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15/05/24 | 5:40 pm

Ex-Indian Army officer killed in Gaza: Who is Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale?

By: Aditya Ahuja

Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale (Retd), the Indian national who was working with the United Nations (UN) as a security service coordinator, was killed on Monday after the vehicle he was traveling in came under attack in Gaza’s Rafah region.

The United Nations has launched an investigation into the unidentified strike that killed its first international staff in Gaza since Oct. 7, a spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary General said.

Expressing condolences, the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said that Indian missions in the UN and in Israel are assisting in bringing back the remains of Colonel Kale.

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said: “We also express our apologies and condolences to the Government and people of India. We appreciate the contribution that India has made.”

Col Kale: A journey of courage and commitment

Colonel Waibhav Anil Kale, aged 46, was a native of Nagpur. He attended Somalwar High School, pursued a BA degree in Humanities from Jawaharlal Nehru University and obtained a Diploma of Education in Senior Defense Management from Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore, as mentioned on his LinkedIn profile.

Hailing from a family dedicated to military service, Colonel Kale’s career spanned over two decades in the armed forces. His brother, Group Captain Vishal Kale, served in the Indian Air Force, his cousin Colonel Amey Kale served in the army, and his brother-in-law, Wing Commander Prasant Karde (Retd), served in the air force.

Colonel Kale joined the Indian Army in 1998, subsequently commanding the 11 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regiment in Kashmir. He also served as an instructor at the army’s Infantry School in Mhow. He contributed significantly to counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations, serving in the northeastern regions and the challenging terrain of Siachen Glacier.

Mugdha Ashok Kale, Colonel Kale’s aunt said: “When we heard about Waibhav, it was a big shock. We still can’t believe he is no more. We hadn’t seen much of him in recent times, but it feels like he is still with us.”

Chinmay Ashok Kale, Colonel Kale’s cousin, reflected on his cousin’s lifelong commitment to service, both as an army officer and a UN staffer. He said that Colonel Kale skillfully balanced his professional responsibilities with a strong dedication to his family. Patriotism and a sense of duty were deeply ingrained in the Kale family, with Colonel Kale fulfilling his grandfather’s wish by pursuing his dream of serving in the armed forces.

Ajita Kale, Colonel Kale’s sister-in-law, emphasized his deep commitment to serving his country. She said that for Colonel Kale, joining the army was not just about risking his life for his nation but also passionately living for his homeland. His readiness to give his all for the country reflected his profound sense of duty and patriotism.

Colonel Kale is survived by his wife Amruta and two teenage children, son Vedant and daughter Radhika.

(With agency inputs)

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