It has been 19 years since India fought Pakistan in the 1999 Kargil War, near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. The war started in May with intrusions into the Indian side of the LoC being reported by bakerwals (shepherds) who lived in the area.
With India losing territory to the heavily-entrenched Pakistani forces over the first month, it was in late June of 1999 that India started launching offensives that finally allowed them to regain control of posts that they had lost.
June was also when the world opinion about the 1999 Kargil War started favouring India, with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif coming under increasing pressure for this aggression.
Tide Begins To Turn
In the early morning of 30 June, India finally captured two vital posts: Point 5060 and Point 5100, which later allowed them to launch an offensive against Tiger Hill and win decisive victories in the battles that followed in the 1999 Kargil War.
This was preceded by an attack on the ‘Black Rock’ area by a battalion of the Ghatak Platoon on 28 June. Led by Captain Kenguruse, the platoon launched a successful stealth attack on an entrenched enemy post. The commando team managed to scale an almost vertical rock before launching their attack.
The Charlie Company was also directed to capture Point 4700 in the Drass Sector on the same day. This point was heavily fortified with eight sangars (elevated stone platforms behind which a soldier could be protected while firing at the enemy). These sangars were being used to fire automatic weapons, and it held back the progress of the company.
Gallantry Wins The Day
The company was finally able to advance due to the bravery shown by Rifleman Anusuya Prasad, who risked his life to attack the sangars with grenades to create a clear path for his fellow troops. He was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra for his bravery, after he was shot down by a Universal Machine Gun (UMG) during this assault.
Another man who sacrificed his life during this assault was Naik Kashmir Singh, who continued to fight after being shot in the shoulder. Though he was bleeding profusely, he refused to give up and physically attacked one of the sangars and cleared it. He too was shot while on duty, and was awarded the Vir Chakra posthumously.
Rifleman Kuldeep Singh, another Vir Chakra winner, was also a part of this assault. He managed to clear another sangar by making the enemy flee by shooting and advancing towards the sangar without thought to his own safety.
On the same day, there was also a simultaneous assault platoon which was given the objective to capture Area Lone Hill in the Drass Sector. This position too was under heavy machine gun fire by the enemy, and the bravery shown by the soldiers allowed the Indian Army to recapture this point.
Successful Late Night Missions
The late night of 29 June also saw a mission to evict the enemy forces from Ridge Line Kala Pathar near the Line of Control in the general area of Juber Hill complex in the Batalik Sub Sector. Led by Captain Jintu Gogoi, a team was successful in achieving this objective under heavy automatic fire.
Captain Gogoi was almost defeated by the enemy, and he was asked to surrender. However, he refused and kept fighting while choosing to sacrifice his life than be imprisoned. He ensured safety for his men before doing so as well, and was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra for his bravery.
The night of 30 June also saw an offensive by the 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) to capture Point 4812 in the Batalik Sector. This point was occupied by enemy forces, which were fortified and immune to even artillery fire.
The column attacking this position was stuck under heavy fire for hours, but they still managed to find a way to attack and capture this post. Capturing this point allowed for other decisive victories in battles to come.
Gains In Mashkoh Valley
Later that day, a team was tasked to capture an objective in the Mashkoh sub Sector of Kargil, led by Naik Brij Mohan Singh.
This 30-member team managed to capture a 5,250 metre high objective and progressed towards the main logistics base of the enemy. Singh led his team from the front, and sacrificed his own life in order to save his men and also complete the objective.
With these victories in hand, the Indian army had successfully been able to capture strategic points of the battlefield, as well as managed to disrupt enemy communication and intelligence. This allowed for Operation Vijay to become successful by the time July came, and ended the war with an Indian victory.
Hence this day becomes very important to remember in the history of the 1999 Kargil War.