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Naga Regiment

Although two battalions of the Naga Regiment were raised as per the historic 16-point 1960 agreement that facilitated the formation of Nagaland state, as of 2001 there were complaints that there was no proper representation of Naga youths in the regiment, headquartered at Ranikhet in Uttaranchal. Nagaland comes under dispensation category and the education standard required for soldier general duty (GD) category is only class-V standard for tribal candidates.

The Naga Regiment was the first infantry regiment to be raised in the post-Independence India. In 1957, when the Naga hills area was simmering with insurgency, a convention of the Naga people took place and it came out with a charter of demands including statehood for Nagaland and a separate entity for the Naga people in the Indian defence forces. Nagaland attained its statehood in 1963 and the Naga Regiment was formed seven years later. Nevertheless, a remarkable fact about its raising was that several ex-militants were given a fair chance to prove their newfound nationalism and made to join the Indian Armed Forces, many of them were directly appointed junior commissioned officers.

But even before their training could be completed and the recruits were administered oath, trouble began brewing on our eastern border. Bypassing the training schedule, the Naga Regiment was ordered to move into the concentration areas. And thus the youngest regiment of the Indian Army was pushed into the war with scanty preparedness. Still it held the Tri-colour aloft, it should be attributed jointly to the natural instincts of the Naga warriors and to the inherent valour of Kumaunis, Garhwalis and Gorkhas, the other hill tribes to be drawn into the Naga Regiment.

The remarkable achievement of the Naga Regiment laid the way for raising of the second Naga battalion. Subsequently, the second Naga battalion was inducted into Keran sector of Kupwara district, where it was responsible for ensuring the sanctity of approximately 24 kilometres of Line of Control (LoC) and also to counter anti-national elements and their operations. It was in this sector the second Naga battalion participated in one of the landmark operations - Operation Romeo. The goal of this operation was to dominate the LoC, which was wrongly occupied by the enemy. The entire operation was carried out with clockwork precision and without any casualties to our troops. This was the first proactive operation in the divisional sector and has been a trend-setter.

Over the years, the Naga Regiment has carved out a niche for itself against insurgency operations.

The Chief of Army Staff made a special instant award of "Unit Citation" to 2nd Battalion, The Naga Regiment for their meritorious and gallant performance during the battles of Twin Bump on night 07/08 July and raid on enemy mortar position North West of Point 4875 on 08 July 1999, in Dras Sector.

During Operation "Vijay", the unit performed with distinction and displayed indomitable resolve and valour in the face of the enemy. The renowned warriors of the |Naga Regiment, fighting against heavy odds in the Tiger Hill complex, captured North Bump killing 15 Pakistan Army soldiers including one officer, Captain Imtiaz of 69 Field Regiment. The Naga's lost Captain Prem Raj, an artillery Forward Observation Officer and 10 soldiers of their battalion.

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.

Although the Naga youths earned accolades in the Kargil War, desertions were also frequent. The Army conducted a special recruitment drive for all category of posts to recruit 325 Naga youths across the State. GOC, Nagaland, Major General R. N. Kapur said at least 3,000 Naga youths would be recruited in the Army, Assam Rifles and India Reserve Battalion this year and hoped the youth would avail the opportunity to join the armed forces.

The 2nd battalion of Naga Regiment, affectionately known as Head Hunters, celebrated its 19th raising day in February 2003. The event was attended by war widows, ex-servicemen, families of martyrs and a large number of serving officers and other ranks of the paltan. A band display was organised for the families by the regimental brass band and unit's pipe band. A variety entertainment programme added colour to the celebrations.

Naga Regiment is known for its valour and has more than once proved its mettle in various operations. It has to its credit two unit citations and one GOC-in-C Northern Command's appreciation. Besides, the unit has the honour of having 46 individual awards that include one Maha Vir Chakra and two Vir Chakra.

Raised on February 11, 1985 at Haldwani by Lt Col (later Brigadier) PS Sajwan, the braves of 2 Naga won unit citation by the COAS and Appreciation of GOC-in-C, Northern Command for the excellent job done in Keran sector in Kashmir valley within a few years of its raising in the year 1997.

It was the role played by the unit during operation Vijay in Mashkoh valley that made it to win the title Head Hunters. The braves of 2 Naga captured Twin Bumps as part of the Point 4875 complex. The battalion raided enemy mortar position resulting in a large number of casualties to enemy troops and captured huge quantities of arms, ammunition, equipment and documents. The unit was once again honoured with unit citation by the COAS. It was within a span of three years and both times in face of enemy that 2 Naga got its both unit citations.

The second battalion of the Naga Regiment (Head Hunters) stepped out of teens on 11 February 2004 when it celebrated 20th raising day. The two-day celebrations included an informal get-together of officers and JCOs, badakhana with troops and a special sainik sammelan. All serving and retired Naga and Kumaoni officers also took part in the celebrations. Brig PS Sajwan (Retd) who raised 2nd Naga on February 11, 1985 at Haldwani was also present on the occasion. He gave away trophies and CO's Banner to the champion company.

The badakhana was attended by war widows, ex-servicemen and families of martyrs amongst others. An exquisite entertainment programme was organised which included Naga, Kumaoni, Garhwali and Gorkha dances and songs. Kumaon Regiment's Military Band and Unit Pipe Band's performance added colour to the celebrations.

The second battalion of the Naga Regiment, within a short period has proved its mettle on various occasions. It has to its credit two unit citations awarded by Chief of Army Staff. The enemy got the taste of fury of the Nagas when the unit, during operation Vijay, captured Twin Bumps (part of Pt 4875 complex) and also raided enemy mortar position in broad daylight, causing large number of casualties to enemy troops. The battalion has also to its credit one Mahavir Chakra and two Vir Chakra.



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