Saturday, September 12, 2009

Welfare Ex- Servicemen: Responses to OROP as understood by Capt Praveen Davar

Mr Praveen Davar,
I am afraid you seem to have no knowledge at all of the feelings of neglect and hurt being felt by the Defence Services Veterans as a result of the step motherly treatment received by them consequent to the 6th Pay Commission, the unfulfilled promises made by the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister and the President during her address to the Parliament Regarding OROP.

The status of the Military, their pays and pensions have been continuously down graded/ reduced when ever the Congress Party has been in power. It has reached the lowest as a result of the 6th Pay Commission Report.

The present President of the Congress Party/ Chair person of UPA and the young budding leader have not said a word to assuage the feelings of hurt of the Veterans or listened to them with patience. They are too busy politicking and have no time even to meet the Defence veterans who have paid supreme sacrifices to defend the integrity of the Nation. Repeated requests for a meeting have borne no fruit. Isn't this a sad happening and attitude of disinterest and neglect of the Congress Leadership??

The UPA Government and its top political functionaries do not deserve any thanks from the Veterans. It is a Government run by the bureaucrats who have garnered the maximum pays, promotion prospects and thrown some crumbs to the Defence Services Veterans. The Political leadership has failed to give them appropriate directions. What has been doled out is inadequate and some of its provisions illogical and insufficient.

This has resulted in thousands of Veterans resorting to agitational approach, fasts and returning their service and gallantry medals to the Supreme Commander. THIS HAS HAPPENED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR COUNTRY, AND ALL DUE TO INTRANSIGENCE OF UPA GOVERNMENT AND ITS POLITICAL LEADERSHIP.

God save our country, where the Defence Veterans have to agitate to try and get their Pensions and the top political leadership does not even meet them!!! The UPA Government and its Chairperson and political leadership need to introspect. Their lack of empathy and interest for the Defence Personnel bodes ill for the security of the Nation.

The Defence Services Veterans are well versed in courtesies and will certainly thank the UPA or any other Government, as and when it is deserved.
Harbhajan Singh
Lt Gen (Retd) Param Vashisht Seva Medal

Dear Praveen,
I fully understand and appreciate your institutional loyalties. While these certainly are concessions, but none of these is even remotely related to OROP. The report does not touch equating pre 1.1.2006 with post 1.1.2006 pensioners which is the essence of OROP.
While you may be perfectly justified in highlighting these as UPA concessions to the Ex Servicemen, grouping these under the heading of OROP unfortunately amounts to misleading the pensioners.
Best regards,
Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
Chairman IESM

Letter from Praveen
I am forwarding below an extract from the recommendation of the committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary in respect of OROP which have been approved recently by the UPA Government.
On the basis of MoD’s proposal and some initiatives of the Finance Ministry/Cabinet Secretariat the following have been approved by Government:
(i) Inclusion of classification allowance for PBORs from 1.1.06.
(ii) Removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years from 1.1.06
(iii) Revision of Lt. General Pension after carving out a separate pay scale for them.
[These proposals emanate from Sixth CPC’s Report and are to be implemented w.e.f. 1.1.06].
(iv) Bringing parity between pension of pre and post 10.10.97 PBOR pensioners
(v) Further improving PBOR pensions based on award of GoM, 2006.
[These are new concessions aimed at improving the pension of PBORs, hence the benefit would be given prospectively].
(vi) Broadbanding of percentage of disability/ war injury pension for pre-1.1.96 pensioners from a prospective date.
(vii) Removal of cap on war injury element of pension since the existing cap denies full benefit of war injury element. This shall be effected prospectively.

The UPA government deserves our grateful thanks for approving the recommendation on OROP. I shall be grateful if you could kindly give the above wide publicity and email this to all Ex-Servicemen in contact with you.
With regards.
Capt Praveen Davar (Retd)
Secretary, AICC

IESM: Medal Deposit 13 Sep 2009

Dear Friends,
1. Protest against injustice in a dignified, disciplined and lawful manner is our right. The Govt continues to deny us our legitimate demands, OROP being the Primary Demand.
2. Deposit of our hard earned medals with the President is the most dignified method of protest. So far, our deposits have been in thousands. From now onwards,let us deposit medals in lakhs. This will be the most effective method of protest to make the Govt see reasons to our demands.
3. Tomorrow, the 13 Sep 2009, join hands and volunteer to deposit medals at Jantar–Mantar, New Delhi from 9 AM to 2 PM. The IESM delegation will proceed to Rashtrapati Bhawan at 3 PM to deposit the medals with the President. Let all ESM show solidarity for our cause of “Getting Justice”.
4. An advertisement given in Hindi Newspaper (Dainik Jagaran) dated 12 Sep 2009 is as above. Please make copies and send to all the ESM. All state, district, city tehsil convenors and all ESM organisations are requested to translate it into local languages and pass on to maximum ESM.
With Kind Regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

Dreading the Dragon by Shekhar Gupta

Dear Sir,
"Dreading the Dragon" by Shekhar Gupta of September 12, click me makes for interesting reading. It is worth noting that the areas where the recently reported transgressions have occured in the Ladakh region, are well within the Johnson-Ardagh Line, which is the basis of India's claims. W.H. Johnson, a Survey of India officer did his border alignment in 1865. Later, in 1897, Maj Gen Sir John Ardagh, as Director Military Intelligence, reinforced Johnson's perceptions, and, in fact, added to them. The 1947 maps India inherited from Britain show the Northern boundary in accordance with the Johnson-Ardagh Line, so India's assertions of alleged intrusion by China have due legitimacy.
The larger issue, however, goes beyond border transgressions. India unapologetically needs to dump the Nehruvian legacy (brusquely ordering a deeply concerned Army Chief, General Cariappa, when he went to advise him in 1951 on building appropriate defences against China, "you mind only Kashmir and Pakistan!").What we now need (and Shekhar Gupta has pointed that out clearly) is a pragmatic and energetic Foreign Policy based on realpolitik, not diplomatic obliqueness; a policy that takes into account the defences forces perceptions of threat assessment and their suggested road map for our Northern and Eastern borders and need for fast track development without undue anxiety or panic. Being polite, obtuse and accommodating on issues of national security should no longer be considered the preferred option. Instead, we should resort to putting our national interest above all other considerations.
Maj Gen Raj Mehta (Retd)

Seminar on Security Development

Saturday, September 05, 2009
The two days seminar on security and development of Andaman and Nicobar islands concluded today at Port Blair on a purposeful note with the commander –in –chief of ANC, Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar, Summing up a comprehensive security plan, going hand in hand with the development.

Speaking on the occasion, vice Admiral Shankar said “Security and development of these islands are the two sides of the same coin. Security without development is point less and development without security is like an able boxer with his guards down. The ANC has always been a catalyst in the development of these islands. We will ensure that security and development is achieved while maintaining the ecological balance.”

