Friday, July 30, 2010

IAF flying MIG Coffins?

To: The Editor The Times of India New Delhi
In, and the other of a jet fighter in a foreign country. The heading (page 11) given to the MiG crash pathetically announces: "FLYING COFFINS?". You have been frequently using this ominous description for the MiG aircraft of the IAF. However, the heading (page 21) given to the report on crash of the jet fighter in the foreign country majestically declares: "SPECTACULAR NOSEDIVE"!
What a sublime contrast in presenting two similar events in TOI under your stewardship! The heading used for the IAF MiG jet crash is neither humour nor a clever turn of the phrase nor indeed anything even remotely expressing sympathy or support for the Armed Forces personnel. What is it, then?

A friend here calls it a "cold, calculated affront--highly disgraceful on the part of the reporter who has filed this story and the supervisory(?) staff that has let it pass through." He further adds, somewhat poetically: "It is akin to 'jis thaali mein khaanaa usi mein shaid karnaa ' i.e. 'to p(r)ick holes in the very plate that feeds you."

Three cheers for The Times of India! What rich returns are "Freedom of the Press" bestowed on TOI getting for the readers, security forces and the countrymen! What all we must have done to deserve you, Sir? And, who are your bosses/ masters/ paymasters? We may have to take up with them sometimes.

Meanwhile, please desist from using this "FLYING COFFINS?" nomenclature for Indian Air Force planes in future. You also owe an apology immediately to the Armed Forces for the gross disrespect shown and indignity heaped on the Air Warriors of IAF and the weapons used by them for the defence of the country and its people including you and me.
Warm regards,
Wing Commander SC Kapoor (retd)
Member Indian Ex Servicemen Movement

Welfare of ESM: MoD statistics

Press Information Bureau Government of India Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Ministry of Defence
The number of ex-servicemen as on date in the country, statewise is as under:

The details of schemes being implemented for the welfare, rehabilitation and resettlement of ex-servicemen is as under:
Ex-Servicemen are given training to prepare them for civilian life. Directorate General Resettlement is entrusted with the responsibility of preparing both-Ex-Servicmen and retiring service personnel for second carrier. Towards this end Officers and PBORs are given resettlement training at IIMs and various other institutes across the country.
Self Employment
The following self-employment schemes are operated for the welfare of officers and PBORs Ex-Servicemen:
  • Security agencies.
  • Allotment of surplus army vehicles.
  • Coal Transportation Scheme.
  • Allotment of oil product agencies.
  • Coal Tipper scheme.
  • Allotment of BPCL GHAR outlets.
  • Mother Dairy Milk and Fruits and Vegetables shops.
  • Management of CNG station by ESM officers in NCR.
  • Management of Toll Plaza under NHAI.
    Financial Assistance
  • Treatment of serious ailments
  • Supply of modified scooters for ESM paraplegics
  • Tools kits for ESM technician
  • Financial assistance for needy ESM for house repair, daughters marriage, children education etc.
    Prime Minister’s Merit Scholarship Scheme
    4000 scholarships are awarded every year to the wards of ex-servicemen to pursue technical and professional course.
    Funds for maintenance of paraplegic rehabilitation centres, Cheshire home and St. Dustan aftercare organisation and war memorial hostels.
    Besides the above the following benefits are also available to Ex-servicemen:
  • Tuition fee exemption for wards of war widows/war disable ex-Servicemen.
  • Allotment of medical / BDS seats to wards of defence personnel
  • Reservation in State Government jobs and in professional colleges for wards of ESM/widows.
  • Reservation in allotment of house sites/flats.
  • Cash incentives for winners of gallantry awards.
  • Exgratia grant to war widows.
  • Concession in fare for rail and air to recipients of gallantry awards, permanently disabled officers and war widows.
  • Legal assistance and exemption of court fee
  • 10 to 24.5 % reservation in Group C and D posts in Central and State Government, PSUs, nationalized banks and paramilitary forces.
    Medical Facility
    Along with the above benefit 100 % medical coverage is provided to ex-servicemen pensioners through Ex-Service Contributory health Scheme (ECHS), who are members of the scheme.
    State-wise details of beneficiaries/expenditure are not maintained, however during the last three years 4326 officers, 83079 PBORs and 2998 Ex-Servicemen were trained for resettlement. In addition 1,17,779 Ex-Servicemen were provided employment during this period through Directorate General Resettlement. The expenditure for resettlement and welfare during the last three years is Rs. 100.18 crores. Moreover, Rs. 2009.77 crores was spent on medical treatment of Ex-Servicemen and their dependents.
    The amount for rehabilitation of Ex-Servicemen is based on the yearly requirement as projected by the implementing agencies. Ex-Servicemen are getting appropriate placements.
    This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in a written reply to Shri Harishchandra Chavan in Lok Sabha today. DM / RAJ

    Comments and Observations
    May I thank Cdr Arun Saigal for the information as it will be quite useful for ESM? Without in any way casting aspersions on his good intention and effort, my (surely of most of you all), experience is that most of the government schemes and promises remain on paper and are never implemented, statistics are old and not authenticated.
    I quote my personal experience. I lodged a complaint with the Chief Minister of Maharashtra only last year through an email (according to a scheme announced by him that any person can approach him directly through an email for any deficiency in the service provided by his govt. This mail has never been acknowledged till date, let alone redressing my grievance. The reason, as later revealed by the newspapers, is that all the computers with the various departments in Mantralaya are gathering dust and never used by the personnel- these include the Secretary level persons too.
    As all will agree, that such schemes are announced for publicity purposes (votes) and to mislead the general public. We have evidenced this regarding OROP announced by no less a person than the President of India in the Parliament. And we can do nothing about such shameless acts.
    Never believe our governments.
    Shashank Bendre
    Wg Cdr (Retd)

    Dear Friends,
    Please refer to mail by Veteran Arun Saigal.
    These figures are grossly incorrect as these pertain to only those ESM who have Registered themselves with the Deptt of Defence (Sainik) WElfare of respective states and UTs. The list shows that Chandigarh has only 375 ESM, whereas it has five dedicated Defence Sectors (32 to 36), in addition to large numbers staying in other sectors. The DSOI and Air Force Institutes at Chandigarh have membership running in to thousands. Chandigarh alone has about twenty thousand Veterans but only a minuscule numbers have chosen to 'Register' themselves which are shown in the list.
    The same is true of other states/ UTs . These are ''Official'' figures and NOT actual figures. The Actual figures are many times more.
    With Warm Regards,
    Yours' Sincerely,
    Brig Harwant Singh (Retd)

    NB– Partly the ESM are to be blamed for the error in figures because they do not register with the Sainik Boards. There may be many ESM in Chandigarh receiving this email who have not registered themselves with Sainik Board. Partly the MoD and Service HQs are to be blamed who do not keep a record of the retired personnel and those expired. -Chander Kamboj
  • Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Kargil Diwas Bangalore 25 July 2010

