Saturday, December 19, 2009

Use this RMS blog as resource for research

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    James Kanagaraj
  • A few black sheep don’t make the entire Indian Army corrupt

    Express News Service, chandigarh
    Posted: Friday , Nov 06, 2009 at 0333 hrs Chandigarh:
    The image of the Army has taken a beating recently. Earlier, it was for professional incompetence but after media reports exposed corruption among senior officers, fake killings and recruitment scams have shattered the image of Army as an honest and professional organisation.

    While there are certainly a few corrupt elements in the Army, it is unfortunate that certain sections of the media are portraying entire Armed Forces as a corrupt institution.

    Till a decade ago, associating the word corruption with Forces was considered a taboo as media felt it could demoralise them. Today, media houses are competing with each other to twist corruption cases linked with Army and discrediting the institution in its entirety.

    While none can justify the incidences of corruption in the Army, mistaking a few black sheep with the entire flock is neither appropriate nor acceptable. It is not possible to isolate the Army from the degeneration of moral fibre that has been accepted by the society as our fate for years. Very few take pride in being upright and talking straight. Courage, integrity and morality have been the major casualties in recent times giving way to hypocrisy and sycophancy and the Armed Forces have not remained untouched.
    ‘A few black sheep don’t make the entire Indian Army corrupt’
    Colonel D S Cheema (Retd)
    A few black sheep don’t make the entire Indian Army corrupt

    Corrupt Officers in the Indian Armed Forces are promptly tried and punished swiftly. No doubt some black sheep remain undetected (mainly because of faulty Annual Confidential Reports- the system of reporting needs to be drastically refined). Compare this with Bureaucrats. Even known corrupt officers in the civil services are given plum appointments even when their corruption charges are being investigated by CBI. Bureaucrats in MOD are called White Shepherd as they herald all defence scams involving thousands of crores of Rupees and not one official has been convicted till date. On the other hand the MOD has gone to blacklist all the Defence Manufacturers in the World at Large!

    National Security: Steering India’s Military Capabilities

    By Lt Gen Vinay Shankar
    Indian Defence Review Issue: Vol. 23.3
    If we were to comment on the attitude of our leadership to our country’s defence preparedness the conclusion would be of unwitting indifference. There is no other plausible explanation to the manner in which we have been mishandling the defence of our nation.
    A quick scan of our security barometer from the time we became a sovereign nation to date would enable us draw up a report card on how we have fared on the security management front.

    Within months of our Independence we were subjected to an invasion from Pakistan. Barely managing to save Srinagar, we accepted the loss of a fairly large swathe of territory which we have since called POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).

    But the narrative has only just begun. Call it neglect or a lack of understanding of defence preparedness because it appears that the gravity of the loss did not really ever sink in. What were the consequences?

    Through the fifties, because of the total disconnect between defence and diplomacy we kept botching up matters with China. The price was the ‘62 disaster. We ended up suffering a humiliating defeat. We have, I believe, yet to recover from that trauma.

    The Chinese came right up to the foot hills in the North-east. In the Ladakh region they captured large areas of Aksai Chin. After the cease fire, in the East the Chinese unilaterally withdrew to the McMahon Line. However, in the more strategically important Ladakh sector they retained most of what they had taken; approximately 38,000 sq km. Pakistan illegally ceded another 5,180 sq km. And that is how matters stand today.

    Surprisingly something that should be causing grave concern appears to be for the moment met with stoic silence. China in the recent past has upped the ante on its claims over Arunachal Pradesh. The denial a visa to a government official of Arunachal Pradesh and the more recent reaction to the PMs’ visit to the State, together with frequent statements that the Province is Chinese territory reflect its new position. There is a view that the recent shift in stance could be due to the assessments the Chinese may have made during the ongoing border negotiations. They may have got the impression that we are not averse to ceding ground in order to settle.
    Read the complete article by clicking link below:
    Steering India’s Military Capabilities

    National Anomaly Committee hibernates before attempting to resolve the anomalies

    The government had officially closed the chapter for grant of any additional benefit to pre-2006 retirees or any improvement in the modified parity already implemented (2.26 times of old basic pension or 50% of minimum of new pay band + Grade Pay + MSP when applicable, whichever is higher). Similarly, the government had also officially closed the chapter for grant of full pension to retirees who had been released between 01-01-2006 and 02-09-2008 after putting in 20 years of service. As we know, the government has already relented on the latter aspect and even issued the letter granting the benefit. Now it seems that there is going to be a re-think on improving the modified parity granted to pre-2006 pensioners.

    In a meeting between the National Anomalies Committee on the 6th CPC Chaired by the Secretary Personnel, Govt of India, and the Confederation of Central Govt Employees and Workers, the government has decided to consider the issue once again. It would be worthwhile to state that almost all pensionary modalities made applicable to civil employees are extended to defence personnel also.

    More details on the meeting can be accessed at: National Anomaly Committee- Meeting and decisions

    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh at 5:14 AM
    Indian Military Information

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Are the States honouring their Heros?

