Vikram Batra's Military career at a Glance - Interesting and Inspiration

Vikram Batra's Military career at a Glance - Interesting and Inspiration

Batra joined the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun, in June 1996 in the Manekshaw Battalion. After completing his 19-month training course, he graduated from the IMA on 6 December 1997 and was commissioned as a lieutenant into the Indian Army.

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He was commissioned into the 13th battalion of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (13 JAK Rif). After commissioning, he was sent to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh for regimental training. The training lasted one month, from December, 1997 to the end of January, 1998. On completion of this training he got his first posting at Sopore in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, an area with significant militant activity.

In mid-March 1998, he was sent to the Infantry School at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, where young Army officers are trained, for the Young Officer's Course. This training lasted five months until September 1998. Following completion of the course and being awarded alpha grading, he joined his battalion in Sopore in October 1998.

During his posting in Sopore, Batra had several encounters with militants. In one of those encounters when Batra was leading an ambush with his platoon into an area of dense forest, he had a miraculous escape when a bullet fired by a militant grazed his shoulder and struck one of Batra's men behind him, killing the soldier. Believing that the bullet was meant for him and not his colleague, he ordered his men to nab the militants, and by morning all of the militants were killed.

Batra, however, was saddened, because he knew that the bullet was meant for him. "Didi, it was meant for me and I lost my man," he had told his elder sister over the phone. In January 1999, Batra was sent on a Commando Course at Belgaum, Karnataka where he excelled. The course lasted for two months and at the end of it, he was awarded the highest grading — the Instructor's Grade.

Every time when he came home to Palampur on leave, he would visit the Neugal Cafe. Batra last came home on leave from the army in 1999, during the Holi festival for a few days.

During that time, when he went to the café for a coffee, he met an acquaintance who told him to be careful in the war, to which Batra replied: I'll either come back after raising the Indian flag in victory or return wrapped in it. But I'll come for sure.

After his leave, he returned to join his battalion in Sopore. The 13 JAK Rif, after completing its CI Ops (counter-insurgency operations) tenure in Kashmir under 192 Mountain Brigade of 8 Mountain Division, received orders to proceed to Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

The battalion's advance party under Major Yogesh Kumar Joshi had reached its destination, when on 5 June, because of the outbreak of the war, its deployment orders were changed and the battalion received orders to move to Dras.

Batra informed his parents about his movement and assured them they need not worry about him. He would call his parents at least once in ten days.

The last phone call he made was on 29 June 1999, in which he said "Mommy, ek dum fit hoon, fikar mat karna", ("I'm absolutely fine. Don't you worry.") This was the last time that Batra spoke to his mother. Beginning his service as a lieutenant, he rose to the rank of Captain.

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