The Assam Rifles: A Force To Reckon With

A deep dive into the glorious history of the Assam Rifles- Sentinels of Northeast.

The Assam Rifles: A Force To Reckon With

The erstwhile Assam has been regrouped in 7 different states which together comprise India’s most economically and strategically important region. Most of the tribes inhabiting these areas were wild with inter and intra rivalries looting the rich alluvial plains of Assam. With Mr Bruce bringing the tea industry to Assam in 1832, its plantation spread very fast with large-scale tea exports to the UK that improved the economy of the region along with the security needs of the tea plantations.

One of the first armed police forces raised in Nowgong in 1834-35 to protect the tea gardens was called Cachar Levy (militia) with 750 all ranks strength became the forebears of the Assam Rifles (AR). In 1850 with 250 strength, Kuki Levy was raised who was feared by the Nagas the most.  In 1938 another similar force known as Jorhat Militia was raised to protect gardens around the Sibsagar area and numerous operations were launched in Cachar, Naga Hills, and Manipur to tame the tribals. These three militia forces were the forbearers of 1 and 3 Assam Rifles battalions.

There were four Assam Police Battalions (APBs) officered by the Civil Police and as forerunners of the Military Police battalions each commanded by an Army Officer as Commandant with an English Sergeant to assist in training the recruits. For excellent services rendered in WW1, in Oct 1917, these four ABPs were converted to ‘The Assam Rifles’ battalions as the 1 AR (Lushai Hills), 2 AR (Lakhimpur), 3 AR(Naga Hills) and the 4 AR, all adopting black buttons like any Gorkha Rifles battalion.

In the central Assam, a small Frontier Police force of Gorkhas and Cacharis was raised in Tura in 1879 that later became the forbears of 4 AR. The Abors were the most troublesome tribe and in 1864 special Frontier Police force was raised to tackle them along northern borders who were the forbearers of 2 AR.

Between The Two World Wars

During World War (WW) I, the trench warfare caused heavy casualties to Indian troops deployed in France. The Gorkha Regiments were worst affected as reinforcements from the remote distant villages in Nepal became almost distinct. The Gorkhas recruited in the APBs formed an excellent para military force (PMF) with their training militarized and were sent as reinforcements. They were so well trained in the signaling procedures and many units excelled in this aspect over the regular infantry battalions. The four APBs that existed then provided relief drafts to large numbers of regular Gorkha battalions during WW I and proved their worth getting many awards.

The Kukis reside in southern mountainous region of Mizo (earlier Lushai Hills), Manipur, Chin Hills in Burma (earlier Myanmar) and the Chittagong Hills Tracts (CHTs) now part of Bangladesh. They are believed to be the descendants of the Zo/Zomi based large well spread Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups and have stronger tribal affinities than the Nagas and ethnic conflict between both is severely based on mistrust and suspicion from the British Raj days.

After WW I, an ad-hoc Assam Rifles Brigade under Col LW Shakespear, the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) with elements of Burma Military Police (BMP), by punitive actions effectively controlled the ‘Kuki Rebellion’ as the Kukis unlike the Nagas and Lushais, refused to serve as labour force in France towards the war effort, were instigated by the Bengali elements from Cachar and Sylhet. Numerous columns operated from various directions with no transport in the rugged mountainous jungle terrain.

Though heavy casualties were suffered in these counter-insurgency (CI) operations, the taming uprising led to improvement in training, administration and morale of all ranks with awards of 1 CIE, 1 OBE, 14 IDSM, 1 King’s Police Medal and many Mentions- in-Dispatches. After this operation, 4 AR was also made responsible for Garo Hills with a permanent post at Tura.

After WWI, 5 AR was raised on 10 Jun 1920 at Lokhra and Captain Ogily (1GR) was its first Commandant but later in April 1932 was disbanded due to post war economy and personnel transferred to 2AR and the force was equipped with .303 rifles. For their sterling service during the WWI, service conditions were improved and some Kukis were recruited in 4 AR after suppression of their rebellion but desertions persisted. The AR battalions were affiliated with various Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army.

