Saturday, November 13, 2010

The best opening ceremony in sport ever!

If the CWG opening ceremony in Delhi stunned the world last month, the Chinese took the concept of ceremonies to an altogether new level with a display that not only left the world speechless but even breathless. The Asian Games Opening Ceremony was truly the most wonderful ever on earth.

Guangzhou: Two years after the spectacular success of the Beijing Olympics, China dazzled the world once again by unveiling the 16th Asian Games with a spell-binding opening ceremony in which water was the overwhelming theme and athletes were ushered in a unique boat parade on Pearl River.

The theme was water and the main part of the ceremony was held at Hai Xinsha, an island located on China's third longest river, which is the life-giver to the southern part of the world's most populous nation.

The four-and-a-half-hour ceremony started with trademark fireworks and the 37,000 capacity crowd was up on its feet when 1320 artists from the city's oldest kung fu school descended with giant LED screens in the backdrop.

The mesmerisingly choreographed act had the artists performing breathtaking acrobatics while being several feet above the ground. The LED screens flashed the cityscapes and the artists formed formations to look like eagles flying through the sky.
click here for full report
The 16th Asian Games sets sail on Pearl River: The Official Website of the 16th Asian Games

Friday, November 12, 2010

Re Employed Defence Pensioners: MSP forms part of Fixed Pay

Department of Personnel and Training (DOP&T), has considered the question of inclusion of Military Service Pay while fixing the pay of re employed defence pensioners. It is noted that as per existing orders, for pre- 2006 retirees rank pay is included as a part of pay but for post -2006 retirees, the MSP is not reckoned in the pre-retirement pay for the purposes of pay fixation on re-employment.

Therefore, the Ministry has decided that since the element of MSP is not reckoned in the pay fixation on re employment, it need not be reduced from the pension either. Hence. In respect of all those Defence officers/ personnel, whose pension contains an element of MSP, that need not be deducted from the pay fixed on re-employment.

For further details, download circular No. 3/19/2009 Estt. Pay II dated 08.11.2010: Click here

Courtesy GConnect

Will CBI relentlessly pursue the case to its logical collusion or conclusion?

CBI likely to file case in Adarsh scam today.

The CBI is likely to file a case in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scam on Friday and a team of its officials from Mumbai will go to the agency headquarters in Delhi to apprise higher officials of its findings.

A CBI spokesman in Delhi said a letter from the Defence Ministry asking the agency to conduct the probe has been received. The CBI is in the process of collecting relevant records and documents, and “no case has been registered as yet”, he added.

CBI officials in Mumbai said a team would be going to the Delhi head office on Friday for discussion on the Adarsh scam. “Only after discussion, further course of action will be decided,” the officials said.

Official sources said a case was likely to be registered on Friday when CBI Director Ashwini Kumar, who is at present out of country attending an Interpol Conference, returns.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony had announced on Tuesday that a CBI probe into the housing society scam, in which some senior Army officials, including former Army chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and NC Vij, had flats allotted in their names.

The CBI, which had made in-house investigations into the case following complaints since October, will apprise the officials at the headquarters about the findings from documents received from several departments, the sources said.

The CBI had sought documents relating to the Society from various departments of the Government, Indian Navy and Army and the Society, the sources added.

“While we had received over 4,000-page documents from the city collector’s office, the Society members have sent us a letter requesting more time to submit the documents. We have also received documents from other departments,” a senior CBI official said.

Adarsh Housing Society members’ lawyer Satish Maneshinde had said, “We have given certain documents to CBI and have sought further time to submit the remaining. We have also written to MMRDA officials asking them to take back the notice revoking the occupancy certificate of the society.

“The notice violated principles of natural justice. The building was constructed legally and necessary sanction had been granted by authorities including the MMRDA.”

CBI officials said, “We are verifying all the information and documents, after which a decision would be made on the course of action. Before registering a case, we need to gather information.”

The plush housing society, built on prime defence land, has been constructed in alleged violation of rules. The building was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was later extended to 31 floors without mandatory permission.

The scam has already taken its first political casualty with Ashok Chavan resigning as Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Read more- Click here

Action against Adarsh Society by this week: Jairam

The scam-hit Adarsh Housing Society will face action for its violation of green norms by the end of the week, according to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

While the Maharashtra environment department and coastal zone authority have both submitted their reports to the Union Ministry, denying that they granted any clearance to the controversial project, Mr. Ramesh said he is still awaiting the state urban development department’s report.

The Adarsh building is 31-storeys tall, in blatant violation of coastal zone regulations that permit only a six-storey building in that area. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Ramesh made it clear that state urban development department was not authorised to grant such clearances.
Read more- Click here

Growing Crisis of Morality in the Indian Armed Forces Leadership

Dear Chander,
Two interesting and vividly written articles on the scams troubling our Defence Forces lately, one each by Maj Gen APS Chauhan (Former Chairman COAS Complaints Advisory Board) & Col SK agarwal (ex JAG Br) published in e-paper The Tribune, Chandigarh, dated 12 Nov 2010, are linked below. I feel that it desirable to circulate these through RMS blog for info of all.
With warm regards,
Maj Bhupal Singh, Veteran

Friday, November 12, 2010, Chandigarh, India
What has come to surface as series of misdeeds and misconduct at the highest level of military establishment, now with the chiefs as dramatis personae resorting to indulgence in satiating petty greed, is far from mere illegal transactions for appropriating assets not lawfully entitled to. It is an unimaginable misdemeanor, not in terms of material value or commission and omission in a state of forgetfulness as may be contrived, but in the impulse to commit the very act. This indicts these officers of willful disdain for military virtues and self-discipline in their own character when they are the custodians for ensuring the same in others.

