Axel, an Indian Army sniffer dog who sacrificed during an anti-terror operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district last month. he will receive a ‘Mention-in-Despatches’ in this year’s gallantry awards. The announcement came just days before India’s 76th Independence Day.
Axel is amongst the list of 42 ‘Mention-in-Despatches’ that recognises distinguished and meritorious service. Mention-in-Despatches ranks above other appreciation awards given to canines, such as the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card and Vice Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card.
Thus, it will be the highest bravery award that an army dog has received in recent times for their involvement in a counter-insurgency operation.
The two-year-old German Shephard Army dog sacrificed in the line of duty while serving with the 26 Army Dog Unit. According to reports, Axel only joined the unit in December of last year.
According to reports, Axel had tagged along with 29 Rashtriya Rifles in an anti-terror operation. Axel was deployed on the spot to search for the terrorists after his canine compatriot Bajaj cleared and sanitized the building for entry.
Axel managed to clear the first room diligently but as soon as he entered the second, a coward terrorist fired indiscriminately at him. According to the official Army version, Axel moved for 15 seconds after being drilled with bullets before collapsing.
After the gunfight was over, army forces retrieved the canine’s body. According to reports, Axel suffered multiple wounds as well as a femur fracture.
Aside from Axel, his canine companion Bajaj has also received the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) commendation.
As reported by WION, the Baramulla operation lasted for eight hours and ended with security forces killing the terrorist later identified as Kupwara-resident Akhtar Hussain Bhatt. The assassinated terrorist was a member of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed organization.