    Dear veterans,
    1. It is the approach that matters. Never thought a day will come when Punjab Government will forget the sacrifices and the war heroes it has produced for the Nation from its soil.
    2. Today Harayana has ordered the DC's to represent at Soldiers Funeral but in the neighbouring state of Punjab, DC of Ludhiana (Pb) Mr Vikas Garg forgets to Pay Homage to the Martyrs of the Nation as he was busy with Vidyan Sabha Committee from no other state then that of Punjab (as if a foreign delegation was on the visit).
    3. Where is Punjab Heading under the present regime,the Land of Martyr's? A very painful state of affairs and it has hurt the sentiments of all Ex-Servicemen of the region.
    Click the Links for more details:
    DCs to represent state at soldiers' funerals
    Admin forgets war heroes, VijayDiwas sans official function
    With Warm Regards
    Gen Secy
    Ex-Servicemen Joint Action Front. (SANJHA MORCHA)
    Major SS Dhillon Ex-Signal Paras, Chairman

    Centre in dock over Lt Saurabh Kalia's death: Kargil torture

    Click on Image for enlarged view

    Indian Democracy is Cancer of Corruption which needs to be stamped out by Citizens

    December 17, 2009
    Dear Compatriot,
    We are contacting you for a noble purpose. Every major problem we face today– individually or nationally– is rooted in CORRUPTION. We reconcile and adjust to it from time. We have launched a campaign against this malaise where awakened Indians like you can help in building up the momentum.

    Today India is at crucial crossroads. On the one hand, we can boast of youthful reservoir of technological brainpower and a zooming industry; on the other, we have every component of governance crumbling. Chaos is creeping in. Let us have a look at our national scene:

    1. It is no secret that there has been a steady degeneration in the quality of our politicians with every successive Lok Sabha becoming home to increasing number of criminals. In the previous Lok Sabha we had 123 tainted MPs; now we have 158 – 73 of them involved in serious crimes. They are steadily moving towards majority and the day is not far when they will gang-up to form a Government of ‘like-minded’ MPs/groups!

    2. People have lost faith in police and civil Administration because remedies through these agencies have become too costly and unaffordable. Emergence of extra-constitutional power groups like Naxalites and Senas of various hues are replacing Administrative authority in various states. People at large find their dispensation of justice speedier and fairer. Little wonder, they have ‘liberated zones’ where the local Administration dare not venture! In other peaceful/progressive looking areas, the henchmen of local politicians rule the roost.

    3. Basic amenities like health care are in no less pitiable state. While patients are left to languish and die in pathetically unhygienic conditions in government hospitals, there are doctors who are butchering people to trade kidneys, eyes and other human organs with impunity.

    4. The option of judicial remedies is riddled with murkier complexities. We have it here straight from the horse’s mouth. Recording their own helplessness at the ‘collapse of criminal justice in the country’ during hearing of a high profile hit-and-run case of Delhi on 5th February 2009, the honourable Supreme Court went on to say, “What happened in the current case is the tip of the iceberg. This is a case of accident. We have seen cases involving smuggling of arms, RDX, narcotics where the accused get away. But we are helpless.” (TOI, 06 Feb 09).

    5. We all have personal experiences where we have had to ‘negotiate and pay our way out’ of sinister traps of unscrupulous officers and stooges. Simple things like licenses, admissions, address verifications, medical certificates, FIR and so forth as nothing moves by rules. Money and/or ‘right contact’ can move everything that rules can’t.

    It is time we woke up to the harsh realities that cannot be wished away. We have to act– and act now. For effective cleansing of the system, we have to start from the very top for which we have definite strategy and a time bound plan as explained in Shri Shambhu Dutta’s letter attached. Fortunately, in Shri Shambhu Dutta we have a Gandhian veteran, who, at the call of Mahatama Gandhi, courted imprisonment in the 1942 Quite India Movement by resigning his job as a young Civilian Gazetted Officer in the then IAOC. He met Gandhiji in 1944. In free India he again courted imprisonment by opposing the 1975 Emergency. For the last forty years he has been working from Delhi as a volunteer in the Servants of the People Society, founded by Lala Lajpat Rai and inaugurated by Gandhiji at Lahore in 1921. He is now the Hony. General Secretary of the Gandhian Satyagraha Brigade, Lajpat Bhawan, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi 110024. The honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Law (Mr. Veerappa Moily) and other government departments have acknowledged his communication with positive assurance that the needful actions are being taken. Although no concrete steps are yet in sight despite these assurances, momentum is building up in the right direction eg, informing colleagues, friends and sensitising them to lend us their support in whatever manner they choose.

    I, therefore, exhort you to please come forward and join this pious struggle that is against none but evils in our system. This is every Indian citizen’s war where everyone’s effort counts. There is none too poor, too weak or too old to wage this noble war. For the pessimists who say ‘Corruption cannot go’ let me assure that our joint effort shall surely injure and weaken it, if not kill, and deny it the express way. Those who are not opposing CORRUPTION are supporting it – and, therefore, helping it to flourish.

    Your contribution– whatever form you choose– is going to be valuable in this effort. From the three options, you are welcome to choose the way in which you wish to lend support to this noble Cause. Kindly also forward this mail with your endorsement to your friends for wider circulation.

    It shall be my pleasure to furnish further details if desired. Looking forward to your kind response.
    With regards,
    Yours sincerely,
    Col Karan Kharb (Retd)
    Gandhian Satyagraha Brigade
    An All India NGO of Gandhian Persuasion, registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, Lajpat Bhavan, Lajpat Nagar– IV, New Delhi- 110024

    Vijay Diwas 2009: Chennai and Doon Valley

    For the first time since I moved into Madras– what has now become Chennai– over a decade and half ago, I was pleasantly surprised to note that the Veteran Officers in the Station had decided to observe the Vijay Diwas.

    Thanks to the efforts of two untiring persevering determined veterans– Col N Viswanathan and Col TN Raman who against all odds decided to take matters into their own hands and decided to organize the function by themselves. And the resultant was a message sent on late evening of the 12th Dec, to say that it would be observed at 1100hours on the 16th Dec at the War Memorial.

