Their Lives Matter! India's First Animal War Memorial To Come Up In Meerut
India's first animal war memorial dedicated to the contributions of all heroic animals' efforts on the battlefield, commitment to duty alongside soldiers. is all set to come up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.
The war memorial will give recognition to the braveheart who have helped the army in several counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and the Kargil War.
The memorial will be built at the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre in Meerut and the preliminary design of the memorial has already been identified.
It will be similar to that in the national capital and will aim at specialised breeding, rearing and training centre for animals who have been in service, including dogs, horses and mules.
To honour to valour and selfless service of about 300 dogs, 350 handlers and a few horses, granite tablets with their names and service numbers will be inscribed at the memorial.
"It will be a befitting token of remembrance and a mark of respect and gratitude towards the RVC soldiers (men and animals) who laid down their lives for the country. Several western nations have memorials dedicated to animals," one of the officers told Hindustan Times.
Mansi, a Labrador, who was posthumously "mentioned in dispatches", the army's highest honour for dogs for her role in the counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir in 2016, has topped the list of animals to be remembered. Her handler, Bashir Ahmed War was also posthumously awarded Sena Medal for gallantry and his tablet will be inscribed alongside Mansi's.
On January 15, celebrating Army Day 2020, five Labradors were awarded commendation cards for helping soldiers track down terrorists in J&K and sniffing out explosives in the North-east in 2019.
"Explosives detection dogs are an invaluable component of road opening parties that safeguard the movement of men and material in terror hotbeds. These dogs have saved innumerable lives by timely detection of explosives. Mine detection dogs are used along the Line of Control to create safe lanes," another officer said.
The Indian army has nearly 1,000 dogs, 5,000 mules and 1,500 horses. In 2017, acknowledging the contribution and service of animals, the army named an officers mess in Delhi cantonment after, Pedongi, the longest-serving army mule who carried military loads in the forward areas for nearly 30 years.