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  • Writer's pictureReshma Jain

A saga of sheer grit, guts, and dogged determination

The Lolab valley in North Kashmir was a hot bed of terrorists in 1998. In a mix of broken Hindi and Urdu language, one of the Kashmiri villagers said, “you ask about terrorists, I tell you, if I don’t you beat me. Terrorists ask me about you, I tell, if I don’t, he will kill me.” This was one of the incidents recalled by an Indian army officer (retd) who operated as Maj Rashid Malik from a village called Devar (hottest of the hotspots). With the change in identity, the policy was to befriend the villagers inspite of they helping the terrorists. They had an encounter every time they moved out of their company operating base. However, they managed to kill the terrorists without losing their own lives.

The then Maj Rashid Malik is none other than Major General Dev Arvind Chaturvedi, PVSM, AVSM, SM. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Maj Gen Chaturvedi is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun, National Defence Academy (61st Course), Indian Military Academy (71st Course) and was commissioned into 1/3 Gorkha Rifles on 24 December 1982. Most of his career has been spent in J & K combating terrorism as also Pak Army at Drass (OP VIJAY).

Another interesting part of this story is that the successful conduct of the Surgical Strike against the Terrorist Launching Pads inside the Pakistani territory was under the Dynamic Command of the General Officer commanding the largest Infantry Division of the Indian Army.

Maj Gen Chaturvedi discussed how India avenged the Uri attack in 2016. So what was unique about this surgical strike? Led by brave soldiers and young officers, three strikes were carried out across a frontage of approximately 300 kms of Line of Control in a coordinated and simultaneous action over varying terrains. It was an overnight operation wherein a number of strikes went in which were carried out primarily by the special forces and the infantry sub-units (Ghatak platoons). The characteristics of this successful operation, Maj Gen Chaturvedi said; were deliberate and immaculate planning, close coordination, and maintaining complete secrecy (except the planning chain).

“The best thing was that we caused casualties to the enemy but all of us could return without causing causalities to ourselves. The biggest achievement and sense of satisfaction is when an operation is carried out without any causalities to our own people. These soldiers are the unsung heroes of the Indian Army and we collectively must salute them,” opined Maj Gen Chaturvedi, a Kargil warrior adding that the enemy had regrouped to attack our men, but they were too late.

On being asked about the qualities that shaped him, the army officer said that Honesty, Sincerity and Determination are the fine qualities that he stands on. During his years of service, he also realised and nurtured other qualities like being compassionate towards all beings, standing up for the right and to achieve goals against odds.

“To inculcate the value of patriotism from childhood, children need to be exposed to stories and acts of bravery in their curriculum and films can play an important role in positively influencing the minds of the younger generation,” said Maj Gen Chaturvedi.

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