The seminar on the island development was inaugurated yesterday by H.E Dr APJ Abdul Kalam with his visionary inaugural address. During the seminar various speakers such as Mr Shyam Saran IFS, Real Admiral Raja Menon, DIG KR Nautiyal of Coast Guard, Dr R Chidambaram Principal scientific adviser to Government of India, addressed the participants. Topics such as strategic and geopolitical overview of the region, evolution of strategic Concerns, determinants of security of Islands, Chinese and other regional powers interests, India’s foreign policy and the A & N Islands were discussed in detail.

The Andaman & Nicobar Command’s initiative of hosting such a seminar to rightly evolve ideas and transforming them into action plan is viewed as a watershed event in the history of the archipelago. The seminar rightly justifies the ANC’s mission statement- “The Nations ‘Look East Policy’ is the engine that will drive the functioning of the ANC in the near to intermediate future. Our mission begins with an assurance of

unimpeded use of the seas in our areas of responsibility. Primary to this realization is persistent an all pervasive surveillance by land, sea and air and the ability to mount rapid and punitive action against exertions inimical to our interest. Precision planning, synergy with all intelligence resources in the command’s area of interests, coalescing with the efforts of likeminded littorals, networking with all regional operational information assets an robust maintenance and logistics will be key enablers. Our abiding faith in the credo of joint ness will ensure both focus and unity to our actions.”

Maj Gen AK Chaturvedi, Chief of Staff of Andaman and Nicobar Command in his closing address said “that there is a great potential for the development of the archipelago but there also are gaps between potential and reality. Through interministerial and multi agency synergy this gap would be bridged. We shall not only provide a security environment where the development will flourish, but also contribute in ways that the look east policy achieves what it aims”
Security, development of Andamans interlinked: Military commander

Are We Heading for a 1962 Repeat?

Numerous reports have been emerging in the print and electronic media of a possible repeat of 1962 by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), objective Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh (AP/NEFA).

Bharat Verma, Editor of Defence Today in an article in his Journal states that it may be as early as October 2009 (before the onset of the winter). Linked with the ambivalent Chinese posture it appears a possibility. Yet another China watcher confirms in his letter “The inflation noose”, this possibility is to divert the attention of the Chinese from the rising inflation in that country. So China may well head for Tawang. And to add credence to this deadline, a well known Sinologist of a reputed Think Tank quotes a Chinese writer from Beijing that the Chinese plan is to fragment India and hence the “String of Pearls” strategy. This assessment has not yet been refuted by the Beijing Mandarins! So what better take off point than the occupation of NEFA? These views have been prominently discussed in the Indian media; to which the three Service Chiefs have emphatically stated that the modernisation of the Armed Forces lags far behind that of China in every field including the Defence budget. The Naval Chief has bluntly stated that the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) is well ahead of the Indian Navy as was demonstrated at an imposing naval review showcasing the Chinese Blue Water Fleet, be it aircraft carriers, submarines or other surface warships.
Read full article:
Are We Heading for a 1962 Repeat? Maj. Gen.(Retd) E. D’Souza
Related reading
Dalai Lama may visit Tawang in November

Legendary tragedy queen of Bollywood

Dear Ganga,
I do not know how many times I have heard the hindi film song I am writing about, but for the first time, I noticed that it is NOT written by one of the lyricists I associated with its language. Let me see how many of my friends can tell!
The emotive couplets of the song are:
Yeh paap hai kya yeh punya hai kya, reetoN par dharm ki mohareN haiN
Har yug meN badalte dharmoN ko, kaise aadarsh banavoge?

Yeh bhog bhi ek tapasya hai, tum tyaag ke maaro kya jaano?
Apmaan rachiyata ka hoga, rachnaa ko jo tum thukraoge!

(Note: The capital N is silent. It merely adds a nasal sound)

I am sure no one has forgotten the unforgettable Meena Kumari film.
Love, and regards,
Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)
For those who do not understand Hindi, please revert to me. I was educated in Allahabad, with Sanskrit as a compulsory subject. And I loved it.

Meena Kumari, born Mahjabeen and the legendary tragedy queen of Indian cinema was one of the most beloved actresses of all times in Bollywood cinema and she continues to live deep into the hearts of people even today. She is invariably called the "Tragedy Queen" and her work is considered immortal.. Her classic contributions include Parineeta, Baiju Bawra, Saheb Biwi aur Ghulam and Pakeezah. She was also one of the great urdu poets of the land and has written beautiful sad poems in her lonely days! She also recorded an album of her own poetry in her own voice which was her dream project of life. She has significant contributions as an actress as well as a child actress baby Meena who started at the age of just six years. For the lovers and admirers of the beautiful, mesmerizing and legendary Meena Kumari, here she lives again in her films, her poetry, her life and her voice.

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is the way it should be... Example for Politicians

You may recall that Truman was a mediocre and relatively unknown who became the President of the United States thru default.( owing to the the sudden passing away of President Roosevelt.) He matured and grew into one of the great Presidents not hesitating to take unpalatable and hard decisions like the sacking of Gen MacArthur and the dropping of the atom bomb. On His desk in the" White House" he had a plaque " The buck stops here "

Harry Truman Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding his nation's history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri. His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year. After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.

When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, "You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise."

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!
Newly elected MP’s incur Rs 3.71 crore hotel expenses

IESM: Flags of Honour Foundation

Respected General Kadyan,
Jai Hind.
You will be glad to know that Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon'ble MP of Rajaya Sabha who is a staunch supporter of IESM and a votary committed to the Honour of Soldiers, has since launched FLAGS of HONOUR Foundation, committed to taking care of families of Soldiers (of the Army, Navy & Air Force and also Para- Military Forces) who have sacrificed their lives in the service of the Nation.
Please click on the following links to know a little more about the FLAGS of HONOUR Foundation.
Flags of Honour
F of H Foundation Letters

FLAGS of HONOUR Foundation was launched at Bangalore, in July 2009 and many dignitaries attended the function.
A similar function is now planned to be held at Delhi in mid- Oct, and Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar requests the IESM Steering Committee's participation in the function and also requests if you could please speak to DG BSF, DG CRPF & DG RR and three serving Vice Chiefs & three retired Chiefs and request their presence & participation in the function.
Col SS Rajan (Retd)
Presentation honouring our war heros

Restoration of Commutated Pension for PSU Officers demystified

Dear Brig Kamboj,
I am the President of a registered society, Wefare Association of Central Government Employees Absorbed in PSUs. Our members include both Armed Forces and Civilian employees who after a deputation period were absorbed in PSUs. After our absorption we have been treated as persona non grata in respect of our Government service

The letter dated 21st August, 2009 issued by the Department Of Ex-servicemen Welfare regarding restoration of pension of Armed Forces PSU absorbees is an exact replica of a similar letter issued on 15th September, 2008 regarding Civilian absorbees in PSUs as a result of which the Pension they were already drawing on 1/1/2006 was reduced. It was a cruel joke and the sole purpose was to nullify the benefits of a Supreme Court Judgment dated November 2006 against which Government filed a review petition which too dismissed in July 2007. The Department of Ex-servicemen welfare simply acted as a rubber stamp of the Department of Pensioners Welfare to extend the same injustice to us.

