Kargil War

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Kargil War
Part of the Indo-Pakistani Wars

An Indian Bofors 155 mm howitzer field gun being repositioned for aiming at Pakistani positions during the war.
Date May-July 1999
Location Kargil district, Kashmir
Result India regains possession of Kargil
Casus belli Pakistani troops and Kashmir militants infiltrate into the Indian side of LOC and take over vital peaks in Kargil.
Status quo ante bellum
India Pakistan,
Kashmiri secessionists
30,000 5,000
Indian Official Figures:
527 killed,
1,363 wounded
Pakistani Estimates:
357–4,000+ killed
(Pakistan troops)
665+ soldiers wounded

8 POWs.

Indo-Pakistani Wars
War of 1947 – War of 1965 – War of 1971 – Kargil War

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. The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two nations. Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents; however, documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, supported by the air force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control (LoC).

The war is one of the most recent examples of high altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, and posed significant logistical problems for the combating sides. This was the first ground war between the two countries after they had developed nuclear weapons. (India and Pakistan both test-detonated fission devices in May 1998, though the first Indian nuclear test was conducted in 1974.) The conflict led to heightened tensions between the two nations and increased defence spending on the part of India. In Pakistan, the aftermath caused instability to the government and the economy, and on October 12, 1999 a coup d'etat by the military placed army chief Pervez Musharraf in power.


Location of conflict
Location of conflict

Before the Partition of India in 1947, Kargil was part of Gilgit-Baltistan, a region of many diverse linguistic, ethnic and religious groups, due in part to the many isolated valleys separated by some of the world's highest mountains. The First Kashmir War (1947-48) resulted in most of the Kargil region remaining an Indian territory; then, after Pakistan's defeat in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the remaining areas, including strategic military posts, also passed into Indian territory. Notably, Kargil is the only district in the Ladakh subdivision that has a Muslim majority. The town and district of Kargil is in what is now called Jammu and Kashmir. The town lies on the Line of Control (LOC), the defacto border for the two nations, located 120 km (75 miles) from Srinagar, facing the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Like other areas in the Himalayas, it has a temperate climate. Summers are cool with frigid nights, while winters are long and cold with temperatures often dropping to −40 °C (−40 °F). A national highway connecting Srinagar to Leh cuts through Kargil.

The area that witnessed the infiltration and fighting is a 160 km long stretch on the border of the LOC, overlooking a vital highway on the Indian side of Kashmir. Apart from the district capital, Kargil, the front line in the conflict encompassed the tiny town of Drass as well as the Batalik sector, Mushko Valley and other nearby areas along the de facto border. The military outposts on these ridges were generally around 5,000 metres (16,000 feet) high, with a few as high as 5,600 metres (18,000 feet). One of the main reasons why Kargil was specifically targeted for incursions was its terrain lent itself to a pre-emptive seizure. With tactically vital features and well-prepared defensive posts atop the peaks, it provided an ideal high ground for a defender akin to a fortress. Any attack to dislodge the enemy and reclaim high ground in a mountain warfare would require a far higher ratio of attackers to defenders, which is further exacerbated by the high altitude and freezing temperatures. Additionally, Kargil was just 173 km (108 mi) from the Pakistan town of Skardu, which was capable of providing logistical and artillery support to the Pakistani combatants. All these tactical reasons, plus the Kargil district being a Muslim majority, were probably contributing factors to why Kargil was chosen as the location to attack.


After the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, there had been a long period of relative calm among the two neighbours. But during the 1990s, escalating tensions and conflict with separatists in Kashmir as well as nuclear tests by both countries in 1998 changed the scenario. Despite the belligerent atmosphere, both countries signed the Lahore Declaration in February 1999 to provide a peaceful and bilateral solution to the Kashmiri issue. However, elements in the Military of Pakistan covertly trained and sent troops and paramilitary forces, some allegedly in the guise of mujahideen, into the Indian territory. The aim was to sever the link between Kashmir and Ladakh, and cause Indian forces to withdraw from the Siachen Glacier, thus forcing India to negotiate a settlement of the broader Kashmir dispute. Pakistan also believed that any tension in the region would internationalise the Kashmir issue, helping it to secure a speedy resolution. Yet another goal may have been to boost the morale of the decade-long rebellion in Indian-held Kashmir by taking a proactive role. Some writers have speculated that the operation's objective may also have been as a retalliation for India's Operation Meghdoot in 1984 that seized much of Siachen Glacier.