Character is the keystone of the profession of arms and embedded in military virtues. These are not individual cases as one may believe, but group tendencies in a cycle of exposures over a period and a dangerous fall out from protracted corrosion in officer discipline and leadership accountability, with the military code shifting loyalty to fulfill personal agendas. When heads should have rolled at the top, it was never done.

TARNISHED BRASS: Some recent cases of professional impropriety by generals:
  • Adarsh Housing Society case : Large number of senior military officers, including service chiefs allegedly got flats in a Mumbai housing project that was initially conceived for families of Kargil heros, but later subverted to suit interests of influential people. The 38-story high-rise is under the scanner for building violations and also for posing a security risk as it overlooks army and navy installations.
  • Sukhna Land Scam : Three lieutenant generals and a major general among others indicted by a court of inquiry irregularities in issuing a NOC to a private party for commercial use of land adjoining a sensitive army station. Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash and Lt Gen P.K. Rath facing court martial.
  • Dry Ration and Frozen Meat Scam : Two lieutenant generals, S.K Sahni and S.K. Dhaiya from the Army Service Corps indicted for irregularities. Sahni being tried by a court martial while Dahiya got a reprimand.
  • Liquor Scam : Maj Gen G.I. Singh cashiered and awarded two years RI for illegally selling canteen liquor in the open market.
  • Procurement of UN Mission Supplies : Two major generals, Anil Swarup and S.P Sinha belonging to the Army ordnance Corps indicted for procuring items at highly inflated prices. Court martial proceedings against Swarup underway.
  • Molestation Case : Maj Gen A.K. Lal cashiered by general court martial for allegedly molesting a woman captain.
  • Tehelka Episode : Maj Gen P.S.K. Choudhry cashiered and awarded one year RI for demanding and accepting bribes from fictitious arms dealers.
  • Disproportionate Assets : Maj Gen Anand Kapur from the Army Service Corps booked by the CBI for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income.
  • JAG’s case : Maj Gen Nilendra Kumar, head of the Judge Advocate General’s Department awared Army Chief’s censure for several counts of impropriety.
    (Several cases are pending before High Courts and the Armed Forces Tribunals, seeking a stay on or quashing of proceedings)

    That these generals have been hoodwinking a practically foolproof selection procedure and drawing benefits from apparently flawed appraisals could not have happened without collusive or tacit abetment at the political -bureaucratic level that exercises primacy over all decision-making. For instance in the 90s an officer who should have been dismissed for cowardice in field rose to the level of army commander by dubious doctoring of his record because he was connected to a defence secretary. This happened in tandem with granting indiscreet favour to another who was connected to a political party. In another example, a defence minister colluded with brass on import of coffins. The previous army chief was under a cloud for transactions while as army commander, actually sabotaging an inquiry that could have pinned him down, but was shielded by the ministry.

    The onus for arresting the fall from grace lies directly on the government that seems to be making a mockery of running a nation with an unabated tide of misdemeanors in its corridors. Time has come to roll heads. The generals involved must pay dearly for the shame they have brought to the profession of arms and its standing. In the meanwhile the Chief, having resolved and pledged to cleanse the institution, must be given unfretted support by the Government and the institution to purge the system, restore credibility and accountability with assured non-interference by politicians.
    The writer is former chairman of the COAS Complaints Advisory Board
    Read the complete version:
    GROWING CRISIS OF MORALITY by Maj Gen A.P.S. Chauhan (Retd)

    Plugging loopholes in the system
    Corruption in the public life is well documented but it is just not acceptable in the armed forces for the very simple reason that the nation can ill afford to hand over security of the country's borders in the hands of corrupt officers. Such elements need to be weeded out, dealt with a firm hand, while honest officers and whistle blowers respected and rewarded to restore the trust and confidence of the public in the armed forces.
    The writer retired from the Judge Advocate General's Department
    Read more:
    Plugging loopholes in the system by Col S.K. Aggarwal (Retd)
  • Remembrance Day as seen by grand daughter of a Veteran

    Remembrance Day
    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    I am herewith forwarding a mail from my daughter. My grand-daughter and her classmates in Class 3 in Canada have sent me a card and a candy on Remembrance Day (Remembering the veterans). The class teacher wanted a message from me! A very touching gesture. And does anybody ever think of veterans here?
    With warm regards,
    Col SV Ramachandran (Veteran)

    Hi kaka
    sending snaps. hope u get them. also email miss Assunta
    Will try and take a printout of your email and maybe something for the kids in the afternoon
    very nice of them
    Slideshow of Photos drawn by Priya

    Dear Col Ramachandran
    Deeply appreciate the sentiments of children and their teacher.
    With regards to you and Mrs Ramachandran.
    Chander Kamboj
    Related News
    Veterans young and old honoured at Ontario Remembrance Day ceremonies

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    IDSA ranks Asia's top ten think- tank

    Ties with China of "Great Importance" to US: Antony
    PIB Thursday, November 11, 2010 17:29 IST
    The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has said that India attaches great importance to its relations with China. Addressing a function here today after presenting the K. Subrahmanyam Award to Dr. Srikant Kondapalli, a noted scholar on Chinese Studies, Shri Antony hoped the award would encourage others to undertake intensive research on the rise of China as a superpower. Following is the text of the address delivered by Shri Antony on the occasion, to mark the 45th Foundation day of the Institute for defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA): -

    “It is a real pleasure to be in your midst for the 45th Foundation Day of IDSA. I express my warm greetings to all of you on the occasion. Our gratitude is also due to Professor Kaushik Basu, a renowned economist, for delivering the Foundation Day address today. I hope that the ideas expressed in his address will generate greater interest among our scholars on various issues and also in using other disciplines in their research. His ideas are thought-provoking. They will be useful to all of us.