While 3 AR mounted major operations to the Burma border, 2 AR provided two platoons to dominate Mcmohan Line at Towang and 1 AR elements did yeoman service in ‘aid to civil authority’ during torrential rains in Aizwal and Manipur. The Commandant of each Battalion was a British Officer and Subedar Major’s stature was high as the ‘Indian Commandant’ and many were awarded titles of ‘Rai Bahadur’, ‘Sardar Bahadur’ and ‘Khan Bahadur’ for their loyalty and unflinching services.

In January 1941, the AR personnel were specially selected for strategic trans-border reconnaissance along Indo-Burma border and their inputs on terrain helped substantially in later operational duties of border patrolling, internal security and training. 1AR introduced jungle training of so very high order that the affiliated 2/2 GR sent NCOs to undergo this training capsule. With the Japanese offensives looming onto India via Burma, 5 AR was raised to act as Training Battalion and  large numbers riflemen were sent to their affiliated battalions in the Gorkha Brigade while 500 AR riflemen were transferred in the newly raised Assam Regiment.

4 AR actively enhanced ‘Passive Air Defence’ and construction of field fortifications against the impending Japanese attacks in Manipur and established ‘Reception Centre’ at Tamu for large influx of refugees. The 3 AR was coopted in movement control of refugees to Dimapur via Kohima while 2 AR carried out significant role in long range reconnaissance of difficult jungle tracks in northern Burma. Special ‘V’ (‘Victor Force)’ was raised with AR personnel to operate and fight self-contained in stealth, independent actions behind the Japanese lines for long durations to gather intelligence, sabotage and ambush their columns.

In IV Corps plan to capture Gangaw, platoons of 1 AR under Lushai Brigade played significant role. Similarly, platoons of 3 and 4 AR battalions acted as ‘eyes’ of the IV Corps and played a very important role in the war efforts.  3 AR played exemplary role in defence of Kohima against heavy odds and 48 gallantry medals were awarded to Force during the Burma campaign.

Mr (later Sir) Charles Pawey, veteran of WW I with MC and bar, the Deputy Commissioner of Kohima, played important role in motivating troops during Battle of Kohima. By the end of 1943, the Chinese interest in Tibet was apprehended and Assam Rifles posts were established all along the international border (IB) at Karbo, Riga, Pangin, and Pasighat in Siang valley and Walong, Changwinti, Hayuliang and Denning in Lohit valley.

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Post-Independence Scenario

Sadly, the significant role played by the AR in the Japanese defeat in WW II, was underplayed and the GHQ expressed the opinion to convert it into a police force, completely officered by the police officers while some suggested its merger with the Assam Regiment. After protracted correspondence and discussions, it was decided to separate the force from the police and Col Sidhiman Rai, MC, took over as the first Indian Army Officer as the Inspector General Assam Rifles (IGAR).

Immediately after the independence, the East Pakistani irregulars threatened Tripura in the northeast that was well thwarted by the ten platoons drawn from the various AR battalions by the IGAR.  Following partition and independence, the tribal unrest started brewing with different sets of political compulsions and many posts were established in different areas but the force was handicapped due to several factors like shortages of officers, transport, obsolete weapons, ammunition, equipment, wireless communication and clothing procured through unreliable civilian firms.

Force deployed in remote insurgency prone areas and mountains, were dependent on unreliable air dropping/maintenance. Also, having operated closely with the army during Burma campaign, disparity in pay and rations of the AR with the army was unjustified and both though not to army scales, were revised and families welfare activities commenced.

Since the Northeast lies in high seismic zone, the great 1950 Assam earthquake caused widespread devastation. Its epicenter was located in Rima, in the Mishmi Hills of NEFA in the higher reaches of the Lohit River and felt throughout the Eastern India. The ground cracked and destroyed and all roads and rail bridges and drastic rivers flooding led to heavy destruction of infrastructure, roads, railways buildings and human lives and property.

