Saturday, July 5, 2008

India China Conflict 1962: Sealing the lie

The fact is that on the 19th evening India had no plan to attack across the river Namak Chu, If there was any plan, it was that of the Chinese. The Chinese told the world: "At 7 O’ Clock (Peking time) in the morning of 20th October the aggressive Indian forces, under cover of fierce artillery fire launched massive attacks against the Chinese Frontier Guards."

The Times of India dated 28 May 1998 had published a letter from me to editor titled "Sealing a Lie" which highlighted the above Radio Peking lie. Quote, I was the Signal Officer of the late Brigadier J P Dalvi’s illfated 7 Brigade deployed in Namka Chu Valley in NEFA, and which faced the brunt of the massive Chinese attack in 1962. The then Lt Col K K Tewari, CO 4th Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment, came to visit me in the Bde HQ on October 18, 1962. He, among other things, asked me to work out the leave plans of my section. Subsequently, he was captured by the Chinese on the morning of October 20, 1962 in the forward infantry battalion location which he was visiting.

The point to note is that forward formations that are intending to attack do not plan leave for its personnel. The Commander Signals of the division also remains with the divisional HQ to control and execute the overall communication plan and does no go and stay with the forward most infantry battalion on the eve of the attack. This should seal the Chinese lie- if it has not been sealed yet- that India attacked the Chinese Frontier Guards on October 20, 1962.

Brig Lakshman Singh,VSM (Retd)

Western Theatre
On October 20, 1962, the Chinese People's Liberation Army launched two attacks, 1000 kilometers apart. In the western theater, the PLA sought to expel Indian forces from the Chip Chap valley in Aksai Chin while in the eastern theater, the PLA sought to capture both banks of the Namka Chu river. Some skirmishes also took place at the Nathula Pass, which is in Sikkim, a protectorate of India at that time. Gurkha rifles travelling north were targeted by Chinese artillery fire. After four days of fierce fighting, the three regiments of Chinese troops succeeded in securing a substantial portion of the disputed territory.

Eastern theatre
Chinese troops launched an attack on the southern banks of the Namka Chu River on October 20. The Indian forces were undermanned, with only an understrength battalion to support them, while the Chinese troops had three regiments positioned on the north side of the river. The Indians expected Chinese forces to cross via one of five bridges over the river and defended those crossings. However their strategy was wrong as while the Indian troops settled for the night on the banks of the river, the PLA crossed over the shallow October river and made their way to the other side. They gathered themselves up into battalions on the Indian- held south side of the river in the camouflage of the night, with each battalion assigned against a separate group of Rajputs.

India's China War by Neville Maxwell
India's shameful Debacle

There has never been a clear answer from the Leftists and Communists in India with respect to these questions concerning China.
  • Was China the aggressor in 1962?
  • Is China in illegal possession of Indian territory?
  • Do they support the Hananisation of Tibet ?
  • Do they condemn the facilitation of acquisition of missile and nuclear technology by China to Pakistan?
  • Do they support religious freedom in China?
  • Do they support Chinese activities in India’s neighbourhood?
  • What is Karat now saying about the Nuclear Deal? Endgame not clear!
  • Hurdles faced by Sikh Poineers

    The serving Indian Army Sikhs came to Canada in transit back from Great Britain where they had gone for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, in 1897, of the 60th Anniversary of the reign of Queen Victoria. They were members of the Imperial Sikh Lancers and Sikh Infantry Regiment specially invited to join the Ceremonial Parade through the streets of London. Evidently, there was something in British Columbia’s natural environments- the mountains, the valleys, the forests and great rivers that reminded them a little of Punjab and made them feel instantly at peace in a land of opportunity, for some of them returned to live here as early as 1899, and their family members and friends followed from 1904 onwards. Read the complete story at: Hurdles Faced By Sikh Pioneers In Canada

    Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal World War II Veteran
    Founder President Indian Ex-Servicemen Society British Columbia

    ESM Job Opportunities: Hindi Website Rojgar Samachar

    A website has been launched in Hindi to cater to the needs of those seeking jobs, the website has been launched by Employment News weekly newspaper, which is a unit of the Directorate of Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

    Dedicating the website to the nation, Smt Veena Jain, Additional Director General, said it is a matter of pride for Employment News to manage two websites, one in English and now in Hindi. Smt Jain said, the website exclusively in Hindi will cater to the needs of job seekers from Hindi speaking areas of the country.
    Rojgar Samachar the Hindi Website a must for ESM

    Comment: An excellent website for ESM especially for Jawans (PBOR). This website needs to be popularised by Zilla Sainik Boards and ESM Organisations like IESL and others who are in touch with Jawans. Our organisations and Retired Officers need to educate the Jawans who are exploited for employment as Security Personnel. This is one of the most demeaning and exploited jobs assigned to a retired soldier with a measly pay of Rs 3000/ at the most and made to wear a degrading dress which looks ridiculous at times. AHQ and other welfare organisations must dissuade others from exploiting Jawans for recruiting as Security Personnel. Many Retired Officers in this Security Business are also at fault for demeaning the status of a retired soldier/ Jawan.

    SCPC: Why not go in for one rank, one pension?

    It needs reiteration that security and safety of a country is the prime prerequisite for its progress. No price is too great to pay to ensure that security. The military plays the most active role in contributing to a nation’s security against external threats and — as is evident in India — internal divisiveness.

    It is, therefore, mandatory that the defence forces of a country are kept in a high state of health, both professionally by giving them the latest war ware as well as materially. If we want to attract the right material for the military service, their care has to be ensured right till the grave, figuratively speaking. The military is unique and bears no similarity with any other government service. It is literally impossible for any civilian to understand their way of functioning and to read the pulse of their morale.

