Service No : JC-39184
Service : Army
Last Rank : Naib Subedar
Unit : 18 Rajput
Arm/Regt : The Rajput Regiment
Martyrdom : September 11, 1967
Naib Subedar Raghav Prasad Pandey joined the army after completing his school education and was recruited into 18 Rajput Battalion of the Rajput Regiment, an infantry Regiment known for its valour and battle honours in various operations.
Nathu La Operation: 11 Sep 1967
During Sep 1967, Nb Sub Raghav Prasad Pandey's unit 18 Rajput 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, 18 Rajput battalion along with 2 Grenadiers battalion was detailed as a protection party for engineers, who were constructing a wire obstacle at Nathu La. Major Harbhajan Singh from 18 Rajput was detailed as the Officer in charge of a party ordered to strengthen the wire-laying party opposite the 'North Shoulder' at Nathu La. Whereas Capt Prithvi Singh Dagar and his soldiers from 2 Grenadiers took charge to strengthen the wire-laying party opposite the South Shoulder. Nb Sub Raghav Prasad at that time was functioning as part of the ‘A’ Coy of 18 Rajput with Major Harbhajan Singh as his company commander. On 11 September 1967, the Indian engineers commenced the construction of the wire obstacle at 0540 hours.
The Chinese forces were opposed to the wire obstacle and consequently, a scuffle took place between the Indians and Chinese troops. The Chinese simultaneously opened fire from the front as well as from the flanks. The Rajput company and the engineers were caught in the open and at this juncture, but undeterred Nb Sub Raghav Prasad and his comrades charged at the Chinese soldiers in a show of rare courage and gallantry. However while doing so, Nb Sub Raghav Prasad got severely injured. He soon succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. Nb Sub Raghav Prasad was a valiant soldier and gritty Junior Commissioned Officer officer, who laid down his life in the service of the nation.
Nb Sub Raghav Prasad Pandey was given the gallantry award, “Sena Medal” for his courage, devotion to duty and supreme sacrifice.