    The Veterans of Bangalore thank and express their gratitude to the following for all their help, assistance and un-stinted support to the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) in successfully organizing Kargil Diwas at the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka (National Military Memorial) at Bangalore on Sunday, 25 July 2010:
  • Shri BS Yeddyurappa, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka.
  • Dr VS Acharya, Hon’ble Minister for Home, Karnataka.
  • Shri Ananth Kumar, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha).
  • Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha).
  • Capt Ganesh Karnik, Hon’ble Member of the Legislative Council and Deputy Chairman NRI Forum, Karnataka; and Chief Patron of IESM Karnataka.
  • Wives of Decorated Soldiers killed in Action.
  • Mrs Subhasini Vasanth, wife of late Col Vasanth, Ashok Chakra.
  • Mrs Thomas, wife of late Col JJ Thomas, Ashok Chakra.
  • Chairman Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bangalore.
  • Director Horticulture, Bangalore.
  • Shri Sanjay Prabhu, Director & COO, India Radio Ventures Pvt Ltd, Bangalore.
  • Shri V Anand, Principal, Public Affairs, Office of Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon’ble Member of Parliament.
  • Shri Trigam Mukherjee, Media Co-ordinator, Office of Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon’ble Member of Parliament.
  • Shri NR Suresh, ABIDe, Bangalore.
  • Shri Rohit J Nair, Executive Director, Global Group and Chairman, Bangalore Patriots Society, Bangalore.
  • Air Mshl VR Iyer, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, AOC-in-C Trg Comd (IAF), Bangalore.
  • Lt Gen Kamal Mohey, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Comdt ASC College & Centre, Bangalore.
  • Brig AK Pradhan, SM, Cdr Karnataka & Kerala Sub-Area, Bagalore.
  • Brig Gurdip Singh, SM, VSM, Comdt MEG & Centre, Bangalore.
  • Brig AK Singh, Comdt Corps of Military Police (CMP) Centre, Bangalore.
  • Brig Arvind Katoch, VSM, Comdt ASC Centre (South), Bangalore.
  • Brig YVR Vijay, VSM, Comdt 515 Army Base Workshop, EME, Bangalore.
  • Col Vineet Seth, Comdt, Para Regimental Training Centre (PRTC), Bangalore.
  • Col Jasbir Singh, Comdt, Pioneer Corps Training Centre (PCTC), Bangalore.
  • Capt (IN) NB Nair, Director Naval Project (ALH) and Station Cdr Navy.
  • Admiral OS Dawson, PVSM, AVSM - former Chief of Naval Staff.
  • Lt Gen NSI Narahari, PVSM - former Comdt, College of Combat, Mhow.
  • Air Mshl DG King Lee, PVSM, AVSM - former AOC-in-C.
  • Air Mshl Keith Lewis, PVSM, AVSM, VM- former Inspector General of Air Force.
  • Maj Gen MC Nanjappa, AVSM**, YSM.
  • Rear Adml BR Vasanth, VSM
  • AVM N Thusu, AVSM, VM.
  • AVM S Kasinath, VSM.
  • Brig JS Narasimhan, AVSM.
  • Commodore Sam Daniel.
  • Brig MS Parthasarathy, The Bengal Sappers, for the excellent Photo Album.
  • Col CM Uthiah, Director, Sainik Welfare Dept. Karnataka.
  • Brig B Chandrashekar, Director Southern Region, Flags of Honour Foundation, Bangalore.
  • Lt Col GV Sreedhar, Member, Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka Executive Committee, Bangalore.
  • Last but not the least, Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar, Trustee, Flags of Honour Foundation, Bangalore and the Grand Patron of IESM, Karnataka. Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar was the driving force behind the Kargil Diwas and it was his meticulous planning, enthusiasm & zeal which resulted in the Grand success of Kargil Diwas at Bangalore. Three Cheers & salute to Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar.

    2. Sunday, 25 July 2010 was a memorable day as it witnessed a heart warming 1000 strong gathering assembled at the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka, Bangalore, to pay their Homage to the Martyrs. The whole place was elegantly & colorfully decorated with flowers & flower pots to suit the solemn occasion. The gathering comprised:
    (a) 250 Officers, JCOs & OR from the MEG & Centre, Bangalore.
    (b) 150 Officers, JCOs & OR from the ASC Centre, Bangalore.
    (c) 150 Officers, JCOs & OR from the CMP Centre, Bangalore.
    (d) 100 Officers, JCOs & OR from the Pioneer Corps Centre, Bangalore.
    (e) 100 Officers, JCOs & OR from the Parachute Regiment Trg Centre, Bangalore.
    (f) 50 Officers, JCOs & OR from 515 Army Base Wksp, EME, Bangalore.
    (g) 25 Officers & Seamen of the Navy from Naval Project, Bangalore.
    (h) 250 Gaurav Senani (Veterans) comprising Officers, JCOs, NCOs & Sepoys, proudly wearing on their chests, their medals of gallantry and distinguished & meritorious service.

    3. At 9.30 AM on Sunday, 25 July 2010, Shri Ananth Kumar, Hon’ble MP (Lok Sabha), Shri Rajeev Chandrasekar,Hon’ble MP (Rajya Sabha), Capt Ganesh Karnik, Hon’ble MLC and Shri Chi Na Ramu, Chairman, Reservation Research Committee, paid homage to the brave Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen who had laid down their lives in defence of the Motherland, by laying a wreath at the base of the Statue of the Unknown soldier. As they stood up and saluted, the Buglers from the CMP sounded the last post; and, the entire gathering responded by standing at ‘attention’ and saluting the Statue of the Unknown Soldier. It was a solemn moment and a poignant scene.

    4. The commemoration ceremony was followed by a meeting and the following dignitaries spoke:
    (a) Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar. He on behalf of all Veterans thanked and expressed his gratitude to Shri BS Yeddyurappa, the Hon’ble Chief Minister and to the Govt. of Karnataka for undertaking the construction of the prestigious Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka (National Military Memorial) at a prime location; and said that the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka when completed would be a cynosure and a precursor for more such Military Memorials to come up in other States, all over the Country.
    (b) Shri Ananth Kumar, Hon’ble MP (Lok Sabha). He said that the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka at Bangalore, would be a fitting tribute to the sacrifices of Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen who had laid down their lives in Defence of the Motherland; and said that the area of National Military Memorial Park would be greener than Cubbon Park or the Lal Bagh. He said that the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka would be inaugurated on 16 Dec 2010; and if not, then on 26 Jan 2011.
    (c) Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Hon’ble MP ( Rajya Sabha). He too, thanked the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Govt. of Karnataka for undertaking the construction of the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka; and thus sending out a clear message that the sacrifices of Soldiers, Sailors & Airmen shall not go in vain; and that their memory shall be preserved for posterity.
    (d) Shri Rohit J Nair, Chairman, Bangalore Patriots Society. He said that the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka, when completed, would be a pilgrimage centre to people from all walks of life; and would instill a spirit of sacrifice in our young men & women; and would greatly motivate the Youth in taking pride in the Army, Navy & Air Force and in joining them.
    (e) Mrs Subhasini Vasanth, w/o late Col Vasanth, Ashok Chakra. She said that she was indeed touched & moved to see such a large number of serving soldiers and Ex-Servicemen paying Homage to the Martyrs; and the sentiments expressed by other dignitaries.
    (f) Veterans, Admiral OS Dawson, PVSM, AVSM, former Chief of Naval Staff, Air Marshal DG King Lee, PVSM, AVSM and Lt Gen NSI Narahari, PVSM also spoke on the occasion and thanked the Hon’ble Chief Minister and the Govt of Karnataka for their laudable effort in constructing the Rashtriya Sainika Smaraka at Bangalore, in memory of the brave soldiers.

    5. In conclusion, the 1000 strong gathering was hosted ‘High Tea’, kind courtesy, Flags of Honour Foundation; and thus the proceedings of the morning came to an end.

    Kargil Diwas musical nite RSI Bangalore
    6. Kind courtesy, Brig AK Pradhan, SM, Commander Karnataka & Kerala Sub-Area, Officers & their families were treated to a solemn musical at RSI in the evening of Sunday, 25 July 2010. Miss Superrna Sankaran, (grand daughter of IC-3800 Col GS Viswanath, The Bombay Sappers), won the hearts of all present by singing in her melodious voice; especially Vande Maataram and Mere Vatan ke logo. The curtains came down with the singing of Jana Gana Mana
    Col Rajan
    IESM Convenor, Karnataka
    Photo slideshow

    Letters from IESM members
    Dear Col Rajan Dai,
    We need many in this country like Col S S Rajan Dai for doing such an excellent conduct of A to Z activities of any event at any time 'cos presently it appears that there is only one and only one Col S S Rajan Dai, my course mate, bosom friend and room mate who is so meticulous, dedicated organiser, inspiring administrator and motivator. He has earned full respect not only from entire dignitaries of State Govt , Defence units and all ESM but also from ESM all over India & abroad by working day and night for up keeping the name of the organisation for taking care of all welfare measures of ESM. keep it up Dai. We all are indeed proud of you.
    Lt Col B M Thapa, Veteran
    General Secretary, Dehradun Ex-Services League
    Member of IESM

    My dear Col Rajan,
    Heartiest Congratulations for precise co-ordination of the solemn Kargil Diwas function, at Bangalore. It was a good show. Our Warm Felicitations to the Organisers, Flags Of Honour Foundation and K & K Sub Area, as well.
    With regards,
    Col Nitteguthu Sharath Bhandary

    Dear Col Rajan,
    Your efforts have generated positive support from the Karnataka Government for the causes of ESM. A synergic boost indeed for the IESM!!
    Best wishes for all your endeavours.
    Warm regards.
    Col Sushil Chilimbi
  • Consequences of Pakistan racing towards a failed state

    Murder on the Khyber Pass express
    President Joe Biden, India, China and Iran. They are all terrified of facing a failed state with nuclear weapons, and prefer a functioning but treacherous one.

    The released papers - described as one of the biggest leaks in US military history - detail military operations between 2004 and 2009.

