Sunday, June 1, 2008

Indo - China War: Tsangdhar 20 Oct 1962

There were many unanswered questions in my mind about Tsangdhar both related and unrelated to communications. The only person who could have thrown some light on that was 2 Lt AJS Behl, Capt Talwar’s No 2 and the GPO at Tsangdhar. I did not know his present whereabouts. On the spur of the moment I rang up Talwar, who not only told me about Behl, now a retired Brigadier and staying in Chandigarh, but also gave me his telephone number. He was also kind enough to speak to AmarJit Behl about me. Post haste I made a call to Brig Behl followed by a letter, we established a quick rapport and he was more than willing to answer my queries and sent me an account of the events from the time he and his boys left Agra on the morning of 30th September 1962 till they became the POW’s on the afternoon of 20th October 62.

No one has written an authentic account of the happenings on 20th at Tsangdhar, at least, to my knowledge. What was happening at Tsangdhar from 4.45am onwards when we in the Brigade HQ were under attack with Mortar Bombs? There were three wireless links working from Tsangdhar to Brigade HQ- that of Signal Section, of your Troop and that of Mortar Bty. None came on the air that morning? What happened to Maj Ram Singh and Sqn Ldr Sehgal? There was another Bell flight from Ziminthaung to Tsangdhar piloted by Williams to check as to what was happening at Tsangdhar when Sehgal did not return I believe it was also fired upon. What is the truth? While escaping from Rongla we could see small arms firing at Tsangdhar. Who was firing at whom and of course what was happening to your own Troops? These were the questions I put to Brig Behl in my letter, not only he answered all of them, but also brought some new and startling facts to light. Most gratifying was to learn about the high morale and the fighting spirit of the men and the baptism of young Behl by fire; an inspiring story of events unfolding at a rapid pace which would have taxed an officer with a many times over seniority as compared to that of an oven fresh Second Lieutenant. Read full story as recollected by Brig AJS Behl on the link given below.

Brig Lakshman Singh (Retd)

Tsangdhar 20 Oct 1962: Brig AJS Behl narrates
Rescue Missions at Tsangdhar Oct 1962

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