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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Deep thrust in PoK by unsung hero

Lieutenant General Harbakhsh Singh was the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of Western Command with HQs at Shimla in 1965 when Major Megh Singh volunteered for the highly risky mission of operating behind the enemy lines.

Chandigarh | September 14, 2020 3:07:26 am
Indo-Pak war, Pakistan occupied Kashmir, PoK region, Punjab news, Indian express newsBrig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (Retd.)

(Written by Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (Retd.))

While we talk with great pride of the recent cross-border missions, few know about a daredevil officer who operated successfully in Pakistan occupied territory during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Lieutenant General Harbakhsh Singh was the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of Western Command with HQs at Shimla in 1965 when Major Megh Singh volunteered for the highly risky mission of operating behind the enemy lines.

The officer had put in his papers when he was overlooked for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel but once hostilities broke out, he approached the GOC-in-C to volunteer, citing his experience in clandestine operations in Burma during WW-2.

Meghdoot Force

Lt General Harbakhsh Singh was struck by the enthusiasm of Maj Megh Singh and told him, “If you do well in J&K, I will pin the rank of Lt Col on your shoulders.” The Army Commander then got in touch with Lt Gen Kashmir Singh Katoch, Corps Commander, 15 Corps, at Srinagar and told him, “I am sending Maj Megh Singh to you, he should be given the freedom to choose hardy young soldiers for the combat mission.”

Major Megh Singh, who hailed from Kharian village in Jodhpur, selected warriors from 3 Rajputana Rifles and 3 Rajput Battalion. After a short, intensive guerilla warfare training, he declared his team fit to be launched and thus, on September 1, 1965, was born the Meghdoot Force.


On 1/2 September the Meghdoot Force infiltrated about 7-8 miles behind enemy lines and blasted the Dwarandi-Bandigopalpur road as a result of which the nallah flowing under the bridge was flooded. It caused a lot of damage to the enemy road communication and affected the flow of traffic. The force was also assigned the task of blowing up an ammunition dump at Kahuta, about 7 miles inside PoK. But on arrival at Kahuta, the force found the ammunition dump empty.

On September 6 and 7, 1965, the Meghdoot Force attacked two formidable enemy pickets Neja Pir and Ari Dhok as complimentary action even as their main target was the Raja locality.

Later, the Army Commander wrote in his war despatches, “In the fitness of things, Megh Singh was accorded the honour of establishing the linkup with 68 Infantry Brigade south of Hajipur. This he did at 0930 hrs on 10 September, 1965”.

Impressed with the spectacular success achieved by Meghdoot Force in accomplishing the assigned tasks deep inside enemy territory, Gen Harbakhsh Singh made good his promise by pinning the Lt Col’s rank on the shoulders of Megh Singh’s uniform in the presence of his Corps Commander on September 16.

After Pakistan’s naked aggression in the Chhamb Sector, the Meghdoot Force, now under the dynamic leadership of Lt Col Megh Singh, shifted its exploits to this most vulnerable war theatre. Its frequent raids in the enemy territory spread chaos and confusion. The most important of these took place on September 19. In the early hours of that day, the Meghdoot raiders quietly pounced on the unsuspecting enemy at Thil, deep inside enemy territory, inflicting severe casualties. Three days later, on September 22, the Meghdoot Force struck again. This time the objective was enemy administrative base at Nathal, 8 miles behind the enemy location. Pakistani troops guarding the base were taken by surprise and fled in terror, suffering 13 casualties.

While returning home on September 22 after many successfully missions, the bravehearts were surrounded by soldiers of the Pakistani post Thuggi. Lt Col Megh Singh and three soldiers were wounded in the fierce hand-to-hand fight that ensued and one soldier was killed.

But Meghdoot Force proved that trained and resolute troops can achieve great success behind the enemy lines. For his exceptional bravery, grit, determination and outstanding devotion to his duty, Lt Col Megh was awarded Vir Chakra by the President.

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