Srinagar: The 10 battalion of the Indian Army’s parachute regiment (special forces), which had conducted the “Chachro raid” during the 1971 war, India’s most famous surgical strike in Pakistan, has turned 50 years old.
The battalion was raised as 10 Para Commando on June 1, 1967. The members of the special forces unit are known as ‘Desert Scorpions’ as they operate in the Rajasthan part of Thar desert under the army’s Southern Command, headquartered in Pune. The battalion has the distinction of participating in all major combat operations since its inception.
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The Chachro raid took place on December 5, 1971. The operation was spearheaded by Lt Col (later Brigadier) Bhawani Singh. For four days, the battalion infiltrated enemy territory and carried out raids on enemy positions at Chachro and Virwah. Singh was awarded Mahavir Chakra.
Lt Col KHS Shekhawat (retd), who a part of the operation, said, “Our commanding officer had formed two teams — Alpha and Charlie. I was in Alpha. Our task was to strike at enemy units 80km inside their territory, disrupt their supply lines and create confusion. We infiltrated almost 500km into enemy territory, struck at various enemy positions despite knowing little about the terrain.”