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Indian Army's First Battalion is completing 200 years

April 21, 2015 20:44 IST

Marking its glorious history, infantry regiment, the First Battalion of the Third Gorkha Regiment, will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its raising day this Friday.

Comprising not just the gritty Gorkhas, but also men from Kumaon and Garhwal regions, Sir Robert Colquhuon had raised the regiment on April 24, 1815 in Uttaranchal's Almora.

"Only a few others including the Madras and Grenadiers Regiments (1758), Punjab Regiment (1761), Rajputana Rifles (1775), Rajput Regiment (1778), Jat Regiment (1795) and Kumaon Regiment (1813) are among the other native infantry regiments that preceded them," Defence CPRO Gp Capt Tarun Kumar Singha said.

Presently operating from West Bengal under the Eastern Command, the battalion better known as 1/3 Gorkha Rifles, has won nearly 200 gallantry and distinguished service awards in the pre-Independence era.

After 1947, the battalion has earned 117 gallantry and distinguished awards including an Ashoka and Kirti Chakra, two Shaurya Chakras and a Padma Bhushan among several other awards.

During their Nagaland stint in 1956, then Commanding Officer of the battalion, Lt Col J R Chitnis bravely led his men in clearing an ambush against his column resulting in 20 dead insurgents.

"Sadly, Col Chitnis would also succumb to injuries. He was posthumously awarded Ashoka Chakra Class-I for his conspicuous bravery," Singha said.

In 1971, the 1/3 Gorkha Rifles scripted history by becoming the only battalion in post-Independence era to carry out amphibious operations, cutting off fleeing Pakistani troops in Bangladesh.

While operating in icy heights along the LoC at Kargil, the unit also won laurels in 'Operation Vijay' in 1999.

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