Saturday, December 15, 2007

The 1971 war: Izzat and lessons unlearnt

General J F R Jacob played a pivotal role in planning, logistics and the conduct of the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh. It was he who negotiated with Pakistan’s General A A K Niazi to turn a ceasefire into an unconditional surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troops. Thirty six years later, he examines the lessons of that war, and laments the steady and deliberate erosion of izzat, or honour, in our proud fighting forces.On December 16, 1971, the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan surrendered formally to the Indian Army, and Bangladesh was born. Thirty six years later, we should remember all those gallant soldiers, sailors, airmen and para-military who laid down their lives in the service of our nation, not only in 1971, but also in the wars of 1948, 1962, 1965 and the incursions in Kargil.

In 1971 the pattern of operations was defensive-offensive in the West and a lightning offensive in the East. The thirteen days of operations in the East resulted in the unconditional surrender of Pakistan’s Eastern Command. The ceasefire proposed by Pakistan under the auspices of the United Nations was converted into an unconditional surrender of some 93,000 officers and men.
Pakistan’s General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi had some 30,000 troops in Dacca as opposed to the mere 3,000 Indian soldiers outside the city. He had the capacity to fight on for weeks. And if he had, a Polish resolution being debated at the United Nations for a ceasefire and withdrawal under the auspices of the United Nations could have come into force. But instead, he agreed to surrender. Asked why he agreed to the humiliation of an unconditional public surrender, the only one in history, General Niazi told the Commission of Enquiry in Pakistan that he was blackmailed by General Jacob, the author, into surrendering. He repeated this in his book Betrayal of East Pakistan.

The officers and men of our Army, Navy and Air Force are the finest in the world. But they need to have the wherewithal to execute their duties, namely state-of-the-art weaponry and equipment. They also require suitable emoluments and facilities commensurate with the difficult tasks they have to perform. Most importantly, they need to have the izzat, or honour, they deserve. Time was when the status equations of service officers with their IAS and IPS counterparts were commensurate with their respective responsibilities. Sadly, after every war, this equation has been downgraded.

Some in the IAS are interpreting civil control of the Armed Forces as civil service control. The IAS officers are government servants, and not the Government, as some of them would like to believe. This deliberate erosion of status can be seen in the way our Service Chiefs had to suffer the ignominy of frisking at our airports. Though they were subsequently exempted following a public outcry, today’s civil servants obviously feel that the Mont Blanc pens they wield are more powerful than the swords of their Service counterparts.

The Armed Forces are responsible for the defence of the country. They have not only to wage big wars but also the small wars of counter-insurgency. They need the state-of-the-art weaponry and equipment. The weapon systems held by our armed forces today have progressed little from those used in World War II. Modernisation and upgradation of weapon systems is being retarded by archaic bureaucratic procedures. Modern weapon systems are complex and take a long time to master and absorb.

There has been an inordinate delay is the acquisition of the 155mm Howitzers. We are desperately short of this weapon system. For Instance, the 155mm Bofors was the main battle winning weapon system at Kargil. Yet, the further induction of 155mm Howitzers is a very very long way off. The Army too needs to rethink and upgrade its tactics and standing operating procedures. Unfortunately, a Maginot Complex is prevalent among many decision makers. There has been far too much reliance on linear defence based on the Ditch-cum- Bund.

Due to our very long borders, these linear defences lack depth. Fixed defences are not impenetrable. Both the Maginot Line of Sergeant Maginot and the Sigfried Line of Adolf Hitler were breached. Fixed defences can, at best, only delay in order to determine the quantum and direction of the enemy thrust. Once this is established, it has to be countered by mobile reserves. Ground should be used for manoeuvre to destroy the enemy. The Mobility Factor is of paramount importance.

To ensure mobility by land, air and sea, formations should be structured accordingly.Presently, our units and formations are man-power intensive, rather than being Fire-power intensive. Tactical doctrines should be reassessed. For example, the current Army doctrine states that defence is the basic operation of war. Surely, the offensive is! If this is accepted, then our organisations should be structured to reflect this.

The author took part in several operations in World War II. Invariably, the Infantry battalion assaulted with one Company up. Very exceptionally, with two Companies up in the assault. The author never saw an attack with two Companies up in any assault. The Commanding Officer of the battalion cannot handle more than three companies in the assault. If it is accepted that the offence is a basic operation of war, then the organisations should be structured accordingly.

