Hyderabad: Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, commanding officer of 16 Bihar regiment who was killed by Chinese army at Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June last year, has been awarded Mahavir Chakra, the second highest wartime gallantry award.
Around 20 soldiers were martyred in the violent standoff between the Indian and Chinese armies at Galwan Valley. The slain included Colonel Santosh Babu from Telangana.
Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, Commanding Officer 16 Bihar regiment deployed in Galwan Valley (Eastern Ladakh) during Operation Snow Leopard, was tasked to establish an Observation Post in face of the enemy. 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 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 pushback Indian troops.
"Despite being grievously injured, Colonel Bikumalla SantoshBabu led from the front with absolute command and control despite hostile conditions to deter the vicious enemy attack at his position. In the skirmish that broke out and 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 ground. For conspicuous bravery in face of enemy, exemplary leadership, astute professionalism and supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, Colonel Bikumalla SantoshBabu is awarded the 'Maha Vir Chakra(Posthumous)'," said the government.
India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Ladakh shares 646 Km of the LAC with the neighboring country. Jammu and Kashmir is the only place in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China. Leh-based 14 corps of the army is responsible for the security of LAC, Line of Control (LoC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) at Siachen.