    There is, therefore, a strong case to treat them differently in pay commissions so that their structural peculiarities are taken into account while deciding their salaries and emoluments. Putting them in one common basket is bound to create angularities.

    In a democracy the armed forces must remain under civilian control. No one has ever disputed this incontrovertible precept. The difference lies in translating this into practicable norms. The armed forces rightly understand this to be the control by elected representatives who in a democracy are the real power holders.

    However, de facto it results in control by the bureaucracy. The institutionalised system of exercising civilian control over the armed forces gets translated into exercising of this control through and by the bureaucracy. The bureaucrats, who are the secretarial staff of politicians and cannot be wished away, end up becoming masters.

    To substantiate the point I quote an incident from the mid-nineties. The Defence Secretary was visiting Paris as part of the Prime Minister’s large entourage. I, as the Military Attaché, spent enough time with him and got a chance to discuss various issues.

    One day I asked him who takes the final decision in case there was a difference of opinion on selection board proceedings between the Army Chief and the MoD.
    “I take the final decision and keep the Raksha Mantri informed,” he said, without even pausing to think. I wasn’t sure I had heard him right. “You mean the Raksha Mantri takes the final decision?” I asked. “No,” he shot back snappily, “I take the final decision and keep the RM informed.” The emphasis on ‘I’ was unmistakable.

    That is where the rub lies. A decision, taken by the Army Chief with the consent of several other senior Lt Generals who constitute the selection board and on a matter of military profession, gets overruled by a bureaucrat, who is not only his junior in the national pecking order but has never himself worn a uniform. Of late there has been a discontent deluge among the otherwise quiet and keep-aloof military veterans. This has manifested itself even in public outpouring of their grievances.

    It is, perhaps, for the first time in India that the veterans in such large numbers have aired their voice publicly. The highly damaging and skewed report of the Sixth Pay Commission has provided them with the much needed common cause. One rank, one pension (OROP) has become their clarion call. They want that two military pensioners who retired after equal service and in the same rank should get equal pension irrespective of the time span separating their retirement date. It literally means “same rank— equal service — equal pension”. This demand has been pending since 1984. Prima facie logic for OROP is irrefutable; at least till date no one has given any cogent or convincing argument against it.

    Almost all mainstream political parties have been including this in their election manifesto and then dumping it. OROP was also included in the President’s opening Address to Parliament in 2004, which makes it a stated government policy. The Sixth Pay Commission has tried to bury the issue. Military veterans feel cheated. For military veterans to take to airing their grievances publicly has been a compulsion rather than a choice. The point was first projected to all the decision-makers of the country through letters and through personal meetings. Reasons for government reluctance in accepting OROP are not comprehensible. Their possible fear that it might lead to a similar demand from others would be unfounded.

    First, because it is only in the military service that an employee is retired early (80 per cent retirees are in their late thirties). Every other government employee serves up to the age of 60 years. Therefore, an ex-serviceman has to see at least four to five pay commissions — when OROP becomes relevant — in his life time as against one or two such commissions by others. His stakes in OROP are thus much higher.

    Secondly, the concept of rank is only peculiar to the defence forces. A military person is always referred to by his/her rank even after death. Others only hold posts and have designations but not ranks.

    Thirdly, whereas other government employees retire by age, the military persons retire by rank; with each promotion to a higher rank getting them two additional years of service.

    Therefore, the fear of all others also seeking a provision sanctioned for the defence personnel lacks logic. Otherwise, they should have been agitating for free rations too. In fact, when the government some time back gave a“one time increment” to the military pensioners, there was not even a whimper from any other service. Nor could financial outlay be a strong inhibiting factor. The Parliamentary Standing Committee in its 2004 report had computed the annual cost of OROP to be Rs 613.78 crore. Even if inflation is factored in, the amount today cannot be too large for the government to handle.

    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (Retd)
    The writer is the Chairman, Steering Committee, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement.
    Orignal article in The Tribune: Why not go in for one rank, one pension?

    India China Conflict 1962

    OP LEGHORN: A Planners Nightmare

    Driving and road conditions
    The nearest Road head and administrative base was at Tawang, 100 Kms away from the location of our forward troops. Only a one-ton one way fair weather road connected Tawang from the foothills. This road followed a circuitous path with steep gradients requiring great skill on the part of the drivers and the vehicles to be in first class mechanical condition. Even the slightest miscalculation on part of the driver while negotiating bends could land the vehicle in the ravines often three to four thousand feet deep. Quite often there were delays due to the road being cut off by avalanches and extensive damage caused during the monsoons.

    Stocking and maintenance
    Further stocking and maintenance beyond Tawang was carried out by animal transport and porters.7 Infantry Brigade had been allotted only two Animal Transport (AT) Companies which were inadequate. At places, even the mules were found to be of little use due to the weak log bridges, which could not take the weight of laden animals. Besides, the maintenance of the AT companies itself further added to the problems. The shortage of ponies and porters was so great that units were moved without their full complement of even first line ammunition, thus severely restricting the availability of fire power to the troops.

    Air Maintenance
    Our troops had, therefore, to depend largely on air maintenance. It was estimated that the total requirement of airlift for both 2 and 4 Infantry Divisions was 260 Tons daily where as the airlift available amounted to not more than 80 Tons daily due to non availability of aircraft. There was also an acute shortage of supply dropping equipment, which was required to be salvaged and returned. Even the quality of supply dropping equipment was poor. In one case, vitally needed guns airdropped at Tsangdhar were damaged beyond repair when the parachutes failed to open.

