Drass (Ladakh) | Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said India is ready to cross the Line of Control (LoC) to maintain its honour and dignity, and called upon civilians to be ready to support the soldiers in such a situation.
Citing the example of the Russia-Ukraine war, he said the war has been going on for more than a year because civilians have stepped up and are participating in the war.
Singh was speaking at the Kargil War Memorial here on the occasion of the 24th Kargil Vijay Diwas. Earlier, he laid a wreath at the memorial to pay tributes to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1999 Kargil war.
"We can go to any extreme to maintain the honour and dignity of the country... if that includes crossing the LoC, we are ready to do that... if we are instigated and if the need arises, we will cross the LoC," he said.
"Whenever there has been a war situation, our public has always supported the forces but that support has been indirect. I urge the public to be ready and mentally prepared to support the soldiers directly on the battlefield if the need arises," he added.
Singh said the Kargil war was imposed on India, which was "backstabbed" by Pakistan.
"The Kargil war was imposed on India. At that time, India had tried to solve the issues with Pakistan through talks... we are backstabbed by Pakistan," he said.
"During Operation Vijay, the Indian Army sent a message not only to Pakistan but to the whole world that when it comes to our national interests, our Army will not back down at any cost.
"We are fully committed to safeguarding our national interests even today," the minister said.
Many of the soldiers who fought in the Kargil war were newly married, about to get married or were the sole breadwinners of their families. But they did not think about their lives and put them on the line, Singh said.
"I salute our brave sons who put the country first and sacrificed their lives. Their sacrifices have not gone waste, their contribution will continue to inspire generations," he added.
The defence minister also called upon the Army to work towards ensuring that the contribution of these unsung heroes does not go unnoticed.
The Indian Army had launched a fierce counterassault, Operation Vijay, to push back Pakistani forces that had stealthily occupied important heights in Ladakh in 1999.
The war saw Indian armed forces fight in the most challenging terrains amid harsh weather conditions in Drass, Kargil and Batalik sectors.
Kargil Vijay Diwas is observed to mark India's victory over Pakistan.