Though, the AR units spread all over Assam were under heavy brunt of destruction of buildings, troops living barracks, family quarters, and patrolling mercifully were safe in remote hostile areas. The force signal communication contributed immensely in the relief measures as other communication set up of the state or central governments had totally collapsed.

Many newspapers reported on the heroic efforts made by the Assam Rifles in the relief and rehabilitation works with full dedication and service to nation who were successful in opening up the vital roadways and railways in the areas, earning a great name for itself with genuine gratitude of suffering people and the state Chief Minister and Governor who instituted the award of ‘Commendation Cards’ and presented them to large numbers of force personnel. He also gifted a trophy each to 2 and 5 AR battalions appreciating their services in distress.

There were cases of law and order in some parts in the northeast, stirred by communists and patrolling, raids and punitive actions were taken at some place with the help of police. Since, Tripura princely state had merged with Indian Union, its Tripura Rifles was disbanded and merged with the newly raised 6 AR with many platoons joining from the other AR battalions.

Many changes were brought in the force by authorizing better weapons, Transport Platoons and signal equipment. The newly raised 6 AR was baptized establishing eleven field camps all over Tripura employing 2 Officers and 450 men for nearly 8 months and in 20 encounters it captured large numbers of weapons and anti-national elements (ANEs).

In 1954-55, first signs of insurgency appeared in Tuensang then part of NEFA that spread to other places. 17 Rajput was sent to Tuensang and 3 Bihar to Kohima to quell the uprisings and Lt Gen RK Kochar was appointed General Officer Commanding, Assam (GOC Assam) as unified command to control insurgents growing stronger by using weapons issued during the Burma campaign for villages protection and collecting the arms and ammunition dumps left behind by fleeing Japanese in jungles and clandestine supplies Burma, East Pakistan and China too.

With Phizo intensifying sovereignty, hostile Nagas established ‘Naga Federal Government’ and hoisted Naga flag in Phensiyu village in Rengma adopting own constitution and duplicated the official administration. There were several incidents of raids, ambushes and attacks by the hostiles on the Army and the AR and two newly raised AR battalions at Dehradun and Meerut were rushed as reinforcements and 600 recruits were being trained at the Assam Rifles Training Centre (ARTC) at Missamari.

The Signal Wing to train signal recruits and Boys Wing in Shillong were moved to merge with the ARTC. The insurgency swept the region unabated with numerous skirmishes with the rebel elements. Many gallant actions were fought, killing large numbers of hostiles and capturing huge quantities of arms, ammunition, explosives and prisoners.

In one such operation in April 1961, Sub Major Kharka Bahadur Limbu decorated with MC (8 AR) in Burma campaign, with a few riflemen stormed through a bunker in a well-defended hostile camp, killing and wounding many hostiles before succumbing to grave injuries and was awarded country’s highest peacetime award Ashok Chakra. By the end of 1961 both SFs and insurgents had 200 personnel each killed and 400 each wounded.

The existing inequity in the pay and allowances and rations between the AR and the Army personnel was removed, Signal Platoon was authorized in each Battalion and equipment issue from Army Ordnance Depots not only increased the combat effectiveness but also raised the morale of the force.

In all 7 Northeastern  states, inter and intra state rivalries, border disputes and low key insurgency was continuing While many NSCN elements were demanding greater Nagaland, some miniscule elements harped for independence. The Indian Government had made it amply clear that demand of independence and adjustment of boundary with other states/Myanmar was NOT acceptable.

Now near normalcy is prevailing in the state and a coalition government NDPP, BJP and JDU was formed with Neiphu Rio as CM in 2017. The NSCN (IM) and other factions must shun violence and Greater Nagaland demand and join the mainstream for rapid economic and industrial development, investment in the state and progress of the people.

