Pups named after Ladakh fronts inducted into ITBP canine squad
Galwan, Shyok and Rezang along with 14 other Belgian Malinois puppies were on Wednesday inducted into the combat canine ranks of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force that guards the country’s LAC with China.
A ‘namkaran parade’ or ceremonial naming event was held at the training centre of the force in Bhanu near Chandigarh where its veterinary cadre chief DIG Sudhakar Natarajan adorned each pup with a special collar bearing its name and touched them with a silver sword on the right shoulder as a sign of induction into the ranks. The ITBP handlers who carried them subsequently presented a crisp salute with a promise to keep them healthy, safe and fit for fighting.
The puppies have been named after the various strategic geographical locations of the Ladakh sector where the ITBP is deployed as part of its primary task to guard the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. The paramilitary force along with the Army is engaged in an standoff with the Chinese military in this region at present.
PTI had reported earlier this month about the naming of these puppies, at the forces’ National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD) at Bhanu, as Ane-la, Galwan, Sasoma, Shyok, Chang-Chenmo, Chip-Chap, Daulat, Rezang, Rango, Charding, Imis, Yula, Srijap, Sultan-Chuksu, Mukhpri, Chung-Thung and Khardungi.
They were born during September-October and their father Gala is deployed for counter-terrorist duties while mothers Olga and Olyshea who are sisters undertake anti-Maoist operations with the ITBP troops in Chhattisgarh.
The pups will now be trained for infantry patrol and anti-terrorist roles at the Bhanu training academy over the next few months. DIG Natarajan said there are three fundamental reasons for naming these puppies after strategic locations. “One is we are doing away with the practice of giving our canine buddies westernised names. Secondly, our troops deployed in bone numbing, blood freezing high altitude borders would feel a sense of pride when they call out the names enmeshed deeply into our force’s ethos and glory instead of calling out to an Elizabeth or a Julius Cesar or Hamlet,” he said.
He stated the third reason to be that these names are “a crisp salute to all our troops deployed all along the excruciatingly tough borders, keeping the nation safe”. It has been decided, he said, that the next batch of canines will be named on the lines of regions and border posts present along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Belgian Malinois breed of dogs first shot to international fame after they assisted the US Navy SEALs in the 2011 operation that killed Osama bin Laden in his safe haven in Pakistan and were later famously called as the ‘Osama hunters’.
A senior officer said the puppies were later treated to a ‘bara khana’ or grand feast in military style. The menu consisted delicious bone broth soup tempered with powdered dog kibbles and garnished with puppy milk formula powder.
This dog breed, since it was introduced in India about a decade ago, is being extensively used by the central security forces and police units in anti-Naxal operations and for counter-terrorist tasks as they are considered ferocious and most suitable for such duties.