Imphal: When the Chinese government recently published the purported footage of a violent face-off in Galwan Valley, a young Indian Army officer was seen leading his men upfront, confronting China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops for the safety and security of the nation. And he is Captain Soiba Maningba Rangnamei, a 24-year-old Indian Army officer from Manipur’s Senapati district, a resident of Katomei village. 

During confrontation against the Chinese troops last year along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Ladakh, Captain Soiba of 16 Bihar Regiment displayed indomitable spirit and bravery, which garnered him love and respect from across the country. 

“He was fascinated with uniforms since childhood and tried his best to join one of them. He could finally achieve his dream by clearing the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam in the first attempt in 2014,” Philip Rangnamei, Captain Soiba’s elder brother, told EastMojo.

Captain Soiba is the first person from the village to clear the prestigious NDA exam. He is the second only person, after Major Mordecai Ngiimei, to join the Indian Army from the Naga Maram tribe.

Born to K Soiba Rangnamei and Ng Dila Soiba Rangnamei, and the second youngest among seven siblings, Captain Soiba did his schooling until Class VI from Don Bosco School in Senapati district. He later studied at the Sainik School in Imphal and graduated from the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune.

After passing the joint training academy, the young Indian Army officer was first commissioned on June 9, 2018, from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun. This Republic Day, Captain Soiba was conferred the prestigious ‘Mention in Despatches’ award under Operation Snow Leopard by the President of India.

Following his footsteps, Captain Soiba’s brother says at least 15 young boys from their village are currently studying at the Sainik School in Imphal and preparing to join the Indian security forces to serve the nation.

“Our family was scared and worried for my brother after his identity was disclosed and widely-circulated on social media. But, at the same time, we were happy and proud that the whole nation recognised his hard work,” Philip said.

Family says Captain Soiba was true to his goals since childhood. A fan of Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw for his leadership skills, Captain Soiba, according to his family, aims to command his own unit one day.

“My brother wasn’t academically great, but he was dedicated to his studies. When nobody thought he would get into Sainik School, he proved us all wrong and went on to fulfil his dreams by joining the Indian Army,” Philip said.

Apart from his work, Captain Soiba loves to play football and badminton. He is good at singing as well, his family says.

On Wednesday, Sainik School, Imphal, Captain Soiba’s alma mater, felicitated the young Indian Army officer who interacted with the students aiming to join the Indian security forces.

Recognising his indomitable spirit and valour against the enemy, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh felicitated Captain Soiba at his official residence on Tuesday.

“We are always indebted to soldiers like him (Captain Soiba) who are leading in the front for the safety and security of our nation,” the chief minister said.

“The state always encourages our youths to join the armed forces and participate in safeguarding the nation,” the CM added.

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