As  the   North Eastern   states   are   strategically  located   in   international
boundary, many insurgent groups came up in the region since independence. More than a hundred insurgent  groups are said to have been formed in the North East India since independence however, some insurgent groups are already in dormant state and some are already defunct. The demand of the different insurgent groups are multifarious, namely, District Council, political autonomy, Union  Territory, Statehood, greater statehood and sovereignty.

All the North Eastern states are affected by insurgency in one time or the
other and no state could be claimed as insurgency Free State. The reason being, each state has been disturbed by insurgency in one time or the other. Even the states that are free from direct effect of insurgency are still facing its indirect effect. Along with the rest of Mizoram, the Sixth Schedule area too faced certain hardships and difficulties due to the impact of insurgency.

Social, economic, political, religious, psychological and insurgency related issues at present are some of the impacts of insurgency in the Sixth schedule area of Mizoram. At  present, there are no native insurgent groups functioning in the Sixth Schedule area of Mizoram and no insurgent groups had also been formed in the area in the post 1986 other than the above mentioned two short-live insurgent groups.

Therefore, effective steps  are required to be taken up for redressing some   of the impacts of insurgency which can still be sensed in the area. Over and above that, higher authority of both the District Council and state Government as well as voluntary associations of the area should be tactful in handling the trans-border insurgent groups who are active in the Sixth Schedule area.

Since the Chinese never recognized the Mcmahon Line and claim NEFA, some parts of Brahmaputra valley and Bhutan as the Chinese territory, the Government of India’ concern was to ensure firmly its administration extended up to the IB and established new AR posts all along the watershed at Gemchram, Taksing, Domla, Karbo, Dembuen, Malinye, Mipidon and Jachap mostly in snow bound high altitude, without roads and tracks and even with paucity of digging equipment, field fortifications and winter clothing. The Force accepted the new challenges cheerfully.

With revolt in Tibet over the Chinese excesses, much to the annoyance of China, many refugees including the Dalai Lama poured through these posts to India for shelter on humanitarian grounds while the Chinese in retaliation started intimidating our posts in disputed territories that were placed subsequently under 4 Infantry Division, which was moved for operational control of the area under the new ‘Forward Policy’ and 2, 5, 7, 9, and 11 AR battalions were deployed along with the Army at forward posts and newly raised 17 AR  was deployed in Sikkim.

To ward of the Chinese encroachment in Dichu valley where they were inciting locals for independent Kachin in north Burma, 17AR established a post named Vijaynagar after herculean efforts of Maj Sumer Singh and Maj Gen AS Guraya, the IGAR.

All AR posts were deployed on wide forefront with large gaps, self-contained, mostly on inaccessible heights, with no MMGs, Mortars and artillery fire, mutual support and dependence on erratic weather and meagre air maintenance. There were no defence stores, enough digging tools, woolen clothing and behind these AR posts, the Army deployed its troops at Towang, Bomdila, Daporijo and Walong. The AR was allotted 34 new posts moblised from battalions located in NEFA.

Over long distances and vagaries of weather wireless communication suffered frequent breakdowns. Yet, with all the handicaps, the Force went about cheerfully accomplishing its enormous tasks against heavy odds. While the Indian Government was confident till the start of the war, that the Chinese would not attack and made little preparations.

On 20 Oct 1962, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invaded India in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line in NEFA in Kameng, Central and Walong Sectors. The Chinese attacked with superior forces and all AR posts faced the brunt of first onslaughts along all the invasion routes with bravery and high morale.

In Mizoram, on 1 Mar 1966, the Mizo National Front (MNF) led by its firebrand leader Laldenga declared independence and the MNF’s armed wing Mizo National Army (MNA) launched secretly series of simultaneous well-coordinated attacks on the posts of the 1 AR and 5 BSF battalions and the local police posts in Mizoram and resorted to burning, looting and snapping communication with outside world. The government retaliated and recaptured all the places seized by the MNF by 25 Mar 1966 while the Indian Air Force (IAF) in its only instance carried out an airstrike on its own territory.

