Challenge to keep communication signals working during Kargil war: Veteran


Keeping the communication live during the high-altitude Kargil war in 1999 was very challenging and the group of Army personnel from the signals corps had to brave a rain of shells and shrapnel to ensure seamless communication, says Lt Col N Thiagarajan, who as a young soldier then took up the dauntless task.

Pakistan’s target was also to cripple the communications system and prevent the advancement of the Indian troops, he said.

”Usually, we would be right behind the infantry, say about 1 to 1.5 km, or the artillery depending regiment, about 8 km upon the size of the artillery, a class of heavy military-range weapons, to ensure proper communication,’ ‘ he said.

”Even we were not safe then as shells and shrapnel rained all around us. Ensuring seamless communication was our primary role and taking up the arms was the last resort,” the war veteran added.

As a young soldier, Lt Col Thiagarajan was in the air formation to provide the vital communication between the troops in the conflict zone to the base reporting on the consequence, requirement for medical help and the progress.

”Without communication, the troops get paralysed. We were tasked to provide communication to fighter aircraft and radar systems,” Thiagarajan, who had then joined the Indian Army as a technician in the electrical and electronics wing, said.

”We had to move around as shells rained all around us. Fortunately, there was no consequence in the signals corps I saw many of our men injured,” he told PTI, recalling his experiences.

Launching a frontal attack, Major Saravanan killed two Pakistan soldiers by firing a rocket launcher and was wounded in the stomach by shrapnel. But he didn’t give up. He charged through a rain of bullets and killed two more soldiers before receiving a bullet injury on his head on May 29. The entire Jubar ridge was cleared by July 8.

”Pakistan’s offensive was the result of the Operation Sakthi viz. the Pokhran II tests in May 1998. The Indian Army had mobilized its troops along the borders and even in Rajasthan where I was initially posted,” he said.

The war happened a year later on May 3, when Pakistan’s regular army, its paramilitary forces and the militants backed by it, infiltrated and captured a portion of our land, he said.

”Usually, the troops of both the countries descend from the high altitude as the temperature drops to minus 48 degree C. It was so unfortunate, that what was presumed as only occupying the army post turned then out into a war when the Indian army tried to clear the militants,” he said.

The Indian troops recaptured two key positions in the Batalik sector on June 9.

On India’s spectacular victory, Lt Col Thiagarajan says, ”Our flag does not fly because the wind moves. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” PTI JSP HDA HDA

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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