Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was born on 15 March 1977 in Kozhikode, Kerala. Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan came from a Nair family residing in Bangalore, where they had moved from Cheruvannur, in Kozhikode District of Kerala. He was the only son of retired ISRO officer K. Unnikrishnan and Dhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan.
Maj Unnikrishnan joined the National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune, Maharashtra in 1995 and was a graduate of the 94th Course of NDA. His NDA friends remember him as “selfless”, “generous” and “calm and composed”. He was commissioned as a lieutenant to the 7th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment (Infantry) on 12 July 1999. After serving the Indian Army in different locations in Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan during counter insurgencies for two terms, he was selected to join the National Security Guards. On completion of training, he was assigned to the Special Action Group (SAG) of NSG in January 2007 and participated in various operations of the NSG. During the ‘Ghatak course’ (at the Commando Wing (Infantry School), Belgaum), the most difficult course of the Army, Unnikrishnan topped the course, earning an “Instructor Grading” and commendation. He opted for the NSG commando service which he joined on deputation in 2006.
Major Sandeep also participated in Operation Vijay in July 1999 and was deployed at the forward posts in the face of heavy artillery firing and small arms fire by Pakistan troops. On the evening of 31 Dec 1999, Major Unnikrishnan led a team of six soldiers and managed to establish a post 200 meters from the opposing side against heavy opposition and fire.
Operation Black Tornado: Nov 2008
Maj Unnikrishnan Led The Commando Operation Launched On 27th Nov 2008 To Flush Out Terrorists From Hotel Taj Mahal, Mumbai In Which He Rescued 14 Hostages…During The Operation, His Team Came Under Intense Hostile Fire, In Which One Of His Team Members Got Grievously Injured…Maj Sandeep Pinned Down The Terrorists With Accurate Fire And Rescued The Injured Commando To Safety…In The Process, He Was Shot In His Right Arm…Despite His Injuries, He Continued To Fight The Terrorists Till His Last Breath…Major Sandeep Displayed Most Conspicuous Bravery Besides Camaraderie And Leadership Of The Highest Order And Made The Supreme Sacrifice For The Nation…His Last Words were, “Do Not Come Up, I Will Handle Them,” According To NSG Officials
For His Exceptional Heroism He Was Consequently Awarded The Ashoka Chakra, India’s Highest Peace Time Gallantry Award, On 26 January 2009