To bring normalcy, the counter insurgency operations lasted over two decades and I with my Battalion 13 Kumaon served nearly 4 years in Mizoram carrying relentless long range patrolling (LRP), killing and capturing many insurgents and weapons. In one such operation, Zaithanmowia, the self-styled commissioner of the Dampa (Western) Area was successfully killed by the column led by Major (later Brigadier) RV Jatar.

I dare say, while the insurgents feared Kumaonis, the locals respected and admired our troops for civic actions, fair play and respecting their women, culture and social values. Many a times, AR sub units were grouped with our columns and provided our sub-units  rest and logistics support from their quasi-permanent posts deployed to prevent infiltration and ex-filtration of hostiles in bordering countries of Burma and Pakistan.

At one time, 61 Mountain Brigade at Aizwal had around 12 Battalions operating with unison in insurgency environment- 4 regular battalions, couple of Assam Rifles Battalions, BSF, CRPF units and an odd Bihar Military Police (BMP) battalion and the Brigade Major worked 24x7, lived and slept in the Operational Room (Ops Room).

The standards of training, outlook and orientation of the central police organisations (CPOs) along with the personnel of Border Roads were woefully short of operating in an insurgency environment and were most lucrative targets to insurgents who ambushed and looted their weapons, ammunition and equipment regularly.

I must admit, the over-all conduct of the AR troops and their abilities to operate in thick forested mountainous terrain in the CI operations was second to none and our morale and abilities to operate in hostile infested jungles got boosted being assured of fool-proof navigation and survival in difficult terrain.

The Assam Rifles also played commendable role in regrouping and shifting of the villages so very essential for security, safety and civic actions for the locals and operational and logistic needs, reinforcements and evacuation of casualties of the Army’s columns by helicopters from their posts.  If Mizoram is free from insurgency and developing very fast in the Northeastern region, lots of credit goes to the Army and the AR troops deployed in the relentless CI operations.

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Some Random Thoughts

I had very close interaction with Assam Rifles in Mizoram in combating insurgency and training recruits during my 4 years tenure in ARTC Dimapur as it’s Second in Command (2IC) from Jun 1986 to Jun 1990. I was deeply involved in administration, welfare and training of large numbers of recruits, conducting courses for AR personnel selected for Assistant Commandants and development of future location of the ARTC in Sukhovi foothills which is still functioning from 3 locations- Diphu, Dimapur and Sukhovi spread over 50 km apart in Assam and Nagaland making command and control that much difficult.

I served under two DIGs ARTC and four DGARs. In ARTC for the first time I found that recruitment had become broad based and even South Indians were being recruited in the force.  I feel the earlier ethos of recruiting 60% Gorkhas and 40 % Northeastern tribals should be ensured. With a Gorkha or a tribal with a khukri that serves multiple purposes melee weapon and regular cutting tool is characteristic weapon of the Gorkha soldiers as force multiplier.

If one was ever stranded alone in a jungle, with a Gorkha Johnny with a Khukri, one was sure to survive as with his khukri, Gorkha will protect you from enemy, prepare a shelter by chopping bamboos and wood, dig out bamboo shoots and other wild fruits/vegetation, kill birds/animals for survival and food and clear shrubs and under growth for making tracks.

No other soldier has this overbearing superiority that acts as ‘force multiplier’ and combat effectiveness. Let only the Gorkhas, Northeastern tribals, and hill folks -Kumaonis, Garhwalis and Himachalis be recruited in the force as combat elements. Rest can join in the administrative/non-combat jobs.

