16 May 2024

Who was retired Indian Army Colonel Vaibhav Kale who was killed in Gaza? What was his connection with Pathankot airbase attack?

India has expressed deep sadness over the death of ex-Indian Army officer Col Vaibhav Anil Kale, who was killed on May 13 when the UN vehicle he was traveling in was shelled in war-torn Rafah.

One of Kale's colleagues was seriously injured in the firing.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement extended condolences to the family, and said that the Indian missions in the UN and in Israel are extending all assistance to repatriate the body to India.

The MEA also said that the Indian missions will be in touch with the relevant authorities regarding investigation into the incident.

Col Kale had taken premature retirement from the Indian Army in 2022, and joined the UN as a Security Coordination Officer in the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS).

He had served with the 11 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles. Col Kale is the first UN staffer to be killed in the ongoing Gaza war.

My brother will not come back: Chinmay Kale

“When he went to Gaza, I sent him a message on WhatsApp: Return after making peace in Gaza. Someday there will be peace in Gaza but my brother will not return.”

These are the words of Chinmay Kale. Chinmay is the cousin of retired Colonel Vaibhav Kale who was killed in Gaza.

Many people from Vaibhav's family have been associated with the Indian Army. His wife's name is Amrita and he has two children - 16-year-old Radhika and 14-year-old Vedant.

Born in Maharashtra, Vaibhav Kale spent his childhood in Nagpur. He studied in schools like Somalwar and Bhawan in Nagpur.

After 12th, Vaibhav Kale joined the National Defense Academy, Pune. After commission, Kale was posted in Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regiment.

'Sending Vaibhav to Army was a dream of the family'

Chinmay tells that sending Vaibhav to the army was a dream of his father and uncle. He talked to the media about this.

Chinmay told, "Whenever Vaibhav was in uniform, he was a strict officer. No one could even ask him questions. But this man used to behave very well with his family at home. He was never tense with us. He respected everyone no matter the age of the person.

Vaibhav was also posted at Siachen

As a military officer, he was also posted at Siachen, the world's highest battlefield.

In the year 2009-10, Vaibhav was deployed for a year in the United Nations peacekeeping force in the black African country Congo.

After 22 years of army service, Vaibhav had taken premature retirement. After that he worked in a private firm. But he doesn't get a job sitting in an office. He always wanted to go into the field.

Chinmay Kale says, "Vaibhav had nothing to do with Hamas and Israel war but he sacrificed his life for peace. Now peace should be restored there."

What was Kale's connection with Pathankot airbase attack?

Vaibhav Kale also played an important role in foiling the 2016 terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase. His close friend, Lieutenant Colonel Hange told that Kale was commanding the 11 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles battalion of the Indian Army at the time of the Pathankot attack. He and his unit played an important role in that operation. Colonel Hange says that Vaibhav Kale was a jovial and good-humored person.

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