New Delhi, June 17, 2020.
Colonel B Santosh Babu, the Commanding Officer of the Army’s 16 Bihar unit who was killed during a violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Easter Ladakh on Monday night, had taken over his battalion only in December last year.
The ex-NDA cadet belonged to the 105 “November” squadron and was commissioned as an officer in December 2004. Babu went on pursue training at the Defence Services Staff College, where officers head to attain higher command positions. He also had a tenure with the Rashtriya Rifles in J&K and was part of the Indian contingent of the UN peacekeeping forces in Congo.
The person, who did not wish to be named, recalled that anyone could reach out to him with their problems and described Babu as composed and meticulous, traits that his juniors imbibed. The officer, who hailed from Telangana’s Suryapet district, is survived by his Delhi-based wife and two children.
The “violent face-off” also claimed the lives of two others, Havildar Palani and Sepoy Ojha, sources told ET. Their first names could not be immediately ascertained. The incident took place during a de-escalation process that involved thinning down of troops of both sides at Galwan Valley.
Babu’s unit, the sources said, had been waiting since Monday morning to ensure that the Chinese PLA troops fell back according to the disengagement plan decided during the high-level military talks.
Even as the Chinese troops were ready to leave, they suddenly started assaulting Indian soldiers. Babu and other soldiers were hit with iron poles and stones. Indian army men retaliated and beat up some PLA soldiers, with the unarmed combat continuing for several hours.