    The "everybody" involved in this case seems to exclude whomever actually leaked the documents, presumably some element of the US military, which has to absorb the effect of Pakistan's double game in the region in the form of body bags for enlisted men and shattered reputations for commanders. Like the Rolling Stone magazine interviews that led to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, the America commander in Afghanistan, the WikiLeaks documents suggest a degree of disaffection of the American military with civilian leaders deeper than anything in living memory.

    To exit the Afghan quagmire in a less than humiliating fashion, the United States requires Pakistani help to persuade the Taliban not to take immediate advantage of the American departure and evoke Vietnam-era scenes of helicopters on the American Embassy roof. The politicians in Washington know they have lost and have conceded to the Taliban a role in a post-American Afghanistan. They can only hope that once the country plunges into chaos, the public will have moved onto other themes, much as it did after the Bill Clinton administration put Kosovo into the hands of a gang of dubious Albanians in 1998.

    India does not want America to call Pakistan to account. In the worst case, Pakistan might choose to support the Taliban and other terrorist organizations - including Kashmiri irredentists - openly rather than covertly. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, of whom the Economist on July 25 wrote "the strength of his coalition depends largely on how weak he is as Prime Minister", does not want to confront Pakistan. If Pakistan's support for anti-Indian terrorism became undeniable, India would have to act, and action is the last thing the Congress party-led coalition in New Delhi wants to consider.

    China has no interest in destabilization in Pakistan; on the contrary, Beijing lives in fear that radical Islamists in Pakistan might infect its own restive Uyghurs. And Iran, which shares the fractious Balochis with Pakistan on their common border, lives in terror that a destabilized Pakistan would free the Balochis to make trouble.

    Balochis comprise little over 2% of Iran's population, but they have demonstrated their talent at bomb-making on several recent occasions, including the bombing this month of a Shi'ite mosque in southeastern Iran in which 28 people were killed and hundreds wounded. Iran has accused Pakistan of sponsoring Balochi terror attacks, but intelligence community sources in Washington insist that the Pakistanis would never be so reckless as to put bombs into Balochi hands.

    With 170 million people - more than Russia - and a nuclear arsenal, Pakistan is too big to fail, that is, too big to fail without traumatic consequences for its neighbors. Whether it can be kept from failure is questionable. Half its people live on less than a dollar day, and half are illiterate. It is riven by religious differences - a seventh of Pakistanis are Shi'ite - as well as ethnic ones.
    Read more:
    Murder on the Khyber Pass express: courtesy Asia Times Online
    By Spengler

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Final, MoD says no to "one rank one pension"

    Dear Friends,
    Jai Hind.
    The news cutting received with email of Naval Foundation as attached above. Do not be disheartened. The ESM of India, in particular the Naval Foundation, IESM and other supporting ESM organisations are not going to give up. Naval Foundation, IESM and many other supporting ESM organisations are working hand in hand on all the important issues concerning ESM problems.
    We will fight to the last – but need your support.
    Without support from you all – things will be very difficult.
    So gear up.
    In service of Indian Military Veterans
    Chander Kamboj

    Rastreeya Sainika Smaraka Bangalore Celebrates Kargil Martyrs' Day

    At the feet of the monumental statue of The Unknown Soldier at the Rastreeya Sainika Smaraka Bangalore, a memorable event the Kargil Martyrs' Day was celebrated in the true spirit of the word by Serving Soldiers, Officers, School Children in Uniform, War Widows, Veterans, Members of Parliament and State Council, lot many Ladies and notable Civil Patriots. One thousand strong thronged around the Unknown Statue to pay Homage to all the Brave Hearts who laid down their Lives during the Kargil War of 1999. As one tried to make an entry to the venue was surely surprised to see Military Trucks, Busses, and other vehicles parked in an orderly manner. The decoration of the Gate, the pathway and surroundings decorated with tri-colored balloons all looked like some thing like Fauzi Sports event Venue. The assembly of participants, eagerness on the face of Veterans in ushering Sr Veterans, guests and dignitaries and a horde of Press Photographers, young beautifully dressed ladies waiting to hand over flowers to one and all, other volunteers waiting with wreaths in their hands to be handed over to participants. The pedestal of the Unknown Soldier was decorated suiting the solemn occasion. Well rehearsed Buglers sounded the Last Post brilliantly. Wreath laying ceremony commenced in extreme veneration by Honorable Law Makers, followed by War Widows, veteran Generals, Admirals and Air Marshalls and so on. The entire environment charged with fragrance of flowers and scent, typical cool weather of Bangaluru and the sobriety synergized and so enhanced patriotic fervor all around.

    All participants of after paying Homage to Martyrs moved on to a well laid out seating arrangement under a beautiful shamiyana. On the dias were Honorable Law Makers Shri Anantha Kumar, Shri Chandrasekhar, Capt Ganesh Karnik, War Widows and Sr Veterans. Air Cmdr Chandrasekhar set the tone, followed by other speakers assuring that the "Memorial will be the greenest spot in Bangaluru", " All our Martyrs who died for our Country loved Greenery Sasya Shyamalam Mataram", " We will do our best to contribute to this Noble cause", " this tribute at the NMM has set the tone, our husbands' sacrifice will not go in vain", " Nobody has done an honor by coming here, We are here to salute our Martyrs for preserving our National Unity", "NMM is a big starter for a greater public involvement", " it will surely be a sacred multi divine temple for all", and much more sweet and endearing words floated in the Honor of our Brave Hearts. After lovely talk was attractively laid out eats and Tea for children, ladies, our men in uniform, the Press and all 900 strong. While departing lots of us were keen to get photographed in front of the Un Known Soldier.

    Entire idea, conduct of the celebration, funding and all arrangements were done under the patronage of Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar MP. Staff of Flags of Honor Under Brig Chandrasekhar were the force behind the screen. Efforts of one man army of Col SS Rajan made all the difference in mobilizing Uniformed Men. It goes to the credit of Brig Parthasarathi our Bengal Sapper for capturing lovely scenes through his lens. Press Reporters and Lens men of all News and other Media made their presence felt. Following day all news papers carried the Kargil Day Celebrations at Bangaluru story all in praise of Martyrs. Kudos to last but not the least our ld man the driving force Air Cmdr Chandrasekhar. Our bouquet and love to all these guys.
    Veteran Sreedhar.

    Can decline of Indian Military be reversed?

    Letter addressed to Smt Sonia Gandhi
    I am writing to you on a matter concerning the career profile of the armed forces. There is a deep sense of disquiet and unease verging on to a visible simmer of discontent and turmoil in the armed forces. This is now becoming a matter of national concern and needs urgent looking into.

    Since India’s independence, Yudhisthira (the armed forces), have all along fallen prey to a one sided unethical game of dice wherein they have been denied their rightful entitlements in the matter of pay, position, status or dignity. Both Bhisma and Drona, worthy political masters, have so far acquiesced in these earlier misdemeanors and still appear unconcerned. The Pandava’s after 13 years of banishment finally awoke to ask, plead and eventually fight for their rights but present day Yudhisthira, after six decades, still remains seeped in impotent patience and forbearance.

    The Yudhisthira’s have so far found no present day Krsna who can pull them out of this deep dungeon of humiliation and trespass.

    It is baffling as to why our leaders both political and bureaucratic are overlooking the gravity of the situation. On the one hand we are spending tens of thousands of crores in the purchase of the latest military weapons and equipment and on the other we have gone out of the way in demotivating the very personnel who are to man these sophisticated machines by preying upon their morale and welfare and making their career prospects so dismal that they cease to attract the kind of military leaders and men the country seeks and needs. One has now started questioning as to the reasons behind this perversity. It is probably due to an unfounded counter productive seed of fear, uppermost in the mind of the politician, of a likely military take over. This idea appears to trigger a continuous psychosis and a perverse response that has spread over the last 60 years. After every military victory, with outside threats having subsided, the internal fears of the politician take deeper root and he unethically pushes the nation’s military deeper into the quagmire of despondency and frustration and makes the career profile equation between the armed forces and their peers in civil central government services, unbearably invidious.

