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  The Kargil War
 

     

 

 

                    The terrain of the Kargil and surrounding regions of the LOC is inhospitable. There had existed a sort of "gentleman's agreement" between India and Pakistan that the armies of either side will not occupy posts from the 15 September to 15th April of each year. This had been the case since 1977, but in 1999 this agreement was cast aside by the Pakistani army in hopes of trying to gain the upper hand in Kashmir and plunging the Indian subcontinent in brief and limited war and raising the specter of nuclear war.

                    The Intruders on the heights were an amalgam of professional soldiers and mercenaries. They included the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 12th battalions of the Pakistan Army’s Northern Light Infantry (NLI). Among them were many Mujaheddin and members of Pakistan's the Special Services Group (SSG). It was initially estimated that there were about 500 to 1,000 intruders occupying the heights but later it is estimated that the actual strength of the intruders may have been about 5,000. The area of intrusion extended in an area of 160km. The Pakistani Army had set up a complex logistical network through which the intruders across the LOC would be well supplied from the bases in POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). The intruders were also well armed with AK 47 and 56, mortars, artillery, anti aircraft guns, and Stinger missiles.

                     The Indian Army detected the intrusions between May 3-12. From May 15 - 25, 1999,  Indian Army’s offensive named Operation Vijay was launched on May 26, 1999. Indian troops moved towards Pakistani occupied positions with air cover provided by aircraft and helicopters

Batalik Sector

                     This sector is located between the Shyok and Indus rivers. This sector was responsible for about half of the Indian casualties.

The Battle for Chorbat La, Turtuk & Eastern section

                     The Eastern section of the Batalik sector. The Ladakh Scouts captured the ridge of Chorbat La.  This was the first Indian victory in the sector Turtuk is an important peak and the location of several important villages in the valley as well a link to Siachen Glacier. This sector was recaptured on June 16,1999 by 11 Rajputana Rifles. Pt 5287 was recaptured on July 5th by the Ladakh Scouts. The Eastern section was recaptured on July 6th after 38 days of war.

Jubar Ridge

                     Jubar Ridge is located on the western end of the sector and is several km from the LOC. Initial patrols to this area were killed by the inturders. The first attack on the ridge was unsuccessful. In the next attacks, the Indian Army decided to cut supply routes and encircle the enemy camps. Juba Ridge and the neighboring peaks were the site of some of the fiercest battles during the conflict. The battle raged for 40 days ending on July 8, 1999, involved hand to hand combat and heavy casualties. Eventually, 1 Bihar of the Indian Army prevailed over the enemy forces.

Central Section

                      The Central Section of Batalik Sector consists of Munthu Dhalo, Kokarthang and Pt 5285. Intial attacks in this area were unsuccessful. 1 Paris and 11 Gorkha Rifles pressed on and were able to take back all of the peaks in the region

Dras Sector

                      This sector is the Western most of the intruders positions. Dras Sector is adjacent to the Srinagar - Leh Highway (NH 1), making this sector strategically important as traffic on the highway was vulnerable to the enemy firing. The main positions of the intruders were the Tololing Top, Tiger Hill, Pt 4875, Pt 4590, Pt 5100 and Pt 5140.

Tololing

                     Tololing Peak was the dominant position in the sector as it directly overlooked the highway. The Battle of Tololing was initially carried out by 18 grenadiers on May 22, 1999 and was unsuccessful. Subsequently, 1 Naga Regiment, 15 Garhwal and the Grenadiers took up the task but also failed to beat back the intruders. Eventually 2 Rajput, a fresh battalion, was given the task of capturing the peak. 2 Rajput prevailed on the June 13, 1999. The same battalion was successful in capturing Pt 4590 on June 14, 1999. Pt 5410 located east of Tololing and closer to the LOC was captured by 1 Naga Regiment. Pt 5100, located close to the LOC was a major supply route for enemy forces. The capture of this on July 1, 1999 was instrumental in the recapture of Tiger Hill.

Tiger Hill

                     Tiger Hill is also a major peak located along the highway. Initial attempts by 8 Sikh were unsuccessful. Tiger Hill is also the location of the the downing of the Mi-17 helicopter in early days of the Kargil War. Eventually Tiger Hill fell due to a combined attack from three sides which resulted in the cutting of supply lines of the intruders. Tiger Hill was recaptured on July 3, 1999 and cleared on July 9, 1999. Pt 4875, the third of the major peaks located along the highway, was taken by 8 Jat and 16 Grenadiers on July 5, 1999. As the peaks overlooking the highway were cleared, civilian traffic.
 

Kaksar Sector

                     This sector is located in between the two dominant sectors of Batalik and Dras. The peaks in this area do not over look the highway, it was not as priority unlike the other sectors. The major point of intrusion was Bajrang Post located on Pt 5299. Operations in this sector were undertaken after the Dras sector was secured. 1 Naga and 16 Grenadiers were tasked with the recapture of the Bajrang Post and were sucessful on July 12, 1999.

Maskoh Valley & Other parts of the LOC

                       The valley is located west of the Dras sector but does not overlook the Srinagar - Leh highway. Operations to recapture the area were mobilized after the Dras sector was retaken. On July 9, 1999, Pakistan agreed to pull back the intruders and the Indian Army moved forward to reoccupy the vacated land. Along other parts of the LOC, tensions remained high. Pakistani troops shelled the bordering villages and destroyed houses and schools. Approximately 100,000 civilians were evacuated. Also Pakistan had amassed a large number of terrorists at select points along the LOC for infiltration. It is estimated that several hundred of these terrorists were pushed across the LOC during the conflict. Pakistan also made an attempt to capture the Indian post in the Naushera sector of Jammu but failed to do so


 

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