Saturday, January 16, 2021

Every Dog Has Its Day: ITBP Names 17 Malinois Puppies After Strategic Locations In Ladakh

Seventeen malinois puppies — all members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) dog squad — have been named after strategic locations such as the Galwan Valley, Daulat Beg Oldie, and Rezang La in Ladakh, where Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a standoff.

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The puppies, part of ITBP’s breeding program, were named at a ceremony held at the border force’s National Training Centre for Dogs at Panchkula, Haryana, on Wednesday. The ITBP is tasked with guarding the India-China border.

The puppies were born to Gala (father) and Olga and Oleshya (mothers). They are now members of ITBP’s K9 dog squad.

The names of these strategic locations have been doing the rounds since the standoff began more than seven months ago. Four puppies have been named after Galwan, Daulat, Sasoma, and Mukhpari (the peak). The Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh had witnessed a brutal clash between the Chinese PLA and the Indian Army on June 15, resulting in the death of Indian soldiers.

Others have been named Saser, Srijap (southern Aksai Chin plains), Sultan-chusku (the glacier), Rango (border village), and Chung-Thung (Ladakh’s pashmina plateau). Chip Chap, Shyok, and Charding are the names of Ladakh’s rivers. Rezang La, Ane-La, Yula, Khardungi, and Imis are passes.

Rezang La is the location where India occupied strategic heights on the South of Pangong Tso in August.

ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey told Indian Express the pups have been named as a respect for all the troops guarding the excruciatingly tough borders of the country. Pandey underlined that for the first time since independence K9 soldiers have been given 100% desi names.

The force has plans to name the next batch of canines after other icy frontiers where ITBP is deployed, covering the entire 3,488 km-border from Karakoram to Jechap La. This breed of dogs had gained international fame first in 2011 when they had assisted the US Navy SEALs in an operation to kill Osama Bin Laden. They are famously called “Osama hunters”.

A senior officer has termed it as a step towards shaking off the “colonial hangover” since the tradition of giving English names was carried forward from the British era.

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