Colonel Santosh Babu, the Indian Army officer killed in the violent clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, had fulfilled his father’s dream of himself serving the country and had been expecting a posting in Hyderabad, where he would be near home.
B. Upender, Babu’s father and a retired banker, said: “I could not join the army and serve my country. So I wanted my son to join the defence forces and serve our country although my relatives had discouraged the idea.”
Babu is survived by his wife, daughter and son, who live in Delhi.
The officer had spoken to his mother on Sunday and the conversation had centred around the tensions at the border. “He last spoke to me on Sunday night,” she said. The mother said she was “proud that my son sacrificed for the nation”.
Asked about the tensions at the border, Babu had said the issues could not be discussed given their sensitivity. “I told him to be careful,” Upender told reporters.
A map of the area in eastern Ladakh Telegraph picture
Babu joined the Indian Army in 2004 and was first posted in Jammu and Kashmir, Upender said. He was the commanding officer in the 16 Bihar regiment.
The family, based in Suryapet district in Telangana, was informed about his death on Tuesday afternoon by senior army officers.
Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao condoled Babu’s death. Rao has asked cabinet colleague Jagadish Reddy, as the state government’s representative, to oversee arrangements for receiving the body and the performing of the last rites. Energy minister Reddy hails from Suryapet.
Babu’s mortal remains are expected to reach Suryapet on Wednesday, district police chief R. Bhaskaran said.
“As of now, the information available is that the mortal remains have to reach Delhi and from there his wife and children will travel to Suryapet, where the last rites are scheduled to be conducted,” the SP said.