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Lieutenant General Sagat Singh, PVSM (14 July 1918 – 26 September 2001) was a three-star General in the Indian Army notable for his participation in liberation of Goa and later in Bangladesh. He held many prestigious command and staff appointments throughout his military career.
Lt. Gen. Singh was born in a Rajput Family at a small Village - Kusumdesar (Moda) in Churu district of Rajasthan on 14.7.1919 to Hon. Capt. Brijlal Singh Rathore of Kusumdesar and Jadao Kanwar of Hadla. Eldest among three brothers and six sisters he completed his schooling from Walter Nobles High School at Bikaner in 1936. He joined Doongar College at Bikaner but was enrolled as a Naik in Bikaner Ganga Risala after his intermediate exam in 1938. Later, he was promoted to Jamadar (Nd Subedar) and commissioned as 2/Lt in Bikaner Ganga Risala which was sent to Sindh in 1941 to deal with Hoor rebellion. Later it was sent to Jubair in Iraq and Ahwaz in Iran during the war. He was selected for the 12th War Staff course at Quetta from May to Nov 1945.
Marriage and personal life
He married Kamla Kumari on 27 January 1947; Kamla was daughter of the Chief Justice of J&K Richhpal Singh. Sagat had four sons: Ranvijay Singh, Digvijay Singh (born 1950), Veervijay Singh (born 1954) and Chandravijay Singh.
On amalgamation of the State Forces in 1950, he joined Third Gorkha Rifles. He commanded the Second and Third Battalions of the Third Gorkha Rifles. In September 1961, He was promoted to the rank of brigadier and posted as the brigade commander of India’s only parachute brigade, the 50th Parachute Brigade. The parachute brigade led by him played a prominent part in liberation of Goa, and his men were the first to enter Panjim on 19 December 1961.
As a major general, he commanded a mountain division and later a communication zone, where he played a pivotal role in taking counter-insurgency operations in Mizoram. For his distinguished services, the general officer was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal . In December 1970, he took over the command of HQ IV Corps as a lieutenant general. The corps made the famous advance to Dacca over the River Meghna during Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. He witnessed in Dacca the signing of the surrender instrument by General Niazi.
For his leadership and command for the race to Dacca, the Government of India honored Lt. Gen. Sagat Singh with the third highest civilian award of Padma Bhushan. Lt. Gen. Sagat Singh is the only other Corps commander besides Lt. Gen. (later Gen. and COAS) T N Raina and Lt. Gen. Sartaj Singh to be so awarded in 1971.
Lt. Gen. Sagat Singh died at the Army Hospital Research & Referral, New Delhi on 26 September 2001.
Sagat was born on 14 Jul 1919 and joined the Bikaner State Forces as a common soldier. His outstanding qualities brought him to the notice of the War Minister and he was commissioned as an officer into the Ganga Risala. At the outbreak of World War 2 he was transferred into the Sadul Light Infantry and served in Iraq, where the Battalion was a part of Paiforce. While serving as a major general in Sikkim, he had a bloody confrontation with the Chinese on the Himalayan Watershed in August 1967. That the Nathula Pass has remained in Indian hands is solely attributed to his grit and determination. The Indian Army victory in the 1971 War is largely attributable to him because by the time the Pakistan Forces surrendered, his troops had surrounded Dacca from three sides. His daring and innovative use of helicopters has not been replicated. Sagat lost his third son through a scooter accident in August 1975.
- Col. C L Proudfoot, Flash of the Khukri: History of the 3rd Gorkha Rifles Regiment, Vision Books
- Air Chief Marshal P C Lal, My Years with the IAF, Lancer International
- Maj. Gen. Afsir Karim, The Story of India’s Airborne Troops, Lancer International
- Brigadier Siddiq Salik, Witness to Surrender, Vikas Publications
- Maj. Gen. Sukhwant Singh, The liberation of Bangladesh, Vikas Publications
- Maj. Gen. Lachman Singh Lehl, Victory in Bangladesh, Natraj Publications
- Maj Gen Randhir Sinh, A Talent for War: The Military Biography of Lt Gen Sagat Singh, Vij Books
- Maj Gen DK Palit, War in the High Himalayas, Lancers
- Brig RS Sodhi, Operation Windfall, Allied Publishers
- Brig Jagdev Singh, Dismemberment of Pakistan, Lancers
- Maj Gen VK Singh, Leadership in the Indian Army, Sage Publishers
- Maj Gen AK Verma, The Bridge on the River Meghna, KW Publishers
- "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- A Talent for War: The Military Biography of Lt Gen Sagat Singh (2013), Maj Gen Randhir Sinh, Vij Books India / United Service Institution of India, ISBN 978-93-82652-23-6
- "Remembering Sagat Singh (1918–2001)" by P.V.S.Jagan Mohan, 12 October 2006 - Bharat Rakshak
- Memorial Service for General Sagat Singh - Press Information Bureau
- Official History of the 1971 India Pakistan War, History Division, Ministry of Defence (India) - Bharat Rakshak