    Improvised Dropping Zones
    For the maintenance of the troops at Dhola area, two improvised dropping zones were commissioned at Tsangdhar and Lumpu. Both these dropping zones were above 4500M with inadequate flat space. Approaches to these were hazardous and the pilots had to be careful not to over fly, as otherwise they would be above Chinese posts. With these constraints, the air supply proved to be extremely costly and ineffective. Quite often the supplies fell into inaccessible ravines and were irretrievable Supply of stores from the dropping zones to the forward troops involved a number of days turnaround. In the case of Lumpu, It meant going along the Namka Chu with a turn round of seven days.

    (Extract from History of the Army Service Corps)
    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Chinese troops launch a massive attack on Indian positions in NEFA on 20 Oct 1962. Over the next 31 days, the numerically superior People's Liberation Army overruns poorly equipped Indian troops. The Chinese almost reach the plains of Assam before declaring a unilateral ceasefire. Over 2400 Indian officers and soldiers died in the conflict. The plain fact is: a psychologically ill prepared and physically unacclimatized Indian Army was thoroughly defeated by the Chinese. So what has changed in the 45 years since then?
    1962 war zone, revisited

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    SCPC: Action Plan 06 July 2008

    IESL/353/VI/2008 June 2008
    All State/UT Leagues Presidents

    ACTION PLAN: PROTEST 6TH Central Pay Commission

    1. In view of the ongoing protests against the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission, the Steering Committee (IESL) has decided that all the State Leagues should organise their own activities to express their protest in the form of memoranda and leaflets (not mass rallies). For the leaflets, the suggested contents with the heading “Know Your Soldier” is attached at Appendix. You may like to get it translated in your own local language and the leaflets to be distributed at prominent places. The memoranda may be submitted to your respective Chief Minister/Local MLA and Members of Parliament. The major demands to be included are as under:-

    (a) OROP- One Rank One Pension

    (b) Mandatory matching placements upto age of 60 years for all ranks who retire early. If the placements are not possible, they should be compensated by granting 75% pay in the form of pension till the age of 60 years.

    (c) Appointment of Ex-Servicemen Commission with constitutional powers like Minority Commission/ Women Commission to ensure a uniform policy for implementation in each State with regards to welfare of Ex-Servicemen.

    (d) Nominating Military Veterans as members of any Commission appointed by Govt for Military veterans activities/ welfare.

    2. It is also suggested that concerned Members of Parliament from your area be requested to raise these issues in parliament during the Monsoon Session. A Public Awareness campaign may also be launched regarding the difficulties faced by the Armed Forces and Military Veterans.

    R K S Gulia
    Brig (Retd)
    President, IESL


    1. The norms of recruitment into the Defence Services are universally much more stricter than civilian counterparts.

    2. Almost 97% of those enrolled as Soldiers are retired after just 17 years of service, when they are only 36 - 45 years of age & when their financial liabilities are the greatest.

    3. During these 17 years, a Soldier stays away from his family for almost ALL the time. He cannot look after his family, does NOT see his children growing up & their education suffers greatly.

    4. During these 17 years of service, a Soldier spends an average of 12 years in remote, undeveloped & inhospitable locations. This includes several years in Insurgency affected & High Altitudes are as where winter temperatures go down to Minus 50 degrees, as in SIACHIN.

    5. Military life is a 'Round The Clock' commitment; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days in the year. For those deployed in Operational areas, there are NO Sundays, holidays or even working hours.

    6. A Soldier's daily existance is extremely hard, full of perpetual danger & risks to life. Even when there is no war, more than 500 Soldiers & Officers die every year fighting Counter Militancy Operations in different parts of Iour country.

    7. The voluntary 'Code of Conduct' of a Soldier demands of him a much higher order of Discipline & Public Behaviour.

    8. Military Service entails voluntary surrender of certain Fundamental Rights like Right to Life, unlike in Civil Services.

    9. Military Laws are much sticter and the degree of punishments awarded are much higher.

    10. A Soldier can be transfered anywhere in the World & he has NO right to appeal against his moves.

    11. A Soldier has to maintain 100% fitness all the time. Even a slight disability can render him unfit for further Military Service.

    12. Every year, 5500 Soldiers are invalidated out of Service because of strict medical norms.

    14. There is NO provision to guarantee any second job to the soldier from the time he retires young - till his age of 60 years, which is the retiring age for all Non - Military Government employees.

    15. On retiring, a Soldier gets a measly Pension of ONLY Rs 2,713/-, per month which is highly insufficient for him to sustain himself and his remaining liabilities for life.

    Avoiding Broken Arrows: Nuclear Assets

    Broken Arrow refers to an accidental event that involves nuclear weapons, warheads or components, but which does not create the risk of nuclear war. These include:
  • Accidental or unexplained nuclear detonation.
  • Non-nuclear detonation or burning of a nuclear weapon.
  • Radioactive contamination.
  • Loss in transit of nuclear asset with or without its carrying vehicle.
  • Jettisoning of a nuclear weapon or nuclear component.
  • Public hazard, actual or implied.

    Not much is known in public domain about India's Nuclear weaponisation programme or its grassroot functioning or safety aspects. But in the wake of disturbing news reports from other places, newly- created Indian Strategic Forces command and other agencies responsible for safe handling, custody, utilisation, etc, of our military nuclear assets must take neccessary steps outlined in the article at: Hindustan Times:Avoiding broken arrows

    Maj Gen Raj Mehta (Retd)
  • Economics of Barrel of Oil

    What is Barrel of Oil
    Now hovering at $140
    One barrel of oil is the same as:
    159 litres (8 buckets of water)
    The weight of a barrel depends on where the oil comes from However, there are about 8 barrels in a tonne.
    1 Gal(US Liq)= 3.78541 L

    Present cost $144
    1 L Petrol in Chennai (India)= Rs55.00
    1 Gallon in US= $4
    1 L gasoline in US= 160/3.785= Rs42.20

    Projected Cost at $200 a barrel
    1 gallon in US= $6
    1 L in India= Rs80.00

    The standard barrel of crude oil or other petroleum product (abbreviated bbl) is 42 US gallons (34.972 Imperial gallons or 158.987 L). This measurement originated in the early Pennsylvania oil fields, and permitted both British and American merchants to refer to the same unit, based on the old English wine measure, the tierce.

