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Northern Light Infantry

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Northern Light Infantry

Northern Light Infantry
Active 1971 - present
Country Pakistan
Branch  Pakistan Army
Type Light Infantry
Role Mountain Warfare
Size 58 battalions
Regimental Centre Bunji, Pakistan
Colors Green
Engagements Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Pak-Indo War 1965
Pak-Indo War 1971
Siachen Conflict
Kargil War
Commanders
Colonel Commandant of the NLI Regiment Lt Gen Mohsin Kamal

The Northern Light Infantry (reporting name: NLI) is a light infantry regiment in the Pakistan Army, based and currently headquartered in Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit–Baltistan. Along with many unified armed forces presence in the Northern Areas, the NLI has the primary ground operations responsibility of protecting the strategically important northern areas of Pakistan.

History and Lineage

The origins and history of the NLI can be traced to the native Militia and Scouts units of yeoman infantry raised by the local rulers of Zhob Militia, Chitral Scouts, Swat Levies, Cachar Levies, Eastern Frontier Rifles, Khyber Rifles, and Malakand Levies. The Gilgit Militia was the cousin unit of all these frontier borderguards-cum-local militia/scouts/paramilitary Police regiments. Their duties involved both conventional infantry scouting and skirmishing, as well as rural Policing and border guarding. In peace times these yeoman units usually acted as local Police and were analogous to the Armed Police of the British Indian provinces. In 1944, 2 of the Battalions' training and status was upgraded to that of Mountain Infantry.

Later on, in 1947, 1965 and 1971, after the Gilgit militias performed sterling loyal service in aid of the regular Pakistan Army, they were organised as a single unified regiment of 10 Battalions under the command of a Brigadier and were awarded with the designation and title of "Northern Light Infantry" to reflect their new and improved conventional military Light Infantry capabilities. However they were still constitutionally a paramilitary force of Pakistan, at par with Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Corps, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior and commanded by regular Pakistan Army officers. By 1998 the NLI consisted of 20 Battalions commanded by a Major General of the Pakistan Army with the designation of Inspector General of the NLI, whose office was the Inspectorate General of NLI reporting to the GOC, X Corps as well as the Minister of Interior. Only after the 1999 Kargil War and in recognition of their single-handed role in the battles, the regiment amalgamated into

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