July 8th, 2007  


The history of the Indian Paratroopers dates back to October 1941 when 50 Indian Parachute Brigade was raised in Delhi. The Paratroopers proved their mettle in Sangshak and Elephant Point during World War II. They were later expanded to form 44 Indian Airborne Division (later 2 Indian Airborne Division), comprising of 50 Indian PARA, 77 Indian PARA and 14 Air Landing Brigades.

In the post independence restructuring, the Indian government only retained one Parachute Brigade, i.e 50 Independent Parachute Brigade. This brigade comprised of three distinguished battalions personally nominated by the then C-in-C, namely 1 PARA (Punjab), 2 PARA (Maratha) and 3 PARA (Kumaon). During J&K operations of 1947-48 these battalions had distinguished themselves with glory in the battles of Shelatang, Naushera, Jhangar and Poonch, wherein they were awarded the respective Battle Honours.

On 15 April 1952, the three battalions serving with the Parachute Brigade were taken away from their respective Infantry Regiments to form the Parachute Regiment. Since then the Parachute Regiment has grown to comprise ten battalions including Parachute (Special Forces) battalions. In that while, 8 PARA became a Mechanised Infantry Battalion, 21 PARA (Special Force) joined the regiment from Maratha Light Infantry Regiment. During their short but eventful existance so far, battalions of the regiment have had extensive operational experience and singular achievements to speak of their level of professionalism.

In 1971, the Regiment fought numerous actions both in the Eastern and Western Theatres. For the first time in the annals of Independent India's history, a Parachute Battalion Group (2 PARA Bn Group) was paradropped at Tangail, which contributed substantially to speeding up the liberation of Bangladesh. The Parachute Commandos proved their professional skills by conducting spectacular and lightening raids into Chachro (Sindh, Pakistan) and Mandhol (Jammu and Kashmir). The Regiment earned battle honours Poongli Bridge, Chachro and Defence of Poonch during these operations.
Five Parachute battalions (including 3 PARA Commando battalions) took part in Operation Pawan (Sri Lanka). With 6 PARA in the lead 50 (Independent) Parachute Brigade took part in Operation Cactus the first successful overseas intervention operation to aid the duly elected government of Maldives.
Parachute battalions employed in the Counter Insurgency role, both in North East and J&K, have performed commendably, earning eleven COAS Unit Citations. In these operations, the Ashok Chakra, nations highest gallantry award in peace, has been awarded postumously to Capt Arun Jasrotia, SM (1996), Major Sudhir Kumar Walia SM * (2000) and Ptr Sanjog Chhetri (2003). Their unit 9 PARA (SF) has been conferred the "Bravest of the Brave" honour in 2001.
In 1999 nine out of ten Parachute battalions were deployed for OP Vijay in Kargil, which bears testimony to the operational profile of the Regiment. While the Parachute Brigade cleared the Mushkoh Valley intrustions, 5 PARA was actively involved in the forgotten sector Batalik, where it exhibited great courage and tenacity, and was awarded the COAS Unit Citation.
Calls of international peacekeeping have taken Parachute units to Korea (1953-54), Gaza (1956-58) and Sierra Lone (2000). The latter was a daring rescue mission conducted by the 2 PARA (SF) meanfully.
In the field of adventure, amongst many notable achievements the regiment proudly recalls , the late Capt (later Col Retd) AS Cheema, SM the first Indian atop Mount Everest (1965), Maj SS Shekhawat, SC who scaled the peak thrice (2001,2003 & 2005) and Maj Abhijeet Singh, SM (2003).

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