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Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry [JAKLI]

Raised in 1948, the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment, though one of the youngest in the Indian Army, has grown to be one of the largest Regiments. This has been solely due to the valor, fighting skill, patriotic fervour and soldierly conduct displayed by all ranks of the Regiment during the major wars forced on India since attaining independence. Units of the Regiment have served with distinction with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in Somalia and the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka.

The Regiment, in its composition, is a miniature India in itself and is a perfect example of national integration. Despite the aversion of Kashmiris for joining Army, the J&K Light Infantry has a sizeable number of Muslim soldiers and officers. Much of the the Army's Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment and Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regiment are made of recruits from Poonch, Rajouri and Doda villages. The Regiment's performance in war and peace has been commendable and praise-worthy. The Battalions of the Regiment earned their share of decorations for various activities in operations and otherwise.

The Chief of Army Staff made a special instant award of "Unit Citation" to 12th Battalion, The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry for their exceptionally gallant and sterling performance during the battles of Point 5203 on night 10/11 June 1999 and Point 4812 on night 30 June/01 July 1999 in Batalik Sector. The overall performance of the battalion during Operation "VIJAY" was exceptional and marked with exemplary valour and grit in the face of the enemy.

With so many families in the hills of Garhwal and Kumaon who have sons (and daughters) in the military, the conflict in Kashmir has taken a heavy toll. The Garhwal Rifles, as well as other Himalayan regiments (the Gurkha Rifles, Ladakh Scouts, Naga Regiments, and Jammu and Kashmir Infantry) were all entrusted with operations in Kargil in 1999. They joined their Sikh, Rajasthani, Mahar, and Bihari brothers as a multicultural and multifaith force on the frontlines, suffering the brunt of casualities in defense of the state.

The 52nd year of the services of JAKLI to the country was marked in mid-2000 with fanfare as the 49th course of recruits was sworn in at a colourful ceremony at the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regimental Centre on the outskirts of Srinagar. The recruit training is based on rigorous instruction that transforms young civilian into a competent soldier on whose shoulder rests the security of his motherland. During the one-year he imbibes the values of honesty, camaraderie and discipline. He learns to live committed to the motto of their Regiment-balidanam vir lakshanam-which means making supreme sacrifice for the motherland is the character of a true warrior. Sub Maj and Honorary Lt Bana Singh of 8 Jakli was the recipient of the first salute by the recruits on the occasion.

The final salute was taken by the chief guest, Maj Gen HS Mangat, Colonel Commandant of the Jakli. Addressing the newly attested riflemen and their families, he congratulated them and thanked their parents for encouraging their young sons to serve the nation in spite of troubled times. A wreath-laying ceremony was organised to honour those soldiers of the Jakli who made the supreme sacrifice for their motherland. This was followed by a colourful and impressive passing-out parade of the recruits. Jakli is composed exclusively of the people of J&K. This regiment originated from the J&K Militia which has done yeoman service in protecting Kashmir from foreign invaders since independence, in the process carving a niche of bravery for itself in the annals of the history of the Indian Army. This young regiment has to its credit 4 battle honours, 1 Param Vir Chakra, 14 Maha Vir Chakra, 40 Vir Chakra and 83 Sena Medals



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