Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, who led his troops against the “vicious” Chinese assault in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June of last year, was posthumously awarded the second-highest military decoration.
The second highest award for gallantry in war time. Five other troops serving there were awarded Vir Chakra (VrC)—four of them posthumously—the third highest galantry honour in the battle.
Have. Tejinder Singh from 2 Medium Regiment was awarded Vir Chakra along with four posthumous awards—Nb Sub Nuduram Soren and Nk Deepak Singh from 16 Bihar, Hav. K Palani of 81 Field Regiment and Sep. Gurtej Singh of the 3 Punjab. In addition, the President has awarded one Kirti Chakra posthumously and three Shaurya Chakras, one of which is posthumous.
Col. Babu was tasked with building an observation post in the face of the enemy and successfully carried out the task of coordinating and advising his troops on the situation with a sound plan, according to the quotation.
“While maintaining his position, his column faced strong resistance from the adversary who struck with deadly and sharp arms along with heavy stone pelting from nearby heights. Undaunted by the brutal and offensive behaviour of the vast strength of enemy soldiers, the general, in a true sense of duty before himself, managed to fight the enemy’s effort to drive back Indian troops,” he said.
Col. Babu led from the front with utter command and control amid hostile circumstances to dissuade the brutal enemy attack from his position, the quote read, adding: “In the skirmish that broke out and ensuing hand-to-hand battle with enemy soldiers, he bravely resisted the enemy attack until his last breath, inspiring and motivating his troops to hold their ground.”
Col. Babu was awarded MVC posthumously for exceptional courage in the face of the enemy, excellent conduct, astute professionalism and ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. The names of the 20 personnel were also engraved in the National War Memorial in the national capital. The Army reported that while three soldiers, including Col. Babu, were killed in a clash, 17 soldiers who were seriously wounded at the site and exposed to low temperatures in high altitude terrain later succumbed to their injuries.