Service No : IC13740
Place of birth : Karachi(Sindh)
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Unit : 4 Para (SF)
Arm/Regt : The Parachute Regiment
Operation : Op Cactus Lily
Martyrdom : December 28, 1971
Major Arjan Kumar Kanal was born in Karachi, Sindh in undivided India and later his family moved to New Delhi during the partition time. He was commissioned into the 4 Para battalion of the Parachute Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its fearless soldiers and numerous daredevil operations. By the year 1971, he had been promoted to the rank of Major and had developed into a tough soldier and fine officer, who commanded the respect of his troops. By then he had served in various operational areas and gathered substantial field experience to undertake challenging operations.
Battle of Nagi: 27/28 Dec 1971
During Dec 1971 Maj Arjan Kumar Kanal’s unit 4 Para was deployed on the western border in Rajasthan. Indo-Pak war of 1971 ended on 16 Dec 1971 with a decisive victory for Indian forces on the eastern front. Despite the cease-fire, Pakistani forces took a provocative step of occupying a Sand Dune in Nagi village located in Sri Karanpur Tehsil in Sri Ganga Nagar district of Rajasthan. The enemy forces had occupied the Indian territory probably with an intention to embarrass the Indian Army and avenge to a small degree the humiliation they had suffered in the war. 4 Para (SF) under the command of 51 (Independent) Para Brigade of the Indian Army was tasked to evict the enemy forces and regain control of the area. It was decided to launch the attack with the elements of 4 Para, 9 Para field regiment, and 410 field company on 27 Dec 1971. Maj Arjan Kumar Kanal was part of the team of 4 Para battalion that was assigned the task of evicting the enemy.
As planned the attack was launched at 0400 hours on the dark, moonless night of 27/28 December by “C” Company of 4 Para. The enemy forces had fortified the area and it was dominated by heavy machine guns and mines. As the troops of “C” Company approached the Sand Dune, they faced heavy and devastatingly accurate Artillery fire from the Pakistan side. It was a very determined and aggressive attack by the enemy forces but the soldiers of 4 Para displayed exceptional courage and stood their ground. At the same time, 9 Para Field Regiment gave a befitting reply to the artillery barrage while 410 Field Company of the Corps of Engineers worked in tandem with the 4 Para troops to clear the minefield and obstacles laid by the enemy forces.
Maj Arjan Kumar Kanal and his troops of 4 Para continued their advance and finally succeeded in reclaiming the Nagi Sand Dune by 6 am on 28 Dec 1971. However, during the fierce battle, the 4 Para battalion suffered many casualties. Maj Arjan Kumar Kanal, Maj KJ Singh, 2nd Lt VRYR Dubbal, and 18 other soldiers later succumbed to their injuries and were martyred. Besides the three officers, the other fallen brave-hearts included Hav Tek Bahadur Gurung, Lance Hav Bala Ram Gurung, Hav Partap Singh, Nk Ganga Datta, L/Nk S Chellaiah, Ptr VD Varkey, Ptr Anand Singh, Ptr Anand Singh Bisht, Ptr Babu Ram, Ptr Bhim Bahadur Thapa, Ptr Gajendra Singh, Ptr Gaur Singh, Ptr Joseph PT, Ptr Kamlesh Kumar, Ptr KP Udayan, Ptr Pritam Ram, Ptr Tej Singh and Gnr VP Maran. Maj Arjan Kumar Kanal was a valiant soldier and gritty officer who led from the front and laid down his life in the line of his duty. A Nagi war memorial, “Shaurya Sthal” has been erected at Nagi village to honour the martyrs of the Nagi battle. The Army commemorates ‘Nagi Day” every year in the memory of gallant soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation during the famous Battle of Nagi on 27-28 December 1971.
Maj Arjan Kumar Kanal is survived by his mother Smt Kaushalya Devi Kanal, four brothers Shri Gobind Kanal, Shri Nihal Kanal, Shri Gulab Kanal & Shri Romi Kanal and two sisters Smt Pushpa and Smt Sarla.