died in the war.

The commander said the day was “very important” for the Army.

A polo match between a local team and Army’s Ladakh Scouts was held later in the day followed by a cultural program by local artists and Army units.

A motorcycle show by Army’s ‘Tornadoes’ team was also held on day one of the celebrations.

The two-day commemoration also included a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial, ‘sainik samelan’ (soldiers meet), memorial service and band display.

Bollywood singer-musician trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy were to perform a stage show as part of the anniversary commemoration, army officials in-charge of organizing the events here said.

The Kargil war, which began in May 1999, lasted more than two months before Pakistani soldiers withdrew from the mountain tops they had occupied overlooking the Srinagar-Leh highway.

In the battle with Pakistani forces, the Army lost nearly 500 officers, soldiers and jawans, many of whom were posthumously given gallantry awards. Drass War Memorial, which has been built in the foothills of the Tololing Hill, will host most of the ceremonies scheduled over the two days.

Widows and relatives of the soldiers who lost their lives in more than two months of intense battles in Kargil, Mushkok, Batalik and Drass will be present through all the memorial events to mark the anniversary.

Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia was also present during the flag hoisting ceremony.

The flag is 37 and a half feet in length, 25 feet in width and weighs 15 kilograms. -PTI

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