Brigadier(Retd) Sukhdev Singh, Vr.C, MC, Indian Army

Brigadier(Retd) Sukhdev Singh, Vr.C, MC

In May 1948, the enemy had captured Kargil and Dras and were advancing towards Zoji La. Lt Col Sukhdev Singh, commander 1 Patiala, was ordered to take his battalion, secure Zoji La and prevent the enemy from penetrating the Kashmir Valley.

For four months this battalion held its positions against a tough and numerically superior enemy who made every effort to capture Zoji La. The battalion in addition had to protect its own vulnerable line of communication for over 30 miles. The battle was fought at heights varying from 10,000 to 17,000 feet, amidst snow and glaciers without proper equipment and no mountain artillery.

Lt Col Sukhdev Singh conducted this operation as well as the subsequent push to Dras and Kargil with great skill and daring. He frequently visited the forward posts and himself came under enemy fire. By his dominating and aggressive personality he enthused the officers and other ranks under him to carry out amazing feats of endurance and daring ultimately forcing the enemy on the defensive.

Throughout these operations from May to year end, Lt Col Sukhdev Singh showed great skill in planning and displayed outstanding leadership, courage and determination to maintain the traditions of the Indian Army.