Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ex-Servicemen's Welfare in the Ministry of Defence

The UPA Government will ensure that all delays in the modernisation of the armed forces are eliminated and that all funds earmarked for modernisation are spent fully at the earliest.

The UPA will set up a new Department of Ex-Servicemen's Welfare in the Ministry of Defence. The long-pending issue of one-rank, one-pension will be re-examined.

The UPA Government will make the National Security Council a professional and effective institution.

The UPA Government is committed to maintaining a credible nuclear weapons programme while at the same time it will evolve demonstrable and verifiable confidence-building measures with its nuclear neighbours. It will take a leadership role in promoting universal, nuclear disarmament and working for a nuclear weapons-free world.

The UPA has been concerned with the manner in which POTA has been grossly misused in the past two years. There will be no compromise in the fight against terrorism. But given the abuse of POTA that has taken place, the UPA Government will repeal it, while existing laws are enforced strictly.

The UPA Government will take the strictest possible action without fear or favour, against all those individuals and organisations who spread social discord, disturb social amity and propagate religious bigotry and communal hatred. The law of the land will be enforced effectively.


Resettlement of Ex-Serviceman

The Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR) under the Ministry of Defence looks after matters connected with the resettlement and welfare of Ex-servicemen (ESM) and their dependents. Kendriya Sainik Board (KSB) under the chairmanship of the Raksha Mantri lays down general policies for the welfare of Ex-Servicemen and their dependents, for administration of welfare funds, and also for coordinating the work of the Sainik Boards in the country. Similarly, at the State level the Rajya Sainik Boards (RSBs) and at the district level the Zila Sainik Boards (ZSBs) have been established. The Government of India bears 50 per cent of the expenditure incurred on the organisation of Rajya Sainik Boards while the remaining expenditure is borne by the respective State Governments.



Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Veteran Soldier

Born on 28 January 1900 in Sanivara Santhai (Coorg), Late Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, OBE received his formal education at the Central High School of Virajpet and Medikeri (Coorg) and Presidency College, Madras. He was among the first group of Indian Cadets to receive the King's Commission in 1919 after passing out from the Daly College, Indore. He was the first Indian Officer to enter the Staff College, Quetta (Baluchistan) in 1933 and the first to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1942 when he raised 17th Battalion The Rajput Regiment.

After being elevated as the first Indian Brigadier, he went to the United States of America and Canada for a conference with high-ranking officers of the respective armies as a member of the Army Reorganisation Committee to evaluate training methods for the future Indian Army. He went to the United Kingdom as one of the first two Indian Students at the Imperial Defence College. With transfer of power and partition of the country, Brigadier Cariappa was recalled from the United Kingdom to serve as a member of the Army Sub Committee of the Forces Reconstitution Committee which achieved an amicable settlement of the division of the Army between India and Pakistan. In July 1947, he was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Immediately after Independence, there was rapid Indianisation of the Army. On 21st November, 1947, Maj. Gen., Cariappa took over from Lieutenant General Sir Francies Tuker as the Army Commander, Eastern Command, in the rank of Lieutenant General. Soon after, on 20th January 1948, he succeeded Lieutenant General D. Rissell as the Army Commander, Delhi and East Punjab (now Western Command), responsible for conducting the operation in Kashmir. On 15th January 1949, General Roy Bucher, handed over the office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army to General K.M.Cariappa. He was the only Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army.

A Veteran soldier, he had served in Mesopotamia from 1920 to 1922, as Adjutant of the 2/125 Napier Rifles. He also served in Waziristan, with the 1/17 Dogras and the 1/7th Rajputs from 1922 to 1925.

Serving with the 10th Division, he campaigned in Iraq, Syria and Iran from April 1941 to March 1942. In July 1943, he went to the Arakans as the Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General, 26th Indian Division, where he won the award of Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1945. He also commanded the Banu Frontier. A man of crystal-clear character with courage of his convictions, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa is fondly remembered by his comrades-in- arms as 'Kipper'.

Though he relinquished the office of Chief of the Army Staff on 14th January, 1953, he had kept himself active in public life and represented the country as its High Commissioner to Australia for two and half years. He evinced a keen interest in physical education of the youth and extensively lectured on national integration and discipline. As founder of the Indian Ex-servicemen League, he has done yeoman service for the welfare of ex-servicemen.

