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July 2, 1999
The wily warriors: mercenaries' nemesis
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
As operations continue in Kargil, the Sikh, Rajput, Gorkha and other elite infantry regiments of the Indian Army are basking in the limelight and virtually competing with one another in demonstrating their valour and battle worthiness. But one regiment which has virtually gone unnoticed is the Naga regiment.
Currently the 1 Naga battalion is engaging the enemy in fierce battles in the Drass sub sector. In a four-part documentary, The Wily Warriors, journalist-turned-filmmaker Upendra Sood, has highlighted achievements of the youngest infantry regiment of the Indian Army while serving in Jammu and Kashmir.
The film, shot over a period of four months, gives glimpses of counter insurgency operations launched by the 2 Naga battalion while serving in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir. ''It was a difficult task to shoot in adverse conditions but we managed to do a reasonably good job at the end of the day. I am happy that I was able to put out something worthwhile," says Sood.
Though Nagaland attained its statehood in 1963, the raising of a separate Naga regiment had to wait until 1970. When Indira Gandhi asked K F Rustomji to raise a battalion of Nagas from the ranks of ex-militants not many were ready to take the risk and help in the venture. "I took it as a challenge and decided to go ahead with it. Today I am glad that I did it," Rustomji told this correspondent some time back.
"Nevertheless, a remarkable fact about its raising was that several ex-militants were given a fair chance to prove their new-found nationalism that made them join the Indian armed forces," says Sood.
Over the years the Naga regiment has carved out a niche for itself while carrying out counter insurgency operations. According to the officers of the Naga regiment its achievements in panic-gripped Kashmir valley have been simply outstanding.
Whenever a counter insurgency operation was carried out the entire battalion functioned like a well-oiled machine.
Both 1and 2 Naga battalions have had their share of encounters with the intruders in Kargil. And on every occasion they have come off in flying colours.
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