According to India's then army chief Ved Prakash Malik, and many other scholars, the infiltration was code named "Operation Badr", and much of the background planning, including construction of logistical supply routes, had been undertaken much earlier. On more than one occasion, the army had given past Pakistani leaders (namely Zia ul Haq and Benazir Bhutto) similar proposals for an infiltration in the Kargil region in the 1980s and 1990s. However, the plans had been shelved for fear of drawing the nations into all-out war. Some analysts believe that the blueprint of attack was reactivated when Pervez Musharraf was appointed chief of army staff in October 1998. In a disclosure made by Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, he states that he was unaware of the preparation of the intrusion, and it was an urgent phone call from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his counterpart in India, that informed him about the situation. Responding to this, Musharaf asserted that the Prime Minister had been briefed on the Kargil operation 15 days ahead of Vajpayee's journey to Lahore on February 20. Sharif had attributed the plan to Musharraf and "just two or three of his cronies", a view shared by some Pakistani writers who have stated that, only four generals, including Musharraf, knew of the plan.

War progress

There were three major phases to the Kargil War. First, Pakistan captured several strategic high points in the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir. India responded by first capturing strategic transportation routes, then militarily pushing Pakistani forces back across the Line of Control.

Occupation by Pakistan

Because of the extreme winter weather in Kashmir, it was common practice for the Indian and Pakistan Army to abandon forward posts and reoccupy them in the spring. That particular spring, the Pakistan Army reoccupied the forward posts before the scheduled time.

Infiltration and military build-up.
Infiltration and military build-up.

In early May 1999, the Pakistan Army decided to occupy the Kargil posts, numbering around 130, and thus control the area. Troops from the elite Special Services Group as well as four to seven battalions of the Northern Light Infantry (a paramilitary regiment not part of the regular Pakistani army at that time) backed by Kashmiri guerrillas and Afghan mercenaries covertly and overtly set up bases on the vantage points of the Indian-controlled region. Initially, these incursions were not spotted due to the heavy artillery fire by Pakistan across the Line of Control, which provided cover for the infiltrators. But by the second week of May, the ambushing of an Indian patrol team, acting on a tip-off by a local shepherd in the Batalik sector, led to the exposure of the infiltration. Initially with little knowledge of the nature or extent of the encroachment, the Indian troops in the area claimed that they would evict them within a few days. However, reports of infiltration elsewhere along the LoC made it clear that the entire plan of attack was on a much bigger scale. The total area seized by the ingress is generally accepted to between 130 Km2 - 200 Km2; Musharraf however, stated that 500 Mi2 (1,300 Km2) of Indian territory was occupied.

The Government of India responded with Operation Vijay, a mobilisation of 200,000 Indian troops. However, because of the nature of the terrain, division and corps operations could not be mounted; the scale of most fighting was at the regimental or battalion level. In effect, two divisions of the Indian Army, numbering 20,000, plus several thousand from the Indian Paramilitary Forces and the air force were deployed in the conflict zone. The total number of Indian soldiers that were involved in the military operation on the Kargil-Drass sector was thus close to 30,000. The number of infiltrators, including those providing logistical backup, has been put at approximately 5,000 at the height of the conflict. This figure includes troops from Pakistan-administered Kashmir that were involved in the war providing additional artillery support.

Protection of National Highway No. 1A

The terrain of Kashmir is mountainous and at high altitudes; even the best roads, such as National Highway No. 1 (NH 1) from Leh to Srinagar, are only two lanes. The rough terrain and narrow roads slowed traffic, and the high altitude, which affected the ability of aircraft to carry loads, made control of NH 1A (the actual stretch of the highway which was under Pakistani fire) a priority for India. From their observation posts, the Pakistani forces had a clear line of sight to lay down indirect artillery fire on NH 1A. This was a serious problem for the Indian Army as the highway was its main logistical and supply route. The Pakistani shelling of the arterial road posed the threat of Leh being cut off, though an alternative (and longer) road to Leh existed via Himachal Pradesh.

