Indian Army’s Assault Dog, Axel, laid down its life during an operation carried out by the Indian Army against militants in the Baramulla district of Kashmir. Axel, Army Dog No 74B7, was honoured by the Indian Army for its ultimate sacrifice in a wreath-laying ceremony on Sunday.

Axel was a member of the Army’s 26 Army Dog Unit. The Indian Army routinely uses dogs to sniff out explosive devices, and clear locations before launching attacks. Some are used for infantry patrolling, as guard dogs, and also on rescue missions.

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The Indian Army’s Northern Command posted on Twitter, hailing the sacrifice of Axel. The Northern Command Twitter handle also referred to Axel as “A real hero in service to the nation”:

The Army have reported that besides Axel, two militants had also lost their lives in the encounter. Moreover, a couple of Army personnel sustained injuries during the operation. Balaji, another Indian Army dog, was sent in beforehand into the first room of the building they had suspected the militants were hiding in. After Balaji cleared the room, Axel was sent in as well. It was the second room where death awaited the brave canine. Although the first room was empty, there was a militant hiding in the second room who shot Axel.

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The general commanding officer of the counter-insurgency force, Kilo, Major General SS Slaria, was present at the wreath-laying ceremony along with important members of the Jammu & Kashmir Police. In 2019, another Army dog, Dutch, also passed away, only at the age of nine months.

Earlier this month, another dog of the 29 Rashtriya Rifles, Kanak, managed to sniff out an improvised explosive device (IED) off a highway near Pattan. Dog breeds the Army mainly uses in its operations include the Indian Mudhol hounds, alongside Labradors and German Shepherds.