    One problem plaguing our institutes, think-tanks and universities is that they often work within the narrow confines of their respective disciplines. Real life problems, as complex as security and its various dimensions require a multi-disciplinary approach. It calls for a thorough understanding of a wide array of disciplines like Political Science, Economics, Sociology, Geography, History, Psychology and Natural Sciences. The security challenges of today are far more complex than at any time in the past. These challenges are both - global and local and nearly always, interlinked. Mankind needs to grasp facts clearly and understand issues in the proper perspective to facilitate better and quicker policy making. In this context, Indian think-tanks will have to discharge an important responsibility by way of rigorous policy research to support more-informed policy making.

    I also take this opportunity to heartily congratulate Dr. Srikant Kondapalli for winning this year’s K. Subrahmanyam Award. This is the fourth award in the series and its conferment recognizes Dr. Kondapalli’s outstanding work on China, especially, its Armed Forces. We attach great importance to our relations with China. I hope that this award will provide impetus to other researchers to go in for more intensive research work on China. I also wish to compliment the winners of this year’s President Awards for their noteworthy contributions in journals of repute. I wish to strongly urge the younger scholars of IDSA to draw inspiration from such researchers and excel in their fields of study.

    I am told that for the third year in succession, IDSA has been ranked amongst Asia’s top ten and the world’s top fifty think-tanks. In fact, IDSA is the only think-tank from India to have been included in this list. That way it is a satisfactory thing. You should not be satisfied with the 10th rank. You must aim to become No. 1, if not No. 1, then No 2. Even at the recent Commonwealth Games, India stood at No 2. So, IDSA too should aim to become at least No. 2. Coupled with the rising popularity of the Institute’s Visiting Scholars’ Programme, this reflects its growing national and international stature.

    Despite these satisfactory developments, we cannot afford to relax and be complacent. There is still a lot of hard work ahead for all of us, if we really want to fructify the vision of becoming a ‘centre of excellence’. As I have said on earlier occasions, IDSA has to intensify its efforts to make the Institute’s work more relevant and useful to the policy-makers. You must be able to foresee the future challenges the country faces. You must strive tirelessly to continuously improve the quality and quantity of research work. IDSA scholars particularly need to increasingly tap the primary sources and field visits to add quality to your work. Original sources alone will provide new insights that are in touch with the ground reality. Last but not the least, research must not remain confined to being published in journals. You must make your research work more transparent and accessible to our policy makers, parliamentarians, the media, and to the general people. IDSA scholars need to reach out to as wide cross-section of the society, as possible. The ideas and findings need to be communicated in a substantial measure.

    Let me share some thoughts on the issues that in my view the Institute needs to focus on. You must utilize the available human resources to turn the focus on key areas for deeper research, rather than scattering them on a large number of issues. You must focus only on key issues.

    Among other things, your research work must factor in the rapidly changing geopolitical equations, geo-strategic developments and their implications for India’s security. You must pay special, critical attention to the developments in our immediate neighbourhood and beyond.

    Today, the security scenario is constantly evolving due to the changing nature of conflicts. You must focus your energy on the strategy and force structures needed to face these unconventional threats and asymmetric conflicts. There are other issues that merit attention like defence reforms focusing on jointness, acquisition, offsets, development of India’s defence industrial base, terrorism, climate change and energy security. The challenge lies in producing original, high quality research studies with in a form that is useful for the policy makers.

    Before I conclude, I wish to strongly emphasise the urgent need for high quality, analytical research work capable of anticipating threats, arriving at better-informed policy decisions and for defending India’s vital security interests.

    Five years from now, IDSA will be celebrating the 50th Foundation Day. You must set your sights on becoming not only the best in Asia, but also in the world by 2015. I assure you my full support to your endeavours and hope that you will take IDSA to even greater heights." PK/SK
    Ties with China of "Great Importance" to US: Antony
    Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

    Disability Pension: Present Status

    Case won by Gen Oberoi : Disability Element
    Dear Rao,
    The answers to your queries are as under.
    First Case Relating to Broadbanding - I had mentioned that the AFT had given six months to the Government. We therefore need to wait till the expiry of six months. Two things can happen; either the Government goes in appeal, which has not happened as yet, or the government will accept the verdict and issue implementation instructions. My intuition is that the government is unlikely to appeal. We have to just wait.
    Case Two Relating to Grant of Disability /War Injury Pay on percentage basis Instead of as Lump Sums - The AFT had given a date in December to the Government to file its reply. I presume they will do so, if they want to contest. Alternatively, they would issue implementation instructions. Again, we have to wait.
    Patience is what is needed! I am sure everything will pan out well.
    Vijay Oberoi
    Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
    Former Director Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)

    Dear Sir,
    I am anxious to know the latest on the two case you had filed with AFT. Is the Govt implementing the 'Broadbanding'? Has the AFT decided on the 2nd case ?
    With warm reagards,
    Gp Capt BV Rao (Retd)

    Earlier blog posts on Disability Pension
  • Vice Chief wins disability pension- Broadbanded by Bureaucrats
  • Disability Pension- Anomalies Broad Banded by MOD
  • IESM Rally at Beri, Haryana held on 07 Nov 2010

    Dear Colleagues,
    A report on the 07 Nov rally at Beri in Haryana, appeared in the Hari Bhoomi newspaper. Two photographs showing some of the ESM attendees and families are as above. It may be of interest that out of those who attended the rally, 276 new members have already joined IESM.
    The dynamic veteran Hon Capt Jai Singh Rathi, VrC is the convener of five districts of Haryana namely, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Hisar and Fatehabad. Under his leadership ESM of these five districts have taken a decision that in future for organising any rally they will not demand or even take any money from the IESM Headquarters; they will instead do so on contributory basis. For the 07 Nov rally, this norm was followed for all expenses – transport, venue arrangements including stage, public address system, and shamiana etc, shawl gifts to the widows as well for tea and food packets for all participants. We compliment Captain Rathi and his team and salute the community spirit of the ESM.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Commission or Committee? Ploy to circumvent Rank Pay!


