He led an operation to ambush 17 well-trained and armed terrorists who infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir state. He killed 4 of the terrorists and brought an injured team member to safety before succumbing to fatal injury from close range. He was posthumously conferred the highest peacetime gallantry award of India Ashoka Chakra by President of India on the 63rd Republic Day.
This is the story of unmatched bravery of Lt. Navdeep Singh.
Born in Gurdaspur, he was a third-generation soldier in Indian Army. His grandfather was a junior commissioned officer while his father Joginder Singh served as subedar major in the Bengal Sappers for 30 years and retired as Honorary Captain.
Navdeep Singh completed his graduation in BSc. in hotel management in 2006 from IHM-Gurdaspur and post-graduation in MBA from the Army Institute of Management, Kolkata in 2009.
Navdeep Singh shunned a corporate career and instead joined the Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army as a gentleman cadet. He was commissioned into the Army Ordnance Corps, in 2010.
It is a custom for all the non-fighting arms of the Indian Army, officers must complete an attachment of two years with an infantry battalion in a war or counter-insurgency ops.
For the duration of these two years, the officer, belongs to the same infantry battalion.
Lieutenant Navdeep Singh was attached to the 15 Maratha Light Infantry in Jammu & Kashmir in his first posting as a commissioned officer.
On the fateful night of 19th August 2011,
Lt. Navdeep Singh and his Commando Platoon were deployed in the Kanzalwan Sub Sector in response to intelligence inputs about a insurgency by a large group of highly trained terrorists, fully equipped and armed to the teeth with deadly weapons.
Leading from the front and demonstrating the highest standards of tactics, field craft and fire control, this brave heart quickly sited his ambush, correctly assessing the path that the terrorists would adopt.
In a display of unbridled courage Lt. Navdeep Singh, took least guarded cover and asked his Platoon to continue according to laid out plan and allowed the unsuspecting terrorists to walk into his trap.
Springing his ambush at the last moment, Navdeep singlehandedly engaged and eliminated three hardcore terrorists from close range.
Despite being hit and severely injured in the violent return fire, Lt. Navdeep Singh continued to control the encounter, marshalling his resources with grsat presence of mind.
Living upto the highest military ideals, despite being grievously injured, he saved the life of his injured soldier while gunning down a fourth terrorist, before eventually succumbing to his injuries.
The encounter lasted about 8 minutes in which 12 well-trained terrorists were killed. Lt. Navdeep Singh’s body was the taken to a hospital in Srinagar.
He was awarded the Ashoka Chakra posthumously on the 63rd Republic Day by then President of India Pratibha Patil.
His Ashoka Chakra citation reads,
ASHOKA CHAKRA SS-44448A LIEUTENANT NAVDEEP SINGH
ARMY ORDNANCE CORPS / 15TH BATTALION THE MARATHA LIGHT INFANTRY (POSTHUMOUS)
Lieutenant Navdeep Singh was Ghatak Platoon Commander of 15 Maratha Light Infantry deployed in the High Altitude Area near the Line of Control.
On receiving information about the infiltration of a group of terrorists at about 0030 hours on 20 August 2011, the officer gauged the likely route of the terrorists and laid an ambush at the appropriate spot. When the terrorists were spotted, the ambush was sprung by the officer himself. An exchange of intense fire ensued. Leading from the front, the officer eliminated three terrorists at close range. On seeing another terrorist approaching their position, with utter disregard to his personal safety, the officer swiftly changed his firing position. While doing so, he got hit by a bullet on his head. He nevertheless managed to eliminate the fourth terrorist. Further, displaying utmost bravery and comradeship, he pulled an injured fellow soldier to safety and kept firing till he became unconscious due to excessive blood loss.
Lieutenant Navdeep Singh displayed his indomitable spirit, determination, and exceptional bravery while putting down the terrorists and making the supreme sacrifice for the nation.
When his body was brought to Gurdaspur wrapped in a tricolour, the whole village stood with his ‘Fauji’ family and paid their respects to that this braveheart which he truly deserved.
Lt. Navdeep Singh’s stature stand tall with a firm resolve clearly reflecting the ‘go getter’ spirit. Lt. Navdeep Singh has set the most profound example for the youth of the Nation to follow.