    The weathermen had predicted a wet Wednesday, and based on those readings, the local Government had asked all schools to close. Nonetheless, we drove down to the War Memorial with the skies being overcast and thick dark clouds threatening to open up any minute and pour down in all the fury. But the threats did not have any undue effect on all of us, as having been conditioned to commence exercises and operations in such weather, we pressed on regardless. We reached the adjoining MES IB, where arrangements had been made for parking of vehicles. From there we trooped into the precincts of the manicured lawns of the War Memorial. It was heartening to note that in spite of short notice - about 50 personnel from all the three Armed Services had gathered together to pay our humble tributes to all those brave soldiers who had given their all during the 1971 Indo Pak conflict in order that we and the civil society may live a more peaceful and better lives.

    The War Memorial was a relic of the Colonial trappings – having been built by the Raj in memory of those of the then Madras Presidency who had fought on behalf of British Empire. Accordingly the letterings on main face were in English, whereas on the other three sides they were in Tamil, Urdu (possibly due to the troops of Arcot who were primarily Muslims) and Telugu. When the British took over Madras, it was ruled by Damarla Venkatapathy Nayak, a Telugu speaking gentleman.

    The wording on the Memorial reads as: “To the memory of all those from the Madras Presidency who lost their lives in the service of ‘the Nation’”. To anyone having a closer look it would be obvious that the words ‘the Nation’ had been added later possibly replacing ‘the Empire’. Inscriptions on the four surrounding pillars have now been added. They read as 1947 – 48; 1962 Chinese Aggression; 1965 and 1971 – Indo-Pakistan war.

    The function commenced exactly as scheduled at 1100 hours. Lt Gen C Sundara Rao, the Patron of AFVOA was the first to place a wreath on the memorial. He was followed by Maj Gen Chattaraman, the current President of AFVOA, Col TN Raman, Convenor of the IESM, Tamil Nadu, Col A Krishnaswami, VrC, VSM**, RAdm Sivamani and Sqn Ldr J Nagarajan, KC, decorated soldiers of the three services. Thereafter the rest of all the personnel gathered, offered floral tributes to the memory of war heroes.

    The function came to a close by sounding of the last post by the soldiers of 5 Jak Rif Regiment.
    Brig VA Subramanyam (Retd)


    To remember the day of historical and decisive battle fought by Indian soldiers in 1971 for liberation of Bangladesh, homage was paid to MARTYRS at 1545 hrs on 16 Dec 09 at Dakra War Memorial, Dehradun Cantt. Not only all martyrs who sacrificed their life in 1971 war but also all war wounded soldiers of Doonite and their nearest and dearest were remembered on VIJAY DIWAS. Function was organized by Jhanda Committee, Dakra Shahid Chok, Dehradun Cantt which was attended by more 350 Doonites including veterans & their families.

    Hon’ble Chairman Vidhan sabha Sh Harbans Kapoor was the chief guest and others who attended the Vijay Diwas were Sh Ganesh Joshi, ESM, MLA, Brig KG Behl, Retd, President Dehradun Ex-Services League, Lt Col BM Thapa, Retd, General Secretary Dehradun Ex-services League and Member IESM, Brig P S Gurung,Retd, Lt Col B S Chhetri, Retd, H/Capt P S Rana, H/Capt KB Thapa and many others.

    Chief guest and President DESL disseminated the detail information about the VIJAY DIWAS and honoured all war widows, wounded veterans in war and their relatives by presenting souvenirs. Brig K G Behl during his address stressed on OROP and intimated the veterans and their families about all the efforts being taken at every level including by concerned authorities and IESM for an early favorable decision to over come the arouse irresistibility with the Central Govt for which as on today 20000 medals been deposited with President by the veterans.
    Lt Col B M Thapa, Retd
    Gen Secy, DESL and Member IESM.

    Denial of Pension Equity to Maj Gen and Equivalents

    Thu, 17 December, 2009 11:20:30 AM

    All of us have our own interpretations of the Vains judgement. We, however, have decided to go along with the legal interpretation provided to us by different lawyers- civil and military- as well as those officers who were closely associated with the lawyers through out the Vains case, regarding its applicability/ extension of logic and directions to our case. We are convinced of the logic for filing the suit now than later. In fact, since the issues are the same, arguments are the same and the class of affected people are the same, we believe that there is a very good chance of speedy success. Success here will bolster our case for the entire lot of ESM, which will definitely be filed later.

    As for the Common Cause, we have had three meetings with them. Their constraints are that they can only fight the case with their own lawyers who work pro-bono for them (who will take long to fully understand all the nuances of the case) and that their case will necessarily include the Civ Govt Servants too - a very large number. Once that happens, the GoI is legally entitled to refuse to follow the SC directions on ground of financial non-viability; the only provision under which the GoI can reject SC directions. Our case must rest on the fact that the military is distinct from the civs and must be treated as such.

    Having said the above, three points need to be reiterated;
    a) Officers join of their own free volition. There is no compulsion.
    b) The suit will only be filed if the required contributions are received.
    c) If filed, it will be filed as a 'class action suit'. Officers are free to reap the benefits without contributing.

    Maj Gen (Retd) PK Renjen, AVSM
    Rajat Pandit, TNN 17 December 2009, 03:06am IST

    Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Faramji Manekshaw

    It was on New Year’s Day of 1973 that the nation got to know that the architect of India’s greatest military victory in centuries had been elevated to the rank of field marshal. This came as a surprise to most of us. Only a couple of months earlier, the then defence minister had told the press at Chennai that India would not have a field marshal or a five-star general. I remember a friend of mine telling me at that time that if Pakistan had won the 1971 war, Yahya would have been made a field marshal the very next day. I disagreed with him, saying he would not have been made field marshal, but would have made himself one, like Ayub Khan. My thoughts went back to 1946, when for the first time three Indian officers were posted to the Military Operations Directorate at Delhi, hitherto the exclusive preserve of British officers and British clerks. They were Lt. Col. Sam Hormusji Faramji Manekshaw, Major Yahya Khan and I in the rank of captain. Who could then have predicted the path the careers of Manekshaw and Yahya would take? Inscrutable are the ways of providence.

