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They are everywhere. Keeping a hawk's eye on every threat to the motherland.

Whether it is the bitterly cold Siachen glacier or the scorching Rajasthan desert, the sentinels of India's peace are always at work. 24 hours. 7 days a week. 365 days a year. Salute the Heroes of Kargil!

It is not easy being a soldier. That single bullet is always at the back of a soldier's mind. A 20kg backpack, an assault rifle for a companion, and inhospitable bunkers pale in comparison to that bullet.

Yet there are more than a million troops who do their duty with pride so that people in faraway cities, towns and villages can get on with their lives without fear.

rediff.com salutes India's bravest. An Independence Day Special. Start

Words: R Swaminathan. Design: Rahil Shaikh

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