The infiltrators, apart from being equipped with small arms and grenade launchers, were also armed with mortars, artillery and anti-aircraft guns. Many posts were also heavily mined, with India later recovering nearly 9,000 anti-personnel mines according to ICBL. Pakistan's reconnaissance was done through unmanned aerial vehicles and AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radars supplied by the US. The initial Indian attacks were aimed at controlling the hills overlooking NH 1A, with high priority being given to the stretches of the highway near the town of Kargil. The majority of posts along the Line of Control were adjacent to the highway, and therefore the recapture of nearly every infiltrated post increased both the territorial gains and the security of the highway. The protection of this route and the recapture of the forward posts were thus ongoing objectives throughout the war. Though most of the posts in the vicinity of the highway were cleared by mid-June, some parts of the highway near Drass witnessed sporadic shelling until the end of the war.

Indian territory recovery

One of the major Indian operations was the recapture of Tiger Hill. Shown here is the Kargil-Drass region. The highlighted area marks Tiger Hill.
One of the major Indian operations was the recapture of Tiger Hill. Shown here is the Kargil-Drass region. The highlighted area marks Tiger Hill.

Once India regained control of the hills overlooking NH 1A, the Indian Army turned to driving the invading force back across the Line of Control, but elected not to pursue forces further into the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir. The Battle of Tololing, among other assaults, slowly tilted the combat in India's favour. Nevertheless, some of the posts put up a stiff resistance, including Tiger Hill (Point 5140) that fell only later in the war. A few of the assaults occurred atop hitherto unheard of peaks – most of them unnamed with only Point numbers to differentiate them – which witnessed fierce hand to hand combat. As the operation was fully underway, about 250 artillery guns were brought in to clear the infiltrators in the posts that were in the line of sight. The Bofors field howitzer (infamous in India due to the Bofors scandal) played a vital role, with Indian gunners making maximum use of the terrain that assisted such an attack. However, its success was limited elsewhere due to the lack of space and depth to deploy the Bofors gun. It was in this type of terrain that aerial attacks were introduced. The Indian Air Force launched Operation Safed Sagar but was limited by the high altitude, which in turn limited bomb loads and the number of airstrips that could be used. The IAF lost a MiG-27 strike aircraft due to an engine failure as well as a MiG-21 fighter which was shot down by Pakistan; Pakistan said it shot down both jets after they crossed into its territory and one Mi-8 helicopter to Stinger SAMs. During attacks the IAF used laser-guided bombs to destroy well-entrenched positions of the Pakistani forces. It is estimated that in the war, nearly 700 intruders were killed by air action alone.

In some vital points, neither artillery nor air power could dislodge the outposts manned by the Pakistan soldiers, who were out of visible range. The Indian Army mounted some direct frontal ground assaults which were slow and took a heavy toll given the steep ascent that had to be made on peaks as high as 18,000 feet (5,500 m). Since any daylight attack would be suicidal, all the advances had to be made under the cover of darkness, escalating the risk of freezing. Accounting for the wind chill factor, the temperatures were often as low as −11 °C to −15 °C (12 °F to 5 °F) near the mountain tops. Based on military tactics, much of the costly frontal assaults by the Indians could have been avoided if the Indian Military had chosen to blockade the supply route of the opposing force, virtually creating a siege. Such a move would have involved the Indian troops crossing the LoC as well as initiating aerial attacks on Pakistan soil, a manoeuvre India was not willing to exercise fearing an expansion of the theatre of war and reducing international support for its cause.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy also readied itself for an attempted blockade of Pakistani ports (primarily Karachi port) to cut off supply routes. Later, the then- Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif disclosed that Pakistan was left with just six days of fuel to sustain itself if a full-fledged war had broken out. As Pakistan found itself entwined in a prickly position, the army had covertly planned a nuclear strike on India, the news of which alarmed U.S. President Bill Clinton, resulting in a stern warning to Nawaz Sharif. Two months into the conflict, Indian troops had slowly retaken most of the ridges they had lost; according to official count, an estimated 75%–80% of the intruded area and nearly all high ground was back under Indian control.

Following the Washington accord on July 4, where Sharif agreed to withdraw the Pakistan-backed troops, most of the fighting came to a gradual halt. In spite of this, some of the militants still holed up did not wish to retreat, and the United Jihad Council (an umbrella for all extremist groups) rejected Pakistan's plan for a climb-down, instead deciding to fight on. Following this, the Indian army launched its final attacks in the last week of July; as soon as the last of these Jihadists in the Drass subsector had been cleared, the fighting ceased on July 26. The day has since been marked as Kargil Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) in India. By the end of the war, India had resumed control of all territory south and east of the Line of Control, as was established in July 1972 as per the Shimla Accord.

