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Role of Ladakh Scouts in Kargil Conflict

Role of Ladakh Scouts in Kargil Conflict

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Published by Ramesh Lalwani

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Published by: Ramesh Lalwani on Jun 02, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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It was ten years ago that the Indian Army launched “Operation Vijay” on 26
May 1999 and Indian troops moved towards Pakistan occupied positions. Kargil Townwas subjected to heavy shelling from high mountains and people were moved to adjacentvillages.. The Pakistani forces had a clear line of sight from their observation posts on NH 1A , which is main supply route to Ladakh. The Pakistani shelling of this arterial road posed the serious threat Indian supply lines of Leh. The majority of posts along the Lineof Control were adjacent to the highway, and therefore it was essential for Indian forcesto recapture these posts.
Achievements of Ladakh Scouts
On 30
May Major Sonam Wangchuk of Indus Wing, Ladakh Scouts was assigned tooccupy Ridge Line at a height of about 5500 m to preempt any possibility of occupation by Pakistan forces He was moving with a column. Suddenly, they were ambushed byenemy fire from a vantage point, which killed one Havildar, but Major Sonam continuedto lead his column and progressed and captured the post, after killing two Pakistan armyregulars and recovered one HMG (Heavy Machine Gun), one UMG (Universal MachineGun), ammunition and three dead bodies of the enemy personnel. Thereafter, he took stock of all forces in the Chorbatla axis in the Batalik sector and cleared the axis up to theLoC of all enemy intrusions at a great risk to his life. In yet another simultaneous gallantoperation in Batalik sector ,operation launched by the gallant soldiers of Ladakh Scouts,Dog Hill, which is to the West of Point 5000, had also been captured on night 05/06 July1999. In this operation, six enemy soldiers had been killed and two Heavy MachineGuns, one Sniper Rifle and two G-3 Rifles along with large quantity of ammunition had been recovered. These were two of major successes achieved by Ladakh Scouts in Kargiloperation. The Chief of Army Staff made a special instant award of "Unit Citation" toLadakh Scouts for their meritorious and gallant performance during the battles of Point5000 on night 05/06 July Dog Hill on night 30 June/01 July , and Padma Go on night09/10 July 1999, in Batalik Sector. The unit performed with distinction during Operation"Vijay" and displayed exemplary valour and grit in the face of the enemy.
Batalik Sector
This sector is located between the Shyok and Indus rivers. The Eastern section of the Batalik sector consists of Chorbat La (mountain pass), Turturk and Pt 5287. TheLadakh Scouts captured the ridge of Chorbat La on the Indian side and preempted thePakistani forces from occupying the area. This was the first Indian victory in the sector and resulted in heavy Pakistani losses. Turtuk is an important peak and the location of several important villages in the valley as well as link to Siachen Glacier. This sector wasrecaptured on June 16, 1999 by 11 Rajputana Rifles. Pt 5287 was recaptured on July 5th by the Ladakh Scouts. The Eastern section was recaptured on July 6th after 38 days of war.1
(Source Wikipedia)2
I took this photo from Kargil Rest House when I visited the area inconnection with my official duty during June 1999.
History of Ladakh Scouts
Ladakh Scouts is a 4,000-man paramilitary unit of local Buddhists and Tibetancommandos Histoy of Ladakh Scout dates back to 1963. It was raised on 1
June 1963,following the 1962 Indo-China War, with just eight companies taken from the 7th and14th Battalions of the Jammu & Kashmir Militia. The main task of regiment was to guardIndia's borders in the high altitude areas of the Ladakh region. They were also known asthe “Snow Warriors”They are also affectionately called “ Nunoos”, as the Ladakhis , areskilled mountain warriors and are unsurpassed in high altitude operations. The Regimenthas taken part in various operations since the 1965 Indo-Pak War. The Regiment was oneof the first units to take part in “Operation Vijay” and crowned itself with glory duringthe conflict. Major Sonam Wangchuk, was the most recent recipient of the MVC (MahaVir Chakra) for the Regiment in the Kargil Conflict. The Ladakh Scouts was given thestatus of a full infantry regiment in the year 2000.3

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