Battle of Walong 3
Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Many Arunachalee veterans and old-timers recall the 1962 Indo-Chinese Conflict with fear and anger. It is a known fact that the Chinese forces entered deep into Arunachal Pradesh along many axes. The main axes of penetration by the Chinese forces were Tawang-Bomdila-Rupa axis, the Taksing-Limeking Axis, Mechuka/Manigong-Tato axis, the Gelling-Tuting axis, and the Kibithoo-Walong axis. Though the Chinese forces penetrated without major opposition in most axes, many fierce battles were fought by a few units and small groups of soldiers; sometimes supported by local population. Many readers in Arunachal Pradesh and in our country are not aware of these fierce battles fought by our brave soldiers; many of these brave soldiers remain unknown and unsung. In a series of articles about these localized battles of the 1962 Indo-China Conflict, the attempt is to showcase these brave soldiers and their exploits. However, unlike some other areas, many fierce battles were fought by both sides in the Walong-Kibithoo sector.
On 24 October, 1962, enemy forces attacked the posts in the Kibithu sector which were defended by soldiers of the 4th Sikh Regiment under the cover of artillery and medium machine gun (MMG) fire. Indian forces retaliated fiercely and, after a period of heavy fighting which saw momentum swinging towards both sides, the enemy attack was successfully repulsed. During this intense battle, many enemy troops were killed.
After a brief lull, on 27 October, the enemy forces regrouped and renewed their attack on the posts with larger numbers of troops. The Indian forces fought back fiercely. Sepoy Kewal Singh and his team fought the enemy forces fiercely till he ran out of bullets. Despite being gravely injured, he and his team fought and engaged the enemy in close combat with bayonets. Being grievously injured, Sepoy Kewal Singh succumbed to his injuries and was martyred.
For displaying outstanding physical, mental courage, determination with complete disregard for own safety, Sepoy Kewal Singh was posthumously decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra, the third highest gallantry award of the nation. This Battle in Walong area has found its mention in the golden pages of history during the 1962 Indo-China conflict. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)