Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
14-August-2015 16:33 IST
Gallantry Awards (Navy)












            Cdr Mohan Milind Mokashi, Commanding Officer INS Sumitra, while carrying out Anti-Piracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden, on 31 Mar 15 received a directive to proceed for ‘Operation Rahat’ to evacuate thousands of Indian and Foreign nationals, from the war- ravaged Yemen. 

            On receiving the Op Directive, Cdr Mokashi immediately took stock of the challenging situation and proceeded to Aden Harbour.  While entering Aden Harbour on the night of 31 Mar 15, he observed heavily armed Houthi rebels patrolling harbour in boats and also stationed on jetty. Additionally, he also observed occurrence of fierce fighting and air strikes by Saudi led coalition.  To ensure safety of hundreds of innocent Indian evacuees comprising ladies, children and elderly persons, the officer immediately deployed armed boats manned by sailors in close proximity of the ship and also created a cordon of the ship’s Quick Reaction Team (MARCOS) around the evacuees, to neutralise any incoming threat.  In display of resolute courage he personally lead from front in the prevailing challenging situation and positioned himself at the embarkation point, so as to take positive control of the safety boats and quick reaction teams.  Braving the heavy firing and shelling, the officer took charge of the situation and ensured safe embarkation of Indian and Foreign evacuees amid heavy cross firing.  The officer also ensured that during the entire operation the ship remained in the highest state of readiness with ship’s weapon systems manned to counter any eventuality.   

            While executing embarkation of evacuees in darkness with continuous occurrence of bombing, shelling and small arms fire, the officer faced a tense situation wherein few Houthi rebels suddenly approached evacuee cordon.  The officer in the face of active hostility used mix of deterrence, diplomacy, and tact to diffuse the explosive situation and ensured safe evacuation of the stranded Indians and Foreign nationals.  His brave efforts resulted in successful evacuation of 1621 evacuees, during five different operations, which he undertook from the Port of Aden, Port Ash Shihr and Port Al Hodeidah.  The officer’s inspirational leadership during fog of war ensured that no untoward incident took place in the war zone which could have spiralled into adverse international ramifications. 

            Cdr Milind Mohan Mokashi, thus displayed, unparalleled valour, conspicuous gallantry, bold and daring decisive actions beyond the call of duty, under heavy firing and shelling at war ravaged Yemen, which resulted in the successful evacuation of 1621 Indian and foreign evacuees.  For this conspicuous act of personal bravery Cdr Milid Mohan Mokashi, has been awarded of Shaurya Chakra.   





            On 30 Mar 15, Captain Rajesh Dhankhar, Commanding Officer INS Mumbai, was tasked to undertake mass evacuation of Indian nationals from war-torn Yemen as part of ‘Ops Rahat’.The officer in the face of hostility, violence, fierce fighting in the Port of Aden, undertook most daring execution of operations, leading to the safe evacuation of 441 Indians and foreign nationals.

            On arriving off Aden, Captain Rajesh Dhankhar received reports of heavy shelling in the Port area, with warships also coming under fire.  On receiving this specific input, the officer positioned the ship’s Force Protection Team in boats and on jetty to provide necessary fire cover to the evacuees. He ensured that all exit / entry routes to the evacuee enclosure on the jetty were strategically plugged so as to ensure their safety from any threat.  Undeterred by the prevailing security scenario ashore, amidst heavy bombing, shelling and small arms fire, the officer led his team from the front and continued his efforts to evacuate stranded personnel even during dark hours.  He showed utter disregard to his personal safety and displayed raw courage during entire evacuation operation which was fraught with danger and risk due to continuous bombarding and firing. 

            While evacuation operation was in last phase of completion, it was brought to the notice of the Officer that number Indian Nationals were still stranded at the jetty entrance awaiting assistance.  Caring little for the inherent dangers in evacuation during dark hours, that too at an unknown location, he acted swiftly, reached the location in cover of darkness and laid an effective cordon of the ship’s Quick Reaction Team around the stranded personnel.  His brave effort resulted in successful evacuation of 262 Indians and 179 foreign nationals under extreme hostile conditions. 

            Captain Rajesh Dhankhar (03587-A), displayed dauntless courage, most conspicuous gallantry, bold and daring actions under most challenging circumstances, wherein, he successfully accomplished evacuation from the combat zone of Yemen and brought laurels to the nation. For his rare tactical skills, unmatched professional acumen and conspicuous bravery at the face of grave danger, Captain Rajesh Dhankhar (03587-A), has been awarded Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).






            Captain Pradeep Singh has been in command of INS Tarkash since 21 Jan 15. When the ship was deployed for Op Rahat in Apr 15, the officer played a sheet anchor role in the meticulous planning and a most daring execution of operations leading to the safe evacuation of around 600 civilians of 18 different nationalities from AI Hodeidah and Aden harbours in the face of hostility and the back drop of violence and fighting ashore, in the port and on the jetty. Mindful of the poor security situation and always wanting to be in a position to exit the combat zone, the officer decided neither to go alongside, nor anchor the ship and instead remained underway and maintained constant movement, stopping only to embark civilians from boats.

            Apart from evacuating the above mentioned people, the officer improvised the available information and resources and evacuated the body of the first Indian casualty in Yemen conflict in a make shift coffin. The officer also evacuated 10 nurses who were stuck in heavy cross firing, directing them to the safer, though farther little Aden oil terminal jetty and using local boats to bring them onboard. The evacuation operation was fraught with extreme danger and risk due to continuous bombarding and firing near the port area.

            The officer calmly faced a tense situation when encountered with 2-3 boats with AK-47 armed Yemenese closing the ship. The officer directed both the armed RIBs to intercept these armed boats, conveyed relevant RoE to the OI/C in each boat and brought to bear greater force on to these armed boats. Thereafter with a mix of diplomacy, deterrence, tact, force and hope the potentially explosive situation was defused and the armed boats were made to return to harbour. In the face of opposition and active hostility, the officer led the troops from the front being physically present at the evacuation point.

            He ensured a very robust Force Protection Measures organisation onboard judiciously using all assets onboard including utilising both the RIBs, VBSS team, sniper and Prahar. The very effective baggage screening organisation onboard resulted in the recovery of two AK-47 magazines with 56 rounds, several empty cartridges and knives from the baggage of embarked evacuees.

            In the face of these threats, the officer displayed extreme tenacity, bravery and courage to rally his men to achieve a feat, which the Navy is proud of. His maturity, composure in the face of rebel activities and valour have been vital to the mission’s success and have boosted the country’s and the Indian Navy’s image. For this conspicuous act of personal bravery in leading his ship’s teams in an exemplary manner under fire in the combat zone off Yemen, Captain Pradeep Singh has been awarded Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).


DKS/AK                                                                                                                                   51/2015