Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, MVC (25 December 1970 – 30 May 1999), was an Indian Army officer who laid down his life during the Kargil War. He was posthumously awarded the second highest Indian military honour, the Maha Vir Chakra for bravery on the battlefield.
Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari hailed from Almora was brought up in Nainital in a Kumaoni Rajput family. Nainital a town in the Kumaon hills of northern India. He completed his schooling from St. Joseph’s College in 1987, Intermediate from Government Inter College, Nainital and B.Sc. from Kumaon University in the year 1992.
He attended the Indian Military Academy, a premier military academy in India. Major Rajesh Singh was commissioned on 11 December 1993 from the Indian Military Academy. After graduating from the Academy, he joined the 2 Mech. Infantry of the Indian Army. He was posted in 18 Grenadiers at the time of Kargil War.
Heavy combat erupted in the Kargil region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir due to a planned incursion by Pakistan army Northern Light Infantry regulars camouflaged as terrorists. The area saw several bloody battles. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari of the Mechanized Infantry had caused significant casualties and forced the invaders to leave before dying to injuries in Drass area. Rajesh gave his life in one of the most important battles, Tololing.
On 30 May 1999, Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari, 18 Grenadiers was entrusted with seizing the Tololing feature’s forward spur, where the enemy maintained a heavily constructed forward position. The station was at 15,000 feet in a snow-covered alpine environment. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari was being shot at by two mutually supportive bunkers with universal machine guns. The officer quickly sent the rocket launcher detachment to the bunker and killed two invaders in close quarters battle.
The officer then ordered his MMG detachment to position themselves behind a rocky outcropping and engage the enemy. The assault party crept up. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari led his sub unit despite severe gunshot wounds. Tololing’s second bunker was captured when an officer refused to escape and charged at the second bunker, killing one more person. Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari was posthumously given the second highest Indian Army decoration, the Maha Vir Chakra, for his services in battle.
Maha Vir Chakra Citation
Operation: Vijay – Kargil
Date of Award: 1999Citation:
On 30 May 1999, as a part of battalion operation to capture the Tololing feature, Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari was tasked to secure the initial foothold by capturing its forward spur where the enemy held a strong position. The enemy position was located in a treacherous mountainous terrain covered with snow at a height of about 15,000 feet. While Major Adhikari was leading his company towards the objective, he was fired at from two mutually supporting enemy positions with Universal machine guns. The officer immediately directed the rocket launcher detachment to engage the enemy position and killed two enemy soldiers in close quarter combat. Thereafter, the officer, displaying presence of mind under heavy fire, ordered his medium machine gun detachment to take position behind a rocky feature and engage the enemy. The assault party continued to inch their way up. While so advancing forward, Major Adhikari suffered grievous bullet injuries, yet he continued to direct his sub-unit. Refusing to be evacuated, then he charged at the second enemy position and killed one more occupant, thus capturing the second position at Tololing which later facilitated capture of Point 4590. However later he succumbed to his injuries.
Major Rajesh Singh Adhikari displayed exceptional valour, outstanding leadership in the presence of the enemy and laid down his life in the highest traditions of the Indian Army.