Monday, 17 August 2020

Attack On Muntho Dhalo was the turning point of war in Kargil

The Kargil War took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir The Indian soldiers had secured this victory after a three-month conflict that led to a loss of lives from both sides with the Indian side losing nearly 527 officers, soldiers, and jawans. In order to commemorate India's win in the war, the Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26.Very few people are are aware that the pin point attack on Muntho Dhalo by the brave pilots of the IAF turned the tide of the war and made it a bit easy for the Indian army to attack the enemy.

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In the Kargil war, the army played the all important role of  taking back all our posts occupied by Pakistan, vacated during the winter months as was  always being done by the Indian army to re-occupy after the severe winter months. Same with Pakistan. This was being followed for years by both India and Pakistan. But in 1999, the Pakistanishas per plan moved much earlier to re-occupy their posts and along with that, they occupied all the vacant Indian posts quietly without the knowledge of the Indian side.

The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control. The Indian side was caught unawares about the whole plan by Pakistan side. And the Pakistanis announced, that the occupiers are not Pakistan army but Kashmiri militants and freedom fighters. This later proved to be costly for Pakistan and they couldn’t do anything openly to support these people. And even refused to take back the bodies of those killed in action.  Though actually they were Pakistan army regulars from Pak Northern Light Infantry. Their lies came in to the open infront of the international community.

The Indian Army, with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF), wrested back the glaciated heights of Kargil, in the Ladakh sector, from the Pakistan army. The Kargil War, which lasted a little over two months and ended on July 26, 1999, led to 527 deaths on India's side. In order to commemorate India's win in the war, the Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26. The Pakistanis casuality was more than 3,500 to 4000 men.

Apart the gallant men of the Indian army who fought the enemy taking casualities, killing the enemy and driving the Pakistanis from the Indian posts on this side of the Line of control, the Indian Air Force too played a major role in making it a bit easy for the army to strike back at the enemy.

Twenty years ago, at the peak of the Kargil operations, the Indian Air Force notched up a major success when it destroyed the main Pakistani logistics base at Muntho Dhalo that was set up on encroached Indian territory in Ladakh. As Air Marshal R Nambiar, who was a Wing Commander then, told Bharat Shakti’s Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, that was for the first time an IAF aircraft (Mirage 2000) did surveillance of the area, detected the enemy’s presence, attacked it with and also did bomb damage assessment.

The effective application of air power indisputably saved further Indian casualties. It mainly deprived the intruders of essential supplies, including drinking water, fuel and ammunition. The air operations and artillery bombardment cast a demoralizing spell on the enemy commanders and troops, affecting their will to fight. As a result of this moral capitulation the time frame for the ground operations was considerably reduced.  The best example of how the air force assisted in the conduct of the land battle.

The bravehearts - Pilots Ahuja & Nachiketa
The bravehearts -
Pilots Ahuja & Nachiketa

Air strikes on Pak Northern Light Infantry battalion headquarters at Muntho Dhalo and the administrative base in the Batalik sub-sector were a spectacular success. About 100-150 casualties to personnel and considerable damage to equipment and stores was inflicted. Some sources say, it was about 300 casualties. This attack almost hit their morale very badly. In addition to the above air strike, repeated bombing of Muntho Dhalo strangulated the Jubbar and Dog Hill complex of defences in the Batalik.




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(This is an amazing and touching story).

50th anniversary!

An old well-dressed couple got down from the auto in front of a small hotel on the roadside at Pune. And looked at the closed shop. They were wondering, being a week day and at that hour, the old hotel famous for it's misal and tea should have been crowded with people.

As they looked around, a person came out of the building. They enquired with the person about the misal joint. He said, it's closed since a month now. They checked if the owner still lived on the top floor. The man said, yes and went away.

The old couple climbed the stairs and knocked on the hotel-owner's door. After a few moments, the elderly man opened the door. He was surprised to see the old couple, remembering them as his regular customers over the years. The owner welcomed them in, dusted the chairs and asked them to sit.

The old couple enquired regarding the closing of the hotel. The owner, offering them water replied, I am old now, can't manage the day to day hassels. Wanted to close the hotel last year but due the customers demand pulled on till last month. Now I can't manage it. One son is employed in Mumbai and the other son is employed in Nasik. Both are settled in the cities with their families. They are not interested to continue this misal joint. After my wife expired, I am alone in this big house.

The owner asked the couple about their well-being and the reason for not visiting his hotel for sometime. They said, just as your son's are in different cities in India, my son is in America with his family. He insisted since we are old, to come and stay with him in America. So most of the time we are in America and come here for two months and return.

They continued, we landed yesterday and came straight here to have your misal and chai. Unfortunately it's closed now. The owner said, I can't offer you misal, but can offer you hot tea. The couple agreed. Looking at them, the owner asked, you just came here or have anything else in particular. They looked at each other and smiled.

The owner offered them tea in the two old cup saucers with the name of the hotel printed on it.

While having tea, the couple told the owner, our first date was at your hotel with misal and chai. Then after few years, we got married. And today is the 50th anniversary of our first date and we wanted to celebrate it with your misal and chai.

Tears of joy trickled down the hotel-owners eyes. Before he could say anything, the couple requested if they could keep the two cup and saucers. He immediately told them, keep it, only two of these were left. Maybe it was for you. The old couple bid farewell and left with the precious gift!

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Panjim, Goa, India
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Anil Naik

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