    I had the privilege of serving under Sam Manekshaw in all the ranks that he held from Lt. Col. to Army Chief. He had a tremendous capacity for work and was a brilliant professional, contributing immensely in every appointment. He combined all this with a great sense of humour and ready wit. As a senior staff officer at Army Headquarters in 1971, I saw how meticulously he planned for the coming war during the nine months preparatory time he had managed to obtain. The resounding victory in that war was the crowning achievement of the foremost military leader of our Army.
    Lt Gen SK Sinha (Retd)

    Read the full account:
    The making of a Field MarshalDecember 16th, 2009
    By S.K. Sinha

    Related article
    India urgently needs chief of defence staff

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    38 years and still waiting for a war memorial

    NDTV Correspondent, Thursday December 17, 2009, New Delhi
    Today is the 38th anniversary of India's greatest military victory in 1971, but nearly four decades after India won the war against Pakistan, the country is still debating whether there should be a central war memorial.

    Defence minister AK Antony with the three service chiefs on Wednesday commemored India's greatest military triumph but 38 years after the 1971 victory, the military top brass still pays homage at India Gate, built as a tribute to soldiers killed defending the British Raj.

    India has fought five major wars since 1947 and yet there's no national war memorial for thousands of martyrs, thanks to squabbling between different ministries.

    The Defence ministry mooted the latest proposal for a memorial at India Gate, the Urban Development ministry disagreed, now a group of ministers is supposed to take a final decision.

    "I hope this time we will be able to find an ultimate solution and we will be able to finally fulfill the long cherished wishes of our country and our armed forces," said Defence Minister AK Antony.

    Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor has personally taken up the matter with ministers and even the PMO during the past two years without any result. "It is a must. The earlier it is done, the better it is for the army and for the country," he said.

    Distant places like Jammu and Tawang have built local memorials for fallen soldiers but a central memorial continues to elude the Indian armed forces.
    38 years and still waiting for a war memorial

    Vijay Diwas India Gate

    Dear Veteran,
    1. On the occasion of 38th anniversary of ‘Vijay Diwas Day’ on 16 Dec 2009, a large number of Ex-servicemen gathered at India Gate at 11:00 AM to pay homage to war martyrs of 1971 war. The day is celebrated in honour of our Army historic win over Pakistan Army and creation of new Nation Bangladesh. After laying the wreath two minutes silence was observed in front of ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ at India Gate.
    2. In the gathering one could see aged and young ex-servicemen with their winning medals on their chest walking and talking around India Gate. Still yet young and believe in keeping their weapons oiled and ammunition greased to fight one more and ultimate war with a Nation, who are nurturing the terrorists.
    3. Brigadier K P Singh Deo, AVSM, Chairman ex-servicemen Department, AICC mentioned that this war is considered the most important war in the World history as about one lac Pakistan Army soldiers surrendered to India Army. All the three wings of defence forces took part in this war.
    4. Captain Praveen Davar, Secretary AICC ex-servicemen Department, mentioned that functions will be organized at various places in the Country to honour the next of kins of martyrs, those who laid down their lives in 1971 war for the nation.
    5. Major (Dr) T C Rao, Chairman, DPCC Ex-Servicemen Deptt. expressed his gratitude to the war veterans of 1971 and retired Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and other ranks, who had come to participate in the memorial service. He also stated that leadership of late Smt Indra Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, Can not be forgotten as decisive war was fought on her orders wherein a new Nation came up as “Bangladesh”
    6. Shri Dr MS Gill, Hon’ble Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Shashi Tharoor, Hon’ble Minister of State External Affairs, Shri Salman Khurshid, Hon’ble Minister of State Corporate Affairs, Shri Sachin Pilot,Hon’ble Minister of State Communications & Information Technology, Shri Pallam Raju, Hon’ble Minister of State for Defence, Shri JP Aggarwal Hon’ble Member of Parliament & President of DPCC, Shri Shivraj Patil, Ex Home Minister, Shri Mahabal Mishra, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Mr PT Thomas, Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Kerala and Dr G Vivekanand, Hon’ble Member of Parliament AP, came especially out of their busy schedule of Parliamentary session to pay homage to martyrs. Air Chief Marshal SK Kaul, Lt Gen Surinder Nath, Ex Vice Chief of Army & Chairman UPSC and 20-25 General staff Officers came to pay homage.
    7. “Gramin Uthaan – Bharat Nirman” honoured 112 War Widows of 1965 & 1971 War of Delhi, 37 Decorated Ex-Servicemen of 1971 War were also honoured. The NGO is run by Maj(Dr) TC Rao.
    8. After the Memorial Service, Cabinet Ministers, MPs, MLA’s of Delhi and Gurgaon exchange their views with Ex-servicemen. It was touching and emotional moments for everyone to meet War widows whose beloved give their “TO DAY FOR OUR TOMORROW”.
    Always at your service.

    “Jai Hind"
    Maj (Dr) TC Rao

    No Character Certificate required for His Excellency Gen SF Rodrigues

    Dear friends,
    I am replying to this because my views have been sought. I have very high regards for His Excellency Gen Rodrigues as he has been a great general, a thorough gentleman and now a proven epitome of excellence as a truly apolitical Governor and an Administrator par excellence. The allegations and mud-slinging aimed at him is, however, not something in which he would need external support to fight and defend himself. In corruption ridden Indian polity today these are the inevitable concomitants of public life. A blot on a clean white shirt strikes the eye sharply. That's why incredible stories and scandals make striking headlines and sell well in the media.

