The Kargil war between India and Pakistan came to an end on this day on July 26, 1999. This day is now remembered as the ‘Kargil Vijay Diwas’.
Also known as Operation Vijay, the Kargil war was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan. It took place in the Kargil district of Kashmir and on other places on the Line Of Control (LOC), the de facto border between both the countries. The war started in May when Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants infiltrated into India. The main point of the conflict was the disputed territories of Kashmir, a problem that remains unresolved till date since Independence. This has led to almost two wars being fought between these countries.
At first, Pakistan refused to accept it had any connection to the infiltration on the Indian side of the LOC and held the Kashmiri agitators responsible. But later when facts were revealed and Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff issued statements, the Pakistani paramilitary forces active participation was established.
The Indian Army with the help of the Indian Air Force regained most of the positions of the Indian Territory along the LOC, captured by Pakistani troops and militants. The war came to an end after international diplomatic intervention and Pakistan had to withdraw its forces from the remaining Indian positions. An estimated five hundred soldiers and about a thousand were injured in the war.
The Kargil war is cited as an example of high altitude warfare in a mountainous region, with extreme logistical problems for both the sides. It is also considered as an example of direct warfare between two countries possessing nuclear weapons.
Media had a very important role in the Kargil war. This was the first war to be covered so extensively by the media by both the countries. There were live telecasts of the war on TV, accompanied by in-depth study covered by many news websites. The live coverage generated extreme patriotic feelings and turned into a news propaganda for both the sides making claims and allegations on each other. The Indian print media also covered the war extensively. India was also supported by the foreign media who blamed Pakistan for infiltrating Indian Territory.
It was the wide and extensive media coverage that helped India on the international platform, and it gained diplomatic supremacy. As a result, Pakistan got very little support and was held responsible for the war, and eventually it had to withdraw its troops from the Indian soil.
Text by Tasneem Dhinojwala