Service No : IC-58863
Date of Birth : October 28, 1975
Place of birth : Lucknow (UP)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Lieutenant
Unit : 14 Rajput
Arm/Regt : The Rajput Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : January 29, 2001
Lieutenant Navneet Rai's family hailed from Gola Bazar in Gorakhpur, but he was born in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh on 28 Oct 1975. Son of Shri Dinesh Narayan Rai and Smt Mridula Rai, Lt Navneet Rai had a sister Navita as his sibling. He studied till Class XII at Springdale College Lucknow, and then went on to graduate from Lucknow University. He always nursed the idea of serving in the Armed Forces and joined the National Cadet Corps (NCC) during his college days. He excelled in all aspects of training at NCC and proved to be the best cadet of his batch. It was in NCC that the foundation of his future military career was laid and it further strengthened his resolve to don the army uniform.
Eventually, following his passion, he got selected to join the army in the year 1998 after successfully passing the Combined Defence Services Examination. He went to the prestigious IMA Dehradun for training and passed out as a Lieutenant on 12 June 1999. He was commissioned into the 14 Rajput Battalion of the Rajput Regiment, an infantry Regiment well known for its fearless soldiers. He got posted to Meghalaya in the North-East as his first assignment after commissioning and thereafter joined his battalion in the trouble torn Kashmir.
Kupwara Operation : 29 Jan 2001
During 2001, Lt Navneet Rai’s unit 14 Rajput battalion was deployed in the Kupwara District of J & K. The unit was operating along the Line of Control (LOC) and was engaged in operations against the militants on a regular basis. The unit troops were engaged in counter-insurgency operations on a regular basis as its AOR (Area of Responsibility) was affected by active militancy. Besides manning the forward posts in Kupwara district, Lt Navneet Rai’s unit also undertook operations to check the infiltration bids as its AOR was prone to infiltration by the militants from across the border. On 28 Jan 2001, the security forces received credible information from intelligence sources about the presence of a group of terrorists in an area falling under the AOR of the unit. Based on the intelligence inputs, it was decided to launch an operation to neutralize the threat of terrorists. Lt Navneet Rai was assigned the task of leading that operation.
As planned, Lt Navneet Rai and his troops reached the suspected area and launched the search and cordon operation. The soldiers had to exercise extreme caution while carrying out the search operation to minimize the collateral damage. After a while, a contact was made with the militants, who fired at the troops on being challenged. Lt Navneet Rai deployed his troops tactically to block the possible escape routes and engaged them aggressively. However, in the ensuing fierce gun battle, Lt Navneet Rai received gunshots in his legs and was seriously injured. But despite the injuries, he continued to direct the operation and engage the militants. But shortly thereafter he got hit in the head and his condition deteriorated further. He soon succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. Lt Navneet Rai was a valiant soldier and a fine officer, who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty at the age of 25 years.
Lt Navneet Rai is survived by his father Shri Dinesh Narayan Rai, mother Smt Mridula Rai, and sister Smt Navita Sharma.