A wreath was laid at the National War Memorial here by the coursemates and friends of Galwan Valley hero Colonel Santosh Babu to honour his exemplary courage, valour and supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
"It was an emotional moment for everyone as no one had ever thought to remember the ever smiling Santosh Babu in this way," one of the coursemates told IANS.
Colonel Santosh Babu was commanding his battalion in the icy heights of Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. The Line of Actual Control in his Area of Responsibility became highly sensitive as the Chinese People's Liberation Army troops, going against the protocols, executed huge build up and occupied the ridge of Patrol Point 14 along the Galwan Nala, overlooking the strategically important road connecting Durbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi.
This led to frequent faceoffs and talks at various levels to de-escalate the situation. Col Santosh Babu remained in the frontline and was mortally wounded in the attempts to ensure withdrawal of Chinese troops from Indian Soil on June 15.
He finally succumbed to his injuries sustained while thwarting the nefarious intrusion attempts of a pernicious enemy. Col Santosh Babu was an alumnus of the Sainik School, Korukonda, National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
When he was training at the Indian Military Academy, his Company lifted the coveted Championship Banner Autumn Term 2004 under his dynamic leadership.
Col Santosh Babu was famously known as the ‘Rajni' for his unique accent and ‘Jingle' for his jovial nature among his coursemates and friends.
"Everyone looked up to him for his cool composure and brilliance par excellence. He was a pivot for his peers and a motivation for his subordinates. He was a gentleman personified," said a batchmate.
He further said that Col Santosh Babu's enthusiasm and smile was infectious and his camaraderie was strong. "He had the indomitable spirit of a soldier and the sparkle of a genius which will now shine the skies above," he added.