    Earlier, another size of whiskey barrel was the most common size; this was the 40 US gallons (33.3 imp gal/151.4 L) barrel for proof spirits, which was of the same volume as 5 US bushels. However, by 1866 the oil barrel was standardized at 42 US gallons.

    Oil is not actually shipped in barrels since the introduction of oil tankers, but the 42-US-gallon size is still used as a unit for measurement, pricing, and in tax and regulatory codes. Each barrel is refined into about 25 gallons of gasoline, the rest becoming other products such as jet fuel and heating oil, using fractional distillation.

    Oil passes $144 to set yet another record
    World Bank warns G-8 group: World is entering "danger zone"

    Saluting Sam Bahadur: Field Marshal Manekshaw

    A commission of MOD was looking into the matter of increasing the pay of Armed Forces. When they were discussing to increase the separation allowance (which is given when soldier is posted in a non family station) for the defence forces. The commission asked Sam why this should be increased. Then Sam Bahadur told them that in 1940 he was posted far away from his family for 3 years and he could not see his family. When he came back his wife had given birth to a daughter. Then he added that the only reason for him to believe that she was his daughter was that her face resembled him. This reason was good enough to increase the so called separation allowance.

    Media coverage:
    Saluting Sam Bahadur
    Obama woos Indians with Manekshaw message
    India's Warrant of Precedence does not include Marshals?
    Manekshaw funeral: Antony's face-saving exercise
    Top honours for Sam Bahadur's last journey
    With his charm, Manekshaw won hearts more than wars
    Lone minister represents govt at Manekshaw's funeral
    Farewell Sam Bahadur
    Saluting Sam
    Sam Manekshaw given final salute
    I am always ready sweetie, General Manekshaw told Indira
    Bahadur Sam A billion people salute their hero
    NDTV: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw dies

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    Nuclear endgame Unclear

    Uninterrupted power generation is essential for the overall development of our Nation. In quantitative terms, the per capita consumption of electric energy is regarded as an indicative parameter of the socio economic growth rate of a nation. The present per capita generation is around 1.1 Kwh per day whereas the demand is around 5.5 kwh per day. We need to plan for projected Power generation to the tune of 6 times present generation to cope with the economic boom or else the economic boom will become elusive like the distant rainbow and just fade away.

    Apart from coal, fossil fuels, hydro, windmill, solar the only other option is Nuclear Power if at all the Nation wants to sustain its economic front. The prices of fossil fuels are bound to gallop and cost of power production will also swell. The only sane solution seems to be Nuclear Power Reactors which are economically a viable option.

    NDTV:UPA-Left divorce countdown over N-deal begins
    FACTBOX-Scheduled events as India nuclear deal crisis deepens

    Married Accomodation for the Defence Forces

    The government is implementing the Married Accommodation Project (MAP) for providing adequate married accommodation for Defence Services Personnel with a view to mitigate the problems faced by the Armed Forces Personnel. The project is being implemented as a welfare measure with the objective of improving the living conditions of personnel of Army, Air Force and Navy. It envisages the construction of nearly 2,00,000 dwelling units at an estimated cost of Rs 17,358 crores in four phases.

    Adhere to Time Lines of Married Accommodation Projects- Antony to officials

    Comment: There is undue high pressure for accommodation in the cities where good facility for Schools and Colleges exist. The quantum of separated family quarters need to be raised, so that Officers and Jawans while serving in field area are able to provide their family a secure location for education of their children. Many officers and Jawans wish to serve in Field Areas so that the children's education does not get disturbed. Another pressure area is Delhi where senior officers would like to serve, retire and settle down. One needs to give careful thought so that the married accommodation so created does not go unoccupied, which otherwise becomes an idle and wasteful investment. It is essential to have statistics of Married Accommodation lying vacant and methods found to generate revenue from them.

    Fossil Fuel: "Are We 'Running Out'? Look at Chennai City!

    Chennai Petrol Bunks run dry for the third day

    Oil will not just "run out" because all oil production follows a bell curve. This is true whether we're talking about an individual field, a country, or on the planet as a whole.

    Oil is increasingly plentiful on the upslope of the bell curve, increasingly scarce and expensive on the down slope. The peak of the curve coincides with the point at which the endowment of oil has been 50 percent depleted. Once the peak is passed, oil production begins to go down while cost begins to go up.

    In practical and considerably oversimplified terms, this means that if 2005 was the year of global Peak Oil, worldwide oil production in the year 2030 will be the same as it was in 1980. However, the world’s population in 2030 will be both much larger (approximately twice) and much more industrialized (oil-dependent) than it was in 1980. Consequently, worldwide demand for oil will outpace worldwide production of oil by a significant margin. As a result, the price will skyrocket, oil dependant economies will crumble, and resource wars will explode.

    The issue is not one of "running out" so much as it is not having enough to keep our economy running. In this regard, the ramifications of Peak Oil for our civilization are similar to the ramifications of dehydration for the human body. The human body is 70 percent water. The body of a 80 Kg man thus holds 50Kg of water. Because water is so crucial to everything the human body does, the man doesn't need to lose all 50 Kg of water weight before collapsing due to dehydration. A loss of as little as 4 to 5 Kg of water may be enough to kill him.

    In a similar sense, an oil based economy such as ours doesn't need to deplete its entire reserve of oil before it begins to collapse. A shortfall between demand and supply as little as 10 to 15 percent is enough to wholly shatter an oil-dependent economy and reduce its citizenry to poverty.

    Chennai city is the embryonic sample of the future Metropolis and the picture it is likely to paint. The Politicians however mighty they claim have little control over fossil fuel pricing, demand and supply. The truth is the bitter pill. The Rural India is a safer bet to survive. Please click on the link below to learn about future of fossil fuel availability and the reality.
    Fossil Fuels Can it Last
    No fuel in Chennai!

    Field Marshal Manekshaw: Sad Signal to the Soldier

    There would be immediate, strong refutal of any suggestion of sinister motives underlying the disturbingly low-key political and military representation at the Sam Manekshaw requiem. Maybe there were none: but that would invite even more worrying interpretations ~ of indifference, ingratitude. Either way, what transpired in the Nilgiris was indicative of how, as a nation and a people, we have abandoned all graces. To extend that sentiment (rather, absence of it) even further, of re-confirmation that our military attracts only jingoistic lip-service.

    The defence minister claims prior political engagements, an indication of priorities. The navy and air force chiefs (the army chief is abroad) have offered no public explanation. Yet had the Prime Minister opted to visit Wellington and pay homage ~ as Indira Gandhi would certainly have done (Manekshaw made one of his rare trips to New Delhi for her cremation) ~ a host of others would have followed. That Sam was sinking was evident at least 24 hours before he eventually laid down his sword and shield, time enough for schedules to be reworked. Comparisons suck, but had a political figure passed away the national leadership would have gone beyond issuing condolence messages and sending wreaths. Manekshaw was not just a successful military man, he was a national icon who at one point in time was held in such esteem that the politicians got jittery. But great soldier that he was, he never sought to transgress the defining lines of political, civilian and military responsibilities. Recognition of just that single facet of his myriad personality ought to have caused those making pretence to leadership to salute him one last time.

    Regretfully, it is not just Sam who has been slighted. The defence community, already under severe strain, might well “see” that against the backdrop of being overworked, underpaid and generally ignored by the powers-that-be. Already some retired officers are expressing dismay, those still in service must suffer in silence. The impact on morale can only be negative. Yet if there was a single point to Manekshaw’s magic it was that he kept morale sky-high. Admittedly attending a funeral is essentially a gesture, but in a community like the military where the heart rules as much as the head, gestures have wholesome impact.

    Can amends be made? In all humility The Statesman would make bold to recommend that, with the approval of his family, a selection of Manekshaw’s effects be brought to the Capital and constitute the core of the long overdue National War Memorial. Other nations pay homage at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier; we can honour our military martyrs around memorabilia of our most hallowed one.

    Editorial from The Statesman Tuesday, 1 July 2008

    Graceless, demeaning: Sad Signal to the Soldier

    Comment: This article has been reproduced as it echos the sentiments of all ESM and Serving Soldiers. The best tribute would be an edifice to honour each and every Soldier. This can only be the National War Memorial which is still eluding the Nation.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    South Block: Tenure at Army Headquarters as recollected by a Signal Officer

    MoD: AK Anthony and his team of Bureaucrats

    After the LDMC course life took another turn in that I was posted to Army HQ PMO PLAN AREN (Project Management Organisation Plan Army Radio Engineered Net Work) then housed on the basement of South Block despite my explicit request to the powers that be for a posting to any where but Delhi.

    With no space to place a table and chair for me I was asked if I had any leave to my credit and on getting an affirmative reply and with a sigh of relief I was promptly dispatched on two months leave. I was also handed over a brown envelope from MS Branch with a cryptic note inside that I have been cleared for the next rank which took ages to come. With the emergency in force we were advised to be discrete and careful when on phone it was said that 10% of all the calls were monitored.

    Delhi posting is stressful to start with. New job new environment under standing protocol and procedure dealing with a new entity called MOD. Every thing at top priority required immediately, leaving little time for settling down, children’s admission, and changing houses and so forth: by the time one gets proper accommodation once again it is time moving to another station another posting. Over time, one also develops firm roots difficult to uproot once again.

    Brig Basu the Director PMO Plan AREN was on of the technical pillars of the Corps with his main attention on the development of the new generation equipment for the Plan he had given scant thought to the fielding of the concept. Lt Gen Sapra the So-in-C back from a recent visit to UK where he was the witness to the fielding of the British Army’s own Area Grid Network named ‘Ptarmigan’ was paranoid about the how where and when of the fielding of our own Plan resulting in daily tense encounters between the two of them leaving them at the end flustered. The tension would also percolate down to us in the Project; most stressful, for us the system managers, were the weekly briefings, under the shadow of the on going feud, to the So-in C. Soon, as a knee- jerk reaction Sapra brought in Brig Shymal Ghosh as the Director.

    Ghosh with a pleasant demeanour excellent command of the language, articulate and with diplomatic manners a former military attaché at Prague was an enigma. As and when we would enter his office with a problem, we would receive a lot of tea and sympathy, patient listening and platitudes and after some nice time spent with him come out quite happy. However, we would have not received any suggestions or directions from him, leaving us to tackle the problem on our own. In retrospect it was not a bad management technique to follow at least it made his staff self reliant.

    As System Manager (I) responsible for the induction of the new generation equipment Net radios, Radio relay, Automatic Electronic Switch, Electronic exchanges, Radio trunk and local extensions secrecy equipment among others for the Area grid System of communication planned to be fielded under the project I was controlling a very large budget.

    The budget preparation a long exhaustive and exhausting exercise commenced with discussions of developing and production with agencies like TFIR, BEL and ITI their projections for the year being then converted in to figures based on a well tried formula of 20 % advance followed by progressive advances based on the progress of development and production.

    I would prepare the draft budget in accordance with the format under two heads ‘New measures and Maintenance’ and obtain the Director’s approval. BE (Budget Estimates) were finalised only after protracted discussions and concurrence of Defence Finance in between I had also to satisfy the Directorate of Financial Planning under DCOAS in respect of the Foreign Exchange requirements which with extreme shortages was at a premium those days.

    Nearing the RE (Revised Estimates) stage would start my efforts to pressurise the Financial Directors of the agencies involved to draw the funds in accordance with their projections but with little success. With massive slippages from their optimistic projections the face of the budget at the RE would change drastically necessitated major changes down words. The Actuals had no resemblance with the B.E. and not even the R.E., leaving me red-faced this happening more than once with me persisting with the formula I was soon dubbed a perpetual optimistic by Ghosh.

    How I a lowly Lt Col posted at Army HQ happened to encounter the high and mighty no less than the Defence Minister himself merits narrating. It was closing time one evening when with the Director away most of us were in the process of closing our brief cases (generally used for carrying the pack lunch from home and possibly the newspaper) when an urgent call was received from the ministry that the Defence Minister desired to be briefed about the Project. With the Dy Director showing little enthusiasm and other system managers also opting out with one excuse or other, the onerous task fell to my lot. With my briefcase bulkier stuffed with the Project files in addition to the now empty Tiffin box, I walked to the South Block from Sena Bhawan, climbed the staircase to the first floor and with extreme apprehension presented myself at the door of the ministers ’s office.

    How I briefed the minister in the next half hour or so of the complex Project and what he under stood from my briefing is for one to guess. However it must have gone well since after a few questions and my clarifications he appeared to be satisfied thanked me and released me from his august presence.

    I had now the daunting task, left without transport, the bus having left long back and the whole area now deserted with no hope of finding a taxi or some other transport of some how to find my way back to the flat in SP Marg officers enclave. It was once again Jeet, my dear wife, who saved the situation for me. Getting worried with my not showing up at the normal time, she had driven in our faithful Herald down to Sena Bhawan and was desperately searching for me in the now deserted complex, when she happen to notice me trudging down from the South Block side, she heaved relief. I was equally relieved to notice the familiar green car in distance and quickened my pace and changing seats with her drove us home in cheer.

    Brig Ghosh extremely conscious of PR was appalled when he learnt about my briefing the defence minister the previous evening, and not too sure as to how the briefing by me would have gone he now became a worried person. With a view to retrieve the situation, as perceived by him, he got some charts and display boards prepared by the draftsman {Power Point Presentations and LCD projectors were still in the distant future) for the ensuing steering committee meeting to be presided by the defence minister himself. What the members understood from his briefing and if at at all they were any wiser by looking at the diagram depicting the grid with a multitude of triangles joined by a number of lines is best judged as none had any doubts as to what the triangles and inverted triangles represented.

    The weekly audience with Sapra, that were started during the time of Basu continued with the associated pre and post interview tensions, till the arrival of Brig Shanker Mehrotra replacing Ghosh and there hangs a tale.

    It was only a few days after his taking over that it was my turn to brief the So-in-C and as was the practice I walked in the Director’s room. Mehrotra was appalled to learn about the practice being followed, and asked me to return to my table, picked up some papers and briskly walked towards the corner room, on the sixth floor, the tigers den. I am nor privy to what happened between the two but to our utter relief the weekly tortures came to an end.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    SCPC: Jawans fate depends on political leadership

    It is not in the national interest to have a demotivated military. The cases of corruption in the military along with accompanying court-martials are also initial indicators of how a fine institution may rapidly degrade once its honour is compromised.

    India must again be reminded of the three forms of security — national security, food security and economic security — provided by the jawan, kisan and the entrepreneur respectively. The kisan is still struggling despite the belated Rs 60,000-crore package, and a food shortage is forecast for India by 2020. The fate of the jawan depends on the political leadership. The entrepreneur, fortunately, is carrying on the ancient Indian tradition of generating wealth and has made India relevant to some extent in today’s world of realpolitik.

    Indians need to remember a time-tested saying, which it has ignored for centuries: "There will always be soldiers on your land. If they are not yours, then they will be someone else’s." The only thing worse than poverty is loss of independence.

    Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, NM (Retd)

    Read the full article at: Jawans’ fate depends on political leadership

    The son of an Army Officer, Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh was born on 25 April 1947 in Almora (Uttaranchal State of India) and joined the National Defence Academy as a cadet in 1964. Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh is the senior most submariner in the Indian Navy. He was commissioned on 01 Jan 1969, and served on ships (including a deployment to Sri Lanka during an insurgency situation in early 1971) before joining the Submarine Arm in 1971. As a Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander, he served on various submarines, the Submarine Base INS Virbahu and Submarine School INS Satavahana. Vice Admiral Arun Kumar Singh retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in- Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam.

    People from all walks of life pay homage to FM Sam Manekshaw

    A SOLDIER’S GENERAL: Defence Minister A.K. Antony paying homage to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw with Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh; Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major; Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor; and Navy Chief Sureesh Mehta at India Gate in New Delhi on Monday.

    NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony and the three service chiefs along with hundreds of people from all walks of life on Monday paid homage to the soldier’s general, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who passed away in Tamil Nadu last week.

    Gen Kapoor announced the dedication of a project for higher military learning in Delhi to the memory of the Field Marshal. This centre will also house an Army-backed think tank, the Centre for Land Warfare Studies.

    Photo: VV Krishnan
    People from all walks of life pay homage to FM Sam Manekshaw

    SCPC: Services can do better being “lean and mean"

    There have been some news reports stating that a fresh package as suggested by the empowered group of secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar is to be finalised during Thursday’s meeting.

    Rubbishing these reports, officials clarified that the fresh pay package as suggested by the empowered group of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar is not ready yet. “These are just pressure tactics being adopted by the armed forces, “sources claimed.

    “With the inflation rates going up, expecting more funds from the government for not only modernisation plans but also for new pay packages not going to be easy,” said the officer.

    Armed forces may have to wait for fresh pay package

    Comment: The Defence Forces need to rethink on its lifestyle in terms of tactics and strategy. Building up false hopes will embitter the serving soldiers and Ex Servicemen. Do the Armed Forces have to create pressure tactics? Let the Generals put on the thinking caps and come out with viable solutions to keep the troops motivated. If only the resources and welfare funds at the command of Armed Forces alone are utilised judiciously the life of Serving and Ex Servicemen can be improved without looking over one's shoulders and depending on the Government to improve harsh conditions which a Jawan's family has to endure in Service or as ESM.

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    UPA's death blow to the morale of Indian Military

    I am presenting below the list of great PVC Awardees: It is not possible for me to present the photographs of all the PVC Awardees

    1. IC—521, Major Somnath Sharma, 4 Kumaon, 03 November 1947, Kashmir (posthumous).
    2. 27373, Naik Jadunath Singh, 4 Guards (former 1 Rajput), 06 February 1948, Kashmir (posthumous).
    3. SS-14246, 2nd Lt. Rama Raghoba Rane, Corps of Engineers, 08 April 1948, Kashmir.
    4. 2831592, Company Havildar Major Piru Singh, 6 Rajputana Rifles, 18 July 1948, Kashmir (posthumous).
    5. IC-22356, Lance Naik Karam Singh, 1 Sikh, 13 October 1948, Kashmir.
    6. IC-8497, Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria, 3/1 Gurkha Rifles, 05 December 1961, Congo (posthumous).
    7. IC-7990, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, 1/8 Gurkha Rifles, 21 October 1962, Ladakh.
    8. JC-4547, Subedar Joginder Singh, 1 Sikh, 23 October 1962, North-East Frontier Agency (posthumous).
    9. IC-7990 Major Shaitan Singh, 13 Kumaon, 18 November 1962, Rezang La (posthumous).
    10. 2639885, Company Havildar Major Abdul Hamid, 4 Grenadiers, 10 September 1965, Khem-Karan (posthumous).
    11. IC-5565, Lieutenant Colonel Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore, 17 Poona Horse, 16 September 1965, Pakistan (posthumous).
    12. 4239746, Lance Naik Albert Ekka, 14 Guards, 04 December 1971, Gangasagar (posthumous).
    13. 10877 (P), Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, No.18 Squadron, 14 December 1971, Kashmir (posthumous).
    14. IC-25067, 2nd Lt. Arun Khetarpal, 17 Poona Horse, 16 December 1971, Shakargarh, (posthumous).
    15. IC-14608, Major Hoshiar Singh, 3 Grenadiers, 17 December 1971, Basantar River, Shakargarh.
    16. JC-155825, Naik Subedar Bana Singh, 8 JAK LI, 26 June 1987, Siachen Glacier, Jammu & Kashmir.
    17. IC-32907 Major Ramaswamy Parmeshwaran, 8 Mahar, 25 November 1987, Sri Lanka (posthumous).
    18. IC-56959, Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Manoj Kumar Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha Rifles, 03 July 1999, Kargil (posthumous).
    19. 2690572, Grenadier Yogender Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers, 04 July 1999, Kargil.
    20. IC-57556, Captain Vikram Batra, 13 JAK Rifles, 07 July 1999, Kargil (posthumous).
    21. 13760533, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles, 04 July 1999, Flat Area Top, Kargil.

    There must be a separate Hall of Fame for the Armed Forces of India inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. The photographs of all the PVC Awardees (with full details relating to their deeds of valour) should be displayed there. This Hall of Fame should be maintained by the Chief's of Staff Committee. The present UPA government is totally incapable of this kind of selfless national vision.

    V Sundaram
    Retired IAS Officer

    Comment: Please read the full five part gripping articles (links to which are given below) of the "Services and Sacrifices" rendered by the Defence Forces to preserve the integrity of the nation. The fourth episode dwells on the contributions of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. This well written series is authored by passionate patriot V Sundaram. We thank him for placing the Defence Forces in the true perspective and also for the wonderful photographs.

    UPA's death blow to the morale of Indian Military-IV
    UPA's death blow to the morale of Indian Military-III
    UPA's death blow to the morale of Indian Military-II
    UPA's death blow to the morale of Indian Military-I
    UPA's death blow to the morale of Indian military-V

    Sunday, June 29, 2008

    Indian Army crystal gazing and the siege within

    Crystal gazing
    Facing a shortage of 11,500 officers, the Army has indicated to its leadership that it will take up to 20 years of best efforts to fill up the vacancies. The most number opting to quit the force - was required to keep Pre Mature Retirement rates at existing levels.

    "A large number of middle-rungers, who are well-trained and experienced, are already disillusioned with the service due to low salaries and lesser promotion avenues. It will become increasingly difficult to retain these officers," the officer pointed out. The study, discussed at the Army Commanders Conference, needs political approval for implementation immediately.
    Army's crystal gazing: 20 yrs needed to fill 11,500 vacancies

    Siege within
    Within the force itself there is a major worry about increasing nepotism. Many officers openly speak of personal and regimental loyalties rather than merit increasingly deciding promotions and postings.

