India’s four-legged ‘soldiers’ who accompany our troops to combat zones for sanitisation exercises and logistical tasks would now be decorated with special medals which have been instituted exclusively for them.
The decision to award these four-legged ‘soldiers’ was taken by India’s Sino-India border guarding force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which has added an ‘Animal Transport’ and a ‘K9’ (canine) medal to their list of medals.
For the year 2016, ITBP has chosen their workhorse ‘Thunderbolt’ and female dog ‘Sophia’ to be awarded.
“The canines, horses and other animals are our silent arm which keeps working relentlessly. The institution of medals is a special way to convey that we are thankful to them for their loyal services. The metal medals have been designed and minted in-house.” – Vivek K Pandey, ITBP Deputy Commandant
These two ‘soldiers’ would be maiden recipients for this award and would be decorated during ITBP’s 55th-anniversary celebrations.
In past ITBP also inducted the first Belgian Malinois dogs for anti-Naxal operations in the country and for other tough assignments like infantry patrols.
The force traditionally has also got a strong animal transport unit which comprises of horses, mules, and ponies.