His exemplary services to the Army were recognised in 1986 when the rank of Field Marshal was conferred upon him.

Apart from the OBE, the other best-known honours conferred on the Late Field Marshal were the Legion of Merit in the order of Chief Commander of the United States of America, Honorary General of the Nepalese Army and Doctor of Science by University of Agra.

He breathed his last on 16th May 1993. Late Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa was in letter and spirit an exceptional captain of his team. He always held the ‘Jawan’ in his highest esteem and often said ‘Our jawans are absolute gems’.

His hobby was stamp collection.

The Department of Posts was privileged to issue a commemorative postage stamp on Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa.
Stamp: Based on the material made available by The Rajput Regimental Centre, Fategarh
F.D.C. & Cancellation: Addl. Directorate General of APS
Date of Issue: 15 Jan 1995

Indian Military Academy

"The safety, honour and welfare of your country Come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, Always and every time."

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh salutes while reviewing the Passing Out Parade at the Platinum Jubilee Course of Indian Military Academy, in Dehradun, on December 10, 2007.

Indian Military Academy (IMA) is where the bodies and minds of the trainees are moulded to have the tensility of the finest tempered steel together with qualities such as camaraderie, team-spirit, critical appreciation of a given or emerging instinct with an inbuilt urge never to give-up. The Academy became functional from 01 October 1932 with a course strength of 40 Gentlemen Cadets. Brigadier L P Collins, DSO, OBE was the first Commandant. The first course had on its rolls Sam Manekshaw, Smith Dun and Mohd Musa. All of them later became the Chiefs of the armies of their respective countries namely India, Burma and Pakistan. In 1934, even before the first course had passed out, his Excellency Lord Willingdon the Viceroy of India, presented the Colours to the Academy on behalf of His Majesty the King-Emperor, as not merely a mark of royal favour but also as acknowledgement of sacrifice and common endeavour. The parade was commanded by Under-Officer GC Smith Dun.

In consonance with national aspirations, the Indian Military Academy was redesignated as the National Defence Academy in January 1950.
The duration of training is one year except for the Direct Entry Scheme, for which it is one and a half years. Direct Entry is to be made through a written examination conducted by the UPSC and the final selection is by the Services Selection Board. The age limits for them is from 19 to 24 yrs at the time of entry. Ex-NDA and ex-ACC cadets join after completing a three year degree course. The former enter NDA through UPSC examination and SSB whereas the ACC cadets join through the ranks after qualifying an examination conducted by Army Headquarters and facing the SSB. The technical graduates, who are engineering graduates, do not have to take a written examination but pass through SSB.

Candidates selected for 10+2 Technical entry scheme are inducted for one years' Basic Military Training at IMA. This is followed by a four years' degree course in Engineering from College of Military Engineering, Pune / Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Mhow / Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, Secunderabad. The total duration of training is five years. On completion of four years of training, commission in the rank of a Lieutenant is granted. For a degree in Engineering, there is a need to complete the stipulated five years of training.

At IMA GCs are trained in all aspects of combat and tactics using computers and other modern training tools. This coupled with exciting adventure sports like River rafting, Para jumping, Rock climbing, trekking and mountaineering ensures all round development. A GC is commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Indian Army.

Antedate seniority of two years is given to Engineering / Technical Graduates inducted through technical entries. This is to compensate for the extra time and energy spent to earn the Engineering Degree before training. With the antedate seniority, there are opportunities for faster promotions, in addition to pay benefits.

Foreign Cadets
Ever since 1948, cadets from friendly Afro-Asian countries have been joining IMA for pre-commission training. Up to 1987, 568 foreign gentlemen cadets from 18 countries received training at the Academy. These are Angola, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Iraq, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.

Leadership is an essential requirement in all fields of life. What distinguishes the military leadership from other kinds is that it is a leadership of a kind that demands tapping of the last ounce of individual's physical and psychic resources on the battle field. It has only compounded the criticality of the crisis in all its aspects - physical, mental, moral and emotional.

Those who come to the Academy as Gentlemen Cadets are groomed to develop and acquire the character that will enable them in the near or distant future to assume responsibility to see the country through the crisis.

