Why do Indian soldiers fight the way they fight? Because, they are competing with a fellow buddy, next to them.
After the fabled battle of Saragarhi, in 1897, where 21 Sikh soldiers were martyred fighting nearly 10000 tribesmen who surrounded them, the Second-in-Command of the battalion, an officer of the Australian origin, described the unrivalled heroic deed in his own words, “Men of mine fought like the demons.”
Again, battle of Rezang La, 1962, Eastern Ladakh, 121 Indian soldiers against 3000 Chinese….valour repeated. Outnumbered Indian soldiers fought so very bravely that the Time magazine went on to say, “Indian soldiers need everything except courage.”
Yet again, Second Lieutenant Arun Kheterpal, a baby of an armoured regiment, fought like a man possessed, in 1971 operations. When he was heavily surrounded by the enemy and his tank was set on fire, he was ordered by his squadron commander to abandon the tank. But, the officer told his commander, ” No Sir, my main gun is still firing and I will not stop till I get these bastards.” This, to me, was an exceptional example of ‘reverse leadership’. When subordinates take a stand, the spines of the leaders get stiffened.
Courage is one thing that the Indian soldiers seem to have in bulk. Importantly, Courage is contagious. When the fighting spirit is high, the strength on the opposite side is irrelevant.
Ambassador Deepak Vohra narrates one such incident involving Indian soldiers. This incident happened in Congo and the officer is, Captain GS Salaria, PVC (Param Veer Chakra).