We have registered a strong protest to the Secretary Ex-servicemen Welfare of the Ministry of Defence against the above letter. To read the copy of protest letter dated 08 September, 2009, click here. The letter gives a step by step account of the injustice meted out to us since 1987. Since very few veterans know of our plight, I would request you to put that up on your web site for general information of all veterans and PSU Absorbees.

We have also mentioned that the following actions of the government although made applicable to Non- PSU Armed Forces Personnel also which are patently arbitrary, illegal and against the law of the land as per judgments of the Supreme Court:
  • Wrong notional fixation of pay of all Armed Forces pensioners wef 1/1/86 as up held by Hon'ble Supreme Court while dismissing Union of India SLP 14165 of 2005against the order of the Kerala High Court.
  • Not giving the benefit of full pension after a qualifying service of 20 years to Pre- 2006 Pensioners.
  • Discrimination between pre and post 2006 Disability pensioners in contravention to Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment dated 09.10.98 in the case of V Kasturi Vs MD, SBI in Civil Appeal No 5048 of 98. (1998(5) SCALE page 562) which ruled that the benefit of liberalised pension rules cannot denied to old pensioners based on the date of retirement.
    Thank you,
    Lt Col BR Malhotra (Retd)
    Protest letter to Secretary Ex Service Welfare Department
    Blog Link:
    Restoration of Commutation for PSU Employed Officers
  • SCPC: Additional Dearness Allowance

    News 24/7
    Government employees to get additional five percent dearness allowance
    September 10th, 2009
    NEW DELHI - The dearness allowance of central government employees and pensioners has been hiked by five percent retrospectively from July 1, it was announced Thursday.

    The cabinet has decided to release an additional installment of dearness allowance to central government employees and dearness relief to pensioners with effect from July 1, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.

    This represents an increase of five percent over the existing rate of 22 percent of the basic pay or pension to compensate for the price rise, she told reporters after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    The impact on the exchequer would be Rs.4,355.35 crore in a full year and Rs.2,903.55 crore in the financial year 2009-2010, she added.

    The increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, Soni said.

    The minister, however, parried a query on why the government was raising the dearness allowance in a situation where inflation was in the negative zone.

    “I will answer your question later,” she said and moved on to the next item.

    The government Thursday announced that India’s annual rate of inflation was minus 0.12 percent for the week ended Aug 29.
    Government employees to get additional five percent dearness allowance

    IESM: Invaluable selfless service rendered to widow pensioners

    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    The work of Gp Capt Suhas is EXTRAORDINARY. Thought you may wish to know.
    With Warm Regards,
    Col RP Chaturvedi (Retd)

    on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM, Suhas Phatak
    Dear Brig Deo,
    I came across your email sent to Wg Cdr Bendre about family pension and additional pension for old age in case of Mrs Pandit w/o late Air Marshal Pandit. I have been able to sort out pension of following widows/ veterans after preparing worksheet in each case and visiting their houses in the first place and later visiting their respective paying banks:
    1 Ms Sushila Bhagwat -w/o Lt Col Bhagwat (AMC)-DOB: 12 Mar 1920
    2 Mrs kumud Ghanekar-w/o Lt Col Ghanekar-DOB: 6 Feb 1931
    3 Mrs Leela Rege-w/o lateLt Col Rege,Vr C-DOB: 18 Jan 1925
    4 Mrs Thelma M Karnik-w/o late Lt Col Karnik: DOB-22 Mar 1925
    5 Mrs vaishali Joshi w/o late Wg Cdr V S Joshi
    6 Major KP Damle(IC-4965)DOB: 27 Nov 1919
    7 Mrs Srilata Banerjee w/o late Air Cdre D Banerjee(5800)-By email
    8 Mrs Anupam A Karve w/o late Cdr A N Karve(IN)
    9 Mrs Sadhana P sabnis w/o late Gp capt P D Sabnis(Adm)
    10 Mrs Patankar w/o late Maj Gen Patankar
    11 Mrs Aruna Kodical w/o late Sqn Ldr Kodical

    In addition I have been visiting most of the branches of Bank of Maharashtra, SBI, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank at Pune city and finalising cases of retired defence officers. It is my experience that entrusting this job of paying pensioners to PDAs (Banks) was the root cause of delays. I dont blame bank staff who have no knowledge/ exposure of our intricate rules and regulations. Once your credentials are established they all have responded well and accepted my worksheets. Unfortunately some of the information is not forthcoming from our own HQ eg Length of service and whether time scale or selection grade in case of Wg Cdrs, is not mentioned in PPO and that has delayed many cases to determine their pension after they were brought under PB-4.
    This is to give you the enormous task that has to be tackled. I wonder how our PBORs are being served with their legitimate pensionary benefits.
    with regards,
    Gp Capt SS Phatak (Retd)

    Our compliments to you Gp Capt Phatak- keep up the great social service.
    Chander Kamboj

    Major killed in Poonch as Army foils infiltrators

    Sanjay Khajuria & M Saleem Pandit, TNN 10 September 2009, 02:40am IST

    Photo courtesy: NDTV-click me

    JAMMU/SRINAGAR: Army on Wednesday foiled yet another attempt by Pakistan-based terrorists to infiltrate into India by gunning down three infiltrators in Mendhar sector of Poonch district in Jammu region but lost one of its senior officers in the fierce encounter.

    "A group of heavily armed terrorists attempted to cross LoC in Sona Gali area of Mendhar sector, about 200km from Jammu, early on Wednesday morning, but were challenged by troops at Rocket post," an Army spokesperson said.

    "Major Akash Singh gunned down two terrorists before being hit by a bullet during the encounter which lasted for more than three hours," said the spokesperson, Lt-Col Biplab Nath. Major Singh was taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Another militant was killed aro-und 7am, defence sources said.

    Major Singh was with Maratha Light Infantry and a resident of Shiv Nagar, Jammu. He is survived by his wife and two children. Lt-Col Nath said that the two slain terrorists belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba but did not give their names. Their bodies have been recovered along with two AK rifles, ammunition and some other items from the encounter site.

    ‘‘The area has been cordoned off and search-cum-combing operation is on,’’ he added. Brig Gurdeep Singh, commander 16 Corps, told TOI that troops so far have thwarted 24 infiltration bids from across the border this year.

