Hindon (UP), Oct 8 (PTI) A unit of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) elite Garud Commando Force on Monday bagged six gallantry awards for its anti-terror operations in the Kashmir Valley, officials said.

Formed in February 2017, unit number 617 received one Ashok Chakra, three Shaurya Chakras and two Vayu Sena medals for the successful operations until now.

The unit also received the prestigious Air Force Chief’s citation while its Commanding Officer (CO) Squadron Leader Rajiv Chauhan was honoured with the Vayu Sena medal.

The Garud is an elite force like the Para Special Forces of the Army and the Marcos of the Navy.

Last year, the unit eliminated eight terrorists and lost three of its men in two different operations, Chauhan said in his interaction with reporters here.

Describing the two major operations in the Valley, Chauhan, who has been the CO of his team since its inception, said his unit gunned down two terrorists on October 11 last year.

A month later on November 18, his team eliminated six terrorists. However, he also lost one of this team members Corporal Jyoti Prakash Nirala in the operation.

Owing to his (Nirala) knowledge of weapons, I had given him a LMG (light Machines Gun) for operations. Due to his great ability of firepower, we were able to pin down six militants, Chauhan said.

President Ram Nath Kovind awarded Ashoka chakra posthumously to his wife Sushma and wife Malti Devi during the Republic Day Parade.

“I am lucky to command this decorated unit, said Chauhan, adding that his unit was raring to go back to the valley.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.