    Today a Brig (29 yrs service) stands equated, pay and precedence wise, with a DIG, (IPS – 14 yrs service); Director, (IAS - 14 yrs service); Scientist F, ((DRDO -17 yrs service); DIG BSF (20 yrs service). This ill conceived and illogical equation runs right across the full rank structure. Similarly the promotion profile is as dismal. Against posted strength, the posts of Lt-Gens is 0.16 percent of the officer cadre while in the police DGP/ADGP it is 5.34 percent, Maj Gens is 0.4 percent as against 11.54 percent IGs in the police. The army at the same proportion as the police would be entitled to 2403 posts of Lt Gens as against the sanctioned strength of 63, and 5193 posts of Maj Gens as against the sanctioned strength of 218. Similar perverse equations exist between the other civil services and the armed forces. In matters of pay, at 17 years service an IAS officer gains an edge of 12.9 percent higher emoluments over an army officer with same length of service and at 25 years the gap increases to 17.3 percent and at 31 years, it jumps to 23.6 percent. Then there is proportionate cumulative effect of these differentials of pay, on allowance, pension and other monetary benefits. This when compounded over the full length of service, worked out to over Rs 30 lakhs at the time the Fifth Pay Commission submitted its report to the Government of India. This tantamounts to most central government officers drawing an average of Rs 8000/- per month more in their service span of 30 years, over and above their peer’s in the armed forces. These are startling and regrettable revelations and show how, without any qualms of conscience, the armed forces have been cheated of their rightful pay and position in the nation’s mainstream. The armed forces laudable character trait not to form unions or to take recourse to agitation, in self interest, has been exploited by the system to their total disadvantage. It has now become a noticeable cause of concern within the armed forces leaders as the gross invidiousness between them and the civil services, is liable to seriously affect their rank and file, and bode ill for the nations’ security.

    Winston Churchill had this to say “Indian Army is not so much an arm of the executive branch as it is of the Indian people. Military professionals have the duty and obligation to ensure that the people and political leaders are counseled and alerted to the needs and necessities of military life. This cannot be done by adhering to notion of the military profession as silent order of monks isolated from the political realm.” Obviously, the top brass over the last 60 decades must bear full responsibility for forsaking a sacred trust and allowing this deep downward slide. Churchill further went on to say “The Armed forces are not like a limited company to be reconstructed from time to time as the money fluctuates. ------ It is a living thing. If it is bullied, it sulks, if it is unhappy it pines, if harried it gets feverish, if sufficiently disturbed it will wither and dwindle and almost die, and when it comes to this last, serious condition, it is only revived by lots of time and lots of money.” How far are the Indian Armed forces from this last serious condition!
    Stephen Peter Rosen, professor at Harvard, in his book, ‘Societies and Military Power; India and her armies’ argues, that even in the case of the British, their successes against armies of India did not lay in their superior technology because Indian guns, muskets and swords were better. Philip Mason, ICS in his book, ‘A Matter of Honour’ lays the blame for this long record of military defeats at the door of politics and the type of governments that had grown up in India. The British addressed this failing, by giving military both honour and emoluments, which in turn drew the right leadership. The Indian army came to be counted amongst the very best and enabled them to expand their Empire and protect it for over a hundred years.
    We forget that during the Second World War, the US President had Gen Marshall as his chief confidante and advisor. He was the genius who espoused the ‘Marshall’ plan to revive the economic wealth of America’s erstwhile enemies. Similarly, Churchill had Field Marshal Alexander as his prime confidante and advisor. If India aspires to become a nation to reckon with in the 21 Century then it must build up, train and nurse its future military leaders and not tie a lodestone of suspicion around their necks and push them deeper into the quagmire of despondency.
    In 1947, an officer of the rank of Lt Gen was placed above an ICS secretary to Government of India, which was then the highest post for an ICS officer, Maj Gen above Chief Secretary of States and a Brig ranked above an IG of police and drew a higher pension than that of a secretary. This was in spite of the fact the ICS then was accorded a special status because, there were at that time, no elected political leaders. The present day bureaucrat, forgets that in his new role he is primarily and exclusively a civil servant executing policy decisions of the politically elected leaders, he has ingeniously usurped the politicians’ prerogative and has accorded himself a distorted inter-se precedence vis a vis the armed forces. From the preceding paragraphs it is abundantly clear that all this has come about largely because of a ‘You scratch my back I scratch your back’ collusive arrangement.

    All this not withstanding, internal political squabbles have kept the politician much too preoccupied to apply his mind and attention to the dark and threatening clouds that have already cast their ominous shadows of the turbulent decades ahead. Our political arena is in the doldrums, cleaving and clawing. To our west, Pakistan is in turmoil and on the verge of a breakup. The terrorists, breeding and sprouting in a cascading pattern there, are menacingly positioned to strike eastwards after finding sanctuaries in J&K and lastly, an emerging unstructured nuclear threat from that country is very much on the cards. This aside, India is unquestionably vulnerable to the numerous termites flourishing within--- the Maos and Naxals spreading from Nepal to Chattisgarh; The ULFA and the other insurgents, weakening our Seven Sisters to the East; The numerous sleeping cells of the Al Qaeda; well dispersed, biding their time; Poverty and corruption seeping deep into our guts; And the law of the jungle pattern of existence competing with ‘organized chaos’ style of governance. Each of these is evolving its own menacingly alarming portrait of Satan.

    We have already forgotten that for eleven long centuries our lands were continuously under rapacious foreign rule. No other region in the world with an odd exception perhaps can claim heritage to such a deep destroying humiliation and curse. Within 60 years of gaining independence, our conduct across the board has ripened this region for being plucked once again.

    It is laudable to view the 21st Century as India’s century but we must not overlook the fact that at one time in the past, ours was the richest region in the world. Today we stand as vulnerable to our new found ‘Kohinoors’, and ‘Peacock Thrones’, and the ‘Som Nath Temples’ being plundered once again, as happened historically in the past, if we fail once again to sufficiently and adequately nourish and safeguard the intrinsic interests of the prime protectors of our sovereignty. It took the British a couple of hundred years to build a military might with Indian manpower, by virtue of which they expanded their Empire and kept it intact. We need no lessons to tell us as to what should be the State of our Armed Forces and how best we can speedily rectify the earlier harm caused so as to prepare and motivate them sufficiently to tackle the threats that lie ahead.
    I am attaching as an appendix to this letter a short note on aspects that merit specific consideration.
    With kindest regards,
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen NC Khanna (Retd)

    Military Service pay and pension arrears

    State Bank of India (SBI) in a Northern city is paying MSP wef from Sep 2008, whereas it should be from 01-01-2006.

    Will appreciate if readers having Pension account with SBI anywhere in India can advise details, where SBI has paid MSP wef 01-01-2006, so that the erring Branch can be confronted.
    Blog Post
    SCPC: Calculation of Pension Arrears- Pre 1996

    Kargil Divas: Remembering our Heroes

    Vijay Divas is 16 December (1971). Kargil Vijay Divas is 26 July (1999). Just for information, the Army ops were called 'Op Vijay', while the IAF called theirs "Op Safed Sagar". Kargil Divas is what we have been calling, more as an abridged model in referring to the 'Kargil Vijay Divas'.
    Col RP Chaturvedi (Retd), IESM


    Dehradun Ex-Services League paid tribute to Kargil War Martyrs by honouring their 40 family members. All were felicitated and presented mementos & shawls by chief guest Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” Chief Minister of Uttarakhand in the presence of special guest Sh Ganesh Joshi, MLA. More than 700 senior veterans, ESM & families attended the Kargil Diwas.
    The following announcement was made by the Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, Nishank:
    In future Kargil Diwas will be celebrated as Shaurya Diwas under the arrangements of Govt of Uttarakhand. CM announced Rs 1 Crore for erection of war memorial in commemoration of the martyrs of the State.
    CM declared exemption in sale tax imposed on the purchae of vehicles by the soldiers and ESM from the CSD canteen of Uttarakhand.
    CM also assured the ex-soldiers that their demand for exemption in house tax would be considered and system followed by the other states in this connection would also be followed by Uttarakhand. He assured that soldiers of Uttarakhand wi;ll pay minimum house tax.
    CM assured that he personally will take up the case with Defence Minister for establishment of one training centre of Gurkhas at Dehradun as earlier there used to be three centres but at present all have been shifted elsewhere.
    Lt Col B M Thapa, Veteran
    General Secretary,
    Dehradun Ex- Services League

    Kargil Divas Noida
    Kargil Divas Celebrations 26 Jul 2010 at Noida & IESM activities
    Saluting our Heroes: The “Param Veer's of Kargil

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Welfare Of Defence Personnel

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010 17:57 IST PIB Press Release
    A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary to look in the issue of ‘One Rank One Pension and other related issues’. After considering all aspects and keeping in mind the spirit of the demand, several recommendations to substantially improve pensionary benefits of Armed Forces pensioners have been made, which have been accepted and are as follows:
  • Inclusion of classification Allowance for PBOR from January 01, 2006.
  • Removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years from January 01, 2006.
  • Revision of Lt General Pension after carving out a separate pay scale for them.
  • Bringing parity between pension of pre and post October 10, 1997 PBOR pensioners.
  • Further improving PBOR pensions based on award of Group of Ministers 2006.
  • Broad banding percentage of disability /war injury pensions for pre- January 01, 2006 disability/war injury pensioners.
  • Removal of cap on war injury element of pension in the case of disabled pensioners belong to Category E.