World opinion

Pakistan was criticised by the International community for allowing its paramilitary forces and insurgents to cross the Line of Control. Pakistan's primary diplomatic response, one of plausible deniability linking the incursion to what it officially termed as "Kashmiri freedom fighters", was in the end not successful. Veteran analysts argued that the battle was fought at heights where only seasoned troops could survive, so poorly equipped "freedom fighters" would neither have the ability nor the wherewithal to seize land and defend it. Moreover, while the army had initially denied the involvement of its troops in the intrusion, two soldiers were awarded the Nishan-E-Haider (Pakistan's highest military honour). Another 90 soldiers were also given gallantry awards, most of them posthumously, confirming Pakistan's role in the episode. India also released taped phone conversations between the Army Chief and a senior Pakistani general where the latter is recorded saying: "the scruff of [the militants] necks is in our hands," although Pakistan dismissed it as a "total fabrication". Concurrently, Pakistan made several contradicting statements, confirming its role in Kargil, when it defended the incursions saying that the LOC itself was disputed. Pakistan also attempted to internationalize the Kashmir issue, by linking the crisis in Kargil to the larger Kashmir conflict but, such a diplomatic stance found few backers on the world stage.

As the Indian counter-attacks picked up momentum, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif flew to meet U.S. president Bill Clinton on July 4 to obtain support from the United States. Clinton rebuked Sharif, however, and asked him to use his contacts to rein in the militants and withdraw Pakistani soldiers from Indian territory. Clinton would later reveal in his autobiography that "Sharif’s moves were perplexing" since the Indian prime minister had travelled to Lahore to promote bilateral talks aimed at resolving the Kashmir problem and "by crossing the Line of Control, Pakistan had wrecked the [bilateral] talks." On the other hand, he applauded Indian restraint for not crossing the LoC and escalating the conflict into an all-out war. The other G8 nations, too, supported India and condemned the Pakistani violation of the LoC at the Cologne summit. The European Union was also opposed to the violation of the LoC. China, a long-time ally of Pakistan, did not intervene in Pakistan's favour, insisting on a pullout of forces to the LoC and settling border issues peacefully. Other organizations like the ASEAN Regional Forum too supported India's stand on the inviolability of the LOC. Faced with growing international pressure, Sharif managed to pull back the remaining soldiers from Indian territory. The joint statement issued by Clinton and Sharif conveyed the need to respect the Line of Control and resume bilateral talks as the best forum to resolve all disputes.

WMDs and the nuclear factor

One of the main concerns in the international community during the Kargil crisis was that both neighbours had access to weapons of mass destruction, and if the war intensified, it could have led to nuclear war. Both countries had tested their nuclear capability a year before in 1998; India conducted its first test in 1974 while it was Pakistan's first-ever nuclear test. Many pundits believed the tests to be an indication of the escalating stakes in the scenario in South Asia. With the outbreak of clashes in Kashmir just a year after the nuclear tests, many nations took notice of the conflict and desired to end it.

The first hint of the possible use of a nuclear bomb was on May 31 when Pakistani foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad made a statement warning that an escalation of the limited conflict could lead Pakistan to use "any weapon" in its arsenal. This was immediately interpreted as an obvious threat of a nuclear retaliation by Pakistan in the event of an extended war, and the leader of Pakistan's senate noted, "The purpose of developing weapons becomes meaningless if they are not used when they are needed." Many such ambiguous statements from officials of both countries were viewed as an impending nuclear crisis. The limited nuclear arsenals of both sides, paradoxically could have led to 'tactical' nuclear warfare in the belief that a nuclear strike would not have ended in total nuclear warfare with mutual assured destruction, as could have occurred between the United States, the USSR or the People's Republic of China. Some experts believe that following nuclear tests in 1998, Pakistani military was emboldened by its nuclear deterrent cover to markedly increase coercion against India.

