Bridge across Shyok River to be named after Ladakh’s brave soldier
New Delhi: The bridge across the Shyok River near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, which will be inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, has been named after late Colonel Chewang Rinchen, a decorated officer of the Indian Army who hailed from Ladakh, sources said here on Friday.
The bridge falls at the fag end of the recently-completed road connecting Leh with the Karakoram Pass and will allow ease of troop movement to the Daulat Beg Oldi sector, as was reported by IANS on Thursday.
Colonel Rinchen remains one of the six forces personnel to have won the Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest military honour presented for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, on two occasions during his career.
He was first honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra in 1948 during the first Indo-Pak conflict over the Kashmir issue. He was conferred the award for a second time for gallantry displayed during Operation Cactus Lily in December 1971 during which he freed nine enemy strong points, held by one to two platoons, in Partapur sector in Ladakh.
Sources in the Defence Ministry said that Colonel Rinchen was born in a village in Ladakh near the confluence of the Shyok River with Nubra. He had enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 in the year 1948.
“Colonel Rinchen is referred to as the Lion of Ladakh for his courage and valour. The bridge has been named after him,” said sources.
Daulat Beg Oldi in northeastern Ladakh, near the LAC bordering Xinjiang province of China, is the area where a 21-day military standoff had taken place between Indian and Chinese troops in April-May 2013.
Troops of the People’s Liberation Army had intruded almost 19 km across the LAC into Indian territory and set up tents in Raki Nala. Indian Army also encamped troops following the Chinese incursion which was eventually withdrawn after three weeks, reportedly when India acceded to a set of demands from China.