SRINAGAR: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Saturday paid tributes to soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil War at a memorial in Jammu and Kashmir's Dras sector as the nation commemorated 20 years of 'Operation Vijay'.
The defence minister, who is visiting Kargil, will also dedicate to the nation two bridges built by the Border Roads Organisation at Ujh in Kathua and Basantar in Samba district.
The army's 'Operation Vijay' refers to the limited war against Pakistan's infiltration in 1999 and it was fought on the icy heights of Kargil, including super-high altitude locations such as Tololing and Tiger Hill.
"The defence minister started his visit by laying a wreath in memory of the gallant martyrs of 'Operation Vijay' at the iconic Kargil War Memorial, which was followed by observing of one minute silence as a mark of respect for the fallen heroes," Srinagar-based defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.
Singh later visited the 'Veer Bhoomi' and the 'Hut of Remembrance', which are located in the war memorial premises at Dras, he said.
The defence minister was briefed on 'Operation Vijay' and the heroic actions of the Indian troops to thwart the nefarious designs of the enemy in the Drass, Kargil and Batalik sectors, the spokesman said.
Singh was accompanied by Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat and General Officer Commanding in Chief Northern Command Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Kalia said.
On the occasion, Rajnath Singh dedicated a 'Memory Lane' that displays information on a few important battles, he said.
Lieutenant General Y K Joshi, General Officer Commanding Fire & Fury Corps, a veteran of 'Operation Vijay', briefed the defence minister at Lamochan View Point on various battles that took place during the 1999 war.
"The defence minister also took the opportunity to share a cup of tea and interact with the soldiers presently deployed in the sector. He appreciated the dedication of the troops who are defending the borders, in these challenging conditions and conveyed the appreciation of the nation to the Indian Army, for always keeping 'Nation First'," the spokesman added.