Recounting his experience of working with soldiers Elumalai and Nagesh, ex-commanding officer of Madras Regiment Colonel Devdatt Patankar called them outstanding soldiers.
Colonel Devdatt says Elumalai sent an SoS to the base camp three-hours after they were hit by an avalanche, reflecting courage in the face of adversity.
“I am sure he would have continued to motivate all others while being buried under the snow. He would have fought till his last breath,” says Colonel Devdatt.
He says he got to know Elumalai as an adjutant and his next engagement with him was as a commander of the Delta company. Elumalai shot dead two terrorists in a counter-insurgency operation, which was the soldier’s first encounter in his service.
He was also involved in Operation Prakarm (2001) as part of the mine-laying and recovery parties.
The ex-commanding officer says it was no surprise that he was chosen for one of the toughest posts.
For subedar Nagesh, Colonel Devdatt says he first met him when he was posted in Ghatak platoon when he was commissioned as an officer. Nagesh was the youngest of the group and but showed a lot of endurance as he could run 20km while carrying weight. “He was my friend, brother and a colleague, guiding me in learning the lessons of leadership, brotherhood and camaraderie,” writes the Colonel.
Nagesh was involved in an operation with terrorists in Doda. The unit had lost one officer and two soldiers but it managed to kill five terrorists and Nagesh played a key role in the operation.
“Without fearing for his life, he chased the fleeing terrorists and killed one in close combat, which was something unheard of in Doda,” writes Colonel Devdatt.
Ten Indian Army soldiers lost their lives after an avalanche buried their post in Siachen, on February 3.