    Dear Chander,
    Some progress & good news from Govt. Consequent to the lambasting by the Supreme Court, at last the Govt has woken up. The entire credit goes to the untiring efforts by IESM, RDOA and Others like Lt Cdr Avtar & Sqn Ldr Ashok Kumar and others
    who took lot of pains in pursuing our fight for our rights.
    A news items on the subject, published in the Tribune e-paper, dated 09 Nov 2010 Soon, a panel to address grievances of armed forces
    Maj Bhupal Singh, Veteran

    One does sincerely hope this Commission is not a ploy to circumvent the rank pay imbroglio. The govt is quite capable of saying that the proposed commission would now deal with the rank pay issue; not very different from the 'committee' I had referred to in my sitrep a few days ago. Let us wait for 15 Nov 2010.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Soon, a panel to address grievances of armed forces
    The Tribune R SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
    New Delhi, November 8, 2010
    The government is in the process of setting up a commission for the speedy redressal of the grievances of armed forces personnel, the Centre informed the Supreme Court today.

    “We are setting out the proposed terms of reference” of the commission, Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium told a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra.

    The SG, however, indicated that the commission would not cover personnel in all areas of the armed forces. “It may not be necessary for some areas as the government has taken positive decisions in these areas,” he said without giving details.

    The SG sought a week’s time for providing the details of the proposed commission. The move could not be finalised before today’s hearing due to the intervening Divali holidays, he said. Allowing his plea, the Bench posted the next hearing for November 15.

    On September 8 this year, the Bench had passed an order asking the government to consider setting up an independent commission headed by a retired SC Judge “for looking into all the grievances of the serving and former members of the armed forces. We feel this is necessary as the armed forces personnel have many grievances which they feel are not being properly addressed by the Union Government.”

    Pointing out that the widow of a war veteran had approached the SC questioning the logic of paying her a meagre pension of Rs 70 against her claim of Rs 27,000, the Bench said this was the treatment meted out to highly decorated officers.

    “It is shameful” that the government had allowed such cases to come to the Supreme Court. “Does it require a case? What are you people up to? It is very demoralising for the armed forces,” the Bench told the Solicitor General.

    The SG assured the Bench that such grievances would also be addressed by the proposed commission. The court was hearing a petition filed by some serving and retired army officers, challenging the government’s refusal to accord them enhanced rank pay as recommended by the Fourth Pay Commission.

    Soon, a panel to address grievances of armed forces

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Are Generals compromising quality of weapons, equipment and food supplies?

    'Five-star culture of senior officers is bad for Army'
    Saira Kurup, Nov 7, 2010, 05.01am IST

    He was the first head of the UN peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia. That was 1992. Two years later, Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, 74, retired as deputy Chief of Army Staff. But this highly decorated officer still remains intensely engaged with military affairs. He talked Army pride, probity and the disturbing rise of a "five-star culture" with Saira Kurup. Excerpts:

    As a distinguished retired officer of the Indian Army, how do you react to the alleged involvement of top serving and retired Army officers in the Adarsh building scam?
    Without being unfair to the people concerned or to the establishment that I had the great privilege of serving for many years, I must say that it is an issue that causes all of us a great deal of anguish. One accepts that moral values have taken a beating in society in general. But it is disturbing to find that this degeneration has found its way into the armed forces too. Particularly because the armed forces are a unique institution in many ways; in which, quite often as leaders in battle, we ask of our subordinates the ultimate sacrifice in terms of their lives. Hence their trust and faith in us is something you cannot quantify or compromise. While on the one hand, young officers and men of the Indian Army have literally sacrificed their lives in ensuring the security of the country, on the other hand, we have sections of the senior leadership indulging in actions that bring shame on the organization.

    Your son is a lieutenant-colonel. Might this scam affect the morale of relatively young officers like him?
    The morale of the young officers and the men is not so easily affected because there is a great deal of resilience in the armed forces as an institution. But that is not to suggest there is no impact. Unfortunately in recent years there is already a disturbing five-star culture among the senior officers to which they have already been exposed and to that extent, I presume they are not too surprised. My advice to the current leadership in the armed forces would be to refocus on and promote the basic character qualities of integrity, loyalty to subordinates and courage. Moral values that sustain you in battle. This issue assumes wider ramifications when we hear of senior leaders falling prey to compromises on the quality of weapons, equipment and food supplies for the men in the Army.

    Read more: 'Five-star culture of senior officers is bad for Army' - The Times of India Click here

    MOD asks Deepak Kapoor to Manage his own Disaster

    With his appointment to head the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) stuck due to the controversy over Mumbai’s Adarsh housing society, former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor on Thursday met Defence Minister A K Antony to explain his position on the matter.

    The meeting took place even as Army Chief General V K Singh said on Thursday that the Army had been shamed and its image had taken a beating due to the controversy surrounding senior serving and retired army officers who acquired flats in the housing society.

    Sources said Kapoor told Antony that he returned the flat allotted to him by the society — along with former Army Chief Gen N C Vij and former Navy Chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh — and that he used his personal savings and loans to acquire it .

    While Kapoor’s appointment with Antony was fixed earlier, the meeting came on a day when it was revealed that the government was not keen on his appointment to head the NDMA.
    Scam has shamed Army, says Chief
    Read more:
    (Greedy) General Deepak Kapoor PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC (b. 1948) was the 25th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army, appointed on 30 September 2007 and Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee(COSC) appointed on 31 August 2009

    Conman of CWG Circumcised: Will he be punished?

    Kalmadi sacked as CPP Secretary New Delhi, Nov 9, DHNS:
    Suresh Kalmadi became the most obvious casualty of the corruption allegations swirling the Congress, as the party on Tuesday decided to sack him as secretary of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), headed by Sonia Gandhi.

    Party sources are clear that Kalmadi was shown the exit as he faces serious corruption charges being at the helm of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.

    The party had little choice but to give Kalmadi the boot a day before the beginning of the Parliament session since the opposition parties were planning major disruption to the session over his role in the alleged misappropriation of funds meant to conduct the Commonwealth games. “That Kalmadi has offered his resignation should stand alone. That should not connect with the Congress at all,” party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan told newsmen. Kalmadi is a Congress member of Lok Sabha from Pune.

    The party’s decision is no particular shock as it declined to give Kalmadi and others involved in the game’s organisation a clean chit soon after curtains were drawn on the games.

    The fact that Kalmadi refused to quit as Chairman of Commonwealth Games Organisation Committee amid vociferous opposition demand to do so after the corruption allegations surfaced hardly helped his cause.

    The decision, which comes after the AICC meeting in New Delhi, follows the severe criticism of the party by the opposition and the media for saying little over the scam involving its leaders.

    Sports Minister M S Gill, Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were among others involved in the preparations for the Games.
    Kalmadi sacked as CPP Secretary

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    IESM: Letter to RM for grant of OROP

    Dear Friends,
    1. Copy of letter written to Sh. A K Antony, RM is linked here (click me) for your information please.
    2. The Govt continues to deny us our legitimate demand of OROP. Almost all PMs, RMs, all party parliamentary committees on defence and representatives of all political parties have been in favour of granting OROP. Then, why is it that it has not been granted yet? It seems that the bureaucracy has had the last word for denying the same to the military every time and the political system has been accepting it.
    3. It is time that we all ‘Unite’ and take the issue of OROP to its logical conclusion. Our next event, “a big Rally” at Jantar Mantar New Delhi will be held on 28 Nov 2010 from 10AM to 3 PM where the medals will be collected and memorandum will be signed in blood by ESM for depositing the same with the President. Please circulate this information to maximum ESM across the country.
    With Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Foreigners in Ranjit Singh’s court

    The Lion’s Firanghis: The Europeans at the Court of Lahore traces the
    journey and lives of . An excerpt…

    Most of the Europeans who were to have a major impact on the Maharaja’s regime were French and Italians, and they became the most influential and leading personalities at the Court of Lahore

    THE Sikh Kingdom under the benevolent leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) known as ‘Sarkar-e-Khalsa’ and the ‘Lion of the Punjab’ was considered a hegemony amongst all the Indian princely states that were under the jurisdiction of the East India Company in the early part of the 19th century. This was the golden era of the Punjab and its inhabitants, who stood firm against its powerful neighbour, British India, a secular and independent nation forming a buffer state against Russia, but wedged precariously between Afghanistan and China. Its inhabitants were not just Punjabis but there was also a minority of Europeans, who had forsaken their homelands to seek their fortunes and to enhance their careers in the political milieu of Punjab — probably the only province in the early 19th century that still offered any scope of military employment to a select group of foreigners newly arrived on its doorstep.

    Court chronicles
    Bobby Singh Bansal chose to explore a path less explored when he started working on the manuscript that became The Lion’s Firanghis: The Europeans at the Court of Lahore.
    Read More:
    The Tribune: Firangis in Ranjit Singh’s Durbar

    Generals are making bucks exploiting heroism and sacrifices of its Soldiers?

    The unspoken social contract
    Express Buzz Vir Sanghvi First Published : 07 Nov 2010 12:21:00
    At the heart of the relationship between the Indian Army and the people of India lies a mystery. It is a mystery so deep that even though the most brilliant scholars have spent decades trying to find a solution, none of their answers has been entirely convincing.

    Here’s the mystery: the Indian Army, as we know it, was carved out of the army of pre-Partition, undivided India. Therefore, it has the same heritage and history (except for the last few decades) as the Pakistani and Bangladeshi armies, which were also set up by the British during the Raj. Until recently, officers in the Indian Army had even served with their counterparts in the Pakistani Army in the days before Partition.

    But while the Pakistani and Bangladeshi armies have demonstrated a thirst for political power, the Indian Army has remained resolutely apolitical. Generals have run both Bangladesh and Pakistan. But no Indian General has ever come close to accessing political power.

    What’s more, no Indian General has seemed remotely interested in becoming this country’s military dictator.

    Why should this be so? Why should the Indian Army remain content to take orders from civilian politicians when its counterparts across the border are so eager to grab power for themselves?

    It can’t be that our soldiers are merely following the British tradition. In that case, the Pakistani Army should never have left its barracks. It isn’t that our soldiers have enormous respect for their civilian masters. Give an army officer two pegs of a good whiskey, and he will tell you, in colourful language, how much contempt he has for the politicians who run our country.

    Nor is it that we have kept the army out of domestic affairs. We use the army frequently to fight insurrections — in Nagaland, Mizoram, Punjab and Kashmir. Even when a riot rages out of control, the cry goes out: ‘Send in the army’.

    It could be that Indian democracy is stronger than the kind of democracy practiced by our neighbours. But even when democratic rights have been suspended and an authoritarian regime has taken control of India — as happened with the Emergency — the Army has shown no interest in getting involved with the running of the country.

    I have no solutions of my own to offer and the Army’s unwillingness to leave its barracks must remain a mystery. But what I know is this: there exists an unspoken social contract between the Indian Army and the people.