    Government orders in implementation of the same have been issued on October 30, 2009, January 19, 2010, January 20, 2010 and March 08, 2010. Approximately 12 lac pensioners are benefitted by the recommendations.
    This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju in a written reply to Smt Sumitra Mahajan in Lok Sabha today. DM/ RAJ
    Welfare Of Defence Personnel

    PS: MoD continues to use the demeaning term PBOR in all its official channels. ESM welfare Organisations need to take up the issue with the Defence Minister (RM) to refrain use of the term PBOR which is hurting the sentiments of all Veterans.
  • Kargil Vijay Divas: Homage at Shahid Smarak Noida and India Gate

    The Kargil Diwas was once again celecbrated with the same josh and enthusiasm as last year at Shahid Samarak in front of the Army Public School Noida today morning from 1100 Hrs to 1300 Hrs.

    A few hundred Veterans of yester years started gathering at the Venue from 1030 AM onwards which included Lt Gen Kala fromer Army Commander from Dehra Dun / Lt Gen Guru Bakshi / Maj Gen Inderjit kashyap / Mag Gen M Bhatia / Maj Gen Sushil Nath / Maj Gen S Bindra/ Maj Gen RN Wadhera / Maj Gen Gurdip Singh / Maj Gen KP Deswal / Maj Gen VS Dhania / Maj Gen Pramod Kapur / Brig Mahalingam / Hony Capt Pande / WO Balakrishnan and many more including the Governing Body members of Maj Gen Satbir Singh /Maj Gen AJB Jaini / Gp Capt VK Gandhi / Col RP Chaturvedi / Col Kirit Joshipura / Wg Cdr CK Sharma and Cdr Sharan Ahuja.

    The celebrations started 1115 hrs where in the choir from APJ School Noida including young children sang the valour songs making a tear appear in the eyes of many a veteran making the occasion solemn as intended to be to remember the brave sons of this great nation.The sky was rented with Jai Hinds under the able guidance of Gen Jaini.

    The gathered veterans after paying the homage in a orderly manner at the Shahid Samarak which was manned by the school children Nehru International Public School Sec 12 , Noida got together under the Shamiana to have the delicious samosas and Gulab Jamun with chilled Limca to quench the thirst.

    The solemn occasion was also used to do Prize distribution to the 3 younsters for the painting competion Nehru International Public School . The prizes were given by Gen Kala / Gen Guru Bakshi and Gen Satbir. These children are bound to remember this event and prize throughout their lives.
    Cdr Sharan Ahuja (Retd)

    Homage to Martyrs Kargil Vijay Divas: Media Reports

    click on images for enlarged view

    Monday, July 26, 2010

    National Security: Media Reports

    INDIA-PAKISTAN STANDOFF- Reaching out to Pakistan has been a one-way street. The need of the hour is to drastically change our foreign policy while building up our military and internal security apparatus to meet the challenge posed by the Pakistani army.
    Cut losses and change tack by Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi (retd)

    Synergy can’t be achieved without CDS by Col Pritam Bhullar (retd)



    Manoeuvring of Pakistan Army High Command

    Chief’s Choreography– Manoeuvring of Pakistan Army High Command by
    Hamid Hussain
    ‘A general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing the disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service to his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.’ Sun Tzu

    The Pakistani army is the dominant institution of the country and it has significant control over the decision making process despite the installation of a democratic set up. In the last two years of General Pervez Mussharraf’s rule, the army’s reputation hit rock bottom. General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani was appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in October 2007 and over the last two years he has worked quietly to reassert the control of military high command over all-important areas.

    The Army as an institution has always preferred to have a veto power on key policy decisions while not having the responsibility to directly manage a fragile and complex state and society.

    Kiyani was faced with three challenging tasks when he took control of Pakistan army. First and foremost was getting control of the army itself by promoting, appointing and posting senior officers to key positions (details of these changes are discussed in a previous analysis, Hamid Hussain. Balancing Act – Change of Guard at Pakistan Army, January 2008 and Hamid Hussain. Careful Choreography - Next Round of Senior Officer Promotions & Postings in Pakistan Army, September 2008).

    He moved out several senior officers put in place at key positions by General Pervez Mussharraf prior to handing over charge of the army to Kiyani (details of these changes by General Mussharraf prior to elevation of General Kiyani are discussed in a previous analysis, Hamid Hussain. Shuffling the Deck, September 2007). When Kiyani completed the process, Mussharraf was an isolated man and was pushed out of President House by the new civilian set up once a signal was given from army’s General Headquarter (GHQ) that they would not come to the rescue of Mussharraf.

    It was reminiscent of a previous episode when in 1969 Field Marshal Ayub Khan faced with popular resentment was asked to leave President House by his own protégé Commander-in- Chief General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan once he got his own team in place.

    The second challenging task for Kiyani was to shift the balance back to the army in dealing with United States. Traditionally, the U.S. Democratic Party favours working with the political forces of a country rather than relying solely on military leaders. When the Democrats with a majority in the U.S. Congress also got their man in the White House, there was a shift towards more constructive engagement with the political leaders of Pakistan.

    The Kerry-Lugar bill was the outcome of this shift whereby future U.S. aid was geared more towards civilian sector. In addition, more direct funding was to be provided for strengthening of police and paramilitary forces of the country. The ultimate snub was a clause, which warned the Pakistani Army to keep its hands away from all levers of power and not to subvert political process. Some Pakistanis especially military officers allege that this clause was inserted at the request of the Pakistani political leadership in an effort to strengthen their hand against an omnipresent military. Outraged military brass publicly snubbed United States as well as Pakistan’s political leaders for committing this blasphemous act. In private conversations with visiting military and civilian leaders of United States, Kiyani made this point very clear. The ace card, which the military uses during its independent negotiations with foreign countries, and especially with the United States, is its complete control of country’s nuclear assets.

    Washington’s main interaction with Islamabad is in the context of rise of extremism in Pakistan, conflict in Afghanistan and concern about security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. All these areas are exclusively handled by the military therefore it was no surprise that Washington gave in quite easily accepting the dominant role of military in all affairs. This was a forgone conclusion in view of the nature of the history of U.S.-Pakistan relations. Similar understanding was reached with previous Pakistani military leaders including Field Marshal Ayub Khan (1958-69), General Muhammad Zia–ul-Haq (1977-88) and General Pervez Mussharraf (1999-2008).

    The third task of General Kiyani was to work with political leaders in a way to get their support for ongoing military operations in tribal areas and Swat, but not allowing them to encroach on military’s domain. Kiyani has performed all these tasks deftly securing the military’s institutional interests without showing his hand. No wonder that in some circles he is dubbed as ‘master manipulator’ and a master of ‘poker face’. Many people interacting with him admit that it is very hard to guess what is on his mind as he shows no emotions and chooses very few words to express himself.

    Kiyani will be retiring in November 2010 and now his main focus is on the coming change in the army’s top cadres. It is in this context that President Asif Ali Zardari comes into the picture. It is quite clear by now that the president will not likely win any popularity contest in Pakistan. The Army in general has no respect for him either. This is the main reason that president is not invited to visit any military installation. However, in the present set up with the president as supreme commander of armed forces holds the authority to appoint service chiefs. The Army does not want him to appoint the next army chief and this factor is contributing to increased pressure on the president from all quarters. The Army wants that the authority to appoint the army chief should revert back to the prime minister.

    Recently, pressure was exerted on president to give back the chairmanship of National Command Authority (NCA); a body responsible for nuclear and missile assets to the prime minister. The military has the keys to Pakistan’s ‘crown jewels’ and no civilian leader is allowed in this privileged club. The prime minister may chair the NCA but has no real say about country’s nuclear and missile program. These programs are under the firm control of the military with the Strategic Planning Division (SPD).

    For his part, President Zardari believes that current campaign against him has the tacit blessing of the GHQ. This mutual mistrust and suspicion is aggravating relations between two important pillars of the state and in my view both parties have missed the narrow window of opportunity by their own ill thought actions. To some extent President Zardari has kept his side of the bargain by fully supporting the army in its operations against militants. The military could have used the good offices of the president to de-escalate the alarming situation in Baluchistan in view of good relations between the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Baluch nationalist leadership.

