Service No : IC-47623
Place of Birth: Kangra dist,(HP)
Last Rank: Major
Unit : 9 PARA (SF)
Arm/Regt : The Parachute Regiment
Operation: Op Rakshak
Award : AC, SM and Bar
Date of Martyrdom : Aug 29, 1999
Major Sudhir Kumar Walia AC, SM Bar
The army called him “RAMBO”, the man who never got lost. Maj Sudhir Kumar Walia was born in a family from the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Maj Sudhir always wanted to join Army and doggedly pursued his dream right from his childhood days. He studied from Sainik School Sujanpur Tira(HP) located near Hamirpur and then cleared NDA in his first attempt.
Major Sudhir Walia graduated from Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1988 as an officer and joined the 4 Jat Regiment. He was a member of the 70,000 soldiers who were sent to Sri Lanka on a peace mission. After he returned from Sri Lanka, he was moved to the 9 Parachute Commando regiment which is a special force of the Indian Army that specializes in mountain operations. Major Sudhir Walia and his unit, 9 Para Special Forces, were known mainly for their daredevil covert operations. In Kashmir, the Special Forces operators of Indian Army roamed in militant disguise and started hunting terrorists by locating their hideouts. This strategy facilitated execution of many militants, their leader and even eliminated several outfits. Major Sudhir was posted twice in Siachen area and also served as ADC to the former Army Chief General Ved Prakash Malik.
On 1997 he was sent to the United States for a specialized course where he got the first position during the course. He also spoke at the Pentagon during this mission.’Colonel’ was the nickname given to him by his peers who had come from 80 other countries. He was later deputed as aide-de-camp to the Chief Of Army Staff and was twice decorated with gallantry awards for combating militancy in (J&K). While he was excelling in his career “The Kargil War” commenced and Major Walia wrote an application to General Malik stating that he wanted to go to Kargil to be with his unit in the time of need. General Malik agreed and sent his most fearless and valiant soldier to Kargil.
The Kupwara Encounter: Aug 1999
On 29th August, Major Sudhir Kumar Walia with a squad of five commandos was on a “Search and Destroy” mission in the dense jungle of “Hafruda Forest” in Kupwara district, J&K. The squad suddenly chanced upon a well-camouflaged hideout having twenty terrorists.
He killed 4 of a total of 20 militants and sustained gunshot wounds in the process. Though he was unable to move, he continued to give orders to his team till they succeeded. He allowed himself to be evacuated only 35 minutes after the operation ended. He was airlifted to the army base hospital but he succumbed to the injuries en route.
Major Sudhir Walia was awarded Sena Medal twice for his exceptional service to the nation and then the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award “Ashok Chakra” posthumously. He is survived by his father an Army veteran Subedar Major Rulia Ram Walia and Smt Rajeswari Devi.
For his bravery and exceptional service to the nation during his service career, Major Sudhir Kumar Walia was awarded Sena Medal two times,a rare honour for a soldier.
Citation for Ashok Chakra
On 29 August 1999, Major Sudhir Kumar Walia, 9 PARA with a squad of five commandos chanced upon a well-camouflaged hideout with 20 dreaded terrorists. Maj Sudhir Kumar surged ahead of his squad and taking advantage of the element of surprise, neutralised and singlehandedly killed four militants.
During the encounter Major Sudhir Walia was seriously injured, however the brave officer refused to be evacuated and kept directing his men with his radio set and ultimately ensured that all the terrorists were eliminated. Major Walia was subsequently evacuated and later succumbed to his injuries.
For exemplary leadership, unparalleled courage beyond the call of duty, conspicuous gallantry under fire and making the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army, Major S K Walia, Bar to SM posthumously was awarded India’s highest Gallantry Award in peace time, the “Ashok Chakra”.
‘I won’t die in an accident or die of any disease,’ he would often tell his mother, ‘I will go down in glory.’ — Major Sudhir Kumar Walia, AC, SM Bar (Posthumous) .