(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Joydeep Bose)
President Ram Nath Kovind will mark the 22nd Kargil Diwas on Monday by visiting Drass in Ladakh and paying homage at the Kargil War memorial to the fallen heroes of the 1999 conflict. President Kovind will be accompanied by India’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, a statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan confirmed.
President Kovind is on a four-day visit to the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. He spent the night in Srinagar and is set to fly to Drass this morning to pay tributes to the Kargil War heroes, according to the official statement. A day later, the President will address the 19th annual convocation of the University of Kashmir in Srinagar.
In 2019, bad weather prevented the president from visiting Drass to participate in the Kargil Vijay Diwas, and instead, he paid his tributes by laying a wreath at a war memorial at the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters in Badamibagh in Srinagar.
India celebrates Kargil Vijay Diwas on July 26 every year to mark the anniversary of the Indian Army’s victory against Pakistan on this day in 1999, after more than 60 days of armed conflict on the highlands of Kargil in Ladakh.
Indian armed forces defeated Pakistan on July 26, 1999. Since then, the day is celebrated to rekindle the pride and valour of the soldiers who took part in Operation Vijay, the military campaign with which Indian troops recaptured the mountain heights occupied by the Pakistani army.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the countrymen to salute the brave hearts who made the nation proud in 1999. “It is only natural to be filled with emotions in respect for the one who raises the tricolour for the country. This feeling of patriotism unites us all,” the Prime Minister said while addressing his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme.