|Thursday, July 27, 2000,
Nation salutes Kargil martyrs
NEW DELHI, July 26 — The nation today paid homage to martyrs of Kargil as the President, Mr K.R. Narayanan, the Vice-President, Mr Krishan Kant, and the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, laid wreaths at the Amar Jawan Jyoti War Memorial at India Gate here this morning.
Minutes after Mr Narayanan laid a wreath and saluted the unknown soldier with buglers playing the last post in the background, three Jaguar fighter aircraft flew over the memorial in the “missing man” formation, one plane less for the pilot who did not come back.
There were also reports from around the country about functions being held to pay homage to the men who had fought bravely and sacrificed their lives to push out Pakistani intruders from the icy heights of Kargil last year.
The morning ceremony started with the Army Chief, the Naval Chief and the Vice-Chief of the Air Force laying wreaths at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. Minister of State for Defence Production Harin Pathak and Defence Minister George Fernandes were the next to pay tributes.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Vice-President Krishan Kant also paid homage.
A three-minute silence was observed after Mr Narayanan laid a wreath. The buglers from the three services paid their tributes to the martyrs and men from the Army, the Navy and the Air Force contingents reversed arms.
The hour-long ceremony culminated with a short flypast that was led by three MI-8 helicopters.
Later, Mr Fernandes inaugurated a defence exhibition on the India Gate lawns which displayed the aircraft and armaments used by the Air Force and the Army during the Kargil operation and those captured by the Indian forces from Pakistani intruders.
The aircraft on display at the exhibition which will be open to the public for five days are the Mirage-2000, MiG-23, MiG-21 BIS, MiG-21 M, Jaguar, MI-17, Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.
In addition, P-18 radar, IGLA and SAM III Missiles, small arms, artillery guns, air defence artillery systems, maritime vehicles, clothings, and other equipment used by the Army during the 50-day operation are also on view.
Various types of communication systems, EME and engineering equipment, and models of living accommodation used by the Army in sub-zero temperatures have also been displayed.
The elite marine commandos of the Navy, popularly known as “marcos” demonstrated their skills in one of the ponds at India Gate. For the first time, people here got to see the two man U-boat and the Chariot in action.
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