    Nevertheless, the accompanying mails are overly emotional. Giving character certificates to personalities like Gen Rodrigues is actually dwarfing his stature. Such emotional outbursts serve little purpose - nay, they antagonise the right thinking people and make them suspect our credentials.

    As a trend seen in the recent past, almost all of our communications seem to be focused against the IAS, Babus or Bureaucrats. Unfortunately, in blaming them for all our problems, we do not make exceptions for even those who are a good lot among them. The truth is that, although their number is small, but there are good, honest and laudable Babus in India too. There have been a number of whistle blowers among the bureaucrats who have not bothered about their career and, in some cases, even risked their life. In UP, it is because of a good lot of bureaucrats that the black sheep within their own flock have been listed and exposed on the Internet.

    Goodness is always in short supply. This is true of humans as well - be they bureaucrats, policemen, politicians and - let's face it - even soldiers! We know it there are good officers and bad officers in the Armed Forces. Fortunately, however, our judicial dispensation system is such that the 'bad' are sorted out well and proper faster than their likes in civil services. Despite this, there are often embarrassing aberrations involving even some very senior military officers.

    Somehow, we have become too touchy. Any criticism, comment or a joke in the media is enough to put us off. One sees a spate of letters to the 'erring' Newspaper editors reprimanding them for their audacity to raise a finger at us! We make a laughing stock of ourselves! The nation holds us in high esteem even today. But of late we are seen only talking about ourselves and not for the serious problems they expect us to rise and speak up. National security, corruption, terrorism, widening communal/ regional divde, increasing number of criminals into Lok Sabha and state legislatures (they were 123 in the previous Lok Sabha, now they are more han 150 of whom 73 are with serious charges!). The day these issues are addressed, all problems of ESM would be solved and SOLDIERY will redeem its lost sheen and honour.

    We write a lot of English loaded with unseemly anger and abuse hurled on the entire lot of bureaucrats from time to time. This time it involves a high dignitary (Gen Rodrigues) but without touching any facts of the case or issues involved. By raising the decibel level and kicking up a lot of dust achieves nothing good for us or for His Excellency. On the contrary, our outbursts might be embarrassing him. It is not only unnecessary but also goes to lower our credibility as responsible citizens imbued with integrity and fair-play.

    I wish Gen Rodrigues a great innings full of honour and esteem as Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh.

    I request you all, my friends, to avoid muddying the matters any further. I hope I have not stepped on some one's toes. If so, I tender my apologies.

    Col Karan Kharb (Retd)

    When overcharged with emotion, we run the risk of missing our focus - OROP and other demands for the ESM.

    MOD blacklist barrel grows longer

    Ajai Shukla / New Delhi November 17, 2009, 0:19 IST
    Over this last decade, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has “blacklisted” so many foreign arms corporations that the military’s modernisation plan has virtually stalled. The MoD “blacklist” is not a formal document; an arms vendor is mostly embargoed unofficially, when senior bureaucrats agree that it is playing dirty.

    The hit list reads like a who’s who of global weapons suppliers, including corporations with good records of delivering arms to India. Starting with Bofors in the late 1980s, the list grew to include Denel of South Africa; Israel Military Industries (IMI); Singapore Technologies Kinetic (STK); and now Thales of France. Earlier this year, the world’s biggest defence contractor, Lockheed Martin, was on the blacklist. Now another global giant, BAE Systems, seems headed there after problems with setting up an assembly line in HAL Bangalore for the Hawk jet trainer.

    It is hardly news that arms sales and corruption walk together. Arms vendors routinely bribe political leaders, bureaucrats and senior military officers, not just in India but worldwide. BAE Systems allegedly bribed Saudi Arabian royals with hundreds of millions of dollars in the infamous Al Yamamah contracts. Thales, credibly accused of bribing South African presidential hopeful Jacob Zuma, is also being sued by Taiwan to recover US $590 million allegedly paid in kickbacks to win a deal for six warships. Most arms companies maintain multi-million dollar slush funds to ease the way for their giant deals.

    But the Indian MoD is wholly wrong in behaving as if the problem is just one of predatory arms corporations. All those bribes are being paid to somebody; but no MoD official is in jail for having accepted a bribe. Instead South Block’s vendor blacklists grow longer and longer. These blacklists are now choking defence procurement.
    Read the full article from Business Standard: Ajai Shukla: No thanks, you're blacklisted!

    Mumbai Mayhem: Headley visa papers missing

    Headley visa papers missing, probe on
    The government has sought a factual report from the consulate in Chicago on the reported disappearance of visa papers of Mumbai terror conspirators David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, foreign secretary Nirupam Rao said on Wednesday. India will also seek access to the two men, Rao said, but did not comment on charges about Headley being a double agent.

    The consulate in Chicago had issued visas to Headley, a US national of Pakistani origin and Rana, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin to travel to India. “I have sought a factual report from our consul general in Chicago,” Rao said.

    Rana and Headley had made several trips to Indian cities between 2006 and 2008 and allegedly helped Lashkar-e-Tayyeba operatives in Pakistan plan the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
    Headley visa papers missing, probe on: Hindustan Times
    Indian Consulate denies 'missing' of visa papers of Headley

    Rampant corruption in Indian MEA Consulate Offices in Chicago and Houston
    Read Related Case: CBI to review all tatkal passports in Chennai

    Comment: All Indian consulate staff in foreign countries must be investigated by CBI for corruption and taking bribes for visa issuance. This has become the norm and culture of MEA staff in and out of the country and needs to be nipped drasticlly to reduce more terror strikes and preserve our National Intergrity.