The nature of the India-Pakistan conflict took a more sinister proportion when the U.S. received intelligence that Pakistani nuclear warheads were being moved towards the border. Bill Clinton tried to dissuade Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif from nuclear brinkmanship, even threatening Pakistan of dire consequences. According to a White House official, Sharif seemed to be genuinely surprised by this supposed missile movement and responded that India was probably planning the same. This was later confirmed in an article in May 2000, which stated that India too had readied at least five nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. Sensing a deteriorating military scenario, diplomatic isolation, and the risks of a larger conventional and nuclear war, Sharif ordered the Pakistani army to vacate the Kargil heights. He later claimed in his official biography that General Pervez Musharraf had moved nuclear warheads without informing him. Recently however, Pervez Musharraf revealed in his memoirs that Pakistan’s nuclear delivery system was not operational during the Kargil war; something that would have put Pakistan under serious disadvantage if the conflict went nuclear.

Additionally, the threat of WMD included a suspected use of chemical and even biological weapons. Pakistan accused India of using chemical weapons and incendiary weapons such as napalm against the Kashmiri fighters. India, on the other hand, showcased a cache of gas masks, among other firearms, as proof that Pakistan may have been prepared to use non-conventional weapons. One militant group even claimed to possess chemical weapons; this was later found to be a hoax, and even the gas masks were most likely intended by the Pakistanis as protection from an Indian attack. The Pakistani allegations of India using banned chemicals in its bombs were proven to be unfounded by the U.S. administration at the time and the OPCW.



The aftermath of the war saw the rise of the Indian stock market by over 1,500 points. The next Indian national budget included major increases in military spending. From the end of the war until February 2000, the economy of India was bullish. There was a surge in patriotism, with many celebrities pitching in towards the Kargil cause. Indians were also angered by the death of pilot Ajay Ahuja under controversial circumstances, and especially after Indian authorities reported that Ahuja had been murdered and his body mutilated by Pakistani troops. The war had also produced higher than expected fatalities for the Indian military, with a sizeable percentage of them including newly commissioned officers. One month later, the Atlantique Incident - where a Pakistan Navy plane was shot down by India - briefly reignited fears of a conflict between the two countries.

After the war, the Indian government severed ties with Pakistan and increased defence preparedness. Since the Kargil conflict, India raised its defence budget as it sought to acquire more state of the art equipment; however, a few irregularities came to light during this period of heightened military expenditure. There was also severe criticism of the intelligence agencies like RAW, which failed to predict either the intrusions or the identity/number of infiltrators during the war. An internal assessment report by the armed forces, published in an Indian magazine, showed several other failings, including "a sense of complacency" and being "unprepared for a conventional war" on the presumption that nuclearism would sustain peace. It also highlighted the lapses in command and control, the insufficient troop levels and the dearth of large- calibre guns like the Bofors. In 2006, retired Air Chief Marshal, A.Y. Tipnis, alleged that the Indian Army did not fully inform the government about the intrusions, adding that the army chief Ved Prakash Malik, was initally reluctant to use the full strike capability of the Indian Air Force, instead requesting only helicopter gunship support. Soon after the conflict, India also decided to complete the project - previously stalled by Pakistan - to fence the entire LOC.

The Kargil victory was followed by the 13th Indian General Elections to the Lok Sabha, which gave a decisive mandate to the NDA government. It was re-elected to power in Sept–Oct 1999 with a majority of 303 seats out of 545 in the Lok Sabha. On the diplomatic front, the conflict was a major boost to Indo-U.S. relations, as the United States appreciated Indian attempts to restrict the conflict to a limited geographic area. These ties were further strengthened following the 9/11 attacks and a general shift in foreign policy of the two nations. Relations with Israel – which had discreetly aided India with ordnance supply and matériel such as unmanned aerial vehicles, laser-guided bombs, as well as satellite imagery – also were bolstered following the end of the conflict.


Faced with the possibility of international isolation, the already fragile Pakistani economy was weakened further. The morale of its forces after the withdrawal was affected as many units of the Northern Light Infantry were destroyed, and the government refused to even recognise the dead bodies of its soldiers, an issue that provoked outrage and riots in the Northern Areas. Pakistan initially did not acknowledge many of its casualties, but Sharif later said that over 4,000 Pakistani troops were killed in the operation and that Pakistan had lost the conflict. Responding to this, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said, "It hurts me when an ex-premier undermines his own forces," and claimed that Indian casualties were more than that of Pakistan.