    The ultimate loser in case of continuing strained relations between army and president will be the state of Pakistan.

    In view of the peculiar circumstances, General Kiyani with his three-year tenure will end up promoting and posting a record number of senior officers. The first round of promotions and postings was done in 2008 when a number of key positions at lieutenant general and major general ranks were shuffled. In the fall of 2008, six officers were promoted to lieutenant general rank and in the fall of 2009, four additional officers were promoted to the same rank (prior to announcement of these promotions, an analysis of coming promotions was done in Hamid Hussain. Chief’s Call - Next Round of Promotions in Pakistan Army, July 2009) In early April 2010, five lieutenant generals will be retiring after completing their tenures thus opening five additional slots. In addition, due to an unprecedented situation his year, four additional lieutenant generals will be retiring as they will be reaching the age limit of 58 years although they have at least 2-3 years left as far as tenure is concerned. These officers are currently holding important posts including Chief of General Staff (CGS), Quarter Master General (QMG), DGISI and Karachi Corps Commander.

    In the next few months, the whole senior brass of the Pakistan army will be changed. Newly promoted officers will be posted to key positions. In the last few months, new corps commanders have already taken command of Bahawalpur and Multan corps. New corps commanders will be appointed to important Mangla, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar corps. In addition, we will also see a new batch of Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) at GHQ including Military Secretary (MS), CGS and QMG. Most of these promotions and postings are a routine matter in any army including Pakistan army, but in view of the extraordinary powers of the military in all spheres as well as entitlements which come with these ranks, these changes become topic of speculation as well as lobbying and intense rivalry and competition among contending officers. Most of the time, it leaves a lot of bitterness and strained personal relations among senior officers (a cursory look at the memoirs and recent disclosures on electronic media by several senior officers provides ample proof of this conclusion).

    In my view this is the single most important factor responsible for hampering professional development of senior officer corps of Pakistan army. The majority of senior officers are busy in this lobbying effort and engage in too much of socialization with the right group taking away the precious time, which could be used, for professional development and reading serious military affairs.
    The most important event of 2010 will be the appointment of the army chief in the winter of 2010. Beleaguered President Zardari knows very well that he has only one card left in his hand and that is the authority to appoint the army chief. If he gives back this authority to prime minister, he will be a lame duck president. Currently, the army is happy to see the judiciary and media taking on the president thus keeping its own hands clean. The Army high command feels that an isolated president busy fighting his own battles against media, judiciary and political opponents will have less desire and time to interfere with military matters.
    The Army is in complete control of president’s security and essentially controls all movements of the president as well as access of people to him. They feel this step is essential to prevent the president from making direct contacts with senior military officers. There is lot of competition and rivalry among senior officers for the important post of army chief and president being a shrewd person can play this game quite well.

    The military hierarchy wants to continue with the current system and has working relations with prime minister and other political parties as long as long as the president is kept at a safe distance or preferably removed. Someone is busy doing the homework and it is no surprise that in January 2010, parliament’s constitutional reforms committee agreed to transfer the authority of appointing the service chiefs from the head of state to the head of government by amending article 243 of the constitution. If this change goes through then the president will bound to consult the prime minister before appointing the chiefs of the army, the navy and the air force. The decision was taken unanimously which means that all political parties were on board. The committee rejected two suggestions; first one dealing with the issue that the service chiefs should be appointed after parliamentary approval and second that the service chiefs should not be given extensions and should be retired after completing their term in office.

    Despite all his shortcomings, the elections were a fair process and gave Pakistanis an unprecedented opportunity to elect the president and it would be unwise to try to remove him by unconstitutional means. The only way president can be removed is by impeachment and if that cannot be done then he is bound to react if he is provoked beyond certain limits. He may not be the smartest chap in the room but he can surely do a lot of damage in view of some powers in his hands.

    The military has probably war gamed all the likely scenarios and also covered some administrative bases. The Secretary of the Ministry of Defence usually signs off the final official notification issued by the president in the appointment of the army chief. The current defence secretary is retired lieutenant general Syed Athar Ali and in the worst case scenario is that he maybe the last stumbling block (in 1999 coup, then defence secretary retired lieutenant general Iftikhar Ali Khan was given the file of prime minister’s orders of replacing General Pervez Mussharraf for his signature and official notification. Iftikhar played safely and went to his office with the file but didn’t sign it. He was no fool and was expecting some reaction from the senior brass. He waited to see which way things settle. This point was also not lost on officers involved in the coup. A military intelligence officer was sent to pick up the Defence Secretary and he was taken to the military operations directorate, which was the centre from where the coup was being coordinated. )

    General Kiyani has two possible options. First option is that he reaches an understanding with President Zardari where he gets a one-year extension as army chief. If Kiyani is not considering this option then he will try to arrange the cards in such a way that his choice for army chief’s post has the best chance in the winter of 2010. Most likely his choice is current DGISI Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha. The problem is that in the normal course of action Pasha will be retiring in March 2010 (the tenure for a lieutenant general is three years in the rank or reaching the age of 58 whichever comes first). Pasha has less than a year in the rank but will be reaching the age limit in March 2010, eight months before the retirement of General Kiyani. This impediment can be overcome if Pasha is given one-year extension of service, which will make him leading contender for chief’s post in coming winter.

    Kiyani may be thinking on these lines as retirement date of current corps commander of Peshawar based XI Corps Lieutenant General Masood Aslam was in September 2009 but he has been asked to continue in view of ongoing operations in North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.) under his command. This may have been done to set the precedent so that no one objects if extension is given to Pasha. If Pasha is given an extension of service in the next 2-3 weeks then this will clearly indicate that Kiyani wants him to be the next chief. The other reason to allow Aslam to continue may be the fact that Kiyani has already selected the individual to command Peshawar corps but the officer is waiting in the wings at major general rank. In early April 2010, in the next round of promotions this desired officer maybe promoted to lieutenant general rank and then posted to command Peshawar Corps.

    In my view, two possible contenders for this post are Major General Tariq Khan (if he survives internal fights and pass medical fitness) and Major General Waheed Arshad. In my view, Tariq will be a better choice as he has been in the thick of the battle for the last few years; first as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of a division which operated in Waziristan and then as Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IGFC) of N.W.F.P.; paramilitary force operating against militants in tribal areas along with regular troops. There is room for criticism for some of his operational plans but he deserves some credit for handling an extremely difficult situation in N.W.F.P. in 2008-09 and pushing back militants from major centres.

    Serious contenders for army chief post are now only three officers; Lt. General Khalid Shamim Wayen (Quetta corps commander), Lt. General Nadeem Taj (Gujranwala corps commander) and Lt. General Ahmad Shuja Pasha (if he gets an extension prior to his retirement. Another thing going against Pasha is that he has not commanded a corps; usually a pre-requisite for army chief post contender. Kiyani after giving him extension can transfer him to the command of a corps for few months thus fulfilling this criteria but this aberration will be quite obvious and may not sit well with many officers). Lt. General Muhammad Yusuf is also a senior officer but in my view he is out of the race when Kiyani recently brought him in as president of National Defence University from Bahawalpur Corps.

    If Kiyani is thinking that after handing over the charge to next man he will hit the golf course then I see no problem. However, if he is thinking about some role for himself then there is potential for conflict even if Kiyani’s own hand picked man is selected. To prove this point one need to look at two exhibits. Exhibit A is of General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan; groomed and selected by Field Marshal Ayub Khan who sent Ayub packing in a matter of hours and Exhibit B is how General Kiyani; groomed and hand picked by General Pervez Mussharraf facilitated the departure of the later out of President House when he became a liability to military’s institutional interests.

    If Kiyani is thinking about some continuing role for himself then his only choice is to get himself selected as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) prior to his retirement. There is no problem in pursuing this course, as current CJCSC General Tariq Majid will be retiring in October 2010, few weeks before Kiyani’s retirement. CJCSC is essentially a ceremonial post with no real power. Kiyani knows very well that once appointed, the army chief is the boss and everyone looks to him and who can understand this better than Kiyani in view of his special relations with former army chief General Mussharraf over the last several years?

    If Kiyani is looking at this option then he will definitely want to increase the power of CJCSC. One choice could be to have CJCSC sit on the promotion board of senior officers of all three services arguing that being the senior most officers overseeing all three services it is quite natural for him to have these powers. Senior officers in addition to army chief have to look towards CJCSC also thus increasing his influence. If CJCSC is given a say in selection of service chiefs and promotion of senior officers then he can swing things in his favour at two important forums; the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and NCA thus directly influencing the decision making process with some weight behind him. This will invariably dilute the power of army chief.