    Vijay Diwas: Tribute to Jawans

    — Photo: Sandeep Saxena

    Defence Minister A.K. Antony, with Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, pays homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate, on the occasion of Vijay Diwas, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
    Tribute to Jawans: The Hindu

    NEW DELHI (PTI)16 Dec 2009: Indian Armed forces Wednesday celebrated the 38th anniversary of Vijay Diwas. Gallant soldiers of the 1971 Indo-Pak war were remembered and also India's historic victory over Pakistan.

    Rich tributes were paid to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country during 1971 Indo-Pak war. The function was held was organised by AICC ex-Servicemen Cell at India Gate here.

    "It is essential that we salute our heroes. We feel secure in our homes because of our armed forces and this is an occasion to remember their courage and sacrifice," Union Sports Minister M S Gill said.

    Gallantry award winners and war-widows were felicitated on the occasion by Delhi MP Jai Prakash Agarwal.

    Several politicians, ex-army men and citizens paid homage to the martyrs.

    Former Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Union Ministers C P Joshi, M M Pallam Raju and Sachin Pilot also attended the function.

    Vijay Diwas was celebrated in many parts of the country by the Indian armed forces.

    Vijay Diwas is celebrated on December 16 every year, as on this day in 1971, India's armed forces registered a historic victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation war.


    IESM Pune: Forging unity

    Wed, 16 December, 2009 11:27:18 PM
    Membership IAF personnel at Pune

    Dear Vet,erans
    Today I had an opportunity to address a group of IAF personnel at their annual meeting at Pune.This was possible thanks to efforts by Gr Capt Pathak and the organizers of the meeting.The meeting was attended by 510 personnel including families.

    I had 10 minutes to speak on IESM after Gr Capt Phatak spoke about Pensions and thereafter Col Deepak Karnik and self had a hectic time registering members.

    At the end of the day we had 193 membership forms with us. I feel it was a combination of my emphasis on what we at IESM have achieved in the 3 Cells and the reduced fees that lead to such large numbers joining.

    I will collate the details and forward the same in due course.

    R W Pathak
    Cdr Ravindra Waman Pathak I.N.(Retd)
    Member and Coordinator IESM Pension Cell

    Why do we lag behind China?

    Recently, the London-based Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index placed India well ahead of China. In domestic institutional maturity, India was ranked 36th to China’s 100th. And then in the social capital sub-index India was ranked 5th and China, 70th.

    Thus, India was supposed to have beaten China. But could it be true? I had doubts. Today’s report – US cos prefer China for investment (click me) seems to give the correct picture. (quote- The survey states as much as 74 per cent of the American companies surveyed ranked China as a top-three investment priority with nearly 20 per cent of them naming it as the number one investment spot for them.- unquote)

    The 2009 China Business Report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai shows that ‘a large majority of American firms operating in China the continue to see revenue and profit growth even as elsewhere they face downturn.’ China is the world’s ‘fastest growing economy.’ Not surprising. May I share a personal experience?

    Last summer, I had taken the Alaskan cruise. On board the ‘Radiance of the Seas.’ It is a big ship with excellent facilities. In the midst of an unfamiliar luxury, what struck the patriotic cord was the fact that almost everything one saw on board the American ship was ‘made in China’.

    In the cabin, the toiletries, towels, linen and water flasks were from China. In the dining hall, the crockery and cutlery carried the Chinese label. The position persisted in the shopping area. Even a small battery ‘charger’ needed to energise the camera, though labelled ‘Kodak,’ had actually come from China. It seemed that the ship was flooded with Chinese goods.

    After about 36 hours of leaving Vancouver, we had anchored at Ketchikan. It is a small but beautiful town in the state of Alaska. It is popularly known as the ‘salmon’ city. Has a total population of about 13,000. There are shops within almost a hundred yards of the port. One may walk into any shop. Each one is stuffed with all kinds of winter wear and small souvenirs. The caps, shirts, sweaters, chinaware and knives. Everything except the knives, which are a purely local product, was from China.

    Click here to read the full article by JL Gupta from Tribune India

    by SaneIndian on Dec 12, 2009 01:22 AM
    Infrastructure in India is beyond horrible. Why would anybody want to invest in India when there is no proper transportation or storage available? Govt should invest heavily in developing infrastructure first. Then India can dream about competing with China. The horrible conditions of the roads and indiscriminate use of Auto-Rickshaws and 2 wheelers ruin what ever little good is there on Indian roads- Chennai City says it all loudly! India has become a joke among the west. All we are doing is living in a false paradise. Democracy is a farce in India: It is more of Criminalisation of the Citizens by the State- The Indian Constitution favours Criminals and Political Criminals to breed at faster pace than the growth of population (as is evident for the last 60 years)!

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    IESM: Report from Punjab and Chandigarh Chapter

    Dear All Veterans,

    1. IESM Punjab and Chandigarh chapter meeting was held at Mohali attended by many Veterans naming a few Capt Sidhu, Maj Gujral, Col Sandhu, Col Sekhon, Col Minhas, Brig Kahlon, Brig Grewal, Brig Harwant and many other members.

    2. Following steps for implementaion of Demand for OROP were were taken :-
  • Shortly meeting will be held with Rahul Gandhi and Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav to assist us in progressing our demand further.
  • Open Forum Discussion with Ms Bharkha Datt on OROP issue at Chandigarh and later be tele casted at Delhi.We will request prominent ESM to attend so that whole nation can watch the show.
  • District Conveners have been appointed.
  • Col Sandhu a famous MaJha ESM leader of Poohla fame and running an NGO of ESM has given his call to support IESM.
  • Capt Sidhu Ex 5 Para Regt has been unanimously elected as Chief Spokesperson of IESM -Punjab and Chandigarh.