There are several CPOs who like to club themselves as para military forces (PMFs). The CPOs have some cadre officers but commanded by the IPS officers. I would like to reiterate that the only PMF in the country is the Assam Rifles officered and commanded primarily by the Army Officers on deputation. There are few cadre officers on administrative jobs. There were some rumours floating in newspapers and social media about the proposal to merge the ITBP and the Assam Rifles as one force.

I as an army officer who has served in the Assam Rifles feel that any such move would devoid Army of the option of using the Assam Rifles in CI as well as conventional operations along the eastern frontier with China. The army has also pointed out that the move could affect its good coordination in joint operations with the Assam Rifles. 22 and 23 AR battalions operated admirably in Sri Lanka and two AR battalions are deployed in J&K.

Their performance has been exceedingly well even to envy of regular infantry battalions operating in similar areas. Any such move will ruin such a splendid force employed in police roles. At best the BSF, the SSB and the ITBP all being CPOs could be merged BUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DO NOT merge Assam Rifles with the ITBP. The status quo need to be maintained and it for considerations to place the ITBP posts deployed along the Chinese border placed under operational control of the Army.

To meet greater operational needs, the Assam Rifles has forty six battalions, twelve Sector headquarters (erstwhile DIG Ranges under a Brigadier each) and three Inspector Generals of Assam Rifles (IGARs under a Maj Gen each) located as in Kohima, Imphal and in Silchar each having numbers of Sector HQs with DGAR and ARTC hitherto in Shillong and Dimapur respectively.

The erstwhile policy of Battalions located at fixed static stations has been changed and they are being rotated between peace and field deployment so that families can stay together. For this arrangement, six new raisings and KLPs for turn-over are planned. There is also one NDRF Bn. Incidentally, the Assam Rifles Public School, Shillong has acquired good reputation and providing quality education and is much sought after.

Incidentally, I first met late Col MD Commissariat, popularly called ‘Joe’, Commandant 16 AR in Aizwal at helipad around mid-1967 where we waited for the arrival of the Army Commander ‘SAM Bahadur’. My head almost was in spin as both ‘Joe’ and ‘Sam Bahadur’ were look alike. Later, I learnt that he was nephew of the Field Marshal.

Col Commissariat was a die-hard AR veteran who after retirement dedicated his life by getting deeply involved in the welfare projects of the Force. He was a running encyclopedia on the Force and the Northeast region; married to Manipuri lady and settled in Imphal, sadly, he expired in Imphal on 18 Feb 2014 and the force lost an icon.

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Human Rights Violation

In Nagaland while insurgency was contained but state witnessed a new insurgency spark in 2021 when 14 innocent citizens of Nagaland, returning to their homes after a daylong work from the coal mines, were mistakenly ambushed and killed by the Indian Army’s column that led to wide spread protests against the SFs and to repeal the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) enacted in 1958 by the Central Government authorising SFs to shoot any suspected individual without formal orders from any superior civilian authority in good faith.

While the human rights activists oppose AFPSA, often exaggerating the SFs excess, they need to convince the insurgents to shun insurgency and join the main stream. Once there is normalcy and peace returns in a geographical area, the AFPSA is completely withdrawn as was done in Meghalaya in 2018, Tripura in 2015 and Mizoram in the 1980.

It is presently applicable fully only in 31 districts and partially in 12 districts of the four states in the Northeast; Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh all together comprising 90 districts. Time and again, media and human rights activists and lawyers have been relentlessly advocating removal of the AFPSA. It has more perceptional problem than the legal ones.

If the area is NOT disturbed, the police and CPOs should tackle insurgency as law and order issue and the Army and the Assam Rifles withdrawn and police should handle the law and order situation. Incidentally, while the Assam Rifles is often accused of human rights violations in the Northeast, its team lifted the running trophy as the best team of the NHRC debate competition for the CPOs!