    In my view this is a bad option because it will inevitably result in clash between army chief and CJCSC. Once a new army chief is selected, he should be in charge of running his own organization. However, this power should not be arbitrary and absolute but tempered with restraint and geared towards institutional rather than personal interests. It is important to focus on working relations between different centres of power inside the military i.e. corps commanders and heads of military’s intelligence organizations as well as balance of power between military and civilian authority. Swinging from one extreme to the other will add instability to an already precarious situation.

    The senior ranks of the army are not monolithic and there are personal, service arms, ethnic and social groupings inside the army. These differences need to be taken into account when important decisions are being considered as far as army is concerned. People can have different perspectives as well as preferences and this is an accepted factor as far as selection of senior officers is concerned. However, institutional interests must be held above personal wishes. Lieutenant General Masood Aslam should have retired on his due date and allowing him to continue at current post will cause resentment among officers down the line. He has performed to the best of his abilities in a difficult time and military operations under his command should be evaluated carefully. In some areas he has done well while in others things could have been better. In addition, he has gone through a personal tragedy when his young son was killed in attack on the mosque in Rawalpindi in December 2009. He has kept his composure and continued the task but we are all humans and this was one more reason that he should have been given farewell on time.

    On the same note, I am of the view that no extension should be given to any officer. In the past, this issue caused resentment and breakdown of even professional relations between senior officers. It gives the impression of favouritism and tinkering with the accepted norms to push a particular officer and creates resentment among officer corps.

    The playing field should be level as far as promotion to senior ranks and selection of army chief is concerned. In my view normal institutional process should be allowed to function and it is not appropriate to tinker with extensions, promotions and postings to push favourites. We all know very well that modern armies are large bureaucracies, which encourage conformation for smooth function of the organization.

    The only test for a general is war and nothing else. No one expects a Rommel or Guderian emerging from Pakistan army ranks. To date, all heads of the Pakistani Army were average officers who rose to higher ranks after going through normal command, staff and instructional appointments. Most senior officers are average and one can choose from among the available lot without sacrificing much. The appointing authority can choose anyone among the top three or four senior lieutenant generals and he will be no better or worse than the others. The new chief will work to secure Pakistan’s as well as military’s interests. Every senior officer including the chief has the right to select his own team as long as he adheres to prevalent professional standards and accepted norms. Once, the chief starts to play with rules to favour one over the other then there are bound to be repercussions. In the past allegations of such foul play caused resentment and estrangement among senior officers, which is not good for the smooth functioning of the institution. Pakistani Army officers usually accuse civilians of interfering with army affairs but it is the unfair tactics of senior officers for career advancement, which caused the greatest harm.

    Unfortunately the ‘indispensability syndrome’ is quite prevalent in Pakistan. All major political parties are run as personal and family business. They cry hoarse about democracy but nominate lifetime chairpersons and leaders groom their children to inherit not only the personal wealth but also the political party.

    Senior military officers also get grandiose ideas in their heads and sometimes suffer from the disease of ‘infallibility’ . The only antidote for such ideas is frequent visits to the nearest graveyard, which will confirm to the visitor that every graveyard is filled with the ‘indispensable’ folks. There is no denying the fact that military is the dominant institution in Pakistan completely controlling not only military but also nuclear, missile, foreign policy and domestic arenas. The army as an institution should understand and respect spheres of influence of other organs of the state and try not to interfere in smooth functioning of other institutions. It is an accepted norm that internal matters of the army should be dealt through army chief but it is also important that army chief should clearly understand his own limitations and not extend himself resulting in the imbalance which can not only threaten the current delicate set up but can also cause serious fissures in the military. In current difficult times more transparency in decision-making process is the need of the hour rather than engaging in intrigues fuelled by mistrust and suspicion among decision makers. A working relationship between army, parliament, prime minister, president and judiciary is must to avoid further polarization of society.

    'War is won outside the borders of the state, but the general’s merit is established within it'. Tai Kung’s advice to King Wu, 11th century B.C.
    Dr. Hamid Hussain is an independent analyst based in New York.
    Chief’s Choreography –Manoeuvring of Pakistan Army High Command by Hamid Hussain

    Bureaucrats Allergy to Armed Forces

    Cantonment & Civvy Street~I- A Military State In Slow March? by Ashok Kapur
    Babus and their top-secret fetish: 47-year-old Henderson-Brooks report on the military debacle in the 1962 border war with China still soaked in secrecy

    Babus’ Age-Old Allergy to Armed Forces
    By Anil Bhat
    The author, a retired Army officer and an independent defence and security analyst, is Chief Editor, WordSword Features.

    Some of the ‘takes’ of many serving and retired Armed Forces officers I interacted with, who read retired Indian Administiative Service (IAS) officer Ashok Kapur’s ‘Cantonment & Civvy Street (I & II) A Military State in Slow March’, in The Statesman of 17 and 18 May 2010, or also those who did not read this article, but are relevant to its theme, are: “seems like he has nothing to do...suffering from insecurities… wonder what all he did, or made a mess of during his service…these are the chaps who made a virtue out of misgovernance… they often create problems about which they are never accountable… laughable…nonsense… malicious… motivated… utter lies…many problems of governance are perpetuated by IAS officers…his contention of ‘eroding civil control’ is an atrocious lie-it is exactly opposite of what has happened over the last decades…the ICS was meant to be ‘the steel frame, the IAS soon became ‘the steal frame’ .” The list is pretty long.

    While the opinion of some is that this article is too ridiculous to respond to, some facts need to be brought out to set the record straight.

    Kapur begins his piece with the court martial of senior generals. The Indian Army has its share of aberrations, but probably far less in proportion when compared to many other government and non-government organizations. And that has not prevented it from still being the most disciplined, organized, well structured and most importantly, the most dependable organization- which has remained an ultimate alternative from defending the country against external aggression, to fighting internal insurgencies / terrorism (only because state and central police organizations have not been able to), disaster relief, including pulling children falling into wells.

    Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan recently informed that a total of 78 officers of the IAS, Indian Police Service and Indian Revenue Service have been found to be involved in corruption cases in the last three years. “Thirty-two officers were found involved in corruption cases in 2009. Seventeen officers were booked under the same charges in 2008 and 20 in 2007, respectively,” the minister said and added “Until March 2010, nine officers were found to be involved in corruption cases.”

    Lt. Gen. Harwant Singh (retd) wrote in a widely published article titled ‘An Army of Occupation’ that “there was a pathological dislike of the Indian military by the Congress party” since Independence , which soon after, “led to the military's down-gradation in so systematic and persistent a manner… The bureaucracy exploited this bias of the Congress to the hilt and added to it the fear and the possibility of a military take over as had occurred in some of the neighbouring countries. It also managed to restructure the higher defence set-up to the nation's overall strategic disadvantage” .

    Gen O P Malhotra as Chief of Defence Staff, in a note to the Defence Minister, in 1981 raised the issue of down grading of service officers in the warrant of precedence ( which bears on pay etc as well ) and that these down-gradations coincided with the termination of every war ( 1948, ’62, ’65, and ’71. ) and this had seriously affected the morale of the Armed Forces. “A committee of three secretaries periodically revise the warrant of precedence, which is rubber stamped by the supreme commander of the armed forces, who is not known to have even once raised a query on this regular assault on the officers of his forces”, Gen. Harwant stated, adding, “In response to Gen OP Malhotra's objection, the committee of secretaries recorded, ‘military officers were placed unduly high in the old warrant of precedence, presumably as it was considered essential for officers of army of occupation to be given special status and authority.’ While it appeared to be an independent perception of a few babus, the political class, either had a similar view or were indifferent to bureaucratic machinations. Of all the people of this world, we Indians, who have been under the heels of armies of occupation for more than two thousand years, should know what such armies are like. To call Indian army of the 20th century (1900 to1947) an army of occupation was blasphemous.”