Incidentally, the Russians, Americans and most other armies have a three Company organisation. The man-power saved in such restructuring can be used to raise more battalions. Similarly, we should re-examine the organisation of the tank squadron. The present squadron consists of four troops of three tanks each, and two in squadron headquarters. A total of 14 tanks.

The Russians used armour most effectively through out World War II, from Kursk, all the way to Berlin. Their squadron consists of three troops of three tanks plus one for the commander. A total of ten tanks. As with the infantry, we should re-examine these organizations. The savings in tanks and man-power, if adopted, could be used to raise further units.

Incidentally, the Artillery was the only arm after World War-II to re-organise. The eight-gun battery of two troops of four guns each, was re-structured as a six-gun battery. But we need smaller and lighter formations that are more mobile and can be transported more readily.
Today, the Division is the smallest formation that can work independently. There is a need to make the Brigade group as the smallest formation that can operate independently. At least, one Brigade group in the Army should be capable of being air-transportable and able to deploy rapidly in distant areas.

Regarding armour, the role of armour and the Armoured Division needs to be clarified. The Armoured Division’s role is to break out, once a breach in the enemy defences has been made. The Division then pours through the breach, and then devastates the logistics and infrastructure of the enemy in the rear areas. In the military environment that obtains today, it is necessary to re-examine the requirement for the number of armoured divisions. Independent Armoured Brigade Groups are more flexible and appropriate. A similar restructuring is being undertaken in many foreign armies. As for the Navy, considering the many islands off the East and West coast, it is necessary for the to enhance its amphibious capabilities. We have come a long way since the fiasco of the landings near Cox’s Bazaar in 1971 (Ukhia).

With the acquisition of a greater amphibious capability, the Armed Forces should aim at being able to assault beaches with at least a Brigade Group. There should also be a “lift” capability to land the remaining elements of the Division.

In 1971, we were only capable of dropping a battalion group at Tangail in Bangladesh. There is a urgent requirement to be able to lift and transport a complete Brigade group by air, using helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. This capability is essential to move a brigade rapidly over large distances.

There’s a pressing requirement to re-examine the quantum of Teeth versus Tail as also the proliferation of staff manning the various headquarters, particularly at New Delhi. Staff procedures at Service Headquarters need to be streamlined. The bureaucracy in Olive Green at Service Headquarters today is more Whitehall than Whitehall in London itself.

The Armed Forces today are serving the nation with dedication. They are fighting small scale wars in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East. They are manning the heights overlooking the Siachen Glacier under the most extreme climatic conditions.

The Armed Forces not only need the wherewithal to fight but also commensurate emoluments and facilities such as housing, schools etc. Today, we are short of over 12,000 officers. Fewer people want commissions in the Army, preferring to opt for more lucrative careers in civil life.
And finally, there is the question of izzat. The motto of the Regiment of Artillery is Izzat o Iqbal. Unfortunately, today’s soldier does not get the izzat he deserves. He is forgotten in peace and only remembered in times of war, and forgotten again shortly after that. The izzat of the Armed Forces is being steadily eroded. The glory obtained on the battle-fields quickly fades into oblivion.

The politicians make wars and the soldiers, sailors and airmen fight them. Politicians then make peace, and the soldier is quickly forgotten!

Julian Grenfell wrote in World War I:
“The thundering line of battle stands
And in the air death moans and sings,
But day shall clasp him in strong hands
And night shall fold him in soft wings.”

Eternal night has fallen on our martyrs but has also folded them in its soft wings. Lest we forget, lest we forget, let us remember them – they gave their tomorrow for our today.