The Assam Rifles team lifted the running trophy as the best team of the NHRC debate. The local police posts probably are involved in severe high handed in public dealings than the SFs deployed in the counter insurgency operations but our human rights activists, leftists intellectuals, media, bureaucrats and politicians working, far away from remote insurgency infested areas, in air conditioned offices, blow events out of proportion not realizing how can a soldiers fight in a disturbed area against armed insurgents with their hands tied behind their backs!
What needs to be done is reviewing certain provisions of the law to match prevailing realities.

The SFs must not protect the wrong doings, excesses or false encounters protecting human rights, notwithstanding soldiers perform the onerous tasks of national security compromising their personal safety and security and human rights violations by the ruthless armed insurgents funded and supported by our hostile neighbours.

Recently, the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya signed an agreement to resolve 50 years old border dispute and the Central Government lifted AFPSA from certain areas of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland Similarly, if all states resolve their issues amicably fast on the Assam-Meghalaya model, realizing the strategic and economic potentials of these states by laying emphasis on the industrial and the economic development, jobs creations and preserving tribal culture as part of national integration.

Normalcy in the region will motivate insurgents to surrender, and gradually keep lifting the much disliked AFPSA from the region and play decisive role in country’s ‘Look East Policy’. Lastly, I ask human rights activists, the human rights violations of 30 years old Rahul Bhatt, the only bread earner in the family, his young wife, small kid and old parents on his senseless killing in his office on 13 May 2022 in J&K by the terrorists.

Concluding Remarks

Northeast is destined to play greater role in national security, tourism, tea, trade, tourism and sports. Manipur is home to many medal-winning athletes like Mary Kom, Dinko Singh, Kunjarani Devi, Sarita Devi, Sanjita Chanu, Devendro Singh, Mirabai Chanu, etc who brought international glory to our country. India played the first-ever Football World Cup in the under 17 World Cup with 8 players from Manipur and 1 from Mizoram.

In 1999, Manipur held the National games and managed to produce many quality players. Hima Das shocked the world by winning the 400m race in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Dipa Karmakar is one of the only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova in Gymnastics. Sports and sportsmanship by itself are the biggest national integration factor to wean the region of from insurgency.

The Assam Rifles and the Assam Rifles Public School can play major role in enrolling such potentials in the Force. Apart from excelling in operations, the Forces also contributed to the International Peace & Harmony by dispatching a company size Contingent on Peace Keeping Operations (PKO) in Haiti from 2010 to 2019. Proudly, the all women contingent in the Republic Day Parade was appreciated immensely. The Force hopefully is training for the future wars where drones, UAVs, information technology (IT), space, cyber war and nuclear technologies would play decisive roles in war and peace.

Last but not the least, post independent, the Force has been awarded with 4 Ashok Chakras, 33 Kiriti Chakras, 5 Vir Chakras, 47 Shaurya Chakras and 400 Sena Medals besides other awards and decoration is not a mean achievement for any Force.

The Force has from ‘Sentinels of the Northeast’ with huge sacrifices and gallantry awards has acquired national stature like any of our distinguished infantry regiments now under the able stewardship of Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair, AVSM, YSM it’s time to SALUTE the Assam Rifles Brave hearts and pay homage to those who scarified their lives for the country’s safety, security and integrity along with their families and ‘Veer Naris’ who without say serve the nation silently.

About The Author

Col NN Bhatia, popularly known as Nini Bhatia was commissioned in 13 Kumaon & commanded 2 Kumaon (Berar), one of the oldest Indian Army Battalions. Retired in Sept 1995 after 32 years of distinguished service, and spent eight years in the Intelligence Bureau he is a die-hard Kumaoni & has penned five books- Kumaoni Nostalgia, Industrial & Infrastructure Security in two volumes, biography of another die hard Kumaoni mountaineer of international fame- 'Soldier Mountaineer' and Coffee Table Book ‘Reminiscing Battle of Rezang La’. He is prolific writer & has been columnist with the 'Lahore Times', 'Turkey Tribune,' AGNI, Fauji India & numerous magazines/journals.

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