Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, 77, has tried to strengthen his family’s century-old camaraderie with the Indian Army by joining jawans, junior commissioned officers and officers of the Sikh Regiment at a social occasion here, his aides said on Sunday.
The formal gathering in Chandimandir near here on Saturday evening saw shared moments and a cultural performance in which Amarinder Singh was cheering on the jawans and also briefly tapping his feet to the tunes of Bhangra.
The occasion was to mark 100 years of the Patiala royal family’s association with the battalion and the Indian Army.
The Chief Minister visited the Junior Commissioned Officers’ (JCO) mess and later joined the regiment officers and guests for dinner.
Two-time Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is a scion of the erstwhile Patiala royal family, is also a military historian.
He had served as an Army captain during the 1965 India-Pakistan war.
Going around meeting the jawans and their families, sharing a few moments with their children, the Chief Minister was at his best engaging freely with the second battalion of the Sikh regiment (erstwhile 15 Ludhiana Sikhs).
It was a matter of pride and honour for him and his family to have served the nation as a soldier of the Indian Army, the Chief Minister said, adding that the Army had always been his first love and would always remain so.
The Indian Army still continued to inspire him to do whatever he could to serve his people, he added.
Amarinder Singh had served in the second battalion of the Sikh Regiment from 1963 to 1969. Though he left for a short period in between, to take over his family responsibilities, his love for the Army brought him back when the India-Pakistan war broke out in 1965, an Army officer close to him told IANS.
His father, Lt. General Maharaja Yadavinder Singh, served in the regiment in 1935 and was the Colonel of the 2/11 Royal Sikhs from 1938 to 1950 and of the 2 Sikhs between 1950-1971.
Amarinder Singh’s grandfather, Major General Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the Colonel of the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs from 1918-1922 and then of the 2/11 Royal Sikhs from 1922-1938.
On the occasion, the Chief Minster, whose book “Honour and Fidelity: India’s Military Contribution to the Great War 1914-1918” talks about the massive contribution of Indian soldiers, presented a silver memento — a replica of a Sikh regiment soldier in full battle attire — to the battalion, which will be displayed in the Officers Mess.
Amarinder Singh was accompanied by his family, including his brother Malwinder Singh, his sisters and brothers-in-law — Heminder Kaur, her husband K. Natwar Singh and Roopinder Kaur and her husband Major K.S. Dhillon from the Armoured Corps.