Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu, who led his troops against the "vicious" Chinese attack in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year, has been posthumously named for the second-highest military award, Mahavir Chakra, for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, according to an official announcement on Monday.
Twenty Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in the fierce hand-to-hand combat on June 15 in Galwan Valley, an incident that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.
Four other soldiers --Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren, Havildar (Gunner) K Palani, Naik Deepak Singh and Sepoy Gurtej Singh-- who also laid down their lives valiantly fighting the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley clash have been named for Vir Chakra awards posthumously.
Havildar Tejinder Singh from the 3 Medium Regiment and was a member of the Indian Army team at Galwan Valley clash, has also been named for Vir Chakra award.
Col Babu, the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar regiment, was undaunted by the "violent and aggressive" action and overwhelming strength of enemy soldiers, and he continued to resist their attempt to pushback the Indian troops, displaying true spirit of service before self, the official release said.
"Despite being grievously injured, Colonel Babu led from the front with absolute command and control despite hostile conditions to deter the vicious enemy attack at his position," it said.
"In the skirmish that broke out and ensuing hand-to-hand combat with enemy soldiers, he valiantly resisted the enemy attack till his last breath, inspiring and motivating his troops to hold ground," it said, about his role during the 'Operation Snow Leopard' .
The release said Col Babu has been awarded the Mahavir Chakra for displaying "exemplary leadership, astute professionalism and supreme sacrifice" in the line of duty.