Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Many Arunachali old-timers recall the 1962 Sino-India conflict with fear and anger. The Chinese forces entered deep into Arunachal Pradesh 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 epic Battle of Nuranang.
Just 22 years old, Lance Naik Trilok Singh Negi hailed from Pauri Garhwal in Uttarkhand and belonged to the 4 Garhwal Rifles. His battalion was deployed at Nuranang in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh during the 1962 Sino-India war.
During the second phase of the war, on 17 November, 1962, the Chinese forces attacked Lance Naik Trilok Singh Negi’s company position near the Nuranang bridge in Arunachal Pradesh.
Naik Trilok Singh Negi was the section commander wherein Rifleman Gopal Singh Gusain and Rifleman Jaswant Singh Rawat were members. The enemy forces succeeded in positioning a medium machine gun (MMG) very close to their location. The Chinese forces started heavy firing from the MMG. Realising that the position would soon become untenable if the enemy MMG were not destroyed, Lance Naik Negi, Rifleman Gusain and another rifleman volunteered to go and destroy the MMG. They crawled forward at the risk of being hit by our own as well as enemy fire and reached within 10 metres of the enemy MMG.
While Lance Naik Negi gave covering fire with his sten gun, Rifleman Gusain and the other rifleman rushed towards the enemy MMG post and hurled grenades on the enemy MMG. As the grenades exploded, the two riflemen rushed towards the MMG. They found two Chinese lying dead and another badly wounded but holding the MMG. They overpowered him, snatched the MMG and started returning to their own position. While covering the return of the two riflemen, Lance Naik Negi was badly wounded by a burst of enemy automatic fire. Despite grievous injuries, he continued covering his comrades until he succumbed to his injuries.
While the other rifleman got killed, Gusain, though wounded, managed to enter the trench and was later evacuated.
In this action, Lance Naik Trilok Singh Negi and the other two soldiers displayed commendable courage and a high sense of duty in the best traditions of the army. For his exceptional courage, tenacity and gallantry during the war, Lance Naik Trilok Singh Negi was posthumously awarded the third highest gallantry award of the nation, Vir Chakra. Salute to Lance Naik Trilok Singh Negi! Such is the epic saga of the Battle of Nuranang, also known now as Jaswantgarh. (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)