Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, who was killed in a gunbattle with militants in south Kashmir's Pulwama district just a day after he received a gallantry award, was cremated on Thursday with full state honours in New Delhi.
Family members and top officers of the Indian Army, including chief Gen Dalbir Singh, paid their last respects and laid wreaths on the martyred officer's body at the cremation ground in the Delhi Cantonment area.
"He was a brave officer, he was awarded the YSM (Yudh Seva medal) for it, he showed example of leadership. I must say army men lead from the front," army chief Gen Dalbir Singh was quoted as saying by CNN-IBN.
Thirty nine-year old Rai, commanding officer of 42 Rashtriya Rifles, and head constable Sanjeev Kumar Singh of Jammu and Kashmir Police's Special Operations Group (SOG) were killed during an encounter in Tral on Tuesday, in which two militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen were also gunned down.
The army on Wednesday paid glowing tributes to Col Rai, who died just a day after he received a gallantry award, saying its officers always fight from the front with their men at all times.
Col Rai was awarded Yudh Seva medal on Republic Day for for outstanding contribution in planning and conduct of operations including a gun battle with militants in south Kashmir last year. The Yudh Seva medal is awarded for the highest degree of distinguished service in a war or conflict.
The colonel, who belonged to Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh, is survived by his wife, two daughters and a five-year old son.
On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had announced a financial assistance of Rs. 30 lakh for his family.
In a condolence message, Yadav paid rich tributes to Col Rai and said the exemplary courage and supreme sacrifice of the army officer would never be forgotten.