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Capt. Vijyant Thapar: He sacrificed his today for our tomorrow

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photo88By Ila Garg

Kargil War Heroes – Part 8

Carrying forward the family legacy, Capt. Vijyant Thapar joined the armed forces. His family had served in the Army for a long time. In fact, he was named after the name of the main battle tanks of the army. His great grandfather Dr. Capt. Karta Ram Thapar, his grandfather Mr. J.S. Thapar, and his father Col. V.N. Thapar all served the Army during their professional lives. Vijyant’s grandfather encouraged him to join the Army. Capt. Vijyant’s father retired after 37 years’ service in 1999 and in the same year that Capt. Vijyant was commissioned.

Capt. Vijyant then joined the 2 Rajputana Rifles at Gwalior. The battalion then moved to Kashmir to check insurgency. While still involved in this counter insurgency, orders were received for the unit to evict the enemy who had occupied Tololing, Tiger Hill, and adjoining heights.ima-friend

Capt. Vijyant with his troops moved to the Drass sector under Col. M.B. Ravindernath, commanding officer, and his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya. Initial attempts were no good. On the night of June 12, 1999, Capt. Vijyant Thapar led his platoon to capture a Pakistani post called Barbad Bunker. His diary notes show how in close combat he killed two soldiers but was disappointed at not being able to capture the two enemy soldiers alive.

After the victory of Tololing, he spoke to his mother on a V Sat telephone and proudly said, “Mumma, we have captured Tololing.” 2 Rajputana Rifles was then given the task of captaining Three Pimples, Knoll. Capt. Vijyant Thapar aka ‘Robin’ fought like a valiant and true soldier. These forbidding heights were held by enemy Northern Light Infantry (NLI). The troops of NLI (Pakistan) had all the advantages – well entrenched in strongly prepared familypositions, well stocked with precipitous slopes on both sides, while the Indian troops were devoid of cover. With almost vertical climbs at an altitude of 15000 ft and a temperature of -15 °C, it was indeed an impossible mission.

There were intense artillery shelling and heavy bombardment. Some brave soldiers lost their lives and some more were injured, causing the attack to be disrupted for a short while. However, Capt. Vijyant was a brave-heart. With his undying spirit, love to serve the nation, and tremendous urge to capture Knoll, he gathered himself and moved through a ravine to face the enemy with the remaining soldiers.helicopter

While the exchange of fire was going on, Capt. Vijyant, along with his platoon secured a foothold on Knoll. By this time, his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya had been killed. This further angered Capt. Vijyant and he surged ahead with his colleague Naik Tilak Singh. There were two enemy machine guns firing towards them. After about an hour and a half of fierce exchange of bullets, Capt. Vijyant moved ahead to kill the enemy. Suddenly, a burst of fire struck him on his head. He fell in the arms of his comrade Naik Tilak Singh and closed his eyes forever. The victory at Knoll on 29 June, 1999, is a saga of bravery unmatched, and unbounded grit and determination.

Capt. Vijyant was awarded India’s high military honour, the Vir Chakra by the President of India, for his acts of bravery during the Kargil War. In an exchange of mails, Capt. Vijyant Thapar’s father, Col. V. N. Thapar told NewsGram that he is grateful for the fact that the nation still continues to remember his son:

“Sixteen years after we lost our son in the Kargil war your mail was most thoughtful. Thanks. It is this support that has sustained us through these years. Young men like Vijyant did what the nation expected of them – their duty. Actually, the war at Kargil brought the best in the Indian nation – those like Capt. Vijyant, who fought bravely and fell honourably to redeem India’s sanctity and the countrymen who showered their love and their support for the brave hearts. We, of course, feel proud of what he has done, but losing a young son is painful and we go through it every day of our life.

Kargil is already a distant memory. We don’t want the legacy of the young men like Capt. Vijyant to fade and be lost to the coming generation of Indian, who have a right to know what their previous generation did and be inspired.”

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Capt. Vijyant Thapar in his childhood days

Even as a child, the captain always thought about others more than himself. As a person, he was very warm hearted and considerate. He always wanted to be in the Army. His favourite toys were guns. He would wear his father’s peak cap, take his cane, and march around like an officer. At the age of four or five, he had already fired a pistol sitting in his dad’s embrace.

His brother, Tarun Thapar says, “Robin’s sacrifice has deeply moved us all. He will always remain in our hearts.”

During his training, Capt. Vijyant did very well and got the silver medal for standing second in the order of merit in the first term. He also got a Gold Medal in Water Polo. He was a very principled and disciplined person and nothing was more important to him than his nation, India.

