To commemorate the valiant action of the 5th Battalion of Assam Regiment during the 1971 Indo-Pak war in Chhamb sector, the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S) Lt General Subrata Saha flagged off a motorcycle expedition from Mandiala in Akhnoor on Sunday.
General Saha, who also happens to be the Colonel of Assam Regiment and Arunachal Scouts, was accompanied by retired Major General P K Puri, a 1971 war veteran, on the occasion, said Defence ministry spokesperson Colonel S D Goswami based at Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur.
The battalion was conferred with a Battle Honour for Chhamb and Theatre honour for J&K for its heroic and chivalrous performance, he added.
Giving brief details about the action of Assam Battalion in Chhamb, the spokesperson pointed out that Pakistani troops supported by heavy armour attacked 5 Assam positions on December 3, 1971. However, due to resolute leadership and dauntless courage of the officers and men of this unit, the attack was stemmed preventing the capture of Akhnoor bridge, which was considered as India’s jugular vein to J&K.
This victory came at a price of five officers and 19 men, who laid down their lives to defend the motherland. This is the only infantry battalion which was awarded a battle honour in this sector during this war, the spokesperson added.
Speaking nostalgically on the occasion, Maj Gen PK Puri (Retd) who fought this war with the battalion in the capacity of a company commander, extolled upon the country men to “honour and salute the sacrifice of Indian Army”.
Commemorating its Platinum Jubilee celebrations and 75 years of dedicated service to the nations, the regiment is conducting two motorcycle expeditions, one from the general area of the Mandiala (Akhnoor) and the other one from Fazilka (Punjab). Both expeditions will terminate in Shimla where its First Battalion is presently stationed. Enroute, the expedition will meet the ex-servicemen and also visit various schools and give motivating talk to the children to join the Army. The expedition kick-started after laying of wreath and collection of holy soil from the memorials in reverence to the fallen men.
The Assam Regiment is manned by soldiers from the north-east region of our country who proudly wear the Rhino insignia on their dress to symbolise indomitable strength, vigor and determination associated with it. It is this regiment which stalled the Japanese onslaught on India through its North Eastern frontiers during the Burma campaign in World War –II.