Next of kin of Army's 1-SIKH regiment felicitated in Srinagar

PTI | Srinagar | Updated: 28-10-2021 00:37 IST | Created: 28-10-2021 00:37 IST
Next of kin of Army's 1-SIKH regiment felicitated in Srinagar
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The next of kin of the Army's 1-SIKH regiment, which changed the course of the first Indo-Pak war in Kashmir in the aftermath of the attack by Pakistani intruders in October 1947, were felicitated here on Wednesday during a reenactment of the landing of the first Indian soldiers in the valley.

The next of kin were felicitated by Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in the presence of General Officer Commanding of the Army's 15 Corps also known as Chinar Corps, Lt Gen D P Pandey and Air Officer Commanding in Chief (AOC-in-C) of Western Air Command, Air Marshal Amit Dev.

The ceremony was held at Srinagar Airfield in Rangreth on the occasion of the re-enactment of the historical Budgam landing to celebrate 75 years of induction of Indian army to save Jammu & Kashmir from Pakistan invasion in 1947.

The first batch of Indian troops landed at Srinagar on October 27, 1947 with Dakotas touching down at Srinagar airfield. In the phase I, 1 SIKH landed at Srinagar airfield and secured it. It established a blocking position East of Baramulla.

The Budgam landings were the first military operations of Independent India, when Indian Army was inducted by Indian Air Force at Budgam Airport on 27 October 1947.

The 1st SIKH, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Dewan Ranjit Rai, who later laid down his life at Baramulla, changed the course of the war, wherein people and soldiers of state forces of Jammu & Kashmir and the Indian Army fought alongside valiantly, to evict Pakistani Forces, driving them out of most of J-K till ceasefire on January 5, 1949, an Army official said.

Those felicitated include Amarjit Kaur Dhindsa, daughter of Jamadar Nand Singh, Major Shivjit Singh Shergill -- Grandson of Lt Col D R Rai, and Rajesh Bhatia --younger son of Wing Commander K L Bhatia.

Singh was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross -- the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces -- for his incredible actions against the Japanese on 11-12 March 1944 in Arakan in Burma.

Singh was given the nation's second highest gallantry award, ''Maha Vir Chakra'' for his conspicuous bravery, unfaltering leadership and supreme sacrifice. He is the only Indian soldier to have been awarded with the gallantry awards ''Victoria Cross'' as well as ''Maha Vir Chakra''.

His now 74-years-old daughter -- Amarjit Kaur Dhindsa -- was only nine months when Singh passed away.

Lt Col D R Rai was the Commanding Officer of the 1-Sikh Regiment and the first recipient of Maha Vir Chakra, which was awarded to him posthumously.

Rai led his troops to defend the Baramulla-Srinagar highway near Pattan against the numerically superior Pakistani tribal irregulars and successfully protected the Srinagar airfield, paving the way for more Indian troops to land who expelled the intruders.

Wing Commander K L Bhatia commanded Number 12 Squadron from the early days of the operations in Kashmir. As a Commanding Officer of the Transport Squadron, he shouldered the heavy responsibility of training his pilots for operations in the mountainous terrain of J-K, landing and taking off from hastily prepared airstrips and flying in vital supplies of rations, stores and ammunition to the besieged garrison located in places like Poonch.

He led a three-aircraft Dakota formation of Number 12 Squadron -- the only IAF transport squadron then. Wing Commander Bhatia brought in the lead element of the Indian Army's 1 Sikh Regiment to the valley.

For the outstanding services rendered by him during the Kashmir Operations, he was awarded the Vir Chakra.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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