NEW DELHI: In line with the Army tradition, the coursemates and comrades in arms of Galwan hero Colonel Santosh Babu got together at the National War memorial to lay a wreath to honour his exemplary courage, valour and supreme sacrifice.
It was an emotional moment for everyone as no one had ever thought to remember ever smiling Santosh Babu this way. Col Santosh Babu was famously known as 'The Rajni’ for his unique accent and ‘Jingle’ for his jovial nature amongst his coursemates and friends. He, with his cool composure and brilliance par excellence, had everyone look up to him.
Col Bikkumalla Santosh Babu was commanding his battalion, in the icy heights of Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh. The Line of Actual Control in his Area of Responsibility became highly sensitive as the Chinese Army, against the protocols, executed huge build-up and occupied ridge of Patrol Point 14 along the Galwan Nala, overlooking the strategically important road connecting Durbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi. This led to frequent face-offs and talks at various levels to de-escalate the situation.
On the evening of June 15, Col Santosh Babu went to the area to verify the compliance of retreat to a designated point as per the agreement reached in the Corps Commanders meeting of June. The Chinese, however, attacked the Indian troop in which Col Babu was mortally wounded.
He was an alumnus of Sainik School-Korukonda, National Defence Academy- Khadakvasla and Indian Military Academy- Dehradun.
One coursemate said, “He was truly an epitome of the Chetwode credo of the Indian Military Academy as the safety, honour and welfare of our country was above everything for him.”
Stories of Col Santosh Babu will keep inspiring the generations ahead in days to come.