    Kargil Vijay Divas at Panchkula on Sunday, July 25, 2010

    IESL Objectives: WWII Veterans financially neglected

    Ref: World War veterans to get financial aid by Vijay Mohan: Tribune News Service: click here

    IESL Objectives
    While we all should be very happy with the decision of AFT given above, and we hope that the Government of India does wake up to the injustice it is doing to the Indian Military Veterans, I wish to inform all Indian Military Veterans that Indian Ex Services League (IESL), besides its own huge annual earnings from property in prime areas and other sources every year- it gets crores of rupees every year from England to look after the veterans of World Wars. As per the existing brochure of IESL, its main activities are supposed to be as under:
    1. Indian Ex-Services League assists Ex-Servicemen, widows and their children by disbursing financial help under following schemes:-
  • Distress Grant
  • Education Stipends
  • RCEL Grant (to II War Veterans)
  • RCEL Medical Grant (to II War Veterans)
    2. IESL is also extends financial help to Word War-II Veterans on behalf of Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services Leagues, London UK, (RCEL), (Ex British Commonwealth Ex Services League) and is also granting them medical grants.
    3. Financial Assistance is disbursed for the following: -
  • RCEL GRANT - Approximately Rs. 2 Crores are disbursed to World War II veterans and their widows.
  • ONE TIME GRANTS - For natural calamities/unforeseen situations to individuals and states.
    4. WWII Veterans may get in touch with IESL for financial assistance.
    The President of IESL is Brig RKS Gulia. His contact details are as under:
    Email ID - brigrksguliaatgmaildotcom
    The postal address of IESL is– 9, Nayaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
    For further information of ALL Indian Military Veterans the Aims of Objectives of IESL are:
  • To assist Ex-Servicemen and their dependents in matters relating to pensions, allowances, grants, war gratuities, resettlement and rehabilitation in close co-operation with the Government of India, Governments of States and other official and Non-Official Agencies and Organisations and render financial and other assistance to them in distressed circumstances.
  • To support the United Nations Organisation and all other agencies, which have the cause of world peace, based on justice, freedom, secularism and democracy and to support the country in the time of National Emergency in every possible way.
  • To educate people and build up a Public Opinion with a view that maintenance of disabled Ex-Servicemen and women and their welfare and that of their families is a National Duty.
  • To endeavour to obtain public support to get to the Ex-Servicemen and their ladies a fair treatment in all matters relating to finding or provisioning of employment.
  • Sunday, July 25, 2010

    Cyber war: Indian Army gearing up

    Times of India Jul 19, 2010, 04.19pm IST
    NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is fighting attacks in the cyber world with electronic warfare capability of the "highest standard", say officials pointing out that virtual strikes have shot up from hostile quarters in both sophistication and frequency.

    "The army is cognisant of the threat to its cyber space from various state and non-state actors. But our network is well secured in compliance with the highest standards of cyber security," a senior official in the military headquarters told IANS on condition of anonymity.

    The official said the army has established an "impenetrable and secure wide area network exclusively for its functioning".

    Officials in the 1.3 million force privately admit they are facing "next generation threats" and are rather worried over the complex world of cyber warfare amid reports of Chinese and Pakistani spies targeting the Indian military establishment via the internet.

    Though attacks from hackers - professional or amateur - can come from anywhere in the world, cyber onslaughts have been more frequent from China and Pakistan, which have reportedly been peeking into India's sensitive business, diplomatic and strategic records.

    As per reports from the cyber industry, China and Pakistan hackers steal nearly six million files worldwide every day.

    A report in the US-based Defence Systems magazine found that there were 25 million new strains of malware created in 2009. That equals a new strain of malware every 0.79 seconds. The report underlines how the current cyber threat environment is dramatically changing and becoming more challenging as the clock ticks.

    Howevever, the Indian army is confident.

    Revealing that secret information had been secured with unhackable electronic passwords, the official said various "cryptographic controls" have been incorporated in the wake of a significant number of viruses, worms and other forms of malware.

    To address cyber defence, which is also under threat from terrorist outfits that have their own trained recruits, officials said the army frequently upgrades its comprehensive cyber security policy to pro-actively deal with and anticipate these threats.

    The force has established the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to respond to attacks targeting the army's critical systems and infrastructure.

    Another official said the army has its own cyber audit process conducted by cyber security personnel.

    "The audit is conducted in accordance with established security standards such as ISO 27001. Audit of the network is a continuous and active process which helps identification and mitigation of vulnerabilities in a network to counter latest threats as also check the network for cyber security policy compliance," he said.

    However, the official admitted there was no room for complacency in times of rapid technological change.

    "In the area of cyber space, the battle between hackers and defenders is an ongoing process, influenced by latest technological developments. Due to the dynamic nature of threats, the army is constantly upgrading its network," he said.

    Technology alone, however, cannot guarantee "fool-proof security", he said, adding the "Indian Army therefore emphasises on the people and the process to achieve compliance of best practices in this field".

    "Regular training programmes are being conducted to enhance user awareness and counter threats like social engineering and phishing," he said.
    Cyber war: Indian Army gearing up

    Kargil war: the neglected heroes

    The Tribune Sunday, July 25, 2010, Chandigarh, India
    Kargil war: the neglected heroes
    Many military veterans have returned the medals awarded to them for gallantry and fighting wars to the President, a sure sign of frustration and feeling of neglect, points out Gen V.P. Malik (retd)

    Peter and Saily Keishing live in a small double-storey house in a narrow, steep sloping street of Shillong. When we visited their home recently, the whole family was present to give us a warm reception. Our conversation was mostly about their middle son, Nongrum, who had created history in Meghalaya by getting commission into the Army and leading his men of 12 JAK Light Infantry in the Kargil war.

    Captain Nongrum had demonstrated outstanding gallantry while leading his men to capture Point 4812 and was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) posthumously. His battalion also captured the first Pakistan Army prisoner of war, Naik Inayat Ali, which ended all misinformation about mujahideen being the infiltrators.
    The Keishings maintain Nongrum’s room with almost everything that he left behind. All awards, presentations, write-ups in the media are kept in this room. Keishings have lost their son. But his gallantry and sacrifice for the nation live on for the family and their friends!

    Gopi Chand and Mohini Pandey too maintain a separate room with all the memorabilia of their son Manoj in their house in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow. “He continues to live with us”, said his sister when we visited their home. Her brother Lieutenant Manoj Pandey of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles participated in a series of attacks at Khalubar. On the night of July 2–3, 1999, when Manoj’s platoon approached their final objective under intense enemy fire at Khalubar, it was nominated to clear the interfering enemy bunkers.

    While clearing the third bunker, he sustained a machine-gun burst to which he succumbed. His daredevil act, however, enabled the Gorkhas to capture Khalubar. Manoj Pandey was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for his outstanding acts of bravery.

    In every martyr’s home that I have visited after the Kargil war, there is a room or a corner full of memories, which gives pride and sustains the family.
    Captain Vikram Batra, awarded the PVC for his actions at Point 5140 and Point 4875, reminds us of his success signal, “Yeh dil mange more”. Grenadier Yogendra Yadav, also awarded the PVC, led the assault to fix a rope for his colleagues on top of Tiger Hill. Captain Vijayant Thapar, in his last letter to his parents, wrote, “By the time you get this letter, I will be enjoying the company of Apsaras in the sky.” He ended up his letter with “OK then, it is time for me to join my assault party of the dirty dozen.” The Vir Chakra in Vijayant’s room is the pride of the family.

    Sudhir Kumar, my ADC, volunteered to join his battalion 9 Para. Without acclimatisation, he led his troops to capture Zulu Top, almost the last battle in the Kargil war. Hanif-ud-din led his team of 11 Rajputana Rifles to capture Point 5590. He succumbed to his injuries and the body fell in a crevice. His mother had to wait for 20 days before we could recover his body and hand it over to her. Captain Kengruse scaled a sheer rock face at Three Pimples in Dras bare-footed, literally hanging on by his fingers and toes. After reaching the top, he killed two enemy soldiers with a commando knife before he was fatally wounded.

    Thousands of Naga people along the road between Dimapur and Kohima spent long hours to salute his body on its last homeward journey. 1 Bihar lost Major Sarvanan in a failed assault on Point 4924 at the Jubar complex on May 29. Determined to recover his body, the battalion captured this feature finally on July 8. The battalion recovered his body along with a large cache of enemy arms and ammunition and dead bodies of many Pakistani soldiers. At this time, our national spirit and respect for the soldiers was so high that a Union Minister, the late Ranganathan Kumaramangalam, personally escorted Saravanan’s body to his hometown in Trichnapally, where a solemn farewell was given.

    There were countless acts of gallantry, displays of steely resilience, single-minded devotion to duty and sacrifices. The war in Kargil saw unalloyed heroism, which will remain a benchmark for valour whenever the security of our nation is threatened. All units responded with alacrity and with their characteristic steadfastness and perseverance.
    Read more:
    Kargil war: the neglected heroes


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