Lieutenant Colonel Inderbal Singh Bawa was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, on 25 May 1947. Lt Col Inderbal Singh is the son of Dr. HS Bawa. He attended DAV Higher Secondary School in Shimla. On 11 June 1967, he was commissioned into the 4/5 Gorkha Rifles and participated actively in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, where he served as a source of constant motivation for his soldiers. Lt Col Bawa was also lauded by his fellow soldiers as a capable commander and an excellent officer.
Op Pawan : 13 Oct 1987
It was intended to surrender after the arrival of Indian soldiers in August 1987, but the feared LTTE refused and declared war on Indian forces. Initially just the 54th Army Division was involved, but as operations progressed, the Army added divisions 3, 4 and 57. Despite many operations against the LTTE by October 1987, the conflict was far from ended. Colonel Inderbal Singh Bawa and his unit arrived in Palai in October 1987 and went to war. The battalion was tasked with removing the terrorist strongholds of Vasavilan, Urumpirai, and Jaffna Fort. The militants fought desperately from entrenched positions. Lt Col Bawa personally led his soldiers in combat, killing many terrorists.
The Gurkha Rifles were then tasked with rescuing 12 Sikh Light Infantry and 10 Para Commando units from Kondavil in the North East. On October 13, 1987, Lt Col Bawa led his brigade into highly defended terrain. During this operation, a terrorist suicide squad rained bullets on him, and Lt Col Bawa was killed in the line of duty. Colonel Inderbal Singh Bawa received the nation’s second highest gallantry medal, the Maha Vir Chakra, for his heroic sacrifice, unwavering leadership.
Lt Col Inderbal Singh Bawa is survived by his wife Lily and son Col Tejinder Bawa, who is also serving in the Army.
Maha Vir Chakra
Deployed in Sri Lanka as part of the operation of the Indian Peace Keeping Force, Lieutenant Colonel lnder Bal Singh Bawa landed with his battalion at Palai on 11 October, 1987, and went immediately into battle with the task of clearing the Axis Vasavilan-Urgmpurai-Jaffna Fort. The militants desperately contested the advance from strong fortified positions. The officer contained, bypassed and reduced each position, inflicting heavy casualties on the militants. He personally led his command and was a sustained inspiration to his men.
The battalion was again detailed to extricate 13 Sikh Light Infantry and 10 Para Commando teams from the Kondavil North East area. Lieutenant Colonel Bawa again led his battalion through heavily fortified territory, linked up with the above force , and successfully extricated them on 13 October 1987. In this effort, a militant suicide squad sprayed him with a hail of bullets and he died fighting gallantly.
Lieutenant Colonel lnder Bal Singh Bawa displayed conspicuous bravery and vital leadership in the face of frenzied militants.