Pay Commission Anomalies

Fourth Pay Commission Anomalies
The 4th CPC introduced from 1.1.1986 Integrated Pay scale with ceiling of Rs.5100 for 24 years of service to give benefit to those officers who get over looked in promotions but should keep on getting their increments at least till they finally retire. But the authorities while implementing the rules introduced bunching – God knows why – and denied the benefit to individuals and they could not get the benefit of increments in pay as sanctioned by the 4th CPC. Probably it was done to bring parity with civil services wherever the pay of Defence officers went above the scale of civilian in corresponding comparison. There was no question of bringing any parity with civil as in civil the promotions were much better and quicker and Integrated Pay Scale was introduced to compensate for that. But this small benefit given by the 4th CPC was even denied. In bunching, the juniors drawing less were brought equal to their five year seniors and the integrated scale which was meant to give benefit to seniors who were overlooked was denied to them. The second disadvantage was the deduction of Rank Pay, especially given to Armed Forces by the 4th CPC as additional pay on account of peculiar service conditions, over and above the substantive pay. But this rank pay, instead of adding, was deducted from the substantive pay without any rhyme or reason. The rank pay was shown in the pay slip as a separate element in addition to the substantive pay, from which rank pay had already been deducted, to show that the Rank pay is being paid separately as desired by the CPC. Actually it was first deducted and then added to nullify its effect. As such the rank pay was never paid as sanctioned by the 4th CPC from 1.1.1986. It may be added here that notional pay when fixed for civil as well as Armed Forces in the same scale of pay for same number of years, works out the same for both. But in the table issued by the authorities, separately for civil as well as Armed Forces, the two differ by the amount by which the rank pay has been deducted for the Armed Forces. This comes to light only when the two tables, civil as well as Armed Forces are viewed together. They thought that no one will be able to see the two tables together and detect the trick. It is definitely a calculated attempt to deny the Armed Forces of their due. It is surprising as to how they could hoodwink the CDA- the hawk eyed auditors of the Defence Forces. They have admitted and paid the difference accrued to one of the officers who took the case to High Court of Kerala but are not allowing in other cases and want them to approach through the Court which many retired officers have done and in the process money is being fleeced from them in the name of fighting their cases in the Court. Actually there is no necessity to go to the Court as there are number of precedents where Govt. had paid to others is similar cases once it is established that some mistake has taken up and needs to be rectified. It effects all serving officers as well but they under the clause of discipline cannot approach the Courts., but injustice is being done to them as well. Your taking up this case will help the Defence Forces to get their due. Thus, both the benefits given by the 4th CPC have been denied to the Armed Forces.

Fifth Pay Commisssion Anamolies
The matter was raised in the Lok Sabha through a Starred Question by Maj Gen(Retd) B.C.Khanduri, AVSM, the then MP from Dehradun and present Chief Minister of Uttarakhand but in reply the Govt. still maintained that there were no anomalies. The matter was then referred to the President of India, the Supreme commander of the Armed Forces, as a complete memorandum, who forwarded to the Secretary MOD for further necessary action where probably it was swept under the carpet as no reply was forthcoming in spite of reminders. During one of the visits to Dehradun, a copy of the memorandum presented to the President of India earlier, was submitted to the Chief of Army staff General J.J.Singh PVSM,AVSM, VSM,ADC. who was surprised to see the points raised and promised to discuss with AG on his return to New Delhi. He did discuss and out of ten points raised three were agreed to for further necessary action with the MOD., as per AG ‘s reply received in reply. Surprisingly, the reply for the rest of the points was that those were not recommended by the 5th CPC, in spite of the fact that we had quoted relevant Paras of commissions report where it was written that these recommendations are for the civil and be made applicable mutatis mutandis to similar cases in Defence Forces. If one refuses to read even the Paras quoted of CPC, God knows how to make them read, what to say of taking any action. When you force a horse to drink water it revolts and kicks back and we avoided that situation. Nothing is known about the action taken on three points agreed to for no orders on the subject have been received. May be they have referred those again to 6th CPC instead of taking action at their own.

The above and some other minor anomalies have appeared because Defence Services are not represented and are directly not in touch with the Pay Commission. The three Defence chiefs have made their presentation before the Hon’ble Defence Minister and the Ministry of Defence will make the presentation before the Pay Commission, which in fact brings all anomalies because what we wish to say is at times different than what is actually projected by the Ministry. Same is the story with the implementation where they implement as per their thinking and not as desired by the Pay Commission as is very evident from the 4th and 5th CPC anomalies. If we are not allowed to present our case to the CPC then there should be a separate Pay Commission for the Defence Forces where one to one problems can be put across and understood and settled. It needs immediate attention of the Government, especially the Cabinet Committee.