    Sources said infiltration was being attempted from across the boundary despite a ceasefire between the two armies and a three-metre-high barbed wire security fence along most of the 742km LoC.

    Meanwhile, as the news about Major Singh’s death was flashed on news channels, people reacted with shock and began streaming into the slain officer’s home in Shiv Nagar to condole the bereaved family.
    Major killed in Poonch as Army foils infiltrators
    More reading:
    Farewell to brave soldier- Maj Akash

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Punjab Governor ESM advisory Committee- Chandigarh

    Dear Sohi,
    Heartiest congratulations to all office bearers of the Advisory Committee.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Dear Friends,
    1. Today(10/9/09), HE Pb Governor invited all ESM Organisations/ NGOs for a meeting at Raj Bhavan through Director Sainik Welfare, Punjab.
    2. Aim was to elect 5 member Advisory Committee to HE, for ESM welfare measures.
    3. The following were unanimously elected:
  • Lt Gen HRS Mann vice President/ Chairman. Fatehgarh Sahib.
  • Cpl JS Kumbrah member. Mohali.
  • Sgt Prabhjot Singh IESL P&C, Patiala.
  • Col Bhag Singh IESL Pb, Ludhiana.
  • Maj SS Dhillon Mohali Proposed to be member too at the discretion of Governor.
    4. Notification is being published soon. We congratulate all of them & wish them good luck & success. Few photos as above.
    With Regards,
    SS Col Sohi (Retd)
  • Mahatma is Obama’s hero

    Power Profiles showcase successful people who you can learn from. If there is any golden rule to follow, take advice from people who are already there.

    The Hindu: Thursday, Sep 10, 2009
    WASHINGTON: United States President Barack Obama has said if given a chance he would like to have a meal with his “real hero” Mahatma Gandhi, although the apostle of peace did not eat a lot.

    Mr. Obama’s response came to a question from a ninth grade student at the Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, who asked him if he could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who it would be.

    “Dinner with anyone dead or alive? Well, you know, dead or alive, that’s a pretty big list,” he said amidst laughter. “You know, I think that it might be Gandhi, who is a real hero of mine,” Mr. Obama said. “Now, it would probably be a really small meal because he didn’t eat a lot.”

    He said Gandhiji was someone who has inspired people across the world for the past several generations. “He [Gandhiji] is somebody whom I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr. King [Martin Luther], so if it hadn’t been for the non-violent movement in India, you might not have seen the same non-violent movement for civil rights here in the United States,” he said. — PTI
    Mahatma is Obama's hero

    Restoration of Commutation: Officers employed in PSU's

    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    An officer from the Pay Cell has sent to me the attached documents through which the commuted portion of the pension of officers who went on deputation to PSUs has been restored.
    You had referred the case of Brig Rao to me two months ago. This mail has come to me in response to the case which I sent to them.
    I think this should cheer up our colleagues who took the 'plunge' many years ago!
    With best wishes,
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    Riders yet to be debugged
    Unfortunately, the letter does not deal with restoration of commuted portion per se.
    The orders for restoration of commuted portion were issued way back, but in certain cases the pension as per the pre-revised scales' commuted value was turning out to be more than the pension as per the revised scales. Hence the govt vide orders dated 27 May 2009 (enclosed herewith) for civil employees had merely directed that the affected personnel may continue drawing the pre-revised scales till the time the revised scales turn out to be more beneficial. Now vide this new letter dated 21 Aug 2009, the MoD has just accepted the govt letter for civil employees mutatis mutandis for such affected retirees from the armed forces. The only difference in commutation is (as was the case earlier too) that in case of civil employees, the commuted portion is 33% while for faujis it is 43% for Offrs and 45% for PBOR.

    The letter dated 21 Aug 2009 is hence not a resolution of any separate anomaly for the armed forces and is not a restoration of full pension for PSU absorbees that has been an old (and correct) demand.

    Just to remind the readers, while such absorbees are granted 100% pension commutation on joining PSUs / other autonomous bodies, the restoration of pension is only granted @33% (civilians) / 43% (Defence Offrs) / 45% (PBOR) after the prescribed period is over and the entire (100%) pension is not restored, now this is an anomaly which requires rectification and on which a logical decision has not been taken till date.
    Maj Navdeep Singh
    Advocate High Court

    India- China: Enduring Links

    Balancing India and China
    Among the most encouraging recent developments in India China Economy and India-China ties is the rapid increase in bilateral trade. A few years ago, India Inc had a fear of being swamped by Chinese imports. Today, India enjoys a positive balance of trade with China. But major industry players in India feel there is no need to give the Chinese a free ride into the domestic market so early. This is particularly, when India and China have been directly competing across several product categories. And that too, when both the applied and bound import tariffs are higher in India compared with China. Indian industry's ambivalence over the proposed Indo-China FTA stems from concerns over previous FTAs signed by the government. There's a feeling that some of these FTAs were signed in haste, and without adequate homework. Result: There has been confusion about the country of origin issue as well as the items to be put in the early harvest lists.
    Balancing India and China

    Competition will Continue
    Energy has been a source of both cooperation and competition between China and India in recent years. They are two of the world's fastest growing energy consumers, with China importing about 40 percent of its energy needs and India 70 percent. China has consistently outbid India in the fight for energy sources. These bidding wars have inflated prices for energy assets, prompting the two sides to agree to joint bidding in third countries. To this end, they signed a "Memorandum for Enhancing Cooperation in the Field of Oil and Natural Gas" in January.

    Their energy competition is also reflected in their assertions of naval power. As India reaches into the Malacca Straits, Beijing is creating a "string of pearls" surrounding India by developing strategic port facilities in Sittwe (Burma), Chittagong (Bangladesh), and Gwadar (Pakistan) to protect sea lanes and ensure uninterrupted energy supplies. India is wary of China's efforts to engage its South Asian neighbors in military and economic matters. Some Indian analysts believe that China is pursuing a two-pronged strategy of lulling India into complacency with greater economic interaction while taking steps to encircle India and undermine its security.
    Competition will Continue
    Related Reading:
    India-China Relations: The Way Forward by Nirupama Rao

    Tailpiece: Essential difference between China and India
    In China the criminals are made citizens and in India citizens are made criminals. India badly needs Electoral and Police Reforms, else catching up with China is impossible!

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    India’s dilemma: U.S. or Russian weapons

    Toronto, ON, Canada, — India is facing a decision that will affect its military and political future for a long time to come: whether to buy Russian or U.S. military hardware. Cost and capability are critical, but history and political realities cannot be ignored. U.S. high-tech weapons are like a finely tuned sports car, whereas similar Russian weapons are built like a freight truck – rugged and cheap. Third world nations tend to prefer the Russian hardware. Other than being cheap, Russian equipment does not require highly advanced infrastructure for maintenance, and the Russians do not insist on intrusive end-user monitoring.

