In June 2020, the two armies were engaged in a violent clash that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and at least three Chinese troops.
Col Bikumalla Santosh Babu, who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley clash last year, was today awarded the country’s second-highest military gallantry honour, the Maha Vir Chakra, posthumously.
Col Babu’s widow Santhoshi and mother Manju received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind at the defence investiture ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
He has been given the honour “for conspicuous bravery in face of an enemy, exemplary leadership, astute professionalism and supreme sacrifice in the line of duty”.
Col Babu was the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar regiment during Operation Snow Leopard and he was among the 20 Indian soldiers who had laid down their lives in the fierce hand-to-hand with the Chinese troops. This was during the height of the India-China military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh.
For their gallant actions against the belligerence of the Chinese Army in the Galwan Valley in the summer of 2020, four other soldiers who were martyred along with Col Babu were awarded Vir Chakras posthumously. They are: Havildar K Palani, Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren, Naik Deepak Singh, and Sepoy Gurtej Singh.