KG Behl
Brig (Retd)
President Dehra Dun Ex-Servicemen League

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Defence Pension Adalat

As per the Action Plan of the Ministry of Defence, the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts(Pensions) Allahabad will hold a DEFENCE PENSION ADALAT at Ranchi on 3rd & 4th January, 2008 for redressal of grievances of Defence Pensioners / Defence Family Pensioners / Defence Civilian Pensioners drawing pension through Public Sector Banks, Treasuries /Sub Treasuries and Defence Pension Disbursing Offices (DPDOs) in the State of Rajasthan.

Any Defence Pensioners / Defence Family Pensioners / Defence Civilian and their families having any specific grievances relating to sanction or disbursement of defence pension are requested to submit their representation, in writing, in duplicate, to:
Sri Sabal Singh,
Pension Adalat Officer
O/o Principal CDA (Pensions),
Draupadi Ghat,

Format for representation is given at, applicants are advised to apply as per the format, for easy processing of their applications.

Kindly Note
Applications can either be sent by post or by E-Mail.
Two copies of the applications should be sent.
Xerox copies of Pension payment order, Corr PPO, discharge certificate (wherever required) and other documents must be enclosed.
Each application will be allotted a unique Adalat Registration Number. The same should be quoted in all future correspondence.
Individual call letters notifying the date and venue of the Adalat will be sent in due course.
Incomplete and unsigned representations will be rejected.

Note: Officers, JCO's and NCO's who have retired on or after
01 September 2007 can go online and check pension status.


Golfers Lament- The Little White ball!

In my hand I hold a ball... white and dimpled, rather small...
Oh, how bland it does appear... this harmless looking little sphere...
By its size I could not guess... the awesome strength it does possess...
But since I fell beneath its spell... I've wandered through the fires of hell...
My life has not been quite the same... Since I chose to play this stupid game...
It rules my mind for hours on end... A fortune it has made me spend...
It has made me swear and yell and cry... I hate myself and want to die...
It promises a thing called par... If I can hit straight and far...
To master such a tiny ball... should not be very hard at all...
But my desires the ball refuses... and does exactly like it chooses...
It hooks and slices, dribbles and dies... and even disappears before my eyes...
Often it will take a whim... to hit a tree or take a swim...
With miles of grass on which to land.... it finds a tiny patch of sand...
Then has me offering up my soul... if only it would find the hole...
It's made me whimper like a pup... and swear that I will give it up....
And take a drink to ease my sorrow... but the ball knows...
I'll be back tomorrow!!!

Delighted Golfers

Monday, December 10, 2007

Welcome to additional Moderators

The Report My Signal Blog Team welcomes Brig Sukhwindar Singh and Maj Ramesh Agnani to its fold. We would like to thank them for volunteering, to be part of the Blog Team.

Brig Sukhwindar Singh will be Moderating the Professional Matters Blog and Maj Ramesh Ajnani will be looking after the Shradhanjli Blog. We wish them well.

The Report My Signal Blog Team

Exemption of Toll Tax

Dear Friends,

Most of you are aware that Ex-Servicemen, on production of ex-servicemen identity card, are exempted from paying Toll Tax on roads and bridges of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
(It does not apply to bridges built by private agencies like the DND bridge between New Delhi and Noida).

However, at most of the places along the highways, the staff manning the Toll booths, do not allow this concession due to ignorance of orders. NHAI has again sent instructions to all concerned. It appears the instructions have reached most of the places this time.

We suggest that while travelling on highways, you should carry your ex-servicemen identity card and few copies of the attached letter. It would be better if you take print in colour so that the purple colour stamp will appear more convincing to the staff at Toll booth.

Chander Kamboj

National Highways Authority of India(Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) GM(CM) Office letter No NHAI/CMU/GMA Off/EXEMP/Toll Tax d 1166 dated November 17, 2006.
Kindly take print outs of the letter which has been emailed to you by Brig CS Kamboj, VSM vide "Report My Signal" as an attachment.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Kajal Dhawan receiving the National Award from The President of India

Brief Life Sketch of Kajal Dhawan daughter of Maj Gen SK Dhawan

Kajal Dhawan, charming, dynamic and energetic young girl with immense courage, is a born hearing impaired, but her Physical Challenge has never held her back from facing any challenges in life. She has always been a winner in whatever she has chosen to do. No doubt that Almighty God is the best leveler, and He has blessed her with proficiency in concentration and amazing grasping power. With her determination and guidance from parents, she passed her Senior Secondary in Textile Designing with normal children from Kalka Public School.