    Basically, this consists of an agreement on our part to protect, indulge, admire, pamper and respect the Indian Army. In turn, the Army will do its own thing until we need it to save our bacon. Then, it will leave its barracks, clear out the Golden Temple, restore order to Bombay or Delhi, throw infiltrators and invaders out of Kargil, and guarantee the security and integrity of India.

    Our part of the deal is that we will protect the Army from political interference. Except for a brief patch in the early ’60s, when Krishna Menon was defence minister, army promotions have not been unduly influenced by politicians. The chiefs are given free rein to do pretty much as they please. When the army forcefully expresses a demand (for pay revisions, better facilities etc) it usually gets its own way.

    Also part of the deal is that Indians will hold the Army in the highest esteem. We will treat it as the one institution that has not been affected by the moral decline of Indian society. We may be prepared to criticise the paramilitary forces, and to accept that their men have committed human rights violations. But we will never accept that this could be true of the Indian Army.

    Equally, we will never blame the Army for anything. In 1962, we were thrashed by the Chinese but the consensus was that politicians had lost the war while our brave soldiers had done their best. The 1965 war was at best a stalemate (the Pakistanis also claimed they had won) but we treated it as a glorious victory for the Indian Army. Operation Blue Star was a fiasco. But even today, it is Blue Star we remember favourably rather than Black Thunder (conducted by the paramilitary forces to clean up the mess left behind by Blue Star), a bona fide success.

    By and large, the social contract has worked. The Army has nearly always got us out of jams when we need its services. Whether it was Delhi in 1984, Bombay in 1993, or Gujarat in 2002, we needed the Army to restore order. And during the Kargil War, young officers led from the front, sacrificed their lives and displayed astonishing bravery in the service of their country.

    Consequently, the army sometimes appears to live in a state within a state. Visit a cantonment and you will be struck by the contrast with the civilian part of the town or city where it is located. The roads will be broad and well-maintained, the buildings will be freshly painted, the surroundings will be clean, and an air of good manners and civility will prevail. Visit an army town (Wellington, for instance) and the contrast will be even more striking. The order and cleanliness of the cantonments serves as a contrast to the chaos and filth of modern India.

    There is, however, one important aspect of the social contract that now seems to be failing. As corruption has spread in modern India, we have reluctantly accepted that most parts of our society are tainted — civil servants, the schools and even the lower judiciary. But somehow, we have always believed that the army is different.

    Oh yes, we hear the stories. We hear about Generals who take kickbacks on arms deals and about officers involved in canteen purchase scandals. But because this corruption appears to be restricted to the Army itself and because we believe that it is not widespread, we are happy to look the other way.

    The problem with the Adarsh scandal and controversies over other land deals that have erupted recently is that they encroach into the civilian space. Senior army officers are seen to be conniving with politicians, bureaucrats and contractors to make millions.

    Worse still, at least in the case of the Adarsh scandal, there is a cynical abuse of the social contract. When we say that we will respect and pamper the army, we do not expect senior officers to grab flats for themselves in the name of Kargil martyrs.

    Earlier this week, the Army chief spoke about his resolve to cleanse his force. I am not sure he fully grasps how serious the situation is. The problem is not just that there are ‘a few bad apples’ in the army.

    It is that Army corruption has now spilled out into the civilian space and that Generals are making big bucks by exploiting the regard we have for the heroism of the Army and the sacrifices made by its soldiers.

    If more such instances come to light, then the press will begin looking critically at the Army. The politicians will have an excuse to delve deep into the workings of the officer corps. This will give them the opportunity they need to play favourites. And the public, regretfully recognising that the Army has breached the social contract itself, will reluctantly acquiesce in the muck-raking by the press and the interference by politicians.

    Once this happens, the social contract will not survive. The image of the Army will not recover. And the perfect balance we have built between the Army and the Indian people will topple over.

    So, the Army must urgently look at itself. It must crack down on corruption, identify the guilty men and act swiftly against them. It must do so now. Because too much is at stake. And tomorrow will be too late.
    Exclusive to TNSE
    The unspoken social contract

    IESM: Galvanising support for our just cause

    Dear Colleagues,
    The IESM rally was held today as planned at Beri, District Jhajjar, Haryana. Hony Capt Jai Singh Rathi, VrC played the anchor role in organising it. Satbir, Rakesh Chaturvedi, Kameshwar Pandey, Babu Lal and self had joined in from Delhi. The rally was very largely attended – the exact number of attendees being 3705. Service widows had come in good strength. What was heartening was that the ESM had come from far off places in the State spending their own money. There was a unanimous resolve to continue with the struggle till our main demand of OROP is met.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Update on IV pay Commission Rank Pay anomaly case
    Dear Sir,
    The case came up for hearing in the court of Justice M Katju on 08 Nov 10. The case was pleaded for RDOA & ors by Senior Advocate Harish Salve and Senior advocate Mr Mahavir Singh. The next date of hearing has been fixed for 15 Nov 10.

    It is requested that the info be put on RMS for info of all concerned.
    Thanking you
    Secy RDOA--

    Devil's Advocate: Army-Chief General V.K.Singh

    Part 1- : Adarsh Housing Scam

    Part 2: National Security

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Ex-Servicemen will be addressed as Armed Forces Veterans

    Some important Info for ESM
    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    Appended below is some important info for ESM as published in AFA (Air Force Association)News, which you may like to put on the "Report My Signal":

    1. Provision of ECHS Card (Add On Card) for dependent parents: Air Hq has taken up a case with ECHS Central Organisation and MOD for extending this provision to dependent parents.

