It may be the first Vijay Diwas celebration for Jawaharlal Nehru University, but it hasn't been the first for our brothers in the defence. Since 1999, it has been revered and observed with diligence by the families who had lost their sons in the battle. JNU may be compensating for its past opinions on the Indian army (read Kanhaiya Kumar's slogan on India Murdabaad), but the celebration of the Vijay Diwas means much more than that for many. The war took place between May and July of 1999 in Jammu and Kashmir's Kargil district and its still etched in our minds.

Controversies had mired the war and the post-war political situation, escalating the tension between the Indian and the Pakistani territories. It was also said that the war was spearheaded by the then Pakistan army chief General Parvez Musharraf, without the knowledge of the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Even if we are to believe that, it still gets us thinking why Nawaz Sharif did not intervene when the war began, if his intentions were straight. Moreover, how does a country get by without consulting its PM in matters like war and foreign policy, is something that needs a separate and extensive discussion too. 

A gameplan indeed, but what bothers us is the impossibility to accept the imperceptible loss of life on the Indian front. We lost 527 of our valiant soldiers visa vie the 453 lives at the Pakistani front. The disparity in losses were attributed to the positions that the Pakistani army had attained secretly. Tiger Hill being one of these critical positions, the Indian forces had a hard time to push them back from that spot. It was achieved, but with the help of the Indian Air Force. 

Pakistan's role

Despite maintaining denial of any information pertaining to the war, the Nawaz Sharif-government was found presenting medals to their war heroes, establishing the fact that the government had knowledge of the conspiracy. 

The strategy

Pakistani forces were well aware of the positions they were to take to get advantage over the Indian army. They acquired the highest points in the terrains of areas in Ladakh close to the LoC. To combat them, the Indian Army had to depend on the knowledge of the local shepherds who helped them launch the 'Operation Vijay'. The mission, after several sacrifices and blood shed, was declared successful on July 26, 1999. 

The price that we paid

The war did not de-stabilise us economically alone, but had also shattered our psyche and our trust in the neighbouring country, especially when they launched the combat when Atal Bihari Vajpayee had accepted Nawaz Sharif's invitation to Lahore and the duo signed the Lahore declaration. A trust was broken, never to be restored. Indian soldiers confronted extreme temperatures and terrains at a height of 18,000 feet where they lost two fighter aircrafts and hundreds of soldiers before they gained victory.

The International response

Like India, US too had lost its confidence on Pakistan. It is also believed that Pakistan had asked US to intervene, but the latter declined to do so until Pakistan decided to withdraw its troops from the LoC. In fact, Pakistan's infiltration in India was highly criticized by countries across the globe. Moreover, various international communities began building pressure on Pakistani forces and threatened them to withdraw or face isolation. Russia and Israel also supported the Indian stance. 

The scars of the war will continue to burn, as a remembrance of the sacrifices that our brothers in the army have made to protect us, albeit the Kanhaiyas and the Umar Khalids who have tried to taint their own country and the men who laid down their lives. Thus, for the Vikram Batras and the Shashi Bhushan Ghidiyals, the Vijay is our's and will remain our's till the time we have war heroes like them.