Many in Pakistan had expected a victory over the Indian military based on Pakistani official reports on the war, but were dismayed by the turn of events and questioned the eventual retreat. The military leadership is believed to have felt let down by the prime minister's decision to withdraw the remaining fighters. However, some authors, including ex- CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni, and ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, state that it was the General who requested Sharif to withdraw the Pakistani troops. With Sharif placing the onus of the Kargil attacks squarely on the army chief Pervez Musharraf, there was an atmosphere of uneasiness between the two. On October 12, 1999, General Musharraf staged a bloodless coup d'état, ousting Nawaz Sharif.

Benazir Bhutto, an opposition leader and former prime minister, called the Kargil War "Pakistan's greatest blunder". Many ex-officials of the military and the ISI (Pakistan's principal intelligence agency) also were of the view that "Kargil was a waste of time" and "could not have resulted in any advantage" on the larger issue of Kashmir. A retired Pakistani Army General, Lt Gen Ali Quli Khan Khattak, lambasted the war as "a disaster bigger than the East Pakistan tragedy", adding that the plan was "flawed in terms of its conception, tactical planning and execution" that ended in "sacrificing so many soldiers.". The Pakistani media too was vocal in its criticism of the whole plan and the eventual climbdown from the Kargil heights since there were no gains to show for the loss of lives and only resulted in international condemnation for its actions.

Despite calls by many for a probe, no public commission of inquiry was set up to investigate the people responsible for initiating the conflict. However, the Pakistani political party, PML(N) recently unveiled a white paper which states that Nawaz Sharif constituted an inquiry committee that recommended a court martial for General Pervez Musharraf. The party alleges that Musharraf "stole the report" after toppling the government, to save himself. The report also claims that India knew about the plan 11 months before its launch, enabling a complete victory for India on military, diplomatic and economic fronts. Though the Kargil conflict had brought the Kashmir dispute into international focus – which was one of the aims of Pakistan – it had done so in negative circumstances that eroded its credibility, since the infiltration came just after a peace process between the two countries was underway. The sanctity of the LoC too received international recognition.

A few changes were made to the army. In recognition of its part in the war, the Northern Light Infantry regiment was incorporated into the regular army. The war showed that despite a tactically sound plan that had the element of surprise, little groundwork had been done to gauge the politico-diplomatic ramifications. And like previous unsuccessful infiltrations attempts like Operation Gibraltar that sparked the 1965 war, there was little coordination or information sharing among the branches of the Pakistan military. One U.S. Intelligence study is reported to have stated that Kargil was yet another example of Pakistan’s (lack of) grand strategy, repeating the follies of the previous wars. All these factors contributed to a strategic failure for Pakistan in Kargil.

Kargil War in the arts

The brief conflict has provided considerable material for both filmmakers and authors alike in India. Some documentaries which were shot on the subject were even used by the ruling party coalition, led by BJP, in furthering its election campaign that immediately followed the war. The following is a list of the major films and dramas on the subject.

  • LOC: Kargil (2003), a Hindi Bollywood movie which depicts most of the incidents from the Kargil War was one of the longest in Bollywood history running for more than four hours.
  • Lakshya (2004), another Bollywood movie portraying a fictionalised account of the conflict. Movie critics have generally appreciated the realistic portrayal of characters. The film also received good reviews in Pakistan because it portrays both sides fairly.
  • Dhoop (2003), directed by national award winner Ashwini Chaudhary, which depicted the life of Anuj Nayyar's parents after his death. Anuj Nayyar was a captain in the Indian army and was awarded Maha Vir Chakra posthumously. Om Puri plays the role of S.K. Nayyar, Anuj's father.
  • Mission Fateh - Real Stories of Kargil Heroes, a TV series telecast on Sahara channel chronicling the Indian Army's missions.
  • Fifty Day War - A theatrical production on the war, the title indicating the length of the Kargil conflict. This was claimed to be the biggest production of its kind in Asia, involving real aircraft and explosions in an outdoor setting.

Many other movies like Tango Charlie also drew heavily upon the Kargil episode, which still continues to be a plot for mainstream movies with a Malayalam movie "Keerthi Chakra", being based on an incident in Kargil. The impact of the war in the sporting arena was also visible during the India-Pakistan clash in the 1999 Cricket World Cup, which coincided with the Kargil timeline. The game witnessed heightened passions and was one of the most viewed matches in the tournament.

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