New Delhi: In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations will be muted this year, with just wreath-laying ceremonies at war memorials in Kargil’s Drass and the national capital Sunday.
Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed on 26 July every year to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the Kargil conflict in 1999.
This year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will conduct the wreath-laying ceremony along with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and three service chiefs at the National War Memorial in Delhi, according to sources.
Northern Army Commander Lt Gen. Y.K. Joshi, a decorated Kargil war hero, will be laying a wreath at the war memorial in Drass, said the sources.
Departure from tradition
This will be a departure from tradition as Kargil Vijay Diwas has been celebrated with major events not just in Kargil but also most other military stations since 2000.
Usually, the day sees a wreath-laying ceremony in Kargil by various dignitaries and special invitees, including the next of kin of martyrs. Kargil war veterans and ex-servicemen in various stations are also invited to commemorate the event. The ceremony is usually followed by Kargil veterans sharing their experiences. Schools and universities across the country also invite both veterans and serving personnel.
Last year, the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations were commemorated with a host of events across the country. A victory flame was taken from the National War Memorial in Delhi to Drass and merged with the eternal flame at the Kargil war memorial.
Need to be prudent
Peculiarities of the scenario now desire that the celebrations be kept in accordance with the event as well as the prevailing environment, a senior Army officer said.
“In view of the spread of Covid-19, the celebrations will be limited to paying homage by commanders at their respective locations,” said the officer who didn’t wish to be named.
“Everybody understands it’s paramount to remain safe. While these gestures are a way of acknowledging the effort, it is still prudent to observe the precautions,” he said.
The officer added that the move has more to do with Covid than the tensions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where the Army has deployed an additional 30,000 troops amid a border stand-off with China.
A second officer said while the pandemic remains the prime reason for the low-key celebrations, the underlying deployment and tensions at the LAC need constant monitoring and focus must not shift from operational objectives.
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