To commemorate the 25th anniversary of India’s triumph in the Kargil War, the Office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in collaboration with Lakshya Foundation-Pune and Department of information and Publicity (Government of Goa) paid a poignant tribute to army veterans of Kargil War and honoured their courage, indomitable spirit of our Armed Forces.
The felicitation programme was held at BITS Pilani Campus, Goa, wherein 9 Army veterans Naib Subedar Ramdas Shyamji Pawar (Rtd), Daya Ram (Rtd), Hav. Muni Lal (Rtd), Jogender Singh (Rtd), Hav. Yash Paul (Rtd), Hav. Mehar Singh, HC/GD Janardan Sonawane, Ajitnath Namdev Shirsat and Hav Jaihind Singh were felicitated on the occasion.
Also present were Major General Ravindra Singh (SM Bar), Colonel Prashant Kamath (SM), Founder President, Lakshya Foundation, Anuradha Prabhudessai, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Guruprasad Pawaskar and Secretary Office of the State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Taha Haaziq. The dignitaries were accompanied by students representing various schools from across the state.
Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant, in a video message, said: “We are proud to have this opportunity to felicitate the Kargil War veterans. They are the real heroes of today’s India and of Independent India. Many wars have been fought from 1947 onwards, and many Indian revolutionaries like Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh, and others sacrificed their lives for the country. This year, Lakshya Foundation has selected 12 districts to organise 12 felicitation programmes in the presence of students, aiming to instil patriotism among them. It is crucial for them to learn about and personally experience these events. We observe that in our state only a small percentage, hardly 0.5 percent, of the youth join the military or armed forces.”
He added that, along with land border security, coastal border security is equally important. Therefore, they are working towards tightening coastal border security in Goa as well.
The chief guest for the function, Minister for Social Welfare, Subhash Phal Dessai said that the Kargil War in 1999 was indeed a defining moment in the history of our nation. “It was a test for our heroes to resolve and define an indomitable spirit that defines the heart of every Indian. Amidst numerous challenges, our soldiers displayed remarkable valour and determination, earning them legendary status. Their sacrifices, bravery, and unwavering dedication continue to inspire us all. They serve as a reminder that freedom and security should never be taken for granted, as they come at a price often paid by our brave souls who defend our borders.”
Phal Dessai also acknowledged the strength and resilience of the soldiers’ families. “Their unwavering support and courage deserve recognition and gratitude,“ he said, adding to reaffirm our commitment to upholding the ideals for which these brave hearts fought and laid down their lives. “Let us strive for peace and unity knowing that peace of freedom is eternal vigilance and let us always remember and honour the heroes of the Kargil War who are the true spirit of courage and patriotism.”
Speaking about the role of artillery during military operations, Major General Ravindra Singh said that the artillery is indeed a valuable asset when it comes to conducting attacks. “Artillery plays a crucial role in targeting and neutralising specific objectives, effectively weakening and softening them before further engagement. During the Kargil War, the Indian Army received significant support from artillery, which made our work quite easy.”
He further said that it is not only the soldiers going to war who are brave, but their families are equally brave and strong. “None of our soldiers who go to war are made weak by their families and wives. They know they are going into war and may not return, but I have never seen any family or children being scared of whether they will come back or not. I believe all of this is part of our culture and it is our nation’s strength.”
Speaking on the momentous occasion State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Guruprasad Pawaskar said, “This felicitation was done by the Office of the State Commission for Persons with Disabilities as many persons lost their lives and arms and limbs during the Kargil war. The army veterans felicitated today are those fitted with artificial limbs and we thought it was apt to honour them as they are the real heroes of our nation.” He also stated that he would like to see more Goans join the armed forces.
A conversation on Kargil War with Kargil war heroes Major General Ravindra Singh (SM Bar), Colonel Prashant Kamath (SM), was part of the function. Speaking here, Anuradha Prabhudessai said: “Learning about the struggles on the border is always a learning lesson for all of us. If also instils patriotism and respect for the soldiers.” She thanked everyone who were part of making the event a success and a memorable one.