New Rezang La war memorial to honour 1962 war and Galwan Valley braves
The new memorial will send out a strong signal to China amidst the heightened border standoff between the forces of two neighbouring countries
Image: Rezang La war memorial
Sending out a strong signal to China amidst the heightened border standoff between the forces of two neighbouring countries, India will have a revamped Rezang La war memorial at Chushul in the eastern Ladakh. The revamped memorial, in memory of troops who fought valiantly and gave a bloody noose to the Chinese troops during 1962 war, will also incorporate the names of 20 Indian bravehearts who laid down their lives in defending country's sovereignty in the Galwan Valley on June 15 last year.
The revamped war memorial will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on November 18, the day Indian Army inflicted heavy losses upon the Chinaese People's Liberation of Army. Every year on November 18, the Indian Army celebrates anniversary of the Battle of Rezang La. This would be the 59th anniversary.
Image: Archive photo of last rights of Rezang La heroes
In the Battle of Rezang La, the troops of 13 Kumaon Regiment inflicted losses to 1310 Chinese soldiers. From Indian side, out of 120 soldiers, a total of 114 troops lost their lives in fighting the Chinese at an height of around 18,000 feet with less than zero temperature. Major Shaitan was given Param Vir Chakra posthumously. He led his Charlie company during the war.
According to defence ministry officials, the earlier memorial was a smaller one but now it has been expanded and will be on the tourist map of Ladakh. Sources in the government establishment said that the gates of Chushul, Rezang La, Demchok and other parts of the forward areas will be opened for the tourists from next season.
Rezang La War Memorial
Originally, the memorial was built in 1963 but renovated the Rezang La war memorial will have a Major Shaitan Singh auditorium and Rezang La photo gallery with inclusion of 20 Galwan bravehearts’ names.
Image: A wounded solider being brought back by the Chinese
For Galwan Valley martyrs, the Indian Army has erected a memorial in their name near the site of incident last year. The memorial is situated in the Chushul sector, which is near to the Kailash range, wherein the Indian Army had surprised the PLA troops with preemptive measures to turn the tables on the Chinese side. The move had helped the Indian Army in negotiations for disengagement along Pangong Tso areas and other friction points.
Prior to this, India had commemorated the 1962 war in 2012 only at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in New Delhi. With the inauguration of this memorial, the government will now formally recognise the Sino-India war and find a place in military history. On November 18, 2012, Col Nikhil Srivastava brought sand from Rezang La to initiate the commencement of Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Battle of Rezang La. The encased sand is also placed at the Rezang La memorial in Delhi Cantonment.
Image: Weapons used in the battle of Rezang La
About Rezang La war
In the early hours of November 18 in 1962 at around 0004 hours, the troops of the 13 Kumaon Regiment detected Chinese build-up in the north and west of the Rezang La. The PLA launched an assault that was repulsed and the Chinese faced heavy casualties. The Chinese PLA tried again but the intensity of the Indian Army’s response forced them to abandon the operation.
The PLA then took a long detour and attacked from the west of the Rezang La. During the fight, the troops of the Indian Army jumped from the trenches and engaged the Chinese in hand-to-hand combat. They were stopped at Rezang La only and the Chinese had to stall their operation beyond it due to the endless courage and fighting capability of the 'Veer Ahirs'. Ahirs are those who belong to the Ahirwal region of Haryana. They are considered to be Yadavs from Rewari, Mahendragarh districts.