Remembering Kargil War with Group Captain RK Srivastava
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Remembering Kargil War with Group Captain RK Srivastava

"We didn't know how many more days the war would take, but we knew we would force them to move back"

Remembering Kargil War with Group Captain RK Srivastava

In 1999, the Kargil War claimed a great number of lives, but Indian soldiers persisted until they drove out the Pakistani infiltrators from the Indian territory and unfurled the tricolour at Tiger Hill. As we mark the 23rd anniversary of India's triumph in the Kargil War of 1999, we get to you some real stories from the battlefield.

CitySpidey talked to Air force Group Captain R.K. Shrivastava (retd) who fought the Kargil war,  as a Squadron Leader.

Recounting the Kargil war of 1999, he says, "Initially, we didn't have much information about the place captured by the adversary. The enemy had infiltrated at advantageous high-altitude posts. The task ahead was very difficult but there was a fire in our hearts to regain our land." The Group Captain says that the Indian army units were at a disadvantage as geographically India's area along the LOC was on the downside and Pakistan's area was on the upside.

"So when the Indian Army had to climb, they faced difficulty in climbing the tracherous terrain and firing upwards while it was easier for the enemy to fire downwards. And even after facing such a situation in the snow-clad mountains, our team got the victory against all odds," says he.

The initial lack of information about the enemy posed several difficulties but has some funny anecdotes too. While sharing a funny incident, he says that "The enemy camp wanted to spread false threats among the Indian camp that they were large in number. While communicating, an officer said, "send 81 chickens for post one and 81 veg packets for post two". Then later, he said, "Never bother, send both chickens only." He had unknowingly disclosed to the Indian Army there were just two people and they were inflating numbers by adding 80 to every figure. This revelation was dissiminated across troops helped a lot in planning the offensive and ultimately the victory."

While talking about this victory, he says, "I never doubted our victory. Yes, we didn't know how many more days the war would take, but we knew that we will force them to retreat." Group Captain RK Shrivastava has been honoured with the Operation Vijay star Medal and Operation Vijay Star for his contributions in Kargil.

Group Captain RK Shrivastava says that whenever any outsider attempts to invade our country with an intention of harm, like any other civilian person, military personnel feel anger and want to retaliate immediately but one needs to plan the military attacks well so that we Win. He says – “Josh ke saath hosh bhi zaroori hai”.

He adds that with the onset of harsh & inclement weather, the Pakistani team made sangars of rocks, gathered food there, and captured the place with full planning. The Indian Army fought on the frontline and Airforce also worked its way up.

Group Captain Shrivastava says that during such large fights, several things such as food, ammunition, clearance of the surrounding area, and cover fire have to be arranged. It is the entire team’s role to ensure this. He shared an inspiring story while talking to CitySpidey. It is about Captain Anuj Nayyar, the 23 years old Tiger of Drass, who made supreme sacrifice for the motherland. While planning for a 48 hours assault to capture a critical post,  he refused to take the planned ration for 48 hours. Instead, he took food for only 12 hours and carried extra ammunition to carry to drive out the Pakistani infiltrators from Indian territory. Many such heroes made the victory possible.

The IAF veteran says that we are very proud that we fought for our nation. We never thought twice before dedicating our life to our motherland. Every parent, every wife and every family is proud of their hero. Finally, Group Captain Shrivastava says, "The ones who lost their lives while saving our motherland are immortal in our memories. However, there are several other heroes, those who fought in the Kargil War and were lucky to survive. Those also need to be honoured because they are still fighting that war in their memories."