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Monday, August 17, 2015

[Video] 1962 India-China War Recalled By An Army Man

Personal account of an event, as witnessed by a soldier who took part in the legendary battle of Gurung Hill.


This fine video has been available on YouTube for some time now. Here, retired Major S.C. Joshi of the 1/8 Gorkha Rifles Battalion [1/8 GR], Indian Army, is seen recalling his memories of the Ladakh region in months leading up to the 1962 Chinese invasion.

Hearing him, one gets a sense of the challenges faced serving in those regions. Besides the onerous task of facing up to, & thwarting, Chinese hostility, one has also to contend with debilitating conditions like gangrene, ulcer, chilblain that would, more likely, bring down a person there.

The 1/8 GR played a pivotal role during the '62 war. They were the first regular Unit of the Indian Army to be stationed in the Ladakh region, having arrived in April '61 [source], & were responsible  for defending the critical Chushul sector, under the Command of the HQ 114 Infantry Brigade. Despite being outmatched by the Chinese, the men held on to their grounds till the last. The stand of 40 brave Gorkhas at Sirijap-1 post, under the leadership of then Major Dhan Singh Thapa [watch], facing off against 400 Chinese, to deny access to the strategically important Chushul Airbase, without artillery support, bears testament to their heroics. Upon running out of ammunition, they resorted to hand-to-hand combat with their Khukris against the vastly outnumbering Chinese. The Major, who later rose to become a Lt. Colonel, was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for this operation. The 1/8 GR, in 1979, was subsequently mechanised & is now known as the 3rd Mechanised Infantry battalion.

Had it not been for the prodigious valour exhibited by the men & leadership in the Unit & sub-Unit levels, the outcome of the 1962 would have been substantially more catastrophic, thanks to the unsound policies pursued by the political leadership, in cahoots with the Army top brass.


Also read: Vikas Regiment [a.k.a. Establishment-22] - Tibet's Army In India