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|Born||24 January 1956|
Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh, India (now in Uttarakhand, India)
|Unit||11 Gorkha Rifles|
|Commands held||1/11 Gorkha Rifles |
17 Rashtriya Rifles
|Awards||Vir Chakra |
COAS Commendation Card
|Other work||Controller, Human Resources Development at Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd|
President, Human Resources Development and Administration Panchshil Realty
Colonel Lalit Rai, VrC is a former Indian Army officer who was decorated for his actions during the Kargil War in 1999. As the commanding officer (CO) of the 1st battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles, he was tasked with capturing the strategic heights of Khalubar in the Batalik sector during the Kargil War.
Early life and education
Lalit Rai was born in Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh, India (now in Uttarakhand), on 24 January 1956 in a Nepali family. He attended the Bishop Cotton Boys' School in Bangalore. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science from Sri Sathya Sai College of Arts, Commerce and Science, which was affiliated to Bangalore University at the time. He has a postgraduate degree in Management from the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, India and Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA.
Early military career
Rai was commissioned into the 7th battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles. After a number of instructional and staff appointments, he was assigned to command 17 Rashtriya Rifles (17 RR) on counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. He was stationed with 17 RR until after the 1st battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles (1/11 GR) were sent to Batalik sector, Kargil. In May 1999, he was asked by Lt. Gen. J.B.S Yadava to take command of 1/11 GR, and Rai accepted.
The first unit deployed during Operation Vijay was 1/11 GR, who were specialists in high-altitude warfare. Col. Rai took over as the battalion's CO after the battalion had deployed to Batalik sector. One of his platoons was led by Captain Manoj Pandey (later PVC).
1/11 GR was tasked with the capture of Khalubar, a formidable ridge in the Batalik sector. During the advance, Indian troops were pinned down by effective and heavy volume of enemy fire. Realising the danger of getting day lighted in this vulnerable position, Col. Rai ordered 5 Platoon to clear the interfering enemy positions while he himself led a handful of troops, available in front, to reach the top. The enemy, sensing the danger, counter-attacked these troops from three sides with 30-40 personnel. During this counterattack, Col. Rai was injured in the knee. Despite his injury, he exhorted and encouraged his troops to fight courageously by setting a very high standard of bravery. He refused to be evacuated till such time the objective was captured.
This act boosted the morale of his troops who regrouped and captured the objective in one charge. This capture turned out to be the turning point in the battle of the Batalik sub-sector. This operation accounted for killing of 25 enemy soldiers and capture of large amount of arms and ammunition including a Stinger missile, air defence guns and important documents.
In popular culture
Col. Rai is presently the President, Human Resources Development and Administration, of a leading Realty & Hospitality Company.
Military Awards and Decorations
|Vir Chakra||Wound Medal|
- Malik, V. P. (2006). Kargil from surprise to victory. HarperCollins Publishers India. p. 195. ISBN 9788172236359.
- "Cottonians - Class of 1970-71". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "Vir Chakra Awardee - Col. Lalit Rai". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "Bharat Rakshak - Undiluted Heroism - Col. Lalit Rai". Retrieved 3 November 2014.