11 Gorkha Rifles




At the time of Independence when the division of the Indian Armed Forces was being done the question of the future employment of Gorkha troops also came up. At that time there were ten Gorkha Regiments in the Indian Army, each with two battalions. To settle the issue the Govt. of India, Nepal and Britain considered the matter and a Tripartite Agreement was signed on 09 November 1947. As per this agreement the 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 10th Gorkha Rifles were transferred to the British Army while the remaining six Gorkha Regiments were to continue service with the Indian Army. Troops of the 7th and 10th Gorkha Rifles hailed from Eastern Nepal and were mainly of Rai and Limbu ethnic groups.

Transfer of troops to the British Army was to be on a purely voluntary basis. A referendum was held in the presence of the representatives of the Indian and Nepalese Governments. Troops from the 7th and 10th Gorkha Rifles opted against the transfer to the British Army in large numbers. 2/7 GR - located at Santa Cruz, Mumbai - as a whole opted against transfer to the British Army. There was no Gorkha Regiment, left in the Indian Army with troops from Eastern Nepal. Keeping in mind the large numbers of non-optees and their fighting qualities it was decided to re-raise the 11th Gorkha Rifles. Official orders to raise the 11 Gorkha Rifles, it's Regimental Centre and two battalions, the Third and the Fourth at Palampur were issued in December 1947. Subsequently on 01 January 1948, the Regimental Centre and 3/11 GR (with strength from 2/7 GR) were raised at Palampur and Santa Cruz, Mumbai respectively. In 1948, as the number of non-optees increased the 4/11 GR and the 5/11 GR were also raised.

Major Harnarain Singh Chauhan was commissioned into the Rajput Regiment in 1937. In December 1947, Major HS Chauhan, accompanied by Captain SD Sawhney reached Palampur to take over the 'non-optees' of the 7 and 10 Gorkhas. He arrived with the broad vision of 'fathering' a Gorkha Regiment – the first Regiment in Independent India. To him goes the credit of smooth transition. To him also goes the credit of even meeting the cash requirements of the Regiment from his private resources until funds were built up. It was a matter of 'izzat' for him. To him goes the credit of the present Regimental Flag and Cap Badge, and above all, laying the foundation of a great Regiment. Later the 1/11 GR and 2/11 GR were raised on 01 September 1960 and 11 January 1963 respectively. The 107 Inf Btn (TA) affiliated to the Regiment was raised on 01 October 1960. The 6/11 GR and the 7/11 GR were raised after the 1962 Chinese invasion.

Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 GR, is the first and only recipient of the Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous) for the Regiment, in the 1999 Kargil conflict. He is the Indian Army's first Lieutenant to be awarded the Param Vir Chakra. 2nd Lieutenant Puneet Nath Datt, 1/11 GR, was the second recipient of the Ashoka Chakra for the Regiment in 1997. The first recipient of the Ashoka Chakra is not known. The third recipient of the Ashoka Chakra was Paratrooper Sanjog Chhetri of 9 Para, who was originally from 5/11 GR before he volunteered to join 9 Para. Though the award obviously goes to the tally of 9 Para, a Coffee Table book recently published by 11 Gorkha Rifles also counts it in its tally. Battalions of the 11 Gorkha Rifles have participated in practically all operations undertaken by the Indian Army since Independence, i.e. 1947-48 Indo-Pak War, Hyderabad (1948), 1965 Indo-Pak War, Chola (1967) and the 1971 Indo-Pak War. The 1/11 GR and the 2/11 GR have operated with distinction in anti-militant operations in Assam and Jammu & Kashmir and won unit citations with the COAS' Scroll of Appreciation.