    In the past the trend was limited to a general picking one of his regimental boys as his ADC or Military Assistant but today it goes much beyond that. The fact that more and more officers are today taking recourse to civilian courts to settle promotion and posting disputes is a testimony to this trend.

    The combination of these factors has now resulted in an increasing trend of officers leaving the force mid-way. Between 2004 and 2006 alone more than 1,000 officers have quit the army. The number of officers who have sought premature retirement this year alone is reportedly more than a 1,000 -- almost equal to the number who left in the past three years.

    Many leave despite brilliant careers since they feel there is too much bureaucracy within the system and too little opportunities for growth. And replacements are not coming in as fast. Is it any wonder that there is a 40 per cent shortage of officers at the cutting edge level in the rank of captains and majors?

    But instead of tackling the issue as a larger challenge of strategy, we have sought to find answers internally by increasing posts in senior ranks making the system top-heavy and enhancing retiring ages. On the other hand, what the defence forces need is a much younger manpower, and, of high calibre. But getting the right candidates is becoming increasingly difficult.
    NDTV: Indian Army Siege within

    Comment: Corruption, indiscipline and poor leadership traits are also factors eating into the very vitals of command and control. This trend needs to be arrested if the PMR rates are to be check mated. Can pay increases by SCPC alone check the middle rung Officers exodus? Sad that the Army Commander's conference is another bureaucratic bundle to keep the over staffed Generals busy with paper work!

    Challenges of Commanding a Signal Regiment

    With the high technical efficiency achieved and the regiment's ability to deliver the goods both during exercises and while at Ranchi had earned it a good name. In the mean time, new blood was also getting injected in the Div HQ and by now I also had gained experience and I could take a stand against the usual unreasonable demands by the staff.

    Peace time Social and Cultural activities do create more tensions and have their own dynamics. Mrs Kulkarni the wife of the GOC decided to organise a husbands night. The lady wife of one of the Brigade Commander was made responsible for the catering arrangements for the function along with the wife of Commander Signals. In a sense it became the responsibility of the Signal Regiment. The lady perched on her high pedestal expected Jeet to report and consult her on daily basis while showing little interest or active involvement in the arrangements.

    Though the function especially the catering part was a grand success it did not prevent the exalted lady from making a complaint to the GOC’s wife, about her being ignored and sidelined by Jeet, on the days preceding the function. Next it was the C Arty threatening my wife with dire consequences unless she showed due courtesies to his wife. Once again the exalted lady expected Jeet to get up and receive her or something like that during the periodic Lady’s Club meets, little realising that he was crossing sword some one made of a different mettle who not prepared to cow down to his empty threats and his wife’s unreasonable expectations. Fortunately both the incidents were soon blown over.

    Many incidents stand out from those eventful and days of stress. To cite one I was detailed as an umpire during an exercise held some where near Mathura in UP when The Chief of Army Staff decided to visit the Division at Ranchi and also his itinerary included a visit to the Signal Regiment.

    With me away from Ranchi it was then that Jeet took charge of the situation and showed the mettle she was made of and the CO’s capable wife. A message was flashed to me at the Exercise location about the impending visit. Fortunately I was relieved from my duty and permitted to return to the Ranchi Mathura to Gaya by train from where I was picked up midnight and driven in the Jonga through the dacoit infested Gaya- Hazaribagh- Ranchi road best avoided in night, giving me time to think even if not in a position to plan for the activity the next day.

    Reaching Ranchi late night/ early morning I was briefed and updated by an excited Jeet who was in a tearing hurry on what was the day’s programme, what had been done and what all she had managed in her area of interest the Welfare Centre and family quarters not forgetting my uniform with leather of the peak cap, belt and the boots given an extra shine; all ready and laid for me to put on and reach the regiment in good time to receive the Chief: no doubt a signal honour for me.

    Though I had full faith in my unit and the personal it could have been a disaster if she had not taken the initiative to get things moving.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw the greatest military leader

    General V P Malik has truly said that the Field Marshal was the greatest military leader since independence. Unfortunately, it is not right to qualify the decision of the Centre to to accord a state funeral to him as a 'rare gesture'. He was a Field Marshal for life. So he has died in harness and is entitled to the State funeral that was given to him. While the absence of the Supreme Commander, the Head of Government and Defence Minister at the funeral tell the sordid story of myopia that has afflicted the people holding the reins of the nation, the absence of the service chiefs at the function forebodes ill for the services themselves and the nation.
    May the departed soul rest in peace!

    Maj P M Ravindran (Retd)

    Tail Piece:
    General Thimayya's favourites- mainly Lt Gen SPP Thorat, JN Choudhuri and Manekshaw- were sidelined during the Thapar- Kaul days. Thorat, who was a contender for the chief's post against Thapar, retired as a Lt Gen. Thapar and Kaul also tried to block Manekshaw's promotion by instituting a frivolous inquiry against him.

    The fortunes of Choudhuri and Manekshaw looked up after the Thapar- Kaul duo goofed up the 1962 war. Thapar resigned forthwith, and was succeeded as chief by Choudhuri. Thapar later managed an ambassadorship in Afghanistan. It is said, Thapar's Kabul appointment papers were the last papers signed by Nehru. Kaul had to quit in disgrace; he was succeeded by Sam Manekshaw as IV corps commander.

    Politician turned Serving Generals can doom the performance of Defence Forces. History will judge the present team of Generals at the helm of affairs!

    Karan Thapar's Hatchet Job on Sam Bahadur


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