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
Maj Sudhir Kumar Walia hailed from Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Born in a military family of an Army veteran Subedar Major Rulia Ram Walia and Smt Rajeswari Dev, Maj Sudhir always wanted to follow into the footsteps of his father and join the Army. He doggedly pursued his dream right from his childhood days and his school, “Sainik School Sujanpur Tira(HP)” located near Hamirpur helped him in his efforts. Consequently he cleared NDA in his first attempt and joined the prestigious academy.
Major Sudhir Walia graduated from Indian Military Academy (IMA) in 1988 and was commissioned into 4 Jat of the famed Jat Regiment. Soon after commissioning he became part of 70,000 soldiers who were sent to Sri Lanka on a peace mission under Indo-Sri Lanka accord. 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), known mainly for their daredevil covert operations undertook numerous operations in J &K. In Kashmir, the Special Forces operators of Indian Army often roamed in militant disguise, hunting for terrorists by locating their hideouts. This strategy facilitated the 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.
In 1997, Major Sudhir was sent to the United States for a specialized course and also got the rare honour of speaking at the Pentagon during this mission. Known as ‘Rambo” in the Indian Army he was called ‘Colonel’ by his peers in the course, 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 Sudhir Walia wrote an application to General Malik, the Chief of Army Staff at that time, requesting him for a posting to Kargil to be with his unit in the time of need. General Malik acceded to his request and sent his most fearless and valiant soldier to the battle area of Kargil. In fact at that time Major Sudhir was recovering from injuries, and his team recaptured the Zulu Ridge. After the Kargil War ended, his team was assigned the duty of fighting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Kupwara Operation : 29 Aug 1999
After the end of Kargil war 0n 26 July 1999, the Army was continuing its high alert status to deal with any eventuality. Major Sudhir Walia and his team of daredevil commandos disguised as militants were carrying out the task of searching the hiding militants who could pose serious threat to the security forces. On 29th Aug 1999, 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 of J&K. The squad suddenly chanced upon a well-camouflaged hideout having twenty odd terrorists.
Major Sudhir quickly organised his team and attacked the hideout. Leading from the front and showing rare courage Major Sudhir killed 4 militants single- handedly. However during the process he sustained gunshot wounds in his stomach. Though he was unable to move, he continued to give orders to his team until they eliminated all the suspected militnats. He allowed himself to be evacuated only 35 minutes after the operation ended. Major Sudhir was airlifted to the army base hospital but he succumbed to the injuries en route.
Major Sudhir Walia was given the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award, “Ashok Chakra” for his outstanding gallantry, unyielding spirit and supreme sacrifice. He is survived by his father, an Army veteran Subedar Major Rulia Ram Walia and mother 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) .