28 July : Braving bone-chilling cold and high velocity winds, an entire division of the Indian army is keeping a hawk-eye vigil over the high-altitude mountain clips in Kargil and Drass sector and not vacating them even during unbearable winter.
The army stopped its winter withdrawals from the scores of high-altitude areas after Pakistani forces took them by surprise in 1999.
The Pakistan army took advantage of the Indian army’s trend to withdraw its troops from the snow-covered peaks during winters and engineered an intrusion into Kargil capturing several strategic posts.
Even as the Indian army trounced the Pakistani troops and recaptured the peaks, they now maintain a round-the-year vigil over these areas.
“We are keeping round-the-clock vigil along Kargil and Drass sectors and the re-captured heights are now manned round-the-year along the 280-km-stretch border with Pakistan,” a senior army officer said.
“Kargil heights are now safe. Let them (Pakistan army) try this time, they will get a befitting reply,” he said.
Taking lessons from the Kargil war in which the country lost 533 soldiers, officers of the Drass and Batalik brigades said that a close vigil is being maintained on the re-captured heights.
All gaps, rocky mountain clips and deep rock-cut valleys from Drass sector to Batalik and Mashko valley in the 164-km long borderline are manned round the clock manually and electronic surveillance carried out.
Amid hostile weather conditions, the soldiers guard the border posts, including those re-captured from 12700 feet to 20,000 feet-high and vow to safeguard the territorial boundaries at the cost of their lives.
“We will lay down our lives but will not give an inch of our land to the enemies. We will eliminate them if they dare to do some adventure,” a soldier, guarding a high-altitude post in the Batalik belt, said.