Thirty-seven-year-old Colonel Bikkumalla Santosh Babu wanted to be with the Indian Army since he was a boy.
Babu, who was one of 20 Indian soldiers killed during a “violent face-off” with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday night in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, even completed his Class 12 from Sainik School under the ministry of defence in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district.
He then joined the premier National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune and the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun.
The resident of Suryapet in Telangana was commissioned into the 16 Bihar regiment in 2004 and was posted in Jammu for the first time. Since then, he had been working on the borders in various locations.
His father, B Upender, said he lived his ambition to join the armed forces through his son.
“In fact, I wanted to join the army in my student days. But somehow the family circumstances did not permit me. I realised my dreams through my son,” the 63-year-old said.
Upender described his son, who was promoted as a colonel in February, as a “brilliant guy both in studies and duties”.
“I never expected that he would desert us like this. But I am proud he gave up his life for the country,” he said.
“I am shocked. But I am also feeling proud for my son who laid down his life in service of the country,” his mother, who was more composed than her husband, said.
The colonel is survived by his mother Manjula, wife Santoshi, nine-year-old daughter Abhigna and four-year-old son Anirudh. His wife and children live in Delhi.