In September 1965, at the height of the India-Pakistan war, Rinchen, often compared to an ibex, was given another impossible task.
The Chinese were threatening to attack DBO to support their Pakistani friends. He was ordered to travel from the Nubra Valley to DBO through another unusual route.
Instead of taking the normal 15 days, Rinchen, leading his troops (including his commanding officer), made it in four days. His commanding officer remembers: `On the fourth day, the 25th September 1965, we were in our battle positions at the tri-junction.`
The Army Headquarters was astonished when they received the information that the force had already reached DBO. That was Chewang Rinchen!
Six years later, in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, Rinchen and the Nunnus covered themselves in glory once again.
They continued the unfinished task of 1948, reoccupying the large village of Turtok and advancing further towards Baltistan using `ibex` tactics: climbing through the most difficult path in order to take the enemy by surprise and from a higher position. It helped that Rinchen used hand grenades and bayonets to attack the enemy, sparing the ammunition.
Unfortunately, once again a ceasefire was declared on September 17, 1971 and Rinchen and his men could not reach Kapalu, the Siachen base camp on the Pakistan side. If only he had been able to continue his operations for a few more days, he would have regained Kapalu and one would have never heard of the Siachen glacier conflict.
The devout Buddhist nevertheless earned a second MVC during the 10-day operation.
Picture courtesy: Chewang Rinchen`s family (Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited)