Saturday, March 8, 2008

A reserve army of unemployed ESM worries China's leaders

The Chinese ESM main grievance is the difficulty of settling back into civilian life. Most soldiers from towns are assigned jobs in the civilian sector when they leave the army. But this has become increasingly difficult because of the dismantling of state- owned enterprises (SOEs) in recent years and the resentment of surviving SOEs at having ESM foisted on them. Rural soldiers, the bulk of PBOR are being sent back to villages where there is next to nothing to do.

China and India are confronted with similar problems because of the large Land Armies and the increasing number of ESM seeking civilian jobs. Even in recruitment of Soldiers there is similar degree of corruption as it has been evidently observed in the Recruitment Rallies in China and India. China scouts colleges to fill ranks of modern army. The fliers circulating in the campuses of China's most prestigious universities showed three soldiers positioned against a Chinese flag and an appeal that read in part, "Carry Your Pen to the Army to Become More Accomplished."

Full Story at
Unemployed ESM worries China's leaders
China scouts colleges to fill ranks of modern army

Signal Officer Narrative 1971

Adjutant (self), Kapoor the Commanding Officer and Balwant the Quarter Master.

Lungthu with the Chinese just a stone throw away with the battle raging down below with its rarefied air deficient of oxygen its intense cold the bleak landscape its mountain sides denuded of the trees by years of illegal felling by the troops positioned there for cooking and heating, all combined to create an atmosphere totally alien to us dwellers of the plains.

The sensation was particularly strong and overpowering at night with the full moon appearing unusually large, the stars so near shining brightly and the feel of the thin clear air of the night. The stark wilderness bereft of any human or animal being in the near vicinity that late night made one aware of some supernatural power some where very near. That night we were lingering late after the dinner in the mess reluctant to retire to our respective bleak abodes. 123 Mountain ‘Brigade commanded by Brig Balaram was also being launched in the operations in East Pakistan. The CO had gone down to see off the Brigade Signal Company commanded by Capt Sen Gupta with Lt Datta as his 2IC.

He was a worried man when he left for New Mal for more reasons than one. One of his subunits was being launched in operations and the reputation of the regiment depended on how well it performed also early the same morning he was informed that one stengun was missing from the temporary improvised kot at Lungthu. Loss of a weapon is a serious lapse in any army unit with enquiry, punishment, loss of name and reputation all to follow in quick succession. The careers of all those in the loop were also on stake. However since no one was found to be missing from the location we all though worried were confident of recovering the missing weapon.
LUNGTHU Officers Mess, Commanding officer’s Hut, Officers living Area.

It was extremely cold outside the mess in the winter of early December at that height but with the hissing `Bukhari' radiating heat it was reasonably comfortable inside. We were trying to keep our morale up somehow or other I was rather subdued in addition to the current crisis I had also learnt earlier through a letter from my father of my mother's demise. The question of leaving the regiment on leave at that critical juncture just did not arise.

Somehow the talk veered towards the supernatural with this another facet of Inder Bhatia’s talents were revealed when he claimed that he could call the dead and speak to them. Hoping to get some clue about the missing stengun Inder’s offer was promptly accepted. Under Bankers instructions a white paper was quickly rolled on the card table the Alphabets and the Numerals (0 to 9) were quickly written on the circumference of the circle drawn on the paper a glass tumbler with a minimum of four pairs of fingers pressing lightly on it was placed on the paper.

The pin-drop silence the hissing of the patromax making it even more pervading the dead of the night the expectation of experiencing some thing totally alien all eyes concentrated on the tumbler resulted in goose-pimples and the hair standing on my arms. Suddenly we got a jolt the tumbler jumped and started moving. With Inder in control and shooting questions the tumbler started jumping from letter to letter and figure to figure with one of us noting down the words and sentences being formed.

Who are you? Inder asked the tumbler moved a few paces and wrote a local name. Which is you village? Was the next question and it fetched the reply Nathang. When did you leave this world? ...silence... Should we inform your family about you? The tumbler quickly moved two places and wrote No. The air in the mess was becoming thicker, the place more eerie with heart beating faster and faster. A strange sort of fear pervaded at least in me although it were not my hands on the tumbler still I was part of the scene. The questions eventually took a turn towards what was on the mind of all of us. You know one stengun is missing? Yes was the answer. There was a sigh of relief all-round with a hope of getting some clue and locating the stengun before CO’s return.

Who has stolen it? Inder shot the question. A Jawan of the unit. The tumbler tapped. What is his name?...silence... We waited with baited breadth a bit disappointed. The questioning then took a different approach. Where is it? He has hidden it, was the answer. How do we find it? the advice tapped out was Search for it and you will find it. It was getting better and better our hopes soaring high. The question Where do we search for it? was answered by a thundering silence with the glass remaining static at one place. How long we have to search before we find it?' To this the tumbler moved and tapping it wrote Three days.

Bingo! We had hit the jackpot, our down in the boots morale shot up. For the next three days an intensive search was the order of the day with the whole regiment pressed in the task. Nothing was left unturned down the valley up the hillside the men moved like a heard of goats turning and upturning every stone and beating every bush in their path. The major suspects were kept under sustained and constant interrogation but with no results. Every one officers JCOs and the ORs alike were getting sick and tired of this unending trial the morale sinking with each passing day and the sten remaining as elusive as in the beginning. I will come about the result of the search a bit later. With the gloom lifting a bit the line of question took another turn.

What losses has Pakistan suffered? Two Ships. was the quick answer. What about the Indian losses? Inder asked a bit tentatively and we waited this time with baited breadth. One Ship, was the tapped answer. The information about our loss did not do much to lift our spirits. At that instance we had no inkling of the fact that we had lost `Khukri', in Arabian Sea, near Karachi also the fact that Pakistan had lost the destroyer `Ghazi’ and the minesweeper `Muhafiz' both patrolling outside Karachi harbour by Indian Naval missile attack on Karachi harbour. All this got confirmed through AIR news on the mess Radio the next morning.

The questioning but had to take the obvious turn next with both Banker and me due for a look by the Selection Board. The prediction was that both of us would make it. Highly strung and wondering about the strange phenomenon we exited slowly the mess to move to our cold beds to chase the elusive sleep till late in the night.

The CO returned the evening previous to the stipulated three days sadly we had no good news to give him and we were getting mentally prepared to inform the Div HQ officially about the loss the next day. As it happened the prediction by the 'Oracle of Nathang' came true. The driver of the CO's Jonga found the Sten the next day morning. What had happened that when he reported for duty early the next morning and pressed the starter of the Jonga the battery appeared to be discharged and totally dead. Removing the seat of the Jonga to check the battery he found it to be disconnected and with Sten lying on the car battery top.
Nathang The Abode of The Oracle.

What a relief it was for every one even for the Div HQ Staff who were in the know having been earlier apprised informally of the loss. Was it a gift to the CO, a prank a mischief or a deliberate criminal act by some one we could never find out. I do not believe in the supernatural yet there must be some truth in what I saw and heard that lonely night high up at Lungthu in Sikkim. It made me think possibly past events can be recalled but not that in future with the same accuracy since contrary to the prediction unfortunately Banker did not make it to the next rank..

16th December 1971 was a day to remember in more ways than one. The daybreak came not with bright sunshine but with a severe storm raging in its full fury it was more like a tornado with the corrugated tin sheets from various structures around getting uprooted by the force of the wind from their moorings and flying around like unguided missiles. Coming out of my room I was buffeted by the strong gusts of the wind crouching low and struggling against the wind force I slowly made my way to the mess for breakfast. The mess however was in a mess with soot every where. No breakfast could be served that morning as the strong gusts of wind flowing in and out of the kitchen made it impossible to light the stove.

Down below in the plains of the then East Pakistan birth of Bangla Desh had taken place and the post delivery calm prevailing. It was all quiet once again after days, months and years of killings of the locals prolonged fighting by the Mukti Bahini and a short fight with Indian forces when the Pakistan Army 90000 odd had surrendered to Indian Armed forces.
Pakistani officers POW Camp at Gaya.

I had gone to Gaya, to visit the Brigade Signal Company located there and happened to visit the POW camp commanded by Lt Col Tiawthia of Signals. I felt extremely sad to see the Pakistani young officers confined behind the barbed wire fence.

Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Ant Philosophy

If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they’ll look for another way.
They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll climb around.
They keep looking for another way.
LESSON: To never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

You can’t be so na├»ve as to think summer will last forever.
So ants are gathering their winter food in the middle of summer.
You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun.
LESSON: It is important to be realistic. Think ahead.

During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.”
At the first warm day, the ants are out.
If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day.
LESSON: Stay positive at all times.

How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter?
All that he possibly can.
LESSON: Do all you can….and more!

5. In a Nut Shell...
Never Give Up
Look Ahead
Stay Positive
Do All You Can

“Don’t be encumbered by history, just go out and do something wonderful”

PT Gangadharan
Brig (Retd)

Technology Overview of Report My Signal Blog

The sometimes complex and continually evolving technology infrastructure of Web 2.0 includes server software, content syndication, messaging protocols, standards oriented browsers with plugins and extensions, and various client applications. The differing, yet complementary approaches of such elements provide Web 2.0 sites with information storage, creation, and dissemination challenges and capabilities that go beyond what the public formerly expected in the environment of the so-called Web 1.0.
Web 2.0 websites/ blogs typically include some of the following features/ techniques:

1. Rich Internet application techniques, often Ajax-based. Mimic PC applications like slide show presentations and video. Bulletin Board has pointers to slide shows to improve user experience.

2. Semantically valid XHTML and HTML markup. The marquee Bulletin Board has HTML markup with other sites, source tracking and links.

3. Folksonomies (in the form of tags or tagclouds, for example). Each post has a labels with tags to describe organic content as bookmarks for search engines.

4. Cascading Style Sheets to aid in the separation of presentation and content. The blog has widgets and page elements which can be moved around and placed to improve presentation.

5. REST and/or XML- and/or JSON-based APIs. Provides improved response times and server loading characteristics due to support for caching. Improves server scalability by reducing the need to maintain communication state. This means that different servers can be used to handle initial and subsequent requests. These are inbuilt characteristics of blogspot of google. (Representational State Transfer= REST)

6. Syndication, aggregation and notification of data in RSS or Atom feeds. We have 4 exterior RSS feeds and pointer to our own RSS feed.

7. Mashups, merging content from different sources, client- and server-side. We have mashup of Google Earth and Weather to give temperature of any city in the world. The unique and hit counter with clock at the bottom is linked with other servers to give latest information.

8. Wiki or forum software, to support user generated content. (Mhow as example), one can mark locations on the map. Feedjit one can locate the visitor's server.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Russian Charm

India and Russia have enjoyed close strategic relations during much of the Cold War era. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union provided India with the crucial political, economic, military and moral support needed to put India on economic prosperity and political and military strength. However, the military cooperation remained the most prominent aspect of the bilateral relations, with the Soviet Union accounting for nearly seventy percent of the military hardware possessed by India till the disintegration of the former Soviet Union in December 1991. In the course of last 17 years Russia has transformed itself into a giant booming economy and a developing democracy.

The Russian Government is investing millions of Roubles in public diplomacy. The show casing includes websites, newspaper advertisements in foreign nations, and foundations to promote Russian language and culture. It is obvious that Russian communism has a taken a U- turn to Capitalism. You will be amazed to see the wonder of Russia in the websites.

Russia Profile
Photograph Slide show of Russian Wonder

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Shortage of Junior Officers

Exodus and shortage of Junior Officers is not only problem faced by Indian Army alone, but has befallen the other armies too including the US.
The reasons for exodus one attributes to low pay and perks may not be correct. The Indian Army has an advantage of overcoming the crisis by using Middle rung Officers (Junior Commissioned Officers) more effectively. What we really need to do, is to select the best and youngest JCO's and train them in elite establishments like IMA and NDA to make up the shortfall in each course. Enhance the strength of ACC. Another option which can be explored is to offer Junior Commission to those who fail to qualify in SSB for the Officers Commission. The Army has the requisite capability to offset the shortages as short term measure and better methods of selection of Officers as long term measure. The Indian Army has the best professional soldiers in the world and the temporary shortages of junior officers will not make an impact nor dent in its overall capability, notwithstanding the outcome of sixth pay commission.

Crisis in US Army and why the best and brightest young officers are leaving?
Why Young Officers are leaving?
Young Officers leaving Army at a High Rate
Broken Arrow

Re- Employed Officers is one category which has demeaned the status of Officer Cadre. Though it is well intentioned program to employ retired/ retiring officers, but its terms and conditions for employment has demeaned and down graded the Rank structure of the Army vis a vis the officer in service. This category of Officers cannot make up the shortfall or curb exodus of Officers and hence needs to be abolished in totality. They are neither Serving Officers nor Ex Servicemen in its true definition!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Signal Officer recounts 1962 Chinese intrusion in Tawang sector

20th October 1962. It was 5 O' Clock in the morning the mountains and the valley were all asleep. It was quiet in the Brigade HQ at Rongla 10500 feet above sea level in the narrow valley of River Namkachu lying sandwiched between the Thagla feature infested by the Chinese and Tsangdhar occupied by own troops.

I was sleeping in my one-man arctic-tent fully clothed as was my practice. Suddenly a mortar bomb landed in the HQ with a big bang the make believe was over and so were the pious hopes of all and sundry all the way right up to Delhi. The Chinese meant business. It took me a few moments to locate my snow-boots and put them on. It was my practice to keep the radio set 62 switched off in the night for more reasons than one; To conserve the batteries and rest the operators who were on duty round the clock without relief. We had line communication to the battalions as also Divisional Tactical HQ so radio was a stand by. In any case there was nothing but static on the radio during the night. The traffic net D-2 was however kept switched-on at least for form sake.

My first and immediate reaction was to get the B-1 the Brigade Command Radio Net switched on. On checking the lines to the battalions were found to be out. The Chinese had done the trick and cut the lines just before commencing the shelling. It was amazing to see the raw signalmen some of whom had joined the section only a few days back straight from the training centre on job without fear or tension on their faces. May be it was the team spirit perhaps it was confidence in their superiors or sheer ignorance of the danger being faced. No one left the radio sets or the Signal Centre even though mortar bombs were exploding over the Brigade HQ fairly rapidly.

2 Rajput that faced the brunt of the initial Chinese attack came on air for about 15 minutes to inform that they were under attack; soon there was this ominous silence. What had transpired was that the battalion’s Signal bunker was demolished by enemy fire killing all including the operators of my section manning the forward link with the battalion. Those dead included Capt Mangat also, the Battalion Signal officer, whom I had met only on the afternoon of 18th, when the Signal Officers of the battalions had been called to Brigade HQ for a coordinating Conference. He was to leave this morning for Poona this day as instructor at national defence Academy.

We had also got through to 1/9 GR and Div TAC HQ immediately. As mentioned the Chinese had cut the telephone lines from Brigade HQ to the battalions. However the portion of the lines from Div TAC HQ passing through 9 Punjab and 4 Grenadiers was intact; both had tapped the line there in clandestine fashion to eavesdrop on the conversations between Div and Brigade. This act, though unauthorised, kept us informed as to what was happening in their locality through Div TAC HQ.

Tewari who had spent the night with the Gurkhas had by now come to the Signals bunker and was on the set with me sitting on the control at Brigade HQ. 1/9 GR remained on the air till about 8'clock and then went off. According to Lt Col Tewari the Chinese converging on to the bunker and firing had hit both the operators one of the operators was riddled by bullets and must have died immediately the other operator was also hit though partially protected by the radio set. This was the end of the Brigade Command net and also the command of the brigade as there was no one left to be commanded and no means to command.

First time in action for me it was all so unreal - like a bad dream which would hopefully go away. To the Commander and his experienced staff it was real. I can still recall Brig Dalvi’s ashen face seeing his command disintegrating right in front of him his helplessness to do any thing his frustration on what had been happening since 8th September. It makes me sad even now as I can now understand as to what must have been going on through his mind at that time and his impotence to influence the events.

Casualties had by now started to trickle to Bde HQ. The first officer to land in Brigade HQ was Lt Ravi Eipe of 2 Rajput who staggered with a few of his Jawans worse for wear and rather incoherent but made the gravity of the situation more obvious to the Commander and all of us. Next to fetch up was Major Pawar of 1/9 GR Commander of the forward company on the left of the Bde HQ. He walked in a dazed condition with his revolver pointing straight ahead and informed the Commander that the Chinese were just 200 yards away and following at that moment.

The Brigade having lost both command and control could do little to influence the battle. We could only cluster together and look around and up, the question of bed tea and breakfast never arose that day and for the next few days to follow. With the deteriorating tactical situation we were told to organise ourselves in 10 minutes and get out the next destination being the earlier location of Tsangdhar to where Brigadier Dalvi having taken permission from the GOC planned to withdraw and hoped to re- establish his command with at least two of our battalions 9 Punjab and 4 Grenadiers still appearing to be intact.

In the short time available we started getting organised at a fast pace for the move. I asked Manikam to arrange for some sugar and tea leaves for the move to Tsangdhar not too faraway but according to him all the stock had already finished by the previous evening so much for Adm in War. There were no porters and the equipment had been distributed on various personnel of the section. I had the headphones and connectors with me as my share of the load in addition to my small haversack and one blanket. Rations or no rations porters or no porters we did carry on with two 62 Radio sets with two small batteries one pedal generator one ten line Telephone Exchange and three field telephones J.

This being the total equipment with which we hoped to set up communications out station on the Divisional Link and control of the Brigade command net at our next projected location Tsangdhar. The ciphers had already been sent with the commander’s party. With this limited equipment and the approximately 40 Signals personnel with me at this time I hoped to provide hard scale communications to the Bde HQ at Tsangdhar. For the first time I was going to have excess of manpower than required. Hard scale as a slogan coined by Gen Kaul had by now become famous.

My last look at the till now Bde HQ location that we were abandoning was that of a solitary goat tied to a tree scared to death bleating loudly due to the deafening sounds of the ongoing bombardment. It had travelled all the way from Gauhati by air parachuted at Tsangdhar brought down to Rongla possibly on some one’s shoulders as meat on hoof for the troops. The poor goat was now being left behind by us to welcome the Chinese.

I do not recall my feelings at that time or what was going through my mind. It is a total blank. A thought did pass through my mind at that time. It may sound funny or improbable to some but it is factual otherwise I would not have remembered it even after so long. With mortar bombs falling all around a couple of casualties already in the HQ the prevailing confusion and chaos and the attacking Chinese possibly very near with death or worse a serious injury happening any time being very much on cards I did think of praying to God. Though God fearing I did not pray, nor do I now; immediately after the first a second thought came fleeting in about the book of records up there of my deeds and miss- deeds if any was being maintained a prayer at that time would be the only entry and may be considered as a selfish action by an opportunist; an adverse entry on my report card. I quickly discarded the idea; in any case there was no time even for a silent prayer. Possibly my unsaid prayer did some how reach God otherwise I would have still remained ‘Missing in Action’ as I was soon to be declared by AG’s Branch at AHQ.

Brig Lakshman Singh VSM (Retd)

Report my Signal Team thanks Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM for sharing his near death experiences and recollecting vividly the situation after a span of 45 years.

India Together

India Together provides information and news on issues that matter to discerning readers. Stories and articles are categorized over 15 major developmental topics, and also over the states of India. Because of a simple, easy-to-access website and the exclusive focus on the public interest and development, readers go away feeling they’ve been informed by an intense but well designed magazine. Equally, also provide help developmental and policy experts, academicians and scholars and leading journalists take their ideas, research and public interest concerns expeditiously to a broad and interested national and global audience.

From a few thousand readers per month in 2001, India Together reached an online readership of 10000 visitors in 2002, 25,000 in mid 2004 and was counting around 30000 visitors per month in December 2004. The fortnightly newsletter goes out to over 3500 subscribers as of December 2004, and is growing every day. As of mid 2007 the website was logging approximately 110,000 visitors each month, and readership has grown steadily for the past three years at about 35 percent annually.

The editors of India Together are ever accessible to authors and readers and interact with them as partners with timeliness and professionalism. Every item on the website is categorized so that specialist readers can access information in their favourite issue pages, while general readers can access the latest from the front pages and regional pages.

It is continuing goal to ensure that India Together will inform on development and policy issues with expertise, public interest focus, content packaging, and non- profit operational transparency of the highest standards.

Subramaniam Vincent co founder says:
Hello and welcome. I am a co-founder of India Together and one of the lead editors of this publication. I believe that an original purpose of journalism is to cover society in proportion to its many realities and provide information to citizens so that they may be free and self-governing.

Aswin Mahesh co founder says:
Hello and welcome to my homepage. I am a co-founder of India Together and one of its lead editors. I am interested in the potential of information and communication, coupled with technology and management, to promote the public good in India. Most of my writing on these pages is in the form of editorials I have written with my friend and fellow lead editor, Subramaniam Vincent.

Reader funded
India Together is a public interest reader financed online magazine published by Civil Society Information Exchange Private Ltd, Bangalore. Because the maximisation of revenue in itself is not an objective, it is envisaged to use revenues to increase our coverage of public interest issues, and to broaden the range of ways in which content is packaged for the audience.

While it is possible to fund much of the work through either a required subscription fee or from commercial advertising revenues, reader funding helps keep the editorial independence, and allows editors the luxury of not having to run non serious content (such as entertainment or sport) that would dilute the focus on important issues.

Visit: India Together

An excellent website, but what caught my attention is the display of its yearly financial accounts. This is really unique and a trendsetter for others to emulate. The Armed Forces has so many Welfare organisations in public domain and functioning under The Societies Registration Act 1860 (non profit organistions). Seldom we get to know either the financial accounts (sources of income and expenditure) or the beneficiaries. It should be made mandatory under the RTI Act to have accounts of all welfare organisations Registered under the Society Act 1860 to be transparent and display the yearly finanicial income, sources and expenditure.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Vision of Military Leadeship

Leadership Success Secrets

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion." --Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame

"There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate why we're doing what we're doing." --James Kouzes and Barry Posner

The fundamentals necessary for a vision that excites and motivates soldiers to follow the leader.
  • Clearly set direction and purpose.
  • Inspire loyalty and caring through the involvement.
  • Display and reflect the unique strengths, traditons,cultures, values and beliefs.
  • Inspire enthusiasm, belief, commitment and excitement in Juniors.
  • Help everyone believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves, and their daily routine work is training for perfection.
  • Be regularly communicative and sharing.
  • Challenge all under command to outdo themselves, to stretch and reach.

    Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style in the Armed Forces
  • Choose to lead.
  • Be the person others choose to follow.
  • Provide vision for the future.
  • Provide inspiration.
  • Make other people feel important and appreciated.
  • Live your values. Behave ethically.
  • Set the pace through your expectations and example.
  • Establish an environment of continuous improvement.
  • Provide opportunities for all under command to grow, both personally and professionally.
  • Care and act with compassion.

    Extracts from Leadership Vision by Susan M Heathfield
    (Modified for Military Leadership)

    Urgent Remedial Measures
    Rising Indiscipline In Armed Forces
  • Disclaimer

    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)