    U.S. weapons are the preferred choice of its allies, of course. Others with deep pockets, such as Arab nations, also buy these weapons. There is a huge marketing and publicity effort under way in India to discredit Russian hardware, partly thanks to defense hardware salesmen with political connections. Also, the Indian military would like to diversify its procurement sources. It will prefer any deal that includes technology transfer.
    Read more:
    India’s dilemma: U.S. or Russian weapons

    Why not a Railway Link from Delhi to Cambodia?

    Can we match our neighbours in Rail Links stretching beyond our boundaries?

    India to build rail line to Ladakh

    KATHMANDU (AFP)– Apr 26, 2008— China has started to build a rail link between Tibet and Nepal that could drastically reduce Kathmandu's trade reliance on its giant southern neighbour India, officials said Saturday. Beijing is bringing the railway line from Lhasa -- the capital of troubled Chinese-controlled Tibet -- to Khasa, a town along the Nepal-China border, Aditya Baral, the Nepalese premier's foreign affairs adviser, told AFP.
    China begins building Tibet-Nepal rail link
    Related Reading:
    India to build rail line to Ladakh
    India’s answer to Tibet rail: PMO clears plan for train to Leh via Rohtang
    monumental chinese "sky train" leaps across the roof of world
    Pakistan-Turkey rail trial starts

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- ESM Unity

    08 Sep 2009
    Dear Colleagues,
    In our campaign for OROP, need for a joint approach by all the ESM organisations has often been underscored by many veterans.
    One perception, however, needs to be corrected. Invariably, whenever unity gets talked about, some well meaning colleague, not necessarily in the know of details, initiates a mail ascribing lack of unity to an ‘ego’ problem. This usually sets off a chain reaction with similar sentiments being expressed by some others. Let me state with all the emphasis that ego has never been an impediment or an issue either at the organisational or at the personal level. Cordiality continues to exist in our mutual relations. It is unfair even to imagine that anyone of us involved in the struggle will let such a frivolous sentiment come in the way of the interests of the larger community.
    That the unity has not so far been achieved is not because of any lack of sincerity or of efforts. Going by the experience, we need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that unity in pursuit of OROP is unlikely to be achieved, at least in the foreseeable future. It may, therefore, be advisable to focus our energies in pursuit of the actual goal rather than chasing a chimera.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM.

    What we can do?
    IESM is a registered society under Indian Society Act of 1860 with present membership of about 3500 and with 15,000 supporters who have deposited gallantry awards to the president. This number is adequate to represent ESM. The Society Act makes no difference/ distinction to organisations having 3 lakh members or just 30 members. The organisations are at par as long as we have a laudable Memorandum of Association and an effective governing body who can represent and take up welfare issues with the Government of India. Therefore to imagine that unity of all ESM organisations will work miracles will only be in the figment of our imagination- literally catching the clouds. Let us rally therefore around our respective ESM leaders and work towards general welfare, dignity and honour of our Jawans. To start with let us as officers be determined not to employ Jawans in the demeaning manner as "Security Personnel" as empanelled by DGR wherein rules are flouted by Officers for their own welfare. The DGR empanelled "Security Agencies" is one of the foremost bureaucratic measures to demean our own Jawans by our own officers who have commanded them in combat during Service in the Armed Forces. The rules are so designed by DGR that are not enforceable.

    OROP: Comment by a Civilian
    By: Mrs.Jayanthi Frank
    On: 30 Aug 2009 11:58 pm
    The efforts taken by the Ex-service personnel are very reasonable. Our Government must take immediate action to release the One Rank One Pension (OROP) to all the retired defense personnel. The pension payable must be equal to all the defense pensioners as related to their rank, trade/post and years of defense service rendered by them irrespective of the date and year of their retirement. Let us recollect the sufferings sustained by our defense personnel during 1961 Goa operation, 1962 Chinese aggression, 1965 and 1971 Pakistan operation and the Kargi war. Also during the peace time, they are facing very hard living in order to safe guard the border of Our Country, Our Nation, Our Motherland and............... The amount spent for the retired defense personnel will be glorified by our God in Heaven. Hence, I request our Honourable Prime Minister to award the OROP in full to all the retired defense personnel.
    Ex servicemen to return medals to the President

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    India- China electricity divide

    For all of India's efforts and stated claims to 6-9% growth per year, the gap between India and China is getting wider,and at a faster pace.
    Col Amarjit Singh (Retd)

    Oded Shenkar
    At least in the next few years, India is unlikely to grow as fast as China. China leads India in foreign investment, a key contributor to economic growth, by a margin of 10 to 1, because foreign investors, who can place their money anywhere, see more opportunities and less obstacles in China.

    Ironically, Indian democracy is viewed as a hindrance vis-a-vis the stability of China's authoritarian regime on its liberalizing market and docile unions. India also lacks a Hong Kong and a Taiwan, next-door technology, and capital hubs that when combined with the mainland's abundant, cheap, and productive human resources create powerful complements. India has a long way to go before it catches up with China.
    The debate's first question is, Will India ever grow as rapidly as China? If so, how might that occur?: click me

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- Highlighting Pension Disparity

    Monday, 7 September, 2009 9:18:49 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    I recall some figures that may be of use in reinforcing our arguments in support of OROP and why it is relevant for only defence personnel.
    Take an example of military vs Police Service. Two young men of same age and same education background decide to join govt service. One joins military and the other the police. Both retire in their lowest rank of Sepoy/ Constable. If they both are living today at the age of 75 years, then their total earning differential, to the disadvantage of the Sepoy would be rupees 47 lacs. The difference for a Naik/ Head constable is 39 lacs. For Havildar/ ASI it is 29 lacs. It carries on similarly. For a Sub Major/ DSP it is 15 lacs.
    Note: Figures as computed by our pension expert veteran Gen Surjit Singh
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM.
    Blog Link:
    Military Pensions Screwed

    Some observers would argue that military pay policy should be fair to service members as well as effective in meeting GOI, MoD recruitment and personnel requirements. Although fairness is a subjective concept, one possible criterion is that military personnel should not be expected to work for substantially less than what workers of a similar age and educational background earn in the civilian sector. That is, people driven to serve by patriotism or a strong sense of duty should not have to suffer a sharp financial loss as a result.

    Comparisons of pay levels in the military and civilian sectors can help policymakers form their own subjective judgments about whether the nation is treating its military personnel fairly. Accurate assessments of what a specific person might earn in civilian employment are difficult to make. Broad comparisons of military and civilian earnings may be the most useful, however, depending on the notion of fairness. For example, it may be unfair to ask a college-educated officer to accept lower pay than most similarly educated civilians in the Government departments. But fairness may not require that GOI pay the pilots to whom it has provided valuable training as much as that training would bring them in the civilian sector.

