What is that emotion which makes one leave everything for their motherland? How can a soldier look death in the eye and not think about his newborn waiting for him back home? How can a woman, after losing her husband, can still cheer for her Lt Gen son who might never come back from the border? Indian Armed Forces reflect extraordinary emotions and commitment for our country.
Be it a natural calamity or a man-made havoc on LOC, the men in uniform have stood for us in every situation – from merciless deserts to unsparing Siachin. Let us take a look at the most crucial operations that the IAF have performed over the years.
Operation Polo 1948
Operation Polo, the code name of the Hyderabad “Police Action” was a military operation in September 1948 in which the Indian Armed Forces invaded the erstwhile princely State of Hyderabad and overthrew its Nizam. This was done to include the state in the newly Independent India. It was led by the great Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
The operation led to massive violence on communal lines. The operation led to massive violence on communal lines. The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had appointed a commission known as the Sunderlal Committee to look into the catastrophe. Its report, which was not released until 2013, concluded that “as a conservative estimate…27,000 to 40,000 people had lost their lives during and after the police action.” Other scholars have put the figure at 2,00,000 or even higher.
Despite the resistance and loss of lives, including Hyderabad was crucial for making of the federal republic India.
Siachen Conflict 1984
The Siachen Conflict, also known as the Siachen War, is a military conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir. It is the highest battle ground on earth and sees a permanent military presence from both India-Pakistan. The conflict began in April 13, 1984 with India’s successful Operation Meghdoot during which it gained control over all of the Siachen Glacier (unoccupied and undemarcated area).
According to TIME magazine, India gained more than 1,000 square miles (3,000 km2) of territory because of its military operations in Siachen. More than 2,000 people have died in this inhospitable terrain, mostly due to weather extremes and the natural hazards of mountain warfare.
Operation Rajiv 1987
Operation Rajiv was initiated to capture the highest peak in the Siachen area in 1987. The Pakistan Army had established a post on the top of the strategically located peak, threatening the Indian movement in the area. An Indian task force, led by Major Varinder Singh, launched multiple attacks to capture the Post. After three unsuccessful attempts, a team captured the post. The peak was renamed Bana Top in honour of Bana Singh, who was awarded India’s highest military award Param Vir Chakra for his courage. The operation was named after Second Lieutenant Rajiv Pande, who had been killed during an earlier attempt to capture the peak.
Operation Cactus 1988
The operation had started on the night of 3 November 1988 when an Indian Air Force aircraft had airlifted the elements of the 50th Independent Parachute Brigade from Agra Air Force Station and flew them non-stop over 2,000 km (1,240 mi) to land them over the Malé International Airport on Hulhule Island. The Indian Army paratroopers arrived on Hulhule in nine hours after the appeal from the then Maldivian President Gayoom.
The Indian paratroopers immediately secured the airfield, crossed over to Male using commandeered boats and rescued Gayoom. Nineteen people reportedly died in the operation, most of them mercenaries. India received international praise for the operation. The then US President Ronald Reagan expressed his appreciation for India’s action, calling it “a valuable contribution to regional stability”. Margaret Thatcher, the ex-British PM, had reportedly commented, “Thank God for India: President Gayoom’s government has been saved.”
Operation Vijay 1999
Kargil war or Operation Vijay was an armed conflict between India-Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC). This was the second major military standoff between India and Pakistan following the successful detonation of nuclear devices by both countries in 1998 and the most recent standoff between the nuclear rivals. The other had been the Kargil War in 1999. The military buildup was initiated by India responding to a terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001.
If it wasn’t for their spirit and valor, we would never catch a wink in the safety of our homes. We salute the enormous courage in our armed forces.