On 26 July 2020 India commemorated 21 years of Kargil victory, valour and martyrdom of soldiers. The Kargil War fought in 1999 becomes more relevant in today’s tensed security environment on India’s North-Western border.
The Chinese intrusion in the Galwan valley and Pakistani intrusion in Kargil draw similarity as both happened when India was trying to improve the relationship with Pakistan and China respectively. But also both incidents have only smashed India’s hope of peace and pushed India to be more realistic in dealing with its two arch-rivals. Kargil conflict was a watershed moment as it exposed India’s defence preparedness and set the US-India relations towards de-hyphenation from Pakistan.
Though the Operation Vijay recaptured all the Indian posts in Kargil from Pakistan, the conflict exposed India’s dulled defence capability- from intelligence system to the shortage of artillery ammunition and precision-guided arms. But the conflict also pushed India to improve logistics and intelligence capabilities, focus on detailed renewal and backup policy, and towards a modern defence system.
India embarked on the modernisation of the domestic defence industry of which the diversification of the arms acquisition from Russia to the other leading advanced defence nations became a major policy focus.
Operation Vijay demonstrated that besides the Indian Army’s mountain warfare capability the support of India’s air power was critical in the victory.