    The results of a broad comparison of pay levels might surprise people who are concerned about the fairness of military pay levels and people who believe--perhaps because of the reports of a pay gap--that military personnel are paid substantially less than civilian workers of a similar age and educational background. Throughout the course of a typical military career--in either the PBOR or officer ranks--military pay falls short of pay among comparable civilian workers.

    Yet because fairness is a subjective notion, the comparison may not satisfy all observers. Some might argue that a fair system would require an even larger premium because of the sacrifices that military service entails. Others might contend that the eligibility of all service personnel for free rations is a clear sign that military pay is unfairly low, even though most qualify only because the rules governing eligibility for free rations do not consider all of their military pay. Any particular approach to comparing military and civilian pay levels cannot address all of the arguments that might be raised.

    Because fairness is subjective, the findings by Maj Gen Surjit Singh deals only with the usefulness of the pension- gap concept as a guide to effective pension policy. Specifically, efforts to compare civilian and military pay levels or to track changes in relative salaries over a long period do not provide a useful guide as it seeks to meet its needs for well- qualified personnel. That conclusion is forcefully illustrated by the fact that comparisons of both wage levels and pay/ salary growth over time (after adjusting for some of the shortcomings in the conventional pay- gap measure) indicate that personnel below officer rank overall are not faring very well relative to their civilian counterparts. If those pension- gap indicators were used to guide policy, GOI should do well to bridge the increasing gap in Military Pensions further widened by the Sixth Central Pay Commission.

    OROP: Legal angle lightened up

    Date: Sunday, 6 September, 2009, 2:03 PM
    My Dear VK,
    I have gone through your write up on 'OROP'. It made an interesting reading. But permit me to say that your conclusions from the Apex Court judgments are not correct.

    Firstly, the question before the Constitunal Bench of the Apex Court in Nakra's case was not that of 'OROP'.The question was whether it was proper to lay down a cut-off date and say that the liberalised pension formula for a retired Goverment employee would be applicable only to those who retired after the cut-off date and and not to those retired prior to the cut off date. The Apex Court replied in the negative. Earlier, the pension was worked out on the bases of the average pay drawn by a Govt empolyee in the last 36 months of service. The liberalised formula reduced the period from last 36 months to last 10 months of service but laid down that this would be applicable only to those retired after the cut-off date. The Apex Court directed the Govt to make it applicable to all Govt employees irrespective of their date of retirement. The famous quote from the said judgment was "Govt cannot pick up a date from the hat to say those retiring after the date would get the benefit and those retiring before it won't".

    The last statement from the Apex Court judgment was misunderstood by many, including IESL (Indian Ex-Servicemen League) and they thought the judgement propagated 'OROP'. It did not. IESL on such misconception moved the Apex Court and instead of building up its case with regard to 'OROP' on its own merit, sought directions to the Government for 'OROP' on the basis of Nakra's judgment.

    Another Constitutional Bench of five judges deciding IESL case (judgment by JS Verma CJI) then threadbare analysed Nakra's judgment and concluded that Nakra's judgment did not lay down such proposition and dismissed IESL writ petition.

    In the latest case of Major Generals decided by two judges (Vains case) the question before the Apex Court was whether it was rational that pension of a Major General retiring before 1.1.1996 (i.e. even on 31.12.1995) is lower than that of a Brigadier retiring on or after 1.1.1996. Taking cue from and Nakra's judgment "Govt cannot pick up a date from the hat to say those retiring after the date would get the benefit and those retiring before it won't" and relyning upon the said judgment, the two-judges Bench decided it was not rational that the pension of a Major General retiring before 1.1.1996 (i.e. even on 31.12.1995) is lower than that of a Brigadier retiring on or after 1.1.1996. The Court (two judges) then directed the Govt to fix the pensions of all Major Generals who retired before 1.1.1996 at par with the pension of similar officers who retired on or after 1.1.1996.

    This too does not lay down OROP proposition. In any case, IESL case decided by five-judges Constitutional Bench was not referred to the two-judges Bench in Vains case (Major General's case). Two-judges Bench naturally cannot decide against what a five-judges Constitutional Bench has held.

    In this context your quoting a part only of the judgment and analysing the complete law on the subject is not correct. You thus have quoted the following out of context:

    "This also contrary to the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of 17 December 1982 that stated: “by introducing an arbitrary eligibility, being in service and retiring subsequent to the specified date, or being eligible for the regularised pension scheme and thereby dividing a homogeneous class, these classifications being not based on any discernible rational principle ... are unconstitutional and are struck down."

    In my view the whole subject calls for a 'Review' by the Apex Court by a seven-judges Constitutional Bench.
    With best wishes,
    (Lt Col MG Kapoor, Practising Law in Delhi High Court)
    Blog link:
    Military Pension Parity: Logical and a sound solution

    Monday, September 7, 2009

    IESM: Depositing Gallantry Medals

    Dear Friends,
    1. As already informed, our next event is Medal Deposit with the President on 13 Sep 09 at 3 PM. Central Collection of medals will be carried out at Jantar Mantar New Delhi from 9 AM to 2 PM on 13 Sep 2009. Thereafter a team of IESM will proceed to Rashtrapati Bhawan to deposit the medals.

    2. You all are requested to put in your best effort in collection of medals. State Convenors are requested to organize the collection through their representatives in each district, city, tehsil and block. We are over 24 lakhs ESM in the country. So far only 15000 medals have been deposited. If efforts are made, a large number of medals can be collected for deposit.

    3. Friends, deposit of medals is a dignified method of protest against the injustices being heaped on the ESM. All ESM organisations and ESM are requested to ensure success of this event. “Together we can make the difference”.
    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    Rapidly changing military sociology

    By RSN Singh
    Current Issue: Vol 24.3 Jul-Sep 2009 Indian Defence Review

    The Post-Independence Indian Army continues to struggle with the British colonial model, ways and traditions, which served us well to a point. In fact, we were so enamored by the British ethos that we ceased to introspect about any adaptations that the uniqueness of this land and its changing values demanded. More so, because, at least for four decades and may be even more, the changes in the country were slow, therefore imperceptible.

    Lack of Governance and the Growing Tendency to Challenge the Authority
    The State’s failure to deliver on governance, the thriving corruption with money being demanded in some cases in the very first phase of an army career, i.e. recruitment, makes army personnel cynical towards established authority. This is rather being witnessed in other areas and organizations as well. The political culture and its by product mob culture have also demeaned the executive organs of the state.

    The impact of the above has resulted in growing aspirations in the civil society and consequently the armed forces as well. In this regard, two examples are apposite:
  • at some places there have been demands for membership by personnel below officers’ rank for ‘golf clubs’.
  • the increasing number of ORs and JCOs buying flats through the AWHO.

