Army Jawans perform during Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations at India Gate

India on Sunday commemorated 21 years of its victory over arch-rival Pakistan in the Kargil War, saluting the supreme sacrifices and valour of the fallen heroes in recapturing several mountain heights seized by Pakistani intruders in Kashmir.

It was on July 26, 1999, Indian Army had declared successful culmination of 'Operation Vijay', declaring a victory after a nearly three-month-long battle in the icy heights of Kargil. India lost about 500 soldiers in the war.

The unwavering courage and the supreme sacrifice of the Indian soldiers will never be forgotten. But how did the Indian Army respond to the invasion by the Pakistani army with 'Operation Vijay', and win the battle?

The Kargil war initially began with the infiltration of Pakistani troops into the Indian territory of Kargil. The war took place between May and July in 1999 along the Line of Control (LoC).

The Pakistani infiltrators who crossed the LoC had taken strategic positions in Kargil before an all-out battle between the two armies began. However, Indian army soldiers spotted the infiltrators from information by local shepherds. The army was able to spot the incursion points.

By June 30, Indian forces were prepared for an attack against the Pakistani troops. By then, India had moved 5 infantry divisions, 5 independent brigades and 44 battalions of paramilitary troops in Kashmir and mobilised over 2,00,000 Indian troops.

Indian Army sought the help of Air Force who coined the operation with 'Operation Safed Sagar' under which, the IAF for the first time used high-precision bombs to target the enemy.

The Mirage-2000 aircraft played a crucial role in the battles fought during the war and also hit enemy targets bunkered at the Tiger Hill, besides tasting success at Muntho Dhalo in June 1999.

"Mirage-2000 was the game-changer in the Kargil War. It skewed the asymmetry of the military assets in our favour," senior IAF officer, Gp Capt Anupam Banerjee told PTI.

On the other hand, the Indian Navy was put on full alert as the Army didn't want Pakistan to escalate the conflict into a full-scale war. Under 'Operation Talwar', the Eastern Fleet joined the Western Naval Fleet and blocked the Arabian Sea routes of Pakistan. 

The war resulted in the loss of life on both sides. Over 1000 soldiers lost their lives.

The 60-day war finally came to an end with India recapturing the previously held territory by the neighbouring country on July 26, 1999.