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Army pays tribute to 7 soldiers died in Arunanchal Pradesh avalanche

The Indian Army on Saturday paid rich tributes to the seven soldiers who died earlier this week after being trapped in an avalanche in Arunachal Pradesh.

Defence spokesman Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande said that a wreath laying ceremony was held on Saturday at Tezpur Air Force Station (Assam), where General Officer Commanding, Gajraj Corps, Lt Gen Ravin Khosla and other military officials paid last respects to the bravehearts.

Wreaths were laid on the bodies of Havildar Jugal Kishore, Rifleman Arun Kattal, Rifleman Akshay Pathania, Rifleman Vishal Sharma, Rifleman Rakesh Singh, Rifleman Ankesh Bhardwaj and Garner (TA) Gurbaj Singh, who made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.

After the wreath laying ceremony, the mortal remains of the soldiers were sent to Akhnoor, Kathua, Dharkalan, Bajinath, Kangra, Ghamarwin and Batala, the slain Army men's native places in the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pande said that the bravehearts were part of a patrol team which was struck by an avalanche in the high altitude area of Kameng sector in Arunachal Pradesh on February 6. Search and rescue operations were launched immediately, including airlifting of specialised teams.

The rescue teams, displaying the highest degree of camaraderie and esprit-de-corps, recovered their fallen brothers under hostile weather conditions in an area located at an altitude of 14,500 feet which has treacherous terrain and high peaks, the defence spokesman said.

He said that the area of incident was witnessing heavy snowfall and inclement weather since the last few days which made the rescue operations more challenging for the specialised teams tasked to locate and recover the slain soldiers.

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