    This change in cultural hierarchy has been engendered by the growing corporate culture, awareness and relatively easy access to means and resources. The cumulative impact of the changing socio-economic conditions has been that like their countrymen the army personnel are not contend with just ‘pay and perks’, but also want certain privileges- the most important privilege being the avenue for growth. For them quantitative welfare measures are not enough, the emphasis being increasingly on quality. The leadership therefore has to be more imaginative and of much higher order than in the past. It is not that the army is not adapting to the imperatives of the fast changing times, but the process is slow. The army has been, and needs to continue as the bedrock of national integration and progenitor of some very effective and enduring institutional ethos, traditions, and practices.

    RSN Singh, Associate Editor IDR and author of the book Asian Strategic and Military Perspective. His latest book is The Military Factor in Pakistan.
    The above are extracts only. Click link below for the thought provoking and a "must" read article:
    Rapidly changing military sociology
  • IESM: Chairman's Desk- OROP

    Dear Colleagues,
    It has been off and on debated that we should give up use of the term OROP in view of the authorities having developed a hardened opposition and a kind of allergy to it. We have toyed with in-lieu terms like ‘Military Service Pension’, ‘Absolute Parity’ etc. We need to analyse it in the light of the following:
  • Every Service pensioner recognises and identifies with the term OROP. Replacing it with another term is likely to leave him confused and thinking that we have given up our main pursuit and are willing to settle for a compromise.
  • The civilians have come to accept OROP as a familiar term conveying our demand and are sympathetic to it. Substituting another term might convey an impression that we are trying to get OROP through the back door, which would be damaging to our credibility.
  • The President herself used this term in her address to the joint session of the parliament on 4 June. We can take it as acceptance by the government of OROP conveying the essence of our demand.
    There is merit in continuing using OROP.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM
  • RTI convention- Lucknow

    Dear All,
    A Right to Information and National Rural Employment Guarantee National Convention being held as per detail below.
    Suggest IESM members who are living in Lucknow or near by and interested in RTI may like to attend. I Am attending.
    The details are given in invite circulated by organisers is reproduced at the end.
    Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd)
    Social & RTI Activist
    06 Sept 2009

    Right to Information and National Rural Employment Guarantee
    National Convention

    9-10 September, 2009
    Please come n join hands in lucknow to strengthen these two acts at National Convention on Right to Information and National Rural Employment Guarantee on Sept 9-10, 2009 in Lucknow, uttar pradesh RTI and NREGA had generated tremendous hope among the people of this country. Some things have definitely changed for the better. But by and large people feel dissatisfied with the implementation of these two Acts. The initial enthusiasm is now giving room to some disillusionment. People are worried whether the spirit of these two Acts will meet the same fate and so many other wonderful laws and schemes in this country.
    To address these apprehensions and issues National Alliance of People’s Movements and National Campaign for People’s Right to Information is organizing a two day convention in the Uttar Pradesh’s sate capital to take stock of the present status of implementation of these two Acts as well as to discuss ways of making intervention so that the common man may benefit from them more than they are presently able to. NAPM, NCPRI in association with other social activists & Social groups is organizing a two day all India convention cum workshop on RIGHT TO INFORMATION & NREGA on 09-10 September 2009 at Gandhi Bhawan opposite Residency, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
    About 300 delegates from various states of INDIA are participating in the convention.Many of them have already given their consent via email or telephone. All the delegates participating in the convention have active & effective representative presence in the social arena including RTI & NREGA at international/ national/ state or district level and are persons of prominence in their respective areas of social services. Their presence and view-sharing on various aspects of RTI & NREGA, the acknowledgement of the problems which effective implementation of RTI & NREGA are facing, strategies to establish common man's right with respect to RTI & NREGA & probable solutions of the problems in effective implementation of these two acts etc. at the convention shall stir the things and for sure this is going to make this convention an event of national importance, impact of which shall go a long way off to strengthen RTI & NREGA act's effective implementation to help the real INDIA that lives in our villages.
    Scheduled: September 9-10, 2009,
    Place: Lucknow
    Venue: Gandhi Bhawan, Near Residency
    Participants: Aruna Roy, well known exponent of RTI, Sandeep Dixit -
    Member of Parliament from Delhi, Dr. Sandeep Pandey- Magsaysay awardee

    Chinese violate international border in Ladakh

    Leh (J&K): After helicopter incursions into Indian airspace, the Chinese Army has brazenly violated the International Border in Ladakh region and painted boulders and rocks in the area red.

    The Chinese troops entered nearly 1.5 kilometres into the Indian territory near Mount Gya, recognised as International border by India and China, and painted the boulders and rocks with red spray paint, official sources said.
    Chinese violate international border in Ladakh

    Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who retired as our Chief of the Naval Staff (CONS) highlights National security Challenges
    Admirably realist on China
    K Subrahmanyam on Admiral Mehta’s speech: Coping with China
    India-China: Looking Ahead

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    A Rs 1770-crore power scam in MP?: NDTV exposé

    Rubina Khan Shapoo, Saturday September 5, 2009, Bhopal: NDTV

    The lack of electricity is perhaps the single biggest infrastructure hurdle in the country, something which affects the lives of millions of people across the country and economic development as well.

    But if there is a shortage of power in the country, there is no shortage of power scams.

    Lid was blown off a huge power scam in Madhya Pradesh, which ran into Rs 1770 crore.

    NDTV has learnt that between 2005 and 2008, Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board bought 4,000 million units of power from various companies on a short-term purchase agreement, allegedly to pad up a shortfall in the peak hours of demand.

    But only 11 per cent of that power was purchased through tenders. The rest was purchased directly without tenders from six private players, the biggest seller being Gujarat's Adani Group.

    The heart of the scam -- while the power with tender cost 2.24 paisa, most of the power was bought without tender from private players at double the price.

    And the whistleblower is P J Naaj Pande -- a consumer activist who has filed a complaint in Lokayukt, a quasi-judicial body.

    "We filed a complaint with the Lokayukt. The matter is very sensitive and the Lokayukt has issued notices taking cognizance," said Pande, president, citizen consumer forum, Jabalpur.

    Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has refused to comment on the issue.

    The power shortage in Madhya Pradesh is severe and the electricity bills backbreaking. Those who get the supply from the State Electricity Board get it at about Rs 4 a unit, hardly knowing or understanding the slips and scams in the line of power.
    A Rs 1770-crore power scam in MP?

    China continues to outmanoeuvre India

    In an article published in the Telegraph newspaper on September 1, 2009, former Indian Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal had warned about "strengthening suspicions that China will do everything possible to thwart India’s rise as a rival power," "its propensity to disregard agreements arbitrarily," and with India’s "diffident diplomacy", "China continues to outmanoeuvre India" politically: click me.

