CHENNAI: Reminiscing India's victory in the 1999 Kargil war fought against Pakistan, a colonel said fighting in the war was a god-given opportunity as many soldiers retire without seeing action.
Colonel K V Madhusoodan, who was with 108 medium regiment, one of the three artillery regiments that played a key role in the conflict, said though every soldier would yearn to take part in a war, many would return without actually participating in one.
"I have mixed feelings on this. Being part of a war is a god-given opportunity for a soldier. We all consider ourselves lucky. That is a life-time opportunity," the officer told PTI.
So many people join the army, get trained, but many retire without having fought in a war, he added.
Presently officer-in-charge of an army veteran's cell in a city in Tamil Nadu, Madhusoodan however said the sad part is losing one's comrades in arms.
"That is the sad part. You start questioning everything. That is the emotion that comes," said the officer who lost three of his friends in the war.
But there is another story, he said, "As a soldier, we know it is part of our life. To be together, tomorrow not being together. That is what we have been taught and that is what our life is all about."
The officer said on July 26, 1999, they occupied all the peaks that were taken by Pakistan.
"I was there on this day at the same place where the war memorial stands now. It was then barren land," he said.
"We all had a get-together to share our experiences," he said, adding that they had to get back to their job quickly.
The Colonel said they lost more lives while trying to occupy Indian posts as the "Pakistanis had planted landmines while leaving".
"They wanted to win the war negatively. But we considered this also as part of the war," he further said even as the nation commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Kargil war.