The Khyber Rifles - A Trip Down Memory Lane

"It was indeed a memorable visit. Besides flying over the Khyber Pass in a helicopter, we were hosted by the unit manning the area."

The Khyber Rifles - A Trip Down Memory Lane

It may interest some members of the Group that I am (I think) the only serving Indian Army officer, and a serving General at that, to have visited the Khyber Rifles. This transpired when, as the Director General Military Operations, I led a Defence delegation for talks with Pakistani counterparts in September 1991 in Islamabad.

On conclusion of the formal talks, that included coming to an agreement on resolution of a problem of serious exchange of fire in the area of what we called the Kirni post in the Poonch Sector, among other issues, our Pakistani interlocutors led by my then counterpart, the late Major General Jamshed Malik, arranged for us to be taken by helicopter to the Khyber Pass to spend time with the Khyber Rifles. He was gracious enough to accompany us on the visit.

It was indeed a memorable visit. Besides flying over the Khyber Pass in a helicopter, we were hosted by the unit manning the area. I was given the privilege of inspecting the Quarter Guard, after which we were taken round the Museum (where I recorded my remarks in the Visitors Book), and treated to a sumptuous lunch in the Officers Mess.

After which we witnessed a short pageant display that included a super sword dance. Somewhat cut short by the fact that the weather was packing up and we had to take off. The memento gifted to me by the Commandant of the Force continues to adorn my study. Some photographs are appended below.

The members of my delegation were: Air Marshal DR Nadkarni then ACAS (Ops), who is behind me in the photograph of the Museum visit; Rear Admiral Raja Menon then ACNS (Ops), who appears in the photo of us seated for the pageant; RK Singh who was Director (G) in the MoD (and is now a Cabinet Minister), and appears at the extreme left in the Museum photo; and finally, AK Singh who was I think a Deputy Secretary at that time in the MEA (he of course went on to become, among other things, our Ambassador in Israel, and finally in the USA. I was therefore in great company.

About the Author

Lt Gen. Satish Nambiar, PVSM, AVSM, VrC is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan and is a highly distinguished General of the Indian Army who served as the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of  United Nations Protection Force, during 1992-93. He is a renowned academic, associated with the world's top defence Think tanks, leading strategic journals, and was the former director of the United Service Institution of India.

(Views expressed are the authors own and do not reflect the editorial stance of Mission Victory India.)

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