    3. A meeting of IESM was held at Delhi on 13 Dec attended by large number of ESM. Click here for the AGM Minutes. Points therein will be discussed.

    4. A meeting of ESM's of Five Southern states is being held today at Banglore. Approx 10000 ESM from all five states are attending. CM of Karnatka is addressing the meeting. IESM and IESL of all five Southern States have joined hands to fight for OROP.

    Jai Hind,
    Brig Nawab Singh (Retd)
  • Demystifying One Pension One Rank

    Fear of opening Pandora’s Box is bureaucracy’s chicanery

    On 25 Oct 2009 Veterans returned the fifth pack of medals to the President of India: their supreme commander. For a veteran, his medals are his most valued and cherished possession. These are heirlooms for their families. Medals are earned under difficult conditions. Some by putting life at great risk during war, others for gallantry in the face of the enemy and yet some others for wounds suffered during operations. For veterans to part with their medals is an extreme step of desperation, caused by frustration and distress. So far more than twenty thousand medals have been returned to the President. Why have the veterans been driven to such a state of anguish!

    Past and present Presidents and Prime Ministers of India, previous defence ministers and the chair person of congress party, at various times, accepted grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) Given this background, why has OROP not come through. It is so because the babus have been frightening the political executive that giving OROP to the defence services will open a 'Pandora’s Box'. Every other government employee will ask for the same. This is a patently false input. Members of parliament, legislative assemblies, higher judiciary and top babus are all on OROP concept. Infact all of them decide their own pay, perks and allowances, yet there have been no protests against this dispensation.

    The argument that granting OROP will open a Pandora’s Box is, baseless and mendacious. 85 percent of defence services personnel retire between the ages of 34 to 44 years. Another 10 to 13.8 percent retire at the ages between 44 to 56 years. While all civil employees serve upto the age of 60 years. All civil employees step upto the top of their respective pay bands, get all the three Assured Career Progressions (ACPs) and consequently not only draw increasing pay but end up with much higher pension. 83 percent of military personnel who retire at age 34/35 that is after 17 years service do not qualify for even the second ACP which comes into play only after 20 years service. Since some may not grasp the import of this gross injustice, more appropriately a mischief, I will translate these infirmities in monetary terms a little later.

    Successive Central Pay Commissions (CPCs) repeatedly and viciously lowered the pay and status of defence personnel. To mention just one case, DIG of police whose pay and status was in between that of a lt-col and colonel till the 5th CPC now stands equated with a brigadier for pay etc. DIG rank comes after 14 years service while that of a brigadier after 28 years. Sixth Pay Commission introduced a dozen more anomalies, adding to the already unfair dispensation to defence personnel.

    Subsequent to the ham-handed dispensation of 6th CPC which drew strong response from the defence services headquarters, the government appointed a committee of secretaries to go into these anomalies. The villain of the piece on the 6th CPC formed part of the Committee of Secretaries constituted to address the anomalies. Thus it became a case where the prosecutor also formed part of the jury! Predictably, instead of addressing the earlier anomalies for which this Committee of Secretaries was constituted, it introduced some more of its own. Lt-Gens are now split into four categories for pay and pension! Conspiracy and mischief in this scheme of things became palpably apparent.

    A comparison of total amount drawn in terms of pay and pension by a soldier and pay by his counter part in the civil (based on 6 CPC dispensation) by the time both reach the age of 60 years is Rs 33.3 lakhs more for the civil servant and this figure at age 70 is Rs 42.670 lakhs. At age 75 it is Rs 47.310 lakhs. In the case of a Havaldar, his equivalent in the civil, at age 60, would get Rs 20.261 lakhs more and this figure is Rs 26.639 lakhs at age 70 and at 75 it is Rs 29.828 lakhs. In the case of a subedar these figures at ages 60, 70 and 75 years are Rs 13.979 lakhs, Rs 18.911 lakhs and Rs 21.277 lakhs respectively, more for the civil servant.

    A soldier retiring at age 35 years will live through atleast four CPCs and suffer their dispensations for retirees. Whereas his counter part in the civil will, not only continue to benefit from successive CPCs while still in service for an additional 25 years, but on retirement will be effected by just one CPC, assuming 70 years as the average age expectancy. Therefore, even if One Rank One Pension is granted, defence personnel will continue to suffer these gross disadvantages.

    Similar figures are available for officers. The disparities are due to early retirement, delayed and extremely limited promotions in higher ranks. All these features are service imperatives. Within the defence services, earlier retirees are further disadvantaged. A soldier who retired prior to 1.1.2006 will get far less pension than a soldier who retired after 1.1.2006. For a havaldar who retired prior to 1.1.2006, his pension is less than a sepoy who retired after 1.1.06. The ad-hoc compensation promised to the other ranks is completely inadequate and fails to address the core issue of OROP. Similar situation prevails in the case of officers. Only one with severely impaired vision, limited intelligence and or, deep seated bias can miss the incongruity in this working

    Now the above disparities are independent of X factor which apply to only defence personnel About 15 percent of soldiers get the opportunity to live with their families for a period of 1 to 2 years in their entire service. In the case of others (including officers) only 40 to 50 percent of their service, they live with their families. Then there are other travails of service such as harsh living conditions in uncongenial and high altitude areas which results in approximately 5000 of them being annually boarded out on medical grounds and thousands other who continue to serve with a wide range of ailments picked up while posted in uncongenial areas. During the last 10 years army has lost approximately 8600 troops and around 570 officers in counter-insurgency operations in the North East and J and K. Entry into the officer cadre has become the last career choice for the country’s youth, consequently huge shortages persist. During the last sixty years army has fought four wars and been continuously committed in counter insurgency operations.

