Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Veteran’s Monumental Mountaineering Milestones

PIB Friday, June 25, 2010 16:51 IST
At the age of 76 years, Col Narinder Kumar, PVSM, KC, AVSM, FRGS (Retd), who is an internationally known mountaineer and a veteran from the Indian Army made a mark yet again, on being conferred with the most coveted Mac Gregor Memorial medal. Mac Gregor memorial medal was instituted by the United Services of India in 1888, in the memory of Maj Gen Sir Charles Metcalfe Mac Gregor, KCB, CBI, CEI, the founder of the United Service Institution of India, to recognize exemplary service in the fields of Military reconnaissance, expeditions, river rafting, world cruises, polar expeditions, running/ trekking across Himalayas and adventure flights.

Col Narinder Kumar has led multiple expeditions in the Siachen area, between 1978 and 1981 and gained highly valuable terrain and enemy information, which has been instrumental in safeguarding our borders on there. The expeditions were carried out in uncharted territory, under extremely harsh weather conditions, with minimal equipment and administrative support and grave risk to life and limb. The results achieved in these expeditions were spectacular and formed the bedrock for the subsequent launch of ‘Operation Meghdoot’.

The veteran soldier’s adventure life is embedded with many stellar achievements, to include the first successful Indian expedition to Nanda Devi and Chomolhari, the highest peak in Bhutan. In his personal capacity, he has led nine out of 13 expeditions to peaks above 24000 ft. He was also the first individual to cross Siachen from “Snout to the Source”. His contributions towards adventure also include authoring six books on mountaineering, skiing and rafting. In 1977 the second ascent of Kangchenjunga, by an Indian Army team led by Colonel Narinder Kumar. They completed the northeast spur, the difficult ridge that defeated the German expeditions in 1929 and 1931.

So far 117 Mac Gregor medals have been awarded, to include seven Gold medals, 62 standard size silver medals and 48 reduced size silver medals. Amongst the well known British Indian officers, the winners have been Capt FE Younghusband (1890) and Maj Gen OC Wingate (1943). 13 Indian officers have won the medal so far. These are Maj ZC Bakshi (1949), Col IC Katoch (1951), Capt MS Jarg (1956), 2 Lt IB Goel (1956), Capt V Badhwar (1957), Capt SL Tungait (1959), Brig ML Whig (1969), Maj Prem Chand (1970), Col CS Nugyal (1971), Capt Ravindra Misra (1972), Sqn Ldr RK Makkar (1986), Flt lt Rana TS Chhina (1986) and Lt Col NJ Korgaokar (1997).

A Padma Bhusan and Arjuna awardee, Col Narinder Kumar has the honour of being the subject of a documentary by the Films Division of India and he continues to contribute his might to sports as Associate Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association. The stellar contributions of this great veteran have been aptly recognized with the award of a prestigious medal, which is being given after a gap of eight and a half years.
S Om Singh/Rajendra
Another Milestone in a Veteran’s Glorious Achievements

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