Some of these foreign alumni of the Academy have done exceptionally well. In June 1966 GC Lokot Zamani of Nigeria was appointed Academy Cadet Adjutant who later went on to win the Gold Medal. GC, YB Tun Hussain Bin Onn, rose to the position of Prime Minister of Malaysia. Another Malaysian, Ibrahim bin Ismail, rose to the rank of General. Three Nepalese alumni namely Arjun Narsing Rana, Bharat Kesar Singh and Rishi Kumar Pandey, rose to the rank of General in the Royal Nepalese Army.

Indian Military Academy (IMA)
Indian Military Academy

Digby Lall writes:
I have just read the blog on the IMA and it came to my mind that one of the most important 'raison d'etre' of an Indian Army Officer, which used to be emblazoned on the walls of the revered Chetwode Hall and which has inspired generations of army officers and which I still live up to in a modified form in my civilian life in positions of responsibility.
"The safety, honour and welfare of your country Come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, Always and every time."
I feel that it is certainly worth including the correct words as they appear in Chetwode Hall in the blog about the IMA. I was commissioned in to the Corps of Signals as IC 4771 along with Aniles Basu, R P Singh, Ranbir Mohan and 12 other illustrious officers. All my regimental service was carried out on the J & K and Chinese Borders where I did my best to emulate the Chetwode Hall Motto.

With best wishes
Digby Lall
Date: 31 Dec 2007

SIGNAL: Thanks Digby Lall. We have included the Motto of our Alma Mater just below the aerial Photograph of Chetwode Building. Truly All- Inspiring Indeed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Soldier's Song

Warrior-turned peacemaker General Indar Jit Rikhye passed away in the US on May 21, 2007. As a young boy, he was blessed, and instructed, by Mahatma Gandhi to join the army. Rabindranath Tagore offered him a scholarship to study at Shantiniketan. Zia-ul Haq (who later became one of Pakistan's military rulers) was his junior officer in the pre-independent Indian Army.

Born in July 1920 in Lahore, now a city in Pakistan, Indar Jit Rikhye was the son of a former medical officer in the British Indian Army. After he graduated from the Indian Military Academy in 1939, he was commissioned by King George VI to serve in the 6th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers, also known as the Bengal Lancers.
Later, as a young squadron commander, he led the first armoured elements to roll into the defence of Kashmir from the 'raiders' in 1947. In the 'middle innings' of his career, as he called it, he underwent a transformation from a war-fighter to a peacemaker, serving with the United Nations in Gaza, Congo and in other parts of world. It was during this time that he first began thinking about the futility and then the paradoxical inevitability of war.

This was the general I knew -- full of stories about legendary, near mythical, figure of stature; a man with an old school charm and a peculiar 'Eastern-Western' philosophy. I first met Major General Rikhye when I came to the United States in 2003 to get a graduate education. He was president of the Indian Veterans Organisation, IVOANA, and I was its youngest member- a former Indian army officer with just nine years of service.

In the beginning I was slightly sceptical of the general, a notion that comes easily to most soldiers. Blame it on my perspective, but most of the generals I had met, or served under, were not exactly visionary-leaders, though they were good bureaucratic-managers, receiving and passing on orders. Moreover, I was in my early 30s, and it seemed improbable that I could strike up a friendship with man of my grandfather's generation.

But General Rikhye was a special man, and over the last few years I had the pleasure to meet him a number of times, and to speak with him often. His formative and defining years read like a recounting of the historical events of a bygone era. He served during the Second World War in places that have assumed contemporary significance for altogether different reasons today -- Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, the Italian front. At the time of Partition/Independence, the general was posted in a unit that went to Pakistan, and he witnessed the dismemberment of the British Indian Army. Immediately afterwards, he led the first armoured squadron that was rushed to the defence of Kashmir from Pakistani raiders in 1947. Ironically, these raiders were being given logistical support from the same troops that General Rikhye was commanding as part of the undivided Indian Army.

Major General Indar Jit Rikhye, President of the International Peace Academy. General Rikhye was a former military advisor to UN Secretaries-General Dag Hammarskjöld and U Thant, and Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force in Gaza. As military advisor, he was responsible for operations in the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, West Iran, Yemen, and Cyprus. Special assignments included advisor to the secretary-general during the Cuban Missile Crisis, chief of the UN observer mission to the Dominican Republic, and participant in the Spinelli-Rikhye Mission to Jordan and Israel in 1965. General Rikhye is the author of numerous publications including The Thin Blue Line: International Peacekeeping and its Future.