    2. Purchase of Car by Retired PBOR: There is no requirement of producing/ attaching the copy of driving license by PBOR for purchase of Four Wheelers. Authy: QMG Branch letter No. 96410/Q/DDGCS dated 01 July, 2010.

    3. Addressing Ex-Servicemen as Armed Forces Veterans: Based on the recommendations of the Chief of Staff Committee, Raksha Mantri (MOD) has approved the proposal that henceforth "Ex-Servicemen" will be addressed as "Armed Forces Veterans"

    4. The vacancy circular for selection of administrative members for AFT (Armed Forces Tribunal) was posted by the MOD on its website under the link 'new additions'. Interested members are advised to look out for future vacancies on the mentioned site.

    Wg Cdr Shashank Bendre(Retd)

    Need to Bridge Inter-Services Trust Deficit

    Dear Kamboj Sir,
    Everyone is aware of the current environment of lack of unity amongst the services and the damage being caused by it. Unfortunately, we are trying to brush the problem under the carpet in the fond hope that it would disappear on its own.
    I am attaching my article titled Need to Bridge Inter-Services Trust Deficit Click here. Aim is to subject this critical issue to healthy debate before it is too late for the country. Shying away will prove suicidal. Nearly 10 years have passed since the Kargil Committee Report and we have not moved an inch towards jointmanship. Really shameful indeed.
    You may like to circulate it please.
    Warm regards and Happy Diwali.
    Maj Gen Mrinal Suman (Retd)

    Adarsh Society Scam is peanuts compared to CWG Scam

    Civil Society- Please Spare another thought for India
    The Adarsh Society Scam has indeed highlighted the fact that all is not well with the top hierarchy of the Indian Armed Forces. We have seen it from within, building up over the last three decades or more. Defence services officers have traditionally been brought up on an all-pervading ethos of honour and forthrightness. They have proven to be democratic and apolitical; in fact, as haters of politicians and politics. Then why is this cancer of political sycophancy and self-interest above service, spreading?

    As an insider, let me suggest that these values or lack of them have been induced from outside. Any student of human psychology will know that honourable behaviour is encouraged by according honour in a demonstrated fashion. If you fail to honour someone deserving of it, he will gradually loose the motivation to be honourable. The principle applies at both individual and establishment levels. Look what has happened. The defence forces have been systematically, deliberately and consistently degraded since India became a republic, both in terms of social standing and economic well-being. The General or the Colonel is, today, a small man, barely at par with a Joint Secretary or Joint Director, on paper and much below in practice. Where is the incentive for him to feed the stomach and ego on the adrenalin of honour, uprightness and forthrightness? These values no longer help him rise to General Rank. Yesman-ship, to conniving bureaucrats and politicians, do. These two ruling elite classes have snatched his sense of pride and honour. You belittle a man and then blame him for not remaining great. Nature ensures that you reap as you sow. Thank God that the rot is not very widespread or deep. Middle and Junior level officers and soldiers have still not been subsumed. Black sheep need to be identified and dealt with.

    Another and perhaps a more important point to be noted is that inspite of everything, the armed forces, largely and parts of higher judiciary, today, remain the only institutions that give hope to democracy and probity. Polity, Bureaucracy and police have already bitten dust in unanimous public opinion. Our Media and press have little credibility and do not inspire any degree of confidence as far as their nationalistic credentials are concerned. Can India afford to also take the defence forces and Judiciary down along with the executive, legislative and the media - wings of state? There is reason to be wary of the ongoing campaign, howsoever couched in phrases of righteousness, democratic rights and governance concerns. One wonders what the real agenda of Times Now and others in their league could be. If Arnabs had their way, they would like plans for the defence of India to be put to public scrutiny through their channels. We need to watch out for the possibility of India being thus de stabilized. The result could well be catastrophic.
    Awareness and Concern on the part of Civil Society was never as important as it is today.
    Brig R S Chhikara, Veteran

    Adarsh Housing Scam - The Distortions
    It is a canard to say that war widows have been cheated by the top brass of the Army and the sister services in the Adarsh Housing scam. Neither their rights nor their welfare have been affected by the scamsters, in the way it is being played up by the media and interested parties.

    From the very beginning the scam envisaged that in the "name" of war widows a society would be floated on prime defence land in Colaba to rake in hundreds of crores by the scamsters and those roped in later. To protect themselves the enterprising prime movers, i.e., the then Sub Area Commander, the DEO and a few others, with the blessing of the M&G Area Commander initiated the scam. To cover themselves over the years the Maharashtra government at the level of Chief Minister and others were brought in as well, as were the two Army chiefs and a Navy chief; and many other high ranking officers and officials, both civil and military. A 31-storey building ensured that there was enough to accomodate dozens of people who could have let the cat out of the bag or objected or exposed the scam. Pure greed which is now the norm in the money-making society that rules India took over and caution was thrown to the winds because at the Centre and the State(s) everybody was looting with impunity. Hundreds and thousands of crores at a time, billions if you look at the CWG scam. So a few crores each was peanuts compared to what the very highest level operatives in the Centre and States were doing.

    The point being highlighting is that war widows were NEVER going to be a part of it. A few flats may have gone their way as a token. Therefore, the cry that war widows have been done out of their benefits is essentially incorrect. It has distorted the picture in the public mind and brought a bad name to the Army. The media MUST realise that welfare schemes being run by the Army and the formations are "very much intact" and the Army, at "all" levels goes out of its way, down to "every" unit commander and junior officer, to do "everything" within 'their' power to help the families of their fallen comrades. This was 'always' the case and 'continues' to be so. Nobody need tell the Army what their duty is to the war widows, because it is being discharged most diligently by practically all formations and units. Again there may be the odd black sheep, there always is. Such a one is the exception and not the rule. Hence it is not as if food has been taken out of the mouths of babes.