She represented the District Teams in Badminton, Table Tennis and won many medals. She is proficient in Horse Riding also. Kajal graduated from Jesus & Mary College competing with other girls. She was Ace Softball player during her college days. She was team captain of Delhi University Softball Team for Inter College Championship 2000-2001. She won Delhi University Best Sports Women Award for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.

She completed her Fashion Designing course from School of Art & Fashion Designing and also Beauty Therapy and Hair Dressing from Shehnaz World International Institute. She was runners up in Beauty Contest held at Hotel Le'Meriden. She is an active member of Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women and has worked as English Instructor for hearing impaired children. Kajal was member of the Indian Team for 1st Asia Pacific Deaf Badminton Championship held in Kaula Lumpur in Dec 2002 and won Silver and Bronze medals. She won two Gold, one Silver and one Bronze medal in The Second National Badminton Championship For The Deaf. She also won Two Gold, Two Silver and One Bronze medal at The First National Sports Championship For Deaf Women. Her Achievements are countless. She won Silver Medal at The Sixth Asia Pacific Games for Deaf held in Taiwan.

She has always proved her excellence in every field. Its both Play and Work for Kajal. With Business Data Processing as one of her graduation subjects and a Diploma from National Institute of Information Technology, she is currently an Executive with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Her Willpower, Self-confidence and Determination have been the Corner Stones for her success in life. She can easily get along with people and always makes her a very likable member of a team. She is capable of achieving National and International standards in her sphere of interest.

She is indeed a true hero and a Role Model for others to emulate. Kajal has proved that if one is determined then sky is the limit.

We salute her and wish her more accolades in the future.

Nostalgia: A Quiz Contest for Sparrows

People, Technologies, Equipments, Organizations fade away from memory with passage of time. Let us try and tickle our memories to see if we remember some of these.

Which Equipment is F&F associated with?
What does BBFU stand for and what general facilities the equipment provided?
Is it possible to provide telephone and telegraph communications with only one wire?
What is the system known as? Let us have some anecdotes based on this system.
With which system/equipment is SWAB associated with?
What is the difference in D3 and D8 Cables?
What is Tingaphone??
What does OTP stand for?
We had Valve Testers in the days of Valves based equipment. What was the easiest way to check if a particular valve was working?
Who was ACI?
Who visualized satellite communications and roughly when. In which country was he/ she then? Which Senior Signal Officer was associated with the start of Amateur Radio and Work Study in India?
Which Senior Signal Officer was associated with the start of Computer Society of India?
What were Punched Cards used for and had how many Columns?
The famous Wireless Set 19, the Work Horse of World War 2 and post War years, comprised of how many Radio Sets?
What does “da did da did” stand for in Morse code?
How is “Saragarhi” associated with signal communications.
Who started The Signalman Magazine?
In case a lady wants to do make up, which old signal equipment she could have gainfully used? How are words SINGING and HOWLING associated with communications?
Any one used pigeon message service? Please tell us about it.

A surprise New Year gift awaits one with all right/ best answers. The results of best answers will be published on 30 Dec 2007.

Blog Team


The contents posted on these Blogs are personal reflections of the Bloggers and do not reflect the views of the "Report My Signal- Blog" Team.
Neither the "Report my Signal -Blogs" nor the individual authors of any material on these Blogs accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused (including through negligence), which anyone may directly or indirectly suffer arising out of use of or reliance on information contained in or accessed through these Blogs.
This is not an official Blog site. This forum is run by team of ex- Corps of Signals, Indian Army, Veterans for social networking of Indian Defence Veterans. It is not affiliated to or officially recognized by the MoD or the AHQ, Director General of Signals or Government/ State.
The Report My Signal Forum will endeavor to edit/ delete any material which is considered offensive, undesirable and or impinging on national security. The Blog Team is very conscious of potentially questionable content. However, where a content is posted and between posting and removal from the blog in such cases, the act does not reflect either the condoning or endorsing of said material by the Team.
Blog Moderator: Lt Col James Kanagaraj (Retd)