Lalit Rai

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Lalit Rai

Lalit Rai.jpg
Col. Lalit Rai being decorated with Vir Chakra by President K R Narayanan
Born(1956-01-24)24 January 1956
Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh, India (now in Uttarakhand, India)
Allegiance India
Service/branchFlag of Indian Army.svg Indian Army
RankColonel of the Indian Army.svg Colonel
Unit11 Gorkha Rifles
Commands held1/11 Gorkha Rifles
17 Rashtriya Rifles
Battles/warsKargil War
AwardsVir Chakra ribbon bar.svgVir Chakra
Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card - India.jpg COAS Commendation Card
Other workController, 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.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Early military career[edit]

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.[4]

Kargil War[edit]

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.[5] One of his platoons was led by Captain Manoj Pandey (later PVC).[6]

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.[7]

For his inspirational leadership and conspicuous bravery of a very high order, he was awarded the Vir Chakra[8] on 15 August 1999, by the President of India.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 2003 war film LOC Kargil, Bollywood actor Sudesh Berry played the role of Col. Lalit Rai.

Present Life[edit]

Col. Rai is presently the President, Human Resources Development and Administration, of a leading Realty & Hospitality Company.

Military Awards and Decorations[edit]

Vir Chakra ribbon bar.svg Wound Medal-India.svg
IND Operation Vijay star.svg IND Special Service Medal Ribbon.svg IND Operation Vijay medal.svg IND Sainya Seva Medal Ribbon.svg
IND High Altitude Medal Ribbon.svg IND 50th Anniversary Independence medal.svg IND 20YearsServiceMedalRibbon.svg IND 9YearsServiceMedalRibbon.svg
Vir Chakra Wound Medal
Operation Vijay Star
Special Service Medal
Operation Vijay Medal
Sainya Seva Medal
High Altitude Service Medal
50th Anniversary of Independence Medal
20 Years Long Service Medal
9 Years Long Service Medal


  1. ^ Malik, V. P. (2006). Kargil from surprise to victory. HarperCollins Publishers India. p. 195. ISBN 9788172236359.
  2. ^ "Cottonians - Class of 1970-71". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  3. ^
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  7. ^ "Vir Chakra Awardee - Col. Lalit Rai". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Bharat Rakshak - Undiluted Heroism - Col. Lalit Rai". Retrieved 3 November 2014.