    This clarification is very important because the way the media has gone about it has created a wrong impression in the minds of the public, the ex-servicemen and the rank and file. Nothing could be further from the truth. The distortion, if allowed to continue will create schism between the officers and their men. Even the higher level army officers caught in the scam have done their best for their men and war widows when they were unit and formation commanders. The scam at the top is an altogether different affair that CANNOT be condoned, but the misrepresentation has to be checked.

    Similarly, the Army Chief has given a public assurance that the guilty will be brought to book, those that is, that can be dealt with by the Army. Evidently, the process of establishing guilt cannot be short-circuited because the courts will throw the case out if due diligence has not been carried out and the case becomes weak due to indecent haste. Six to eight months is the normal time frame for final action. In some cases, where the evidence is watertight justice can be meted out in about 100 days.

    What the media must ensure is that following the example set by the Army Chief, it behoves the government at the highest levels to ensure that CWG and other scamsters are also brought to book at the 'highest levels' with equal sincerity and despatch. Evidently, this is a very tall order. It is not going to happen. The bottom feeders will be prosecuted, the 'top' feeders at the very apex of the food chain, who have siphoned off billions of dollars over the years and have actually battened and fattened on India's poor are again going to escape, their loot safely deposited in assets overseas that cannot be traced. These 'topmost' feeders in the food chain have corrupted and rendered ineffective every investigative agency, thereby ensuring that they can never be brought to book; and in the process comprehensively undermining national security.

    The frenzy and exuberance shown by the media in pursuing the guilty in the Adarsh housing scam - a very laudable exercise indeed - must be redoubled for the bigger CWG scam that brought shame to the entire nation and witnessed corruption on a scale not conceivable earlier. They must not let up till the guilty at the very top are made to pay the price for the national disgrace and the loot. In Japan even prime ministers have gone to prison on account of corruption. In Washington the topmost guilty perons have not been spared by the courts. In The Netherlands, Prince Bernhard, the Dutch Queen's consort was accused of accepting 5 million dollars in the Lockheed scandal. He was a very respected figure in his country and Honorary Colonel in the armed forces who presided over national level military functions. After the scandal became public he was stripped of his army uniform and never gain allowed to preside over armed forces functions. In India the CWG case is a test case, which the whole nation is watching. The media cannot afford to slack off or be side-tracked.
    vinod saighal (Maj Gen Vinod Saighal)
    Convenor MRGG & Trustee NNFI
    New Delhi

    Adarsh scam sullying Army image, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP
    Worried at the attempts to sully the fair name of the Indian Army and Defence Personnel in the Adarsh Flats scam, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament, has written to Defence Minister Mr. A. K. Antony statiing that the wrong acts of few should not be allowed to sully the image of the Armed Forces and take the focus away from the service and sacrifices of the Armed Forces personnel.

    Mr. Chandrasekhar urged the Defence Minister to immediately order a high level probe to enquire and determine the truth about the involvement of Officers from the Armed Forces and take stringent action against the guilty.

    I am providing the link to Mr. Chandrasekhar’s letter for your information and reading: Letter to RM- Adarsh Scam
    Warm Regards,
    Principal- Public Affairs,
    Office of Rajeev Chandrasekhar,
    Member of Parliament

    Licence Permit Raj morphed into a Land Mafia Raj

    I am appending my letter published (edited version) in the Times of India (November 4, 2010), Mumbai edition, on the Adarsh Society ,Colaba, Mumbai scam. You may like to put it on "Report My Signal" site for reading by all IESM members.
    Shashank Bendre
    Wg Cdr (Retd)

    Letter to Editor, The Times of India, "My Times My Voice":
    With reference to "Towering Mess" (Economist Raghuram Rajan has rightly said that yesterday's licence-permit raj has morphed into a land mafia raj, with huge socio-economic costs for the country. We need to clean up the mess, starting now.), it was time you expressed your views on the issue in your editorial. Perhaps the delay could be attributed to your reluctance to bring the so far holy image and honour of the Armed Forces personnel into question. Real Estate scams and land grabs are not new to Indian cities, towns and even villages are not spared by the land mafia. The only new and dark dimension in the Adarsh Society scandal is the open involvement of top military bosses conniving with politicians and babus to grab a piece of property in the prime locality of Mumbai where no ordinary mortal can ever dream of stepping in. The decline in moral values of the civil society has been evident for almost two decades but the shocking revelation that the bug has affected the defence services too is now bound to land the nation in turmoil as never before. This is a sad situation because the armed forces is the only institution looked upon by the general public as the last bastion of the nation for upholding honesty, uprightness and discipline and the latest exposure is bound to plant a seed of doubt in the minds of the people whether the Armed Forces too, have slipped into the quagmire of corruption that is slowly but surely gobbling up the very foundation of the nation. All veterans would like to hand their heads in shame. The article "How To Root Out Corruption" very much linked to this scam closely, advises setting up of an agency called "Lokpal" as a remedy. Though we already have a plethora of agencies and institutions established to watch over the functioning of the government and other undertakings, the fact remains that corruption thrives unhindered because these watchdogs themselves have become hotbeds of corruption. In such a scenario, the government is left clueless on how to tackle this problem. It is trapped in an unenviable position where any firm step against the corrupt politicians will invite the fall of the government itself. And that is precisely why Naxalism has gained acceptance by a large section of the people in the countryside, whose very livelihood is threatened by corruption, unlike the city folks and see no succour from the authorities. Everybody, including the corrupt themselves, must wake up to the stark reality that the situation is truly alarming as the very existence of the nation is at stake.
    Yours faithfully,
    Shashank Bendre
    Wing Commander (Retd)


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