Service No : IC-57198H

Date of Birth : September 25, 1974

Place of birth : Aligarh (UP)

Service : Army

Last Rank : Lieutenant Colonel

Unit : 204 Army Avn Sqn

Arm/Regt : Army Aviation Corps

Operation : CI & IS Ops

Martyrdom : April 21, 2011

Lt Col Nitin Bhatia

Lieutenant Colonel Nitin Bhatia hailed from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh and was born on 25th Sep 1974. He was the youngest in the family and had three sisters Bindu, Prabha, and Nidhi, and one brother Yogesh as his siblings. He studied at Our Lady of Fatima Senior Secondary School Aligarh before enrolling in Aligarh Muslim University to pursue his grade 12 education. He had developed a keen interest in the Armed Forces since his younger days and continued to follow his dream while growing up. Following his passion, he eventually, got selected for National Defence Academy (NDA) after completing his schooling.  Though he was also selected for various engineering courses at prestigious institutes like IIT but decided to go to join the NDA. Subsequently, he went to IMA Dehradun for further training and passed out as a commissioned officer on 07th June 1997.


Later he opted for the Army Aviation Corps and got trained as a helicopter pilot. He earned his wings on 16 Nov 2002 and completed his basic Army Aviation Course from Jhansi and his advanced Army Aviation Course from Nahisk.  After serving for a couple of years, he got married to Ms. Deepika and the couple was blessed with a son Kartik. By the year 2011, he had put in about 14 years of service and had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. By then he had developed into a professionally competent Helicopter pilot with expertise in various air operations.


Op Falcon : 21 April 2011


During 2011, Lt Col Nitin Bhatia was serving with the 204 Army Aviation Squadron based at Siliguri in West Bengal. 204 Army Aviation Squadron was raised in the year 2009 with HAL-manufactured ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter), called 'Dhruv'. The 'Dhruv' helicopter was a versatile, multi-role, multi-purpose machine designed to undertake various operational tasks. The Squadron was undertaking various air support missions for the army units deployed at the forward locations along the Indo-China border. On 21 April 2011, Lt Col Nitin Bhatia was tasked with one such operational mission, along with Lt Col CN Nanjappa as part of "Operation Falcon". The other crew members tasked with the mission included Nb Sub Rajendra Singh Rana and Nk Pawan Kumar Pant. The crew took off in their Dhruv Helicopter to carry out the assigned task from the Sewak Road Base in Siliguri West Bengal to the Sikkim border as per the operational plan on the morning of 21 April 2011.


The flight was uneventful in the initial phase, however, after an hour around 11.30 am the Helicopter lost radio contact flying over north Sikkim near the China border. The helicopter apparently developed a technical snag and became uncontrollable. Lt Col CN Nanjappa, and Lt Col Nitin Bhatia using their flying skills, tried to land the helicopter, but could not succeed. Consequently, the Helicopter crashed, prompting the Army to launch a rescue operation. However it took the rescue team many hours, and eventually, the wreckage of the advanced light helicopter was traced in the Shiv Mandir area on 22 April 2011. Lt Col Nitin Bhatia and his comrades including Lt Col C N Nanjappa, Nb Sub Rajendra Singh Rana, and Nk Pawan Kumar Pant, could not survive and were martyred. Lt Col Nitin Bhatia was a brave soldier and an officer par excellence, who laid down his life at the age of 36 years, in the line of his duty.


Lt Col Nitin Bhatia is survived by his wife Smt Deepika Bhatia, son Kartik, sisters Smt Bindu, Smt Prabha, & Smt Nidhi, and brother Shri Yogesh Bhatia.

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