One of the most famous officers of the Indian Army and a recipient of the nation’s second highest gallantry award, Maha Vir Chakra in the 1971 war, Lt Gen Hanut Singh (retd) has passed away in Dehradun.
Commissioned in 1952 in 17 HORSE, also known as the Poona Horse, he commanded the regiment in the 1971 war with Pakistan in the Western Theatre in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He led his regiment in the famous Battle of Basantar when a squadron of the regiment dashed across the heavily mined enemy areas and successfully repulsed repeated counter attacks by Pakistani forces. Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal of his regiment was awarded the nation’s highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra in this battle.
His regiment destroyed a large number Pakistani tanks and he was conferred with the Maha Vir Chakra for his personal bravery and outstanding leadership.
Widely known for a ‘no-nonsense attitude’ and an academic bent of mind in the profession, he was one of the most respected officers in the armoured corps.
Lt Gen Hanut Singh went on to command a mountain division in Sikkim and an armoured division in Punjab. He was also the General Officer Commanding of 2 Corps, the Army’s strike corps during Exercise Brasstacks when the country almost went to war with Pakistan. He later served as the Commandant of Armoured Corps Centre and School and retired from service to settle in Dehradun.
Lt Gen Hanut Singh’s remains will be cremated at Khankar Ghat, Haridwar on Monday. On this occasion, wreaths will be laid on behalf of Chief of the Army Staff, GOC-in-C Western Command and the Cavalry Association.