Mil jate hai kuch desh premi, jinhe marne se kuch fark nhi pdta.
I remember this dialogue from the film Baby, that does full justice to describe our soldiers in the army. The Indian Army. With so many stories and instances that proved the intrepidity of the brave soldiers, we as citizens should salute and revere them. Just mere words filled with right adjectives can never do full justice as we can never thank them enough for what they do for us, but we can at least take a moment and remember these brave hearts and their contribution towards the country’s tranquility.
And therefore, with this article, let’s take a moment to pay reverence to these brave hearted soldiers. Since listing every milestone in this would be a humongous task, we bring forward some of the remarkable stories by the Indian Army.
1. The war of 1967: When the brave Indian soldiers defeated China and defended Sikkim
Nathu La Incident: Since border tactics was a common thing that the Chinese Army used to instigate India, the Indian Army decided to lay down wire to fence the border. As soon as the fencing work commenced, the Chinese Commissioner came to the Indian side and asked them to stop the work. There was a heated argument and the Commissioner left. And just after a few minutes, Chinese troops indulged in heavy gun fire. Contemplating China’s aggression, Indian side opened fire too. The effective firing resulted in the damage of Chinese bunkers and the death toll was over 400, resulting in China’s defeat.
Cho La Incident: China couldn’t accept their defeat at Nathu La incident, and they planned an unprecedented attack again at Cho La pass. China lost its 40 elite commandos.
The end of the battle witnessed China leaving Sikkim once and for all. Two brave officers – Capt. Dagar and Major Harbhajan Singh died a valiant death.
2. When Captain Vikram Batra displayed an example of valor.
Captain Vikram Batra, was an officer of the Indian Army and was posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
He celebrated the capture of Point 5140, at an altitude of 17,000 feet, which was under the illegal possession of the Pakistani soldiers. Despite being fired at by heavy machine guns, Captain Batra and his men managed to destroy 2 machine gun posts. Captain Batra’s gallantry was proved when he single-handedly killed 3 enemy fighters in a dangerous combat.
He died rescuing an injured officer while leading his men on a successful assault on Point 4875.
3. When the Indian Army helped in the annexation of Goa, against Portuguese Republic in 1961.
When India became independent in 1947, Goa remained under Portuguese control. The Indian government of Jawaharlal Nehru insisted that Goa, along with a few other minor Portuguese holdings, be turned over to India.
The 1961 Indian annexation of Goa was an action by India’s armed forces that ended Portuguese rule in its Indian enclaves in 1961. The operation, code named ‘Operation Vijay’ by the Indian government involved air, sea, and land strikes for over 36 hours, and was a decisive victory for India, ending 451 years of Portuguese colonial rule in Goa.
4. When 2nd Lt. Arun Khetarpal single-handedly destroyed numerous Pakistani tanks and troops, denying Pakistan to enter the Indian soil.
During the 1971 Indo-Pak war, a bridge was constructed across Basantar river so that the soldiers could crack the enemy-mine field. But half way through, the enemy raided the bridge. The sufficiently armored Pakistan regiment, attacked the Indian troops, which were outnumbered.
Therefore, the commander of Squadron sought assistance from Arun Khetrapal. As soon as he got the message, he got into the enemy’s neck and captured many soldiers. Meanwhile, Pakistan blew India’s second tank. Arun Khetrapal single-handedly destroyed 4 tanks of Pakistan. In return, Pakistan wrecked the other two tanks, one of which was Arun Khetrapal’s. He didn’t accept defeat and continued to fight even in his flaming tank.
The commander of his troop ordered to abandon his tank, but Khetrapal replied: “No Sir. I’m not going to abandon my tank. My gun is working and I’ll get these bastards.”
And because of this gallant soldier, Pakistan couldn’t enter the Indian soil.
5. When Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey’s bravery led to India’s victory in the 1999 Kargil war.
“If death strikes before I prove my blood, I swear I will kill death.”
These were the words of Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey.
During the 1999 Kargil war, he led his troop to capture the Jubar top. During this, Pakistan continued to fire on his men. Demonstrating an act of bravery, he went ahead of his troop and fired a lot of bullets. He was wounded by bullets on the leg and shoulder.
As a part of Operation Vijay, he was asked to clear the enemy positions amidst heavy shooting. Bravely striking the 1st enemy position, he killed 2 enemies and destroyed the 2nd position by killing 2 more. While clearing 3rd, bullets injured his shoulder and legs. Undaunted, he continued to lead the assault on the 4th, which he destroyed with a grenade. At the end, a bullet penetrated his forehead.
His daredevil act led to the capture of Khalubar.
6. When Lieutenant Navdeep Singh displayed invincible spirit while fighting the terrorists and making an ultimate sacrifice for the nation.
After knowing about the infiltration of a group of terrorists in Jammu Kashmir on 20 August 2011, Lieutenant Navdeep Singh gauged the likely route of the terrorists and planned to lay an ambush at the appropriate spot. When the terrorists were spotted, an exchange of intense fire ensued.
Leading from the front, the officer eliminated 3 terrorists at close range. On seeing another terrorist approaching their position, with utter disregard to his personal safety, the officer swiftly changed his firing position and he got hit by a bullet on his head. He nevertheless managed to eliminate the 4th terrorist. Further displaying utmost bravery and comradeship, he pulled an injured fellow soldier to safety and kept firing till he became unconscious due to excessive blood loss.
He was posthumously conferred the highest peacetime gallantry award of India, the ‘Ashoka Chakra’ by President of India on the 63rd Republic Day.
Though their acts of bravery cannot be limited to this article, but on account of Indian Army Day, let’s take a moment to salute these brave soldiers for their esteemed contributions towards the country.