Lt Col Gaurav Solanki: a selfless brave-heart soldier

Lt Col Gaurav Solanki, a decorated tough officer of the Indian Army’s elite SF Para forces, lost his life saving a fellow officer from drowning in Congo on Sunday.

Described by his senior colleagues as a “very bright & promising officer”, Lt Col Gaurav Solanki, #SenaMedal, was Commanding Officer (CO) designate, 12 PARA (SF), and was posted as Military Staff Officer as part of Indian Peace Keeping Mission in Congo.

He was supposed to return next month & take charge as CO upon promotion as full Colonel.

Lt Col Solanki went missing on September 8, right after he saved a fellow officer from drowning in Lake Kivu. He is believed to have drowned and his body was found after a five-day hunt on Thursday September 12.

According to reports, the officers had gone kayaking in treacherous Lake Kivu (spread across 89 km) when the unfortunate accident happened.

Lt Col Solanki was a tough guy and a tougher swimmer, as all Paras are supposed to be. In fact, he was so fit that he could swim for three-four hours without a problem. He was also a boxing gold medalist.

His mortal remains will arrive on Sunday and the cremation will take place on Monday in Delhi.

Younger brother of a dear friend, I had met Lt Col Gaurav Solanki around a year ago when they lost their father. In his untimely death, he has left behind a family comprising two very young children.

In words of his elder bother and my friend Rahul, ”Gaurav was an extraordinary human being. And a Super Soldier.”

“His idol was Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Only one thing that mattered to him was India. Not even us.”

“Though he was my brother, I have never met such an extraordinary person. A man of highest courage and commitment and always amongst toppers in the Academy and staff. I could not have matched him even if I had tried. He starts where I end,” said Rahul Solanki.

The whole thing is yet to sink in but it is one tragic incident where we have lost such a bright and brave officer under sad circumstances.

My heartfelt condolences to my friend and his brave family. It is too shocking to lose someone so young so untimely and so inexplicably.

May Ishwar grant Sadgati to Lt Col Gaurav’s Aatma and strength to the family to bear his loss.

Om Shanti. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

– Neeraj Saxena

#RememberAndNeverForget The #Braveheart and his service #ServingOurNation

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