1971 war hero, Lieutenant General Raj Mohan Vohra, dies of Covid-19 - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 15 June 2020

1971 war hero, Lieutenant General Raj Mohan Vohra, dies of Covid-19

Lieutenant General Raj Mohan Vohra: 1932-2020

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 15th June 20

On the last day of the 1971 war, Lieutenant General RM Vohra, then a lieutenant colonel in command of 4 HORSE, one of the Indian army’s most decorated and feared tank regiments, decimated the better part of a Pakistani armoured brigade that was trying to stop his tanks from crossing the Basantar River and thrusting deeper into Pakistan.

For his bravery, he was awarded a Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), and his regiment the Basantar battle honour.

The decorated soldier succumbed to Covid-19 in the Base Hospital in New Delhi on Sunday. He was 88.

After his glorious tenure with 4 HORSE, Vohra went on to command one of India’s two elite armoured divisions, a corps that handled all the insurgency campaigns in northeast India and finally the Eastern Command in the days after the Chinese intrusions at Sumdorong Chu, near Tawang.

An old-school cavalry officer from the days of chivalry and charm, Vohra was a well-loved general, whose sometimes brusque exterior hid a charming readiness to assist any of his officers or soldiers in trouble.

When Vohra assumed command of 4 HORSE in the lead up to the 1971 war, the regiment was already famed for its combat history, most recently in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war when it won the battle honour of Phillaurah. Earlier, in World War I, the regiment, then mounted on horses, won the battle honour of Cambrai in 1917 when its horsed troopers charged and overcame German defences equipped with machine guns.

Unsurprisingly, all through the 1971 war, the regiment led the advance into Pakistan by 16 (Independent) Armoured Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Arun Vaidya, who went on to become army chief. This campaign in the Shakargarh sector saw some of the war’s most furious fighting that resulted in the winning of two Param Vir Chakras, India’s highest battle honour, by 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal of the Poona Horse and Major Hoshiar Singh of the Grenadiers.

Vohra's citation for the MVC, the second-highest gallantry award read: "During the battle of Basantar River, his regiment, inspired by his personal example and courage, stood fast against repeated attacks by the enemy armour and destroyed 27 enemy tanks with minimal casualties to the unit. Throughout the operations, Lieutenant Colonel Vohra displayed conspicuous gallantry and inspiring leadership in keeping with the highest traditions of the Army."

Vohra will be a conspicuous absentee from the army’s celebrations next year of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Basantar.


  1. He was truly a hero. Sad that he’s gone.

  2. Thank you for your continued service to the Nation post retirement as well. I disagree with you most times - especially your hyper partisanship, tone and the way you put out the messages on twitter. But thank you for the news for the China situation. This remains the only way I could communicate with you anon, so don't delete the option!

    1) Can you please answer if we lost any territory in 2013? I have yet to receive an answer.

    2) Are Pakistan Army troops on the move?

    PS: Not a Bhakt! Not a Congi!


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