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We had pledged not to return defeated: Kargil war veteran

New Delhi, July 14 : The Pakistani bullets were raining heavily from the Tololing peak but the brave soldiers of 2 Rajputana Rifles had a determined pledge of evicting the intruders as they moved up the mountain in Kargil during the war in 1999.

Reminiscing the events on the 20th anniversary of war, Captain (retd) Akhilesh Saxena, who was badly injured and had to retire prematurely because of that, said the soldiers had tied saffron scarfs on their heads as a vow not to return without recapturing the positions occupied by the Pakistani Army by deceit.

Speaking to IANS, he narrated some of the developments related to recapture of Tololing on June 1 and subsequently the '3 Pimples' on June 29 but not without losing several brave soldiers including Captain Vijayant Thapar and Major Padmapani Acharya.

Captain Saxena said that most of the brave soldiers lost their lives due to excessive blood loss as they, without caring their own injuries, kept on fighting the enemies to regain the peaks.

Captain Saxena, who had got married just a month before the Kargil war broke out, was badly hit in his hand during the recapture of '3 Pimples'.

"We has tied saffron scarfs on our heads with a pledge that we will only return after conquering the peaks and not return defeated," the Kargil war veteran said.

"We all, despite being severely injured, kept on fighting the enemy and marching ahead. Finally our sacrifice paid off and we recaptured the strategic peaks of Kargil," said the officer, who is now working as Vice President in Tata Communication.

The officer spoke about the use of Bofors fire power against the Pakistani soldiers entrenched on mountain tops and how dangerous it was for Indian troops as they moved up to recapture the peaks.

"Giving the right directions (to Bofors units) and coordinating with the team was difficult but we did it successfully and killed several Pakistani soldiers," he said.

On how the Pakistanis could capture those peaks, he said Kargil had always been a winter-vacated post and both Indian and the Pakistani troops would leave their posts in October when the winter would set in.

He said that maintaining the posts would cost around Rs 12 crore per day and it must have been the same on the Pakistani side also.

Nobody ever thought that the 1999 Kargil would ever happen.

He blamed the intelligence failure for this misadventure by Pakistan that claimed the lives of around 520 Indian soldiers.

Since he was badly injured in the battle, Captain Akhilesh Saxena retired from the Army.

Talking on the present government's move to tax disability pension, the war veteran said, "it is unfortunate."

"I too am a beneficiary of disability pension. When we are ready to sacrifice our lives for our country, the government should respect the army men and the duty they perform," he said.

"Unfortunate that a soldier has to fight for his right," he added.

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We had pledged not to return defeated: Kargil war veteran


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