    Two insightful essays have been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review of September 4, 2009 which focus on the deteriorating relations between India and China. One is by Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi. Titled, "India’s Growing China Angst": click me, it draws attention to the need for the world to take notice of authoritarian China’s aggressive intentions toward democratic India.

    His concluding remarks sum up the gravity of the situation thus:
    India can expect no respite from Chinese pressure. Whether Beijing actually sets out to teach India “the final lesson” by launching a 1962-style surprise war will depend on several calculations, including India’s defense preparedness to repel such an attack, domestic factors within China and the availability of a propitious international timing of the type the Cuban missile crisis provided 47 years ago. But if India is not to be caught napping again, it has to inject greater realism into its China policy by shedding self-deluding shibboleths, shoring up its deterrent capabilities and putting premium on leveraged diplomacy.
    Why we should heed navy chief's warning on China

    National Commission for Ex Servicemen

    The purpose and desirability of a National Ex-servicemen Commission is not to have an extended arm of the government to rehabilitate and placate some pleasing judges and pliable bureaucrats. The need is to serve the genuine interests of over two million veterans of the Armed Forces of the country.

    Therefore there is no question of accepting in its composition anyone who has not served and experienced the unique conditions of service and hazards. We have precedence where Commissions are constituted wholly of the people of eminence from the very community or group they are supposed to serve. Here are the live examples how other similar Commissions are composed:

    1. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:
    It is headed by a sitting or retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India. National Commission is presently headed by Hon'ble Mr. Justice M.B. Shah, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India as President and having eight Members, viz. Mrs. Rajyalakshmi Rao, Mr. B.K. Taimni, Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. S. Gupta, Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.N. Kapoor, Dr. P.D. Shenoy, Mr. Anupam Dasgupta, Mr. S.K. Naik & Hon'ble Justice R.C. Jain.
    2. National Commission for Scheduled Castes:
    Chairman- Shri Buta Singh
    Vice Chairman- Prof NM Kamble
    Members (4- all from affected Castes/Class; no judge, no bureaucrat)
    3. National Commission for Women:
    Chairperson- Dr Girija Vyas
    Members (3- all women)
    Member Secretary (All Women; no judge, no bureaucrat.)
    4. National Commission for Backward Castes:
    Chairperson- Justice (Retd.) S Ratnavel Pandian
    Member-Secretary- Shri Lakshmi Chand
    Member- Dr. Subba Somu
    Member-Shri Ram Awadhesh Singh
    Member- Shri. Abdul Ali Azizi
    (All from affected Castes; no judge, no bureaucrat.)
    5. National Commission for Scheduled Tribes:
    Chairperson- Smt. Urmila Singh
    Vice Chairperson- Shri Maurice Kujur
    Member- Shri Tsering Samphel
    Member- Shri Oris Syiem Myriaw
    (All from affected tribes; no judge, no bureaucrat)

    The following composition of for ESM welfare is but one suggestion that comes to mind after surveying other Commissions:
    (a) Chairman- One of the retired Chiefs of Staff (Army, Navy, or Air Force).
    (b) President/ Chairman of an ESM Organisation registered and representing the ESM community at National level, eg: IESL or any other Org with widest acceptance/ representative nature.
    (c) A highly decorated, war veteran Sub Maj from Infantry, Armd Corps, Arty or Engrs.
    (d) A senior representative each from veterans of Navy and IAF.
    (e) A war widow (preferably wife of the highest decorated martyr).
    (f) AG or DGR (as Member Secretary).
    Total: 7
    Member Secretary's role can also be assigned to the serial (b) if AG/ DGR not available/ acceptable.
    Arbitrary composition imposed by the Government not giving total representation to the ESM community must be rejected by one and all because such body will turn out to be yet another white elephant rehabilitating some babus and judges at the cost of ESM like the department of 'Welfare' that exists for itself and not for the soldiers/ ESM.
    Col Karan Kharb (Retd)

    The Sikh Soldiers Saga at SARAGARHI, 12 Sep 1897

    The Sikh Regiment Insignia

    Sikh Regt Soldiers Circa 1890

    Burnt out Fort Saragarhi

    The breached wall at Fort Saragarhi

    Gurdwara Saragarhi at Firozpur


    Present Day Sikh Regt Soldier

    LT Col Haughton signaled his HQ in Punjab about the battle that had transpired. Within a few hours, tales of their bravery were making news across India. The Governor General of India Earl of Eglin wrote a personal telegraph to the Queen Victoria on the bravery of the Sikhs soldiers defending the post till their death.

    The news reached the House Of Common, as the tales of sacrifice of the 21 Sikh soldiers were narrated; tears flowed freely in the August house, at the end the Chief Whip speech, the entire parliament gave a rousing standing ovation to the Gallant 21, as their name were called out aloud in a symbolic roll call.

    The collective courage of the 21 Sikh soldiers moved Queen Victoria so much that her majesty decreed that due to conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity beyond and above the call of duty displayed by the 21 soldiers, all of them shall be awarded the Indian Order Merit (IOM) posthumously. IOM is the highest award for bravery given to colonial troops and it was equivalent to the British Victoria Cross. This was the only time in history of warfare where each soldier who took part in the same battle was given the highest award. Additionally, Her Majesty decreed that the net of kin of these brave soldiers would be given a stipend of 500 rupees and 50 acres of land.

    Finally a memorial cenotaph was to be erected near the place where all these 21 soldiers fell, as a perpetual record to the heroic action of these gallant soldiers who died at their posts in the defense of Fort Saragarhi, on the 12 September 1897. Without the stiff resistance of the 21 Sikh soldiers at Saragarhi both Fort Lockhart and Gulistan would have fallen to the enemy. By defending their position long enough for the relief column to arrive with artillery support, the 21 Sikh soldiers became the crucial factor in turning the tides of battle in favour of the British.

    The 21 Sikh soldiers fought on continuously for 7 punishing hours without food and water, completely surrounded and pounded from all flanks. Unwearied by constant charges and mortal danger they stood their ground against daunting odds, they repealed wave after wave of attack and fought till their last bullets. Out of ammunition they did not abandon their post and instead chose to engage in a fatal hand to hand combat, till all made the ultimate sacrifice.

    When the relief column arrived a day later, they saw the burnt out bodies of all the 21 Sikh soldiers, together with at least 600 dead bodies of the tribesmen strewn only yards in front of their position. The Sikhs faced 10,000 and vanquished but not before taking 600 tribesmen with them.

    12th of September officially became the regimental day of the Sikh Regiment, Gurdwara Saragarhi was built in Firozpur as a remembrance to the 21 brave souls. Their name forever etched within the marbles of the Gurdwara, close to the gurus that they were true till the end.

    Read the detailed battle account:


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