On a day he celebrated his 100th birthday, a retired lieutenant colonel of the Indian Army was on Monday declared the First Citizen of the force.
Lt. Col. Kartar Singh was felicitated by top army commanders and officers at the Khetarpal Officers Institute at Chandimandir Cantonment, the headquarters of the swordarm Western Command near Chandigarh.
Lt. Col. Kartar Singh is, perhaps, the oldest surviving officer of the army.
The felicitation was done by the Western Command headquarters and the Mahar Regiment. Lt. Gen. Sanjiv Chachra, general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) of the Western Command and Lt. Gen Gyan Bhushan, GOC-in-C South Western Command and Colonel of The Mahar Regiment. Nearly 250 serving and retired officers were present at the function.
Lt. Col. Kartar Singh was commissioned in 1937 and was nominated for service in Egypt and Sudan during World War II. He was the first Indian commanding Officer of 1 Mahar Regiment from 1947 to 1951 and saw action in the 1947-48 Kashmir operations. The battalion earned the first Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest war-time gallantry award of independent India.
"After his retirement from the army, he continued to lead an active life as vice president of the Zila Sainik Board and sarpanch of his village for 25 long years," a defence spokesman said.