Representational image | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: The 20 soldiers, including a commanding officer who were killed in action in Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh, came from almost all parts of India: from Punjab in the west to West Bengal and Bihar in the east. Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu was from Telangana. Their bodies after ceremonial send-off were flown to their hometowns.
Expressing condolences, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the loss of soldiers in Galwan valley is "deeply disturbing and painful."
He said Indian soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.
"The nation will never forget their bravery and sacrifice. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen soldiers," said the Union Defence Minister.
He said the nation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with them in this difficult hour. "We are proud of the bravery and courage of India's bravehearts," Singh said in a statement.
Speaking about the bravery of their officers, the Indian Army said, "Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane and all ranks salute the supreme sacrifice of our valiant soldiers at Galwan. We offer deepest condolences to the families and stand strong in our resolve towards protecting the sovereignty and integrity of our country. Their sacrifices will not go in vain."
The 20 Indian Army men includes a Colonel, three Naib Subedars, three Havaldars, one Naik and twelve sepoys. The names of the officers are as follows:
Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu: from Hyderabad; he was the commanding officer of the company that was brutally attacked; lost his life during the fight. Three Naib Subedars are Nuduram Soren from Mayurbhanj district in Odisha, Mandeep Singh from Patiala in Punjab and Satnam Singh from Gurdaspur in Punjab.
The three Havaldars are K. Palani from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Sunil Kumar from Patna in Bihar and Bipul Roy from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. One Naik is Deepak Kumar from Rewa in Madhya Pradesh.
The twelve sepoys are Rajesh Orang from Birbhum in West Bengal, Kundan Kumar Ojha from Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Ganesh from Kanker in Chhattisgarh, Chandrakanta Pradhan from Kandhamal in Odisha, Ankush from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh, Gurbinder from Sangrur in Punjab, Gurtej from Mansa in Punjab, Chandan Kumar from Bhojpur in Bihar, Kundan Kumar from Saharsa n Bihar, Aman Kumar from Samastipur in Bihar, Jai Kishore from Vaishali in Bihar and Ganesh Hansada from East Singhbhum in Jharkhand.