Heroes of 1962 war in Arunachal: Captain Rudolph David Rosario

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]

Many Arunachalee old-timers recall the 1962 Sino-India conflict with fear and anger. The Chinese forces entered deep into Arunachal along many axes, like Taksing-Limeking, Mechuka/Manigong-Tato, Gelling-Tuting, Kibithoo-Walong axes and the main Tawang-Bomdila-Rupa axis. Many readers are not aware of fierce battles fought by our brave soldiers. One such story is the story of Captain Rudolph David Rosario.

During the 1962 Sino-India war, Captain Rosario was leading a company of the 2 Sikh Light Infantry and was deployed at the Chinese border in Tawang area. To have tactical advantage it was important for his unit to assess the condition of a bridge across the river Tawang Chu. On 30 October, 1962, he undertook a patrol to assess the condition of the bridge and to assess whether the enemy was making any attempt to reconstruct it. Captain Rosario proceeded towards the river with a section level force. On reaching Jang village, his section came under heavy fire of enemy mortars.

He realized the danger of involving all members of the patrol for the task and asked his troops to take positions for any eventualities and moved forward alone towards the bridge. As he approached within 500 yards of the bridge, the enemy opened a barrage of heavy fire from medium machine gun and small arms from the bridge. Despite heavy enemy fire, Captain Rosario continued crawling towards the bridge and reached about 150 yards from the bridge, helping him to gather vital information about the existing situation. Despite heavy enemy mortar, machine gun and small arms fire for over thirty minutes, he persisted in the task.

In subsequent operations, Captain Rosario and his company fought gallantly at Sela Pass. After the engagement, when Captain Rosario and his company were ordered to withdraw, he led his men and marched for 18 days and nights through nallahs, over mountains, fighting off a number of dangerous enemy ambushes. During this withdrawal, Captain Rosario succeeded in recovering one officer and six of his men alive. However, Captain Rosario sustained serious injuries in the operation and later succumbed to his injuries. Captain Rosario was martyred and displayed valour, professional skill and devotion to duty of a very high order. For his exceptional courage and supreme sacrifice during the war, Captain David Rosario was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra. Salute to Captain Rudolph David Rosario! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)