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Capt. Jerry Prem Raj: A soldier first, a husband later

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Byjerryl Ila Garg

Kargil War Heroes – Part 12

Kargil war was a sad chapter in India’s book. It resulted in a massive chaos, bloodshed, and loss of precious lives. Our brave soldiers risked their lives and put the nation before self – something they are taught during their training days.

Among the martyrs, Capt. Jerry Prem Raj was awarded Vir Chakra, the third highest military honour for his valour. He was a brave son of India.

Born in Venganoor, Trivandrum, Kerala, Capt. Jerry Prem Raj was commissioned into the 158 Medium Regiment (SP) on 5 September 1997. He was a sincere and upright officer with an eye for detail and a pleasant disposition. His father, Mr. Retna Raj worked in the Department of Technical Education, Kerala and his mother, Mrs. Chella Thayee worked in the Health Department of the government of Kerala. His brother, Rejinald Pavithran, is a retired officer of the Indian Air force.

Capt. Jerry Premraj had been married barely a month and was on his hone24jul_tvm

ymoon when the duty called him and he had to cut short his vacation and re-join the unit in Mushkoh Valley in July 1999 for Operation Vijay. His task was to attack Twin Bumps located in Point 4875 area, Gun Hill, Drass sector. During the assault, in the wee hours of 7th July 1999, Captain Jerry Prem Raj was the Forward Observation Post Officer with 2 Naga ( A unit of Indian Army).

He searched all the enemy positions and then directed accurate artillery fire onto them which had a devastating effect on the enemy. Subsequently, he was shot and badly wounded in the enemy sniper fire. Despite injuries, he remained undeterred and continued to attack the enemy positions. Amidst the heavy fire, he displayed unparalleled grit and courage and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

By then, Captain Jerry Prem Raj was severely injured. His efforts in the battle proved his mettle. He was a true war hero. He died later on, the same day. His body was cremated in his native Thiruvananthapuram. His wife gradually moved on from the truncated marriage. His memory became an occasional, but uncontrollable sob in his modest home in Venganoor.

jerry_premrajObviously people might forget, but the pain of the families of these martyrs remains the same. Let us not forget these valiant soldiers in our prayers.

More in this segment:

Kargil War Heroes – Part 1
Kargil War Heroes – Part 2
Kargil War Heroes – Part 3
Kargil War Heroes – Part 4
Kargil War Heroes – Part 5
Kargil War Heroes – Part 6
Kargil War Heroes – Part 7
Kargil War Heroes – Part 8
Kargil War Heroes – Part 9
Kargil War Heroes – Part 10
Kargil War Heroes – Part 11
Kargil War Heroes – Part 13
Kargil War Heroes – Part 14
Kargil War Heroes – Part 15

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World’s Oldest serving Aircraft Carrier ‘INS Viraat’ set to retire from Indian Navy

Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain's Royal Navy as HMS Hermes

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Warship INS Viraat, Wikimedia

India, March 6, 2017: The world’s oldest aircraft carrier in service, the INS Viraat,is set to retire on Monday from the Indian Navy.

On Monday evening, the Naval flag atop the ship, also known as the “grand old lady”, will be lowered and wrapped at sunset, marking an end to its long journey of 55 years, including 30 years in the Indian Navy.

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Viraat was completed and commissioned in Britain’s Royal Navy as HMS Hermes.

In 1984, it was decommissioned from the Royal Navy and subsequently was commissioned by the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.

The ship has seen a series of aircraft operate from its decks, including the the Sea Harrier, White Tigers, Seaking 42B, Seaking 42C and Chetaks.

Under the Indian Flag, various aircraft have flown more than 22,034 hours from the decks of the INS Viraat which implies that the carrier has been at sea for over six years covering the entire globe about 27 times.

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The ship played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka and Operation Vijay in 1999 during the Kargil War.

The last operational deployment of the ship was at the International Fleet Review (IFR-2016) in Visakhapatnam. (IANS)

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Pakistan was preparing to use nukes during Kargil war: Ex-White House Official

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Image: Wikipedia

New Delhi: Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use against India during the 1999 Kargil war when its army was suffering heavy casualties at the hands of the latter, the CIA had warned then President Bill Clinton, a former top White House official has said.

The CIA briefed Bill Clinton in this regard in July 4, 1999 when the president was scheduled to meet the visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif had rushed to Washington and sought a meeting with Clinton in the wake of heavy losses suffered by Pakistani army by their Indian counterparts, looking for an honorable exit when a defeat seemed imminent.

“The morning of the Fourth (of July, 1999), the CIA wrote in its top-secret Daily Brief that Pakistan was preparing its nuclear weapons for deployment and possible use. The intelligence was very compelling. The mood in the Oval Office was grim,” Bruce Riedel, who worked at the time in the National Security Council of the White House and was among the few present at the Clinton-Sharif meeting said, NDTV reported.

ALSO READ: How India, Pakistan can avoid nuclear war

Riedel made the revelations in an obituary he wrote for Sandy Berger, former national security advisor to Clinton, who died of cancer on Wednesday.

“Berger urged Clinton to hear out Sharif, but to be firm… Pakistan started this crisis and it must end it without any compensation. The president needed to make clear to the prime minister that only a Pakistani withdrawal could avert further escalation,” he wrote.

“Sandy knew Clinton better than anyone, his natural inclination was to find a deal. This time, no deal was possible, it must be an unequivocal Pakistani climbdown,” Riedel said.

“It worked. Sharif agreed to pull back his troops. It later cost him his job: The army ousted him in a coup and he spent a decade in exile in Saudi Arabia. But the risk of a nuclear exchange in South Asia was averted,” Riedel wrote.

(With inputs from agencies)

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SC dismisses plea for probe into Kargil war purchases

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea for investigation into purchase at inflated price of caskets for soldiers martyred during the Kargil war and other items since the issues had been decided by trial courts.

An apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice V. Gopala Gowda declined the plea as counsel S Balasubramanian appearing for the Centre told the court that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arraigned one Victor Baiza in the aluminium casket purchase case, but he was discharged by the court of metropolitan magistrate.

Similarly, Balasubramanian said, the CBI investigated the charges of wrongdoing in the purchase of Krasonpol ammunition, found nothing and filed a closure report that too was accepted by a trial court.

Balasubramanian said that allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase of snow suits were based on mere apprehensions as no contract was entered into and consequently no money was paid.

KG Dhananjay Chauhan moved the apex court for investigation into the alleged wrongdoings in the purchases done during the Kargil war in 1999 and sought putting in place a transparent procedure for the purchase of defence material.

The plea for investigation into the alleged scams had become infructuous in the wake of lower courts’ decisions, the apex court said.

(IANS)