Personnel involved in mine countermeasures and diving Exercise DUGONG have paused to remember the tragic loss of an officer of the Indian Army in 2009 on a rafting expedition on the Franklin River.
Captain Kailash Rana of 9 Assam Regiment, Indian Army, led a five-member Indian delegation for a joint Indo-Australian white-water rafting expedition on the river in Tasmania’s South-West World Heritage Area. On 9 January 2009, while navigating around the 'Cauldron' rapid, the raft carrying Captain Rana hit a rock and he, and two Australian soldiers fell from the raft. Tragically Captain Rana did not surface after the fall. His body was recovered from the river by specialist police two days later.
In remembrance of Captain Rana, Commander Praveen Sinha, Indian Navy, Brigadier John Withers, Senior Australian Defence Force Officer Tasmania, and Commander Max Muller, Commander Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Team, placed a wreath at the Anglesea Barracks memorial to those who have died as a result of military training activities in Tasmania. Representatives from Australia, India, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom, paraded in respect for Captain Rana.
Indian Navy Commander Praveen Sinha, Executive Officer, Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team at Visakhapatanam, said that Captain Rana, living a life of adventure, taught valuable lessons of bravery as well as respect for nature.
"Captain Rana demonstrated the bravery and adventurous spirit which India is known of since ages immemorial," he said.
"The officer, along with Australian counterparts, undertook the joint challenge to brave the odds of nature with great zeal and enthusiasm symbolising the spirit of teamwork which we have progressed over the years."
Local, Brigadier Withers, said that river was known for its testing conditions.
"I have rafted the Franklin River and I am aware of the considerable challenges involved in that endeavour; our nation reaches out to India in a sign of shared respect and condolence," he said.
Excercise DUGONG concludes this week.