All the 20 Indian Army bravehearts killed in action during the clash with Chinese People’s Liberation Army troopers at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh last year have been honoured with war gallantry awards posthumously on the eve of Republic Day.
Colonel Santosh Babu, who led from the front during the Galwan Valley clash on June 15 last year, has been conferred with Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest military award, posthumously. Four of them have been conferred with Vir Chakra, the third-highest military award, while others have been awarded Sena Medal.
In total, 256 Indian Army personnel were conferred gallantry and distinguished awards on the occasion of Republic Day.
On June 15 last year, Colonel Santosh Babu, the Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar battalion deployed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, during operation Snow Leopard, was tasked with establishing an observation post.
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 them using 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.
Despite being grievously injured, Colonel Babu led from the front with absolute command and control despite hostile conditions to deter the vicious enemy attack.
In the skirmish that broke out and the ensuing hand-to-hand combat with enemy soldiers, he valiantly resisted the enemy attack till his last breath, inspiring and motivating his troops to hold their ground.
“For conspicuous bravery, exemplary leadership, astute professionalism and supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, Colonel Babu has been conferred with Maha Vir Chakra, the Indian Army said.