The elite commando force Nation Security Guard (NSG) has recommended its dog ‘Rocket’ along with Lt Col Niranjan and two others for military gallantry medals for their role in eliminating terrorists in Pathankot attacks.
While Lt Col Niranjan EK who was killed while sanitising a terrorist’s booby-trapped body has been recommended for a ‘Shaurya Chakra’ along with two other commandos, the specially trained canine has been recommended for a ‘Sena medal.’
The two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois dog and his handler have been recommended for bravery decoration for displaying “raw courage and dedication to duty” in the face of extreme threat and danger.
It must be noted that ‘Rocket’ had walked into a burning airmen billet on the direction of his master and brought back a pouch that indicated presence of militants inside.
Though Rocket’s paws got singed but the canine still followed the directions of his handler.
This will be the first time that the NSG, which was established in 1984 as the federal contingency force, will honor a dog.
A final decision will however be taken by a Union Home Ministry-appointed committee which clears names of recipients of these medals. The list is expected to be finalised before the next Independence Day.
‘Rocket’ was one of the most trusted four-legged trooper of the NSG’s K-9 (canine) squad. The squad is deployed along with commandos during counter-terror and counter-hijack operations.
Besides ‘Rocket,’ Lt Col Niranjan will be awarded the second-highest peacetime gallantry medal. NSG had said it lost the experienced and brilliant counter-IED officer to a deadly booby trap as the terrorists had used an innovative technique whose antidote was not included in the Standard Operating Procedure of the ‘black cat’ commandos force.
Niranjan’s lungs got punctured due to the impact of the blast of a grenade that was kept in the pocket of a slain terrorist and the officer died before being taken to hospital.
The Pathankot attack that took place on the intervening night of January 1-2 claimed the lives of seven security personnel while four terrorists were killed by NSG and other security personnel.