Tribute by Anit Mukherjee who is a PhD candidate at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC.
Photographs: Courtesy the Rikhye family.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Colonel Virendra Swarup

Known as Viru Swarup, a former Commandant of the Roaring Fours’, the 44 Armored Regiment, former Director Planning, QMG’s (Quartermaster General’s) Branch, Army Headquarters, former Colonel Administration, Mountain Corps and Colonel Military Secretary of a desert Corps, of the great Indian Army, India is leading an active retired life traveling between India and the United States of America.
The sudden outbreak of the Sino-Indian war in 1962 fired the patriotic zeal in many young men to volunteer to serve in the armed forces. Viru to his friends opted for a commission in the Indian Army. He was selected and sent to the most prestigious Indian Military Academy. From here he passed out as a Second Lieutenant and posted to the country’s most highly decorated tank regiment – the Poona Horse in August, 1964. He participated in both the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. In the 1965 war, he was a tank troop leader. In one of the fiercest tank engagements in Phillaura, Pakistan, his tank was hit. His operator-cum-loader was killed on the spot and he himself was severely wounded losing his right eye and had earned apart from many war medals, a wound medal (Purple Heart). Notwithstanding this serious disability he followed his profession with resilience, grit, positive attitude he never looked back and forged ahead fighting all the odds for a good twenty eight years and risen to the rank of Colonel. He was not destined to command the regiment into which he was first posted (a cherished desire of all officers).
He, however, commanded a new outfit – 44 Armored Regiment – with the raising of which he was associated as its Second-in-Command. In 1992, he lost the other eye while still in harness in one of the freak accident and, was rendered blind, thus, medically boarded out of military service.

Viru was not the one to sit idle in his retirement, the loss of sights has propelled him to fight his severe disabilities to incorporate an ex-servicemen Coal Transport Company undertaking transportation of coal from coal mine face to the railway siding in one of the collieries in India braving through different kind of experience. This experience, however, proved to be a gross disappointment as people took undue advantage of his disability. This led him to involve his wife Sabita to join him as one of the active Director in the company, the only women perhaps in the industry. Together, they worked hard to bail themselves out of the loosing venture honorably.

He traveled extensively both in India and abroad including the Republic of South Africa and with his keen eye (the inner one), savored the culture of this beautiful world.

He has two children, daughter and the son, both physicians and five grand children, Nikhita, 10 years’ old, Somya, Shray, both 4 years’, Ayush and Akshay, both just 20 months’ old.

He is author of a unique true story "The Memoir of a War Veteran Across Seven Seas", and is currently busy writing yet another book, this time a fiction, about “A Mysterious Woman”. He stays with his family most of his time in Arizona, USA.

This is the amazing life story of a remarkable man, who despite the loss of one eye in battle still rose to the rank of Colonel in the Indian Army before becoming totally blinded with the loss of his second eye. His story is told against the historic backdrop of the partition of India, the creation of Pakistan, the Indo-Pakistan Wars of 1965 and 1971 that created new countries out of pre-independence India. Colonel Virendra Swarup, fondly known as Viru to his friends and family, won the Wound Medal (equivalent to the US Purple Heart), commanded two saber squadrons of most famous regiment the Poona Horse (17th Queen Victoria’s Own Cavalry) and the Roaring Fours (The Forty-Four Armored Regiment), and witnessed the creation of a new world. His is a poignant and courageous story and a celebration of life. This is not just a book for those interested in military history, the history of India and of the British role abroad but for anyone who applauds survival against the odds.
Melissa Lumley, London, UK

First, let me say what an incredible life you’ve led. Sounds like a blockbuster movie with love, tragedy, war, passion, and overcoming obstacles.” Encouraging indeed...
Debbie, USA

I am excited by your book; you have a natural talent for telling a story and you have many to tell in here.
Ed Munson, Canada

This is the story of a down-to-earth soldier of the Indian Army, who on learning of the outbreak of war, cuts short his leave and hotfoots it to join his regiment; barely escaping death in action loses an eye; attains professional competence to command an armored regiment; while still in service loses his second eye. How with a never-say-die attitude, he tackled life’s problems and even indulged in playing golf. He traveled all over the world and finally reached the US; his exposure to the American way of life is interesting. - Worth reading by active and enterprising persons.
Colonel (Retired) Devinder Singh Grewal
Chandigarh, India

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