Bikkumalla Santosh Babu MVC served as the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar Regiment in the Indian Army. He was born on February 13, 1983, and passed away on June 15, 2020. He was killed in action (KIA) during the China–India skirmishes in 2020. He was the first commissioned officer in the Indian Armed Forces since 1967 and one of the first Indian soldiers since 1975 to die fighting the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second-highest wartime gallantry award, was bestowed upon him upon his death.
Must Read: Field Marshal KM Cariappa – First Indian Chief of Indian Army
Babu was born in Suryapet, Telangana, India, and was the only son of Bikkumalla Upender, a retired State Bank of India manager, and Manjula Upender. He attended Sri Saraswathi Shishumandir School in Luxettipet, Mancherial district, from 1988 to 1993, where he attended classes I through V. He was portrayed by his classmates and educators as a splendid understudy. Santosh completed his education at Sainik School in Korukonda, Vizianagaram district, after finishing primary school.
Babu wed Santoshi in 2009. Abhigna, the couple’s daughter, was nine years old when her father passed away, and Anirudh, their son, was four. Delhi was where his family lived. After her husband’s death, Santoshi was promoted to Deputy Collector in the revenue department of the Telangana government, where she would receive the necessary training.
Babu enrolled in the National Defence Academy’s 105 courses on November 27, 2000, and subsequently attended the Indian Military Academy in 2004. He was a member of the “November” squadron at the NDA. He was one of 105 successful cadets who received his commission as a lieutenant in 16 Bihar on December 10, 2004. He was sent to the state of Jammu and Kashmir after falling asleep.
Must Read: Need to know about the Paramilitary Forces of India
Babu was elevated to commander on 10 December 2006, trailed by advancement to major on 10 December 2010. He went to Wellington’s Defence Services Staff College. He was a member of the Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir and a member of the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during the ongoing Kivu conflict. He was described as “empathetic, yet bold” by his coworkers.
Babu and his unit were caught in the crossfire during a major joint operation between DRC and South African forces against Nduma Defense of Congo (NDC) rebels. However, his actions helped keep the rebels from killing the joint force. During his time in the Congo,
Babu was praised for his kindness and generosity toward the people living there, helping them with their medical and other needs.
On December 10, 2017, Babu was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In the wake of filling in as a divisional official and Educator Class “B” at the NDA, he was named a GSO I at the HQ of the 35 Infantry Unit.
In 2019, he was given a second assignment to Jammu and Kashmir, and on December 2, 2019, he took command of 16 Bihar. In February 2020, he was elevated to full colonel status. He expected to be assigned to Hyderabad at the time of his death.
Must Read: Remembering 1971 War Hero Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw