Independence Day Special: India's finest hour - Kargil war to China standoff

As India celebrates its Independence Day, we take a look at how the defence forces have established itself since the Kargil war in 1999 in the last 20 years with China increasingly become India's primary concern

IAF carries out Mirage 2000 strikes

India engaged with Pakistan troops openly for the first time after 1971 during the Kargil conflict as the Indian Air Force and Army locked horns with the Pakistanis.

According to the Air Force, the Mirage 2000 flew 500 sorties which included 240 strike missions during the Kargil conflict.

The Indian Air Force had termed the Kargil conflict as "Operation Safed Sagar" as it provided air support to ground troops. India used MiGs -  MiG-21s, MiG-23s, MiG-27s, including Jaguars to push back Pakistani soldiers.

The IAF also used  Mi-8 and the Mi-17 attack choppers to repel the Pakistani army holding various positions.

(Photograph:AFP)

Nawaz falls, India celebrates Operation Vijay

Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif has pinned responsibility on "certain generals" in the army. Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister during the 1999 India-Pakistan Kargil conflict.

The war lasted for almost three months and ended in a decisive victory for India as its forces cleared the Kargil sector and claimed Tiger Hill and other strategic peaks which the Pakistani troops had attempted to occupy permanently.

Sharif later said, "Pervez Musharraf and his cohort used the army for personal gains" and plotted a coup to save face.

The Kargil war was declared over on July 26, 1999. The day is celebrated as Kargil "Vijay Diwas" every year to mark India's triumph over Pakistan.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

India fights for glory

Captain Vikram Batra, an officer of the Indian Army, who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra for his actions during the 1999 Kargil war became a hero during the conflict. He was killed in action while clearing enemy positions.

Major Padmapani Acharya was an officer in the Indian Army who was martyred at the battlefield. He was awarded the Indian military honour, Maha Vir Chakra posthumously for his actions during the Kargil War.

Captain Anuj Nayyar an Indian Army officer was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India's second highest gallantry award, for exemplary valour in combat during operations in the Kargil War.

Under Captain Nayyar's leadership, the company had successfully cleared three of the four bunkers and began its assault on the last remaining bunker.

Major Ajay Singh Jasrotia sacrificed his life on 15 June 1999 during "Operation Vijay". He was awarded the 'Sena medal' for his exceptional sacrifice during Kargil War. But before he closed his eyes, he sent six serious casualties to safety, all of whom later survive.

(Photograph:AFP)

Bofors guns destroys Pak

The Bofors guns played a pivotal role during the Kargil conflict. India since then has boosted its arsenal with an array of tanks, missiles and aircraft to take on regional rival China in the last few years.

India's first indigenously designed and developed Dhanush artillery gun was inducted in the Indian Army a few years ago. Dhanush 155mm/45 calibre towed gun system can be deployed in all types of terrains.

Dhanush gun system is based on the designs of the Bofors howitzer which was inducted in the Army in the 1980s. It was the third type of artillery gun to be inducted into the force after the K-9 Vajra and the M-777 ultra-light howitzers.

India also acquired the  Russian-built T-90 Bhishma tanks in 2001. India has already been boosting its T-90 tank capacity for several years keeping in mind the growing security risk along the LAC.

The Bhishma tanks played a major role in keeping Chinese forces at bay last year as the PLA was involved in a standoff with Indian forces in Ladakh along the LAC.

(Photograph:AFP)

India's takes on China

India had earlier reportedly made an assessment for up to eight T-90 tank regiments for the LAC with the total number of T90 and its variants going up to at least 4,500.

The tanks have been further boosted by thermal imaging technology giving it an edge during night-time operations which is considered crucial in the era of 24x7 planning and execution.

India's first T-90s Bhisma tank was rolled out of the assembly line from the Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory (HFV) on 7 January 2004.

(Photograph:AFP)

India's Apache edge

India's defence forces also procured eight Boeing AH- 64E Apache Guardian attack Helicopters from the US.

Eight helicopters were inducted into the Air Force in the first batch out of the 22 which India is set to acquire from the US. India in 2015 had signed a contract with US government and Boeing for these Apache helicopters.

The Apache has been customized to suit the force's future requirements and has significant capability in mountainous terrain with the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from the ground.

The choppers can transmit and receive battlefield pictures to and from the weapon systems through data networking making it a lethal acquisition.

The helicopters provide a significant edge in any joint operations in support of land forces.

The helicopters are equipped with Hellfire missiles and rockets, with one helicopter having the capacity to carry eight missiles.

(Photograph:AFP)

Rafale 'gamechanger'

The acquisiton of Rafale jets has been a gamechanger for India. The first batch of the five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29 last year after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.

The first squadron of the Rafale jets was stationed at the Ambala air base while the second one will be based at the Hasimara base in West Bengal. The jets undertook regular sorties along the eastern Ladakh during the India-China standoff last year.

The entire fleet of the fighter aircraft is expected to reach the country by April 2022.

The jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of their weapons package.

Meteor is a next generation beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

India's Rafale push

The Rafale aircraft are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.

The jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of their weapons package.

Meteor is a next generation beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat.

The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

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