Officer who played key role in 1971 Battle of Laungewala is no more

The battle was immortalised by the Bollywood blockbuster ‘Border’ and Col Dharamvir’s role was played by Akshay Khanna

Officer who played key role in 1971 Battle of Laungewala is no more

Colonel Dharamvir. Photo: PRO Defence

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 17

Colonel Dharamvir, who had played a key role in the iconic Battle of Laungewala fought in the deserts of Rajasthan during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, passed away on May 16 in Gurugram.

As a 22-year-old lieutenant deployed with 23 Punjab in the Jaisalmer Sector, he was the first to report about Pakistani incursions to his company commander, Major (later Brigadier) Kulip Singh Chandpuri.

“Colonel Dharamvir the real hero of Battle of #Laungewala passed away on 16 May at Gurgaon…Commanded 23 Punjab 1992-94…’Mention in Despatches’ #1971War…Role played by Akshay Khanna in movie #Border,” the Ministry of Defence’s public relations officer at Jaipur said on Twitter today.

Fought from December 4 to 7, the Battle of Laungewala was immortalised by the Bollywood blockbuster film ‘Border’ in 1997, and Col Dharamvir’s role was played by Akshay Khanna.

It was one of the defining moments of the war, while the battalion’s ‘A’ Company comprising about 120 troops, fought a decisive battle against heavy odds, holding on to their positions and repulsing multiple attacks by a Pakistani brigade-sized force and inflicting heavy infantry and armour casualties.

According to available excerpts, in the morning of December 4, Dharamvir, along with other soldiers, was on a foot patrol along the international border when he heard the sound of Pakistani tanks moving towards India. Towards dark, from an observation point he saw a full brigade of Pakistani tanks ahead.

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