    Some argue that, military personnel signed for such a service conditions so they damn well live with the consequences. However, the issue is of their repeated downgradation and all the other disadvantages relating to total take home pay/pension vis-à-vis their counterparts in the civil and not service conditions. In the case of bonded labour too there is some manner of agreement between the employer and the employee and yet such an arrangement is bad in law. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution has something to say on this issue and to which the supreme court too, has drawn governments attention is the case of SPS Vains vs MoD etc relating to the case where brigadiers were given more pension than maj-gens. In simple terms, OROP implies that two retirees with equal length of service in the same rank should draw the same pension, irrespective of their date of retirement.

    Few seem to be aware of the bonding between the veterans and the serving. Every year veterans in lakhs visit their units on annual raising days and other important events. There is also constant inter-action between units and their retired personnel and that is how units sustain spirit and traditions. Besides this there are large number of veterans children in the defence services and they see the state of ex-servicemen at first hand. Therefore, there is the danger of spill over effect of this disenchantment, distress and disgruntlement of the veterans passing on to the serving. It will indeed be a sad day for the country, were this to happen. After all those now in service will also suffer the very same set of disadvantages presently inflicted on the veterans.

    The demand for OROP is fair and just and is only a part compensation for early retirement, extremely limited promotions and a miniscule recompense for a hard and risk filled career. There is little merit for the political executive, to accept the bureaucracy’s argument that giving OROP to the veterans will result in a similar demand by the civil employees.

    Lt Gen Harwant Singh (Retd)

    IESM forging unity

    Dear Colleagues,
    Received telephone calls from two ESM. Hav Gurmej Singh from DBN, Gurdaspur (PB) and Brig Shrivastava from Rewa (MP) called up. Both are heading ESM organisations in their area. They expressed complete solidarity with the IESM; our aims, objectives and methods and promised to work jointly with us. Both calls were heart warming. Two more callers – Sub Krishan Lal and one Hav ESM (I deeply regret having slipped up on his name) – called up from a village in Hisar (Haryana) expressing similar support. Sub Hari Singh, who is Hisar based, is very active in propagating the IESM philosophy. Whenever he meets any ESM, he always connects him to me. I get at least half a dozen such calls every day. I salute veteran Hari Singh for his dedication and selfless commitment. We need many more such colleagues in far corners of the country.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM


    Appeal to desist using the term PBOR

    In recent times, the confusing divisive terminology PBOR has been put to usage; perhaps with connivance of the 'estabishment' (read bureaucracy).
    Confusing because terms like JCOs= Junior COMMISSIONED officers and NCOs= Non Commissioned OFFICERS are excluded in this unauthorized terminology. Frankly, won't the PBOR (sic) ONLY include Sepoys and equivalents? That is not so in this term.
    Divisive because it tends to in any case SUB- DIVIDE the well knitted family of the Services. By same logic we could in the future have 'Officers below General Rank' (OBGR) and 'Officers below Star Rank' *OBSR'!
    It is suggested that we IMMEDIATELY CEASE usage of PBOR in our communications and CHECK EACH time, someone uses this. Let us consciously remove this Term in usage ANYWHERE- officially OR in casual conversation.

    Col RP Chaturvedi (Retd)

    History of IMA

    Saturday, December 5, 2009
    For those whose own ease comes last, always, every time by Jaskiran Chopra | Dehradun

    The 10th day of December is a memorable day for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) as it was on this day, in 1932, that the formal inauguration of this prestigious institution took place. Though the academy began functioning on October 1, 1932, it was only on December 10 that Commander-in-Chief Sir Philip Chetwode inaugurated the Academy.

    The inauguration had to be delayed more than two months. The first cadets arrived on September 30 and IMA opened on October 1.

    Chetwode said in his speech at the inauguration, “I wish I could have welcomed the Gentlemen Cadets (GCs) of the new Indian Military Academy on the day they first made their appearance here, for it was a memorable day in the history of the Indian Army.”

    He added, “I could not do so because it was pointed out to me that they had not yet received their uniform, nor were they sufficiently drilled to make an inspection on parade possible. At the request of the commandant, I, therefore, postponed my visit until today, when he said that he would be ready to receive me.”

    Brigadier LP Collins had been appointed the first Commandant of the academy in January 1932. The holding of examinations, nomination of cadets and other preparatory activities had begun figuring in news reports.

    The July 30, 1931 issue of The Pioneer, under the caption ‘Notes from Dehradun’ wrote, “His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, was here for a few days last week, from July 14 to 17. He was probably here in connection with the Indian Military Academy, which has only a couple of months ahead of it now before opening.”

    The founding of this prestigious academy in 1932 was the culmination of a longdrawn battle fought in circles such as the Central Legislative Assembly and the Round Table Conference by stalwarts like Sir Sivaswamy Aiyar, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pandit Motilal Nehru and Lala Lajpat Rai.

    After the Commandant’s speech in Chetwode Hall on December 10, 1932 came the historic inaugural speech of Sir Philip, the concluding words of which have echoed in the hearts and minds of young GCs and officers of the Indian Army over the generations.

    These words, inscribed in letters of gold in Chetwode Hall, are the credo of the academy. The words are, “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time.”

    Read the full article at POINEER: For those whose own ease comes last, always, every time

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    IESL Dehra Dun: Talk on OROP

    Get together of officers & families was organized by Dehradun Ex-Services League on 14 Dec 09 at DSOI. More than 160 defence officers and families from three services of Army, Navy & Air Force attended the function . Many of senior veterans met after long spell of time refreshed their old reminiscences. Brig KG Behl, President Dehradun Ex-Services League along with Col K L Dewan and Lt Col B M Thapa, Gen Secy ,DESL,gave brief talk on ONE RANK