Service No : 2648389
Place of birth : Jhunjhunu Dist (Raj)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Grenadier
Unit : 2 Grenadiers
Arm/Regt : The Grenadiers
Martyrdom : September 11, 1967
Grenadier Bala Ram Khairwa hailed from Posana village in Udaipurwati tehsil of Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan. Son of Shri Jeeta Ram Khairwa and Smt Keshar Devi, he joined the Army on 27 Nov 1962 after completing his school education. He was recruited into 2 Grenadiers of the Grenadiers Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its brave soldiers with a rich history of various battle honours. He gradually developed into a dedicated and professionally competent soldier. By 1967, he had completed around 5 years of service and had developed into a tough and dedicated soldier.
Nathu La Operation: 11 Sep 1967
During Sep 1967, Gdr Bala Ram's unit 2 Grenadiers was deployed in East Sikkim near Nathu La Pass. Nathu La Pass was located on the watershed serving as a natural boundary and connected Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. This pass was of utmost importance to the Indian Army as it provided a tactical advantage of observation and fire. After the 1962 war, trade through this route was closed. India on August 20, 1967, started fencing its border with three layers of barbed wire, which did not go down well with the Chinese forces. On August 23, 1967, Chinese soldiers marched towards the Nathu La, carrying rifles fitted with bayonets, and stopped at the border. About an hour later, the Chinese troops withdrew. However, they returned again and continued with their protests. On Sept 5, 1967, India started upgrading barbed wire fence to a concertina coil. During this, the Chinese political officer landed in an argument with India's Commanding Officer of the local infantry battalion, Lt Col Rai Singh, after which the work was halted.
On September 7, 1967, the work was resumed which provoked the Chinese Army. About 100 Chinese soldiers scuffled with the Indian soldiers but were beaten down by the Indian Army. The fencing was to be completed by September 11, 1967. As the army engineers were engaged in the construction of the fencing, the 2 Grenadiers battalion along with the 18 Rajput battalion was detailed as a protection party for engineers, who were constructing a wire obstacle at Nathu La. Capt Prithvi Singh Dagar from 2 Grenadiers was detailed as the Officer in charge of the party that was ordered to strengthen the wire-laying party opposite the 'South Shoulder' at Nathu La. Gdr Bala Ram was part of the team along with other soldiers of 2 Grenadiers battalion. However as the wire was being laid, a scuffle erupted with the Chinese soldiers. The Chinese soldiers opened fire from the front as well as from both the flanks. In this firing, the leader of the team Capt Dagar was hit by a rifle bullet in the right hand.
Despite being injured, Capt Dagar showed remarkable courage and led from the front in attacking the enemy. Gdr Bala Ram and his comrades fought valiantly and gave a befitting reply to the enemy's actions. However, during this process, Gdr Bala Ram got severely injured and was soon martyred. Gdr Bala Ram was a valiant and committed soldier, who laid down his life in the service of the nation.
Grenadier Bala Ram Khairwa is survived by his wife Smt Kisturi Devi.