At the age of 22 when life was still to come, he chose to battle with the enemy with utter disregard for his personal safety.

ima-swimmingMore in this segment:

Kargil War Heroes – Part 1
Kargil War Heroes – Part 2
Kargil War Heroes – Part 3
Kargil War Heroes – Part 4
Kargil War Heroes – Part 5
Kargil War Heroes – Part 6
Kargil War Heroes – Part 7
Kargil War Heroes – Part 9
Kargil War Heroes – Part 10
Kargil War Heroes – Part 11
Kargil War Heroes – Part 12
Kargil War Heroes – Part 13
Kargil War Heroes – Part 14
Kargil War Heroes – Part 15

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World’s Oldest serving Aircraft Carrier ‘INS Viraat’ set to retire from Indian Navy

Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain's Royal Navy as HMS Hermes

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Warship INS Viraat, Wikimedia

India, March 6, 2017: The world’s oldest aircraft carrier in service, the INS Viraat,is set to retire on Monday from the Indian Navy.

On Monday evening, the Naval flag atop the ship, also known as the “grand old lady”, will be lowered and wrapped at sunset, marking an end to its long journey of 55 years, including 30 years in the Indian Navy.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram. 

Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain’s Royal Navy as HMS Hermes.

In 1984, it was decommissioned from the Royal Navy and subsequently was commissioned by the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.

The ship has seen a series of aircraft operate from its decks, including the the Sea Harrier, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetaks.

Under the Indian Flag, various aircraft have flown more than 22,034 hours from the decks of the INS Viraat which implies that the carrier has been at sea for over six years covering the entire globe about 27 times.

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

The ship played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka and Operation Vijay in 1999 during the Kargil War.

The last operational deployment of the ship was at the International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) in Visakhapatnam. (IANS)

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Pakistan was preparing to use nukes during Kargil war: Ex-White House Official

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Image: Wikipedia

New Delhi: Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use against India during the 1999 Kargil war when its army was suffering heavy casualties at the hands of the latter, the CIA had warned then President Bill Clinton, a former top White House official has said.

The CIA briefed Bill Clinton in this regard in July 4, 1999 when the president was scheduled to meet the visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif had rushed to Washington and sought a meeting with Clinton in the wake of heavy losses suffered by Pakistani army by their Indian counterparts, looking for an honorable exit when a defeat seemed imminent.

“The morning of the Fourth (of July, 1999), the CIA wrote in its top-secret Daily Brief that Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use. The intelligence was very compelling. The mood in the Oval Office was grim,” Bruce Riedel, who worked at the time in the National Security Council of the White House and was among the few present at the Clinton-Sharif meeting said, NDTV reported.

ALSO READ: How India, Pakistan can avoid nuclear war

Riedel made the revelations in an obituary he wrote for Sandy Berger, former national security advisor to Clinton, who died of cancer on Wednesday.

“Berger urged Clinton to hear out Sharif, but to be firm… Pakistan started this crisis and it must end it without any compensation. The president needed to make clear to the prime minister that only a Pakistani withdrawal could avert further escalation,” he wrote.

“Sandy knew Clinton better than anyone, his natural inclination was to find a deal. This time, no deal was possible, it must be an unequivocal Pakistani climbdown,” Riedel said.

“It worked. Sharif agreed to pull back his troops. It later cost him his job: The army ousted him in a coup and he spent a decade in exile in Saudi Arabia. But the risk of a nuclear exchange in South Asia was averted,” Riedel wrote.

(With inputs from agencies)

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SC dismisses plea for probe into Kargil war purchases

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea for investigation into purchase at inflated price of caskets for soldiers martyred during the Kargil war and other items since the issues had been decided by trial courts.

An apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice V. Gopala Gowda declined the plea as counsel S Balasubramanian appearing for the Centre told the court that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arraigned one Victor Baiza in the aluminium casket purchase case, but he was discharged by the court of metropolitan magistrate.

Similarly, Balasubramanian said, the CBI investigated the charges of wrongdoing in the purchase of Krasonpol ammunition, found nothing and filed a closure report that too was accepted by a trial court.

Balasubramanian said that allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase of snow suits were based on mere apprehensions as no contract was entered into and consequently no money was paid.

KG Dhananjay Chauhan moved the apex court for investigation into the alleged wrongdoings in the purchases done during the Kargil war in 1999 and sought putting in place a transparent procedure for the purchase of defence material.

The plea for investigation into the alleged scams had become infructuous in the wake of lower courts’ decisions, the apex court said.

(IANS)