Dr. K.T. Jaleel, Hon'ble Minister for Higher Education,

Air Marshal B. Suresh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command,
Shri Bishwanath Sinha IAS, Principal Secretary to Government,
Dr. V.P. Mahadevan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kerala
Air Vice Marshal B. Chandra Sekhar, Senior Officer in Charge,Administration,
Air Commodore V.V. Dedgaonkar, Southern Air Command, 
Brigadier Arun C.G., Station Commander, Pangode,
Commodore P. Timmapurkar, Southern Naval Command, Kochi,
Dr. Ajaya Kumar, Pro Vice-Chancellor, 
Wing Commander Samrat Chaudhary, 
Adv. K.H. Babujan, Member, Syndicate,
Members of the Armed Forces,
Dear Teachers, Students 
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good Afternoon to everyone.
It gives me boundless joy to address you at the 20th Kargil Vijay Diwas celebrations organized by the Southern Air Command at Thiruvananthapuram. 
Let me at the outset, convey my profound respect to the holy memory of our brave soldiers who laid down their lives in their earnest endeavor to protect our motherland from enemy forces. Our celebration of the anniversary of Operation Vijay, which marked India's victory at Kargil, is an occasion to remember them and to strengthen our resolve to guard every grain of India's soil with unfailing determination. 
I must also appreciate the decision of the Southern Air Command to conduct this celebration in the premises of the 'mother university' of the State. The sacrifices of our soldiers, the discipline, skills and determination of our armed forces could convey the right message to the youthful university community. 
In every moment of national pride, we the people of India are reminded of our commitment to protect our freedom, solidarity and democratic values, which were earned through centuries of struggle, hard work and selfless sacrifice.  It also merits mention that many such known and unknown sacrifices had come from the students of our campuses during our freedom struggle.
As we all know, the Kargil War, which took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil District of Kashmir was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan. And the conflict occurred because Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants had stealthily sneaked into the Indian side of Line of Control with very clear and dangerous intentions.
It is well known that we have always believed in mutual respect and friendly cooperation with others, especially our neighbors.  At the same time, our response to the situation at Kargil is a clear reflection of our policy of reacting strongly to violations of peace and cross-border terrorism. We had responded to the enemy through Operation Vijay with over 30,000 soldiers from Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Para Military forces. The might of the air operations and artillery bombardment had forced Pakistan to withdraw from the Line of Control.
The Kargil war was an unusual example of high altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, with targets between 6000-18000 feet above sea level. The Operation Safed Saagar of our Air Force demonstrated the precision of our air warriors. 
The Indian Navy blockaded the Pakistani ports to cut off supply routes under 'Operation Talwar' and did aggressive patrols in the Arabian Sea, threatening Pakistan's sea trade.  Our Army's priority was to recapture the peaks which were closer to the National Highway-1 connecting Srinagar and Leh. At the same time, the nation's decision not to cross the Line Of Control was dutifully honoured by our Forces so as to keep the conflict localized.
Thus, our victory in Kargil was also an evidence to the synergy inbuilt in the character of our armed forces. This harmony also reflected the unbreakable unity in our diversity. It was the strength of this harmony which compelled the enemy to withdraw, even though they had occupied higher reaches of the mountains in the Kargil sector, to fire down at the advancing Indian troops.
The Kargil War had resulted in a massive casualty to India and Pakistan. Around 527 Indian soldiers were martyred during Kargil War and 1363 were injured.  The Kargil War memorial built by the Indian Army in Draas carries the names of all those martyrs. 
I am certain that the names of those valiant soldiers are also engraved in the hearts of the entire population of Indians. Incidentally, five days ago, I had the opportunity to visit the school of a Kargil martyr, Capt. Jerry Prem Raj, who was awarded Vir Chakra. I recall that the school community and the people swelled with pride on the mention of his name.
Kargil was India's firm victory over Pakistan, but the fight and vigil against stealthy operations and terrorism continue even today. In recent times, the Army's surgical strikes and the Balakot air strikes by our Air Force have conveyed the right message not only to the enemy, but to the international community as well.
As a nation, we have the third largest army and the alertness of our armed forces is our greatest guarantee against any aggression. But, we the people also have a responsibility to offer our full support to this alertness. Our gratitude towards the armed forces has to be expressed through an increased interest in adding to its strength.
You may recall that I had complimented the Southern Air Command for conducting this function in the university.  
The real pulse of the youth is felt in our universities and I am happy that our youth are now taking greater interest in opting for a career in the Armed Forces. Today, the idea of placement has also broadened from mere jobs to the pride of choosing a career in the Armed Forces, which have modernized their operations to suit the needs of the knowledge society in which we live.
I am glad that the University of Kerala has been responding positively to the requests of Defence personnel for opportunities in higher education. I understand that two Army officers from Kerala - one who had an active role in the Kargil operation and another who served the Kashmir valley - are now pursuing their Masters degree at this university campus. 
As Chancellor, I hope that our universities will take a more positive and proactive approach to the requests from defence personnel for enrollment in courses. They could even consider a level of flexibility in the process of admission, choice of subjects and timing of courses. I am suggesting this to facilitate an increased acquaintance with the character of our defense forces in our campuses. 
Such an interaction would help our students to know our Forces better and  to quicken their transition into future leaders, armed with a better social responsibility. 
I would also request the Armed Forces to facilitate occasional study tours for our students to the major military training centres like the National Defence Academy near Pune, Air Force Academy, Hyderabad or Naval Academy near Kannur.
Such visits and interactions will certainly be inspiring experiences for our students. The films, we have screened today would have already encouraged them to know more about our   Armed Forces. 
I greet all the participants of this programme, especially those who had a role in the Kargil operations. I would also like to tell you that for us, there is nothing more inspiring and reassuring than the presence of an officer or a soldier in uniform. It is a presence that calls to mind the best of the Indian ethos.
I compliment the Southern Air Command and other Defence units for organizing this programme in a befitting manner.
My best wishes to everyone present here.
                                                                                                  Thank you,
                                                                                                    Jai Hind