Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind
Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh was one of India’s most outstanding commanders. Born in 1913 at Badrukhan, Punjab, he graduated from Government College, Lahore and was an alumnus of the first course at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun. His father Capt. Harnam Singh was an Army doctor and elder brother was Lt. Gen Gurbaksh Singh. He was one of the few officers to have seen action as a Platoon Commander, a Company Commander, a Battalion Commander, a Brigade Commander and later as an Army Commander. Harbakhsh was attached to the British Argyl and Sutherland Highlanders before being commissioned in 5 Sikh in 1935. He saw active service with the Highlanders on the NorthWest Frontier. In just seven years, he rose to Company Commander of 5 Sikh in Malaya against the Japanese. Wounded in the head, he needed to have a steel plate inserted permanently and was still in hospital when the Allies surrendered Malaya and Singapore to the Japanese in 1942. Harbakhsh spent the next three years in nearstarvation as a prisoner of war. He was released in 1945. On November 22, 1947, he commanded the 161 Brigade in the operation against Pakistani-backed forces and tribesmen who attacked Srinagar and saved the city in a brilliantly planned operation. On May 17, 1948, his brigade, in a lighting move, secured all territory from Handwara to Kishanganga over the Nasta Chun Pass and Tithwal. He commanded 5 Division, 4 Corps and later 33 Corps. He finally commanded the Western Army Command. After India’s 1965 victory, when India was returning Pakistani territory, Harbakhsh Singh ordered all mosques that had been damaged in shelling be repaired and repainted. Prayers were offered before they were handed back with full dignity. He was decorated with the Padma Vibhushan. Padma Bhushan and a Vir Chakra. He passed away on November 14, 1999 and was cremated with full military honours in Delhi.