How Galwan braves fought in remote Ladakh valley, became heroes | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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How Galwan braves fought in remote Ladakh valley, became heroes

Nov 23, 2021 01:42 PM IST

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the seven-hour deadly conflict near Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley, where outnumbered Indian troops inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday conferred wartime honours on the Galwan braves, who fought off numerically superior Chinese troops on June 15, 2020. While Colonel B Santosh Babu was posthumously awarded Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) for extraordinary courage and leadership, five other soldiers were honoured with Vir Chakra (VrC).

The brutal clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh pushed the India-China bilateral relationship to a breaking point. (CCTV footage grab via AP Video)
The brutal clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh pushed the India-China bilateral relationship to a breaking point. (CCTV footage grab via AP Video)

Four of them were awarded the VrC posthumously. The MVC is India’s second-highest wartime gallantry award followed by the VrC.

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The posthumous VrC awardees are Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren (16 Bihar), Havildar K Palani (81 Field) Naik Deepak Singh (16 Bihar) and Sepoy Gurtej Singh (3 Punjab). Havildar Tejinder Singh (3 Medium) is the only living recipient of the wartime honour.

The brutal clash pushed the India-China bilateral relationship to a breaking point. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the seven-hour deadly conflict near Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan Valley, where outnumbered Indian troops inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Excerpts from the citations for the wartime awards:

Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, MVC (Posthumous): Deployed in Galwan Valley during Operation Snow Leopard, Babu was tasked to establish an observation post amidst the border standoff. Organising and briefing his troops about the situation with a sound plan, he successfully executed the task.

While holding the position, his column faced stiff resistance from the adversary who attacked him and his soldiers with lethal and sharp weapons along with heavy stone pelting from adjoining heights. Undaunted by the violent and aggressive action by the overwhelming strength of enemy soldiers, the officer in the true spirit of service before self, continued to resist the enemy’s attempt to push back Indian troops.

Also Read: Galwan clash hero Colonel Santosh Babu awarded Maha Vir Chakra posthumously

Despite being grievously injured, Colonel Babu led from the front with absolute command and control despite hostile conditions to deter the vicious enemy attack on his position. In the skirmish that broke out and ensuing hand-to-hand combat with the enemy soldiers, he valiantly resisted the attack till his last breath, inspiring and motivating his troops to hold ground. For conspicuous bravery in face of the enemy, exemplary leadership, astute professionalism and supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, Colonel Babu is awarded the MVC.

Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren, VrC (Posthumous): He valiantly led his column and resisted the enemy’s attempt to push back the Indian soldiers establishing an observation post. He organised his column, countered the adversary forcefully and stopped them in their attempt to push back Indian troops.

During the skirmish, he was viewed as a daunting leader and was targeted by enemy soldiers with lethal and sharp weapons. Grievously injured and asked to move back; as a true leader, he refused, in spite of being heavily outnumbered by the enemy soldiers. He stood at the forefront under hostile conditions and displayed raw courage, fighting with resolute spirit in hand-to-hand combat, before succumbing to his injuries.

Also Read: China ties passing through bad patch, says Jaishankar

The gallant action by the junior commissioned officer resulted in a positive response which overwhelmed the enemy by surprise. His actions powered Indian retaliation and also galvanised his own troops to continue to hold ground.

Havildar K Palani, VrC (Posthumous): He fought valiantly and saved his subordinates from the aggressive action of the enemy soldiers. Suddenly, the adversaries outnumbered and encircled him. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he stood bravely and tried to defend his comrades even when the enemy attacked him with sharp weapons injuring him seriously.

His act of valour inspired his fellow soldiers to fight fiercely and resist enemy aggression. In spite of his grievous injuries, he continued to hold his ground resolutely and in the finest traditions of the Indian Army, laid down his life for the motherland.

Havildar Tejinder Singh, VrC: He was leading his column against the enemy resistance. Subsequently, the standoff turned violent and resulted in a hand-to-hand fight. Concomitantly, a large enemy reinforcement joined in, thereby massively tipping the numbers in their favour. Undeterred by the numerical superiority of the enemy, the non-commissioned officer took on the enemy in a hand-to-hand fight and resisted them gallantly. He also organised a group of soldiers and displayed exemplary leadership to effectively thwart the action of several enemy soldiers.

This gallant act was pivotal in inspiring his own troops to effectively engage the enemy troops during the violent standoff. He kept on leading his column valiantly and fought fearlessly.

Naik Deepak Singh, VrC (Posthumous): He provided treatment to casualties of the skirmish at Galwan Valley. Having assessed the battle condition, he moved up to provide immediate medical support. As the skirmish broke out and casualties increased, he moved to the frontline rendering first aid to injured soldiers.

Also Read: Army to get firepower boost in mountains with more M777 guns coming by June

In the ensuing skirmish coupled with heavy stone-pelting, he received serious injuries, but undeterred and tirelessly, he continued to provide medical aid. The enemy outnumbered Indian troops and he was injured while carrying out his duties. In spite of grievous wounds, he continued rendering medical assistance to injured soldiers and saved many lives. He finally succumbed to his injuries. He was pivotal in rendering treatment and saving the lives of more than 30 Indian soldiers.

Sepoy Gurtej Singh, VrC (Posthumous): He was performing the duties of the scout of his operational patrol and was tasked to establish an observation post. He successfully spotted the enemy troops building up against the Indian troops while establishing the observation post.

The faceoff between the two sides turned into a violent skirmish in which the enemy troops attempted to push back the Indian troops. In the ensuing clash, the enemy soldiers used lethal weapons and heavily outnumbered own troops. He displayed undaunted bravery, raw courage and exceptional combat skills in resisting the enemy troops in fierce hand-to-hand combat. He was seriously injured, but with utter disregard for his personal safety, he continued to fight the enemy valiantly and also extricated injured troops, thereby saving several fellow soldiers of his patrol party before making the supreme sacrifice.

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