PARA CAMMANDO ( Meghdoot force)

Major Megh Singh had volunteered to launch attack deep inside Pakistan territory .For which he was given free hand to choose soldiers of his choice. It was a small group lead by him , assigned task to penetrate deep inside Pakistan territory and carry out raid, cause destruction and come back quickly. This small force was named Meghdoot force . Named after then Major Megh Singh. He succeeded in launching 3 successful raids in Pakistan in 1965 without suffering any casualty. Later on based on this concept 9 PARA COMMANDO Battalion was raised to operate in J&K STATE.

Maj Megh Singh was serving in Headquarters Western Command, Simla in 1965 as a staff officer. He had come under a cloud as Second in Command of 3 Guards and was denied promotion. Due to this, he had put in his papers to leave the Army. Not withstanding this, on outbreak of hostilities in J&K as a result of massive armed infiltration into J&K by Pakistan in beginning Aug 1965, Maj Megh Singh sought an interview with Lt-Gen Harbaksh Singh, the then GOC-in-C. He volunteered to raise and head a small force to attack targets and carry out raids behind Pak defences in J&K as a tit for tat for their infiltration. He explained that he had taken part in similar actions during the Second World War in Burma behind Japanese lines and thus had requisite experience.

Lt -Gen Harbaksh Singh appreciated and accepted the offer of Maj Megh Singh and promised to pin the rank of Lt Col on his shoulders, once he had successfully carried out operations suggested by him. Maj Megh Singh reported to GOC XV Corps and was asked to select volunteers from infantry battalions. He was soon able to assemble a group of young, hardy and dashing daredevils and set about giving them intensive training. Within a couple of weeks he declared his group called Meghdoot Force ready for any operational task.

The Indian Army set in motion a bold operation for the capture of Haji Pir Bulge in the last week of Aug to seal the important infiltration route into Kashmir Valley. 68 Inf Bde Group from Uri-Baramula side launched the main attack. Punch Brigade was tasked to attack from the South as a pincer movement and thus open direct route between Uri and Punch. Meghdoot Force played an important role in this operation by attacking targets behind enemy lines and diverting his attention.

Some of the important tasks undertaken by Meghdoot Force are described here. A small but important bridge on Road Dwarandi-Bandigopalpur, seven miles behind the Cease Fire Line was blown up on Night ½ Sep 1965. Two formidable Pak Picquets called Neza and Ari Dhok were captured as complementary action to main attack by the Punch Brigade on Pak main Picquets Raja and Chand Tekri, capture of which was necessary to link up with 68 Inf Bde attacking from the North ( Haji Pir Pass side). Meghdoot Force also attacked the Ammunition Dump at Kahuta, eight miles behind Pak Lines but found the Dump empty. Undaunted, Maj Megh Singh switched his Force and successfully attacked the enemy troops guarding the vital Kahuta Bridge, which helped in the Punch Haji Pir link up. Maj Megh Singh was rightly given the honour of affecting the link up between troops advancing from Haji Pir and Punch. He was also awarded Vir Chakra and Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh as per his promise, on 16 Sep slipped on the badges of Lt Col on the shoulders of Megh Singh.

With the successful completion of Punch-Haji Pir link up, attention of Meghdoot Force shifted to Chhamb Sector, where Pak had attacked in strength on 1st Sep and made considerable gains. The Force carried out a number of harassing raids spreading chaos and confusion amongst enemy ranks. On 19 Sep elements of Meghdoot Force quietly slipped through forward lines and attacked Thil 4 Km in depth in Kalidhar Sector, inflicting severe casualties. Three days later, at 0200 Meghdoot Force struck again at enemy logistics base at Nathal. Pak troops were completely surprised and suffered heavy casualties and the Dump was completely destroyed. On the way back, Megh’s daredevils attacked Enemy Post at Thuggi. Hand to hand fight took place and Pak troops were severely mauled. Lt Col Megh Singh was, however, wounded in this encounter. Meghdoot Force proved that Indian Army was and is capable of successfully operating and attacking targets well behind enemy forward defences. All that is required is bold leadership, training, planning and execution. The bold spirit of Indian Army has, however, been curbed and blunted over the years by chair borne politicians and bureaucrats in Delhi. Senior military leadership also cannot be absolved of blame for caving in to civilian dictates on operational matters and not undertaking such operations. They have played too safe in ordering offensive actions across the Line of Control and looking over the shoulder to their superiors for a nod.

Written by Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh® for The Tribune

Before joining the Brigade of Guards ,Megh Singh was serving with the Patiala State Forces .After superannuation from Army ,he joined BSF and raised its Commando unit.He lost his son in law during Bangladesh war . Finally he went home as DIG of BSF. .

In 1973 , Col Megh Singh retired and settled down in his village Kharia Mithapur near Jodhpur. He devoted his time and energy to the problem of farmers in that region and for many years remained the State president of Rajasthan Kisan Union. He passed away in 2010 at the age of eighty eight.

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