The 20th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas was commemorated in a grand manner at the Kargil War Memorial here on Friday with all the three service chiefs as well as the then Army chief, other veterans and kin of soldiers participating.
The celebration marks the gallant victory of the Indian armed forces who fought the Pakistani intruders between May-July 1999 in the Dras, Kargil and Batalik sectors of western Ladakh.
IAF chief and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Air Chief Marshal B. S. Dhanoa, was the first to pay tributes to the martyrs of Operation Vijay at the memorial by laying a wreath, followed by observation of two minutes silence by all present.
Army chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Army's Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and 'Fire and Fury' Corps chief Lt. Gen. Y. K. Joshi also paid their respects to the martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice on these icy and rocky heights 20 years ago.
Gen V. P. Malik (retd), who was Army chief during the Kargil War, senior military and civilian dignitaries, veterans and 'Veer Naris' (soldiers' widows) were also present on the occasion.
Proceedings of the day began with wreath-laying by senior dignitaries at the imposing War Memorial located at the foothills of the Tololing feature. This was followed by flagging-in of the "Victory Flame" by Gen Rawat and its "merging" with the "Eternal Flame" at the memorial.
The Victory Flame was lit by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on July 14 from the Eternal Flame at the National War Memorial in New Delhi, and reached Dras after having being carried in relay across a distance of over 1,000 kms through major cities and towns in north India.
After the wreath-laying ceremony, the service chiefs visited the Hut of Remembrance, where they briefed on the valour of the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for the nation in the epic battles fought in the summer of 1999.
The service chiefs also interacted with the invitees, especially the 'Veer Naris' and veterans, as well as the troops deployed in the sector.
The 20th anniversary of Operation Vijay is being celebrated across the nation with the theme of "Remember - Rejoice - Renew" by remembering the martyrs and by revisiting their sacrifices to instill pride and respect, rejoicing by celebrating the victory and renewing the resolve to safeguard the honour of the tricolour.
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