Low-key observance of Kargil victory dayJuly 26th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Nine years after a bloody war against Pakistan in the Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir in which 600 Indian Army officers and soldiers died, the only commemoration of the day the conflict ended was a wreath laying ceremony here. This, when the government has officially designated July 26 as Kargil Vijay Diwas (Victory Day).
“The fact is that the government has forgotten. It is unfortunate that the government is not taking much interest in military matters. I am very disappointed and this is not good for India’s strategic culture,” former army chief General (retd) V.P. Malik told IANS.
India and Pakistan fought a bitter war in the Himalayan region of Kargil in 1999 after India accused the Pakistan Army of backing armed insurgents who had taken over high-altitude posts on the Indian side of the Line of Control. Pakistan denied the accusation and has held that the insurgents were “freedom fighters” acting on their own.
Malik was the army chief when India defeated the insurgents and re-captured the high altitude posts.
“I just blame the government for this. They should have at least remembered the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country. It is because of this indifference people are not joining the armed forces,” lamented Malik.
The reaction from the common man was also that of ignorance.
“The UPA government did not fail to give out full page advertisements in support of the India-US nuclear deal. But it is really sad to see that the government did not bother to even pay tribute to the martyred soldiers,” said student Ritika Kapoor, when reminded that Saturday was Kargil Vijay Diwas.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised a function, presided over by party president Rajnath Singh, which served more as a platform to lash out at the government in power than to remember the soldiers.
“There is a certain amount of politics into it. Earlier, BJP was interested in it and Congress was not. But now nobody is interested in military affairs,” Malik added.
The UPA government had in February organised a commemoration ceremony for the victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan.