First War Memorial for Animals To Come Soon

Representative Image

The first war memorial which is devoted to service animals, which is being planned in Meerut is set to feature a heroine who lost her life in a counter-insurgency operation in Kashmir in 2016.

The war memorial is also likely to feature some others who acquitted themselves creditably in the Kargil war India fought with Pakistan in 1999.

The war memorial will be unique as it is devoted to service animals, especially dogs, but also horses and mules. It will be the country’s first war memorial and recognize heroics on the battlefield, devotion to duty and outstanding contribution to military service alongside soldiers, said senior officers.

The memorial will come up at the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre and College in Meerut where the army breeds, rears, and trains dogs, mules and horses.

One of the officers said that approval from the defence ministry is expected soon to construct a war memorial to commemorate RVC animals and men who have sacrificed their lives or have been commended for exceptional gallantry or distinguished service. The land has already been identified in Meerut and the preliminary design has been frozen. He also said that the monument would be similar to the National War Memorial in Delhi but on a smaller scale.

The names and service numbers of more than 300 dogs, 350 handlers and a few horses and mules will be inscribed on granite tablets at the memorial. The dogs include around 25 killed in actions during counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the country’s North-east, said the officer.

Topping the list of animals whose names will be inscribed on the memorial’s walls is Mansi, a Labrador who was posthumously “mentioned in dispatches” (the highest honour that a dog can get in military service in India) four years ago for her role in a counter-infiltration operation in north Kashmir, the second officer added.

The army has more than 1,000 dogs, 5,000 mules and 1,500 horses.

Five Labradors were awarded commendation cards on Army Day 2020 for helping soldiers track down terrorists in J&K and sniffing out deadly explosives in the North-east last year.

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