New Delhi: Colonel Santosh Babu, who was martyred in a clash with Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, today received the Maha Vir Chakra Medal of Gallantry. Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest bravery award in India. Along with him, four other soldiers who were martyred in the violent clash with the Chinese army during Operation Snow-Leopard in the Galwan Valley will also receive the Vir Chakra.
Colonel Babu was born in Suryapet, about 140 kilometers from Hyderabad.
Colonel Babu, commander of the 16th Bihar Regiment, was one of 20 Indian soldiers killed in close combat in the Galwan Valley on June 15 last year, during one of the most important military engagements between the two sides in decades.
The horrific Galwan encounter was the first fatal collision between India and China in at least 45 years, and it was seen as underscoring the danger of the border standoff turning into a full-blown conflict.
Twenty Indian soldiers, including Colonel Santosh Babu, were killed during the seven-hour battle, which engaged more than 600 competing forces at its peak.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited Ladakh shortly after the Galwan incident, praised the soldiers’ bravery in repelling the Chinese invasion. Prime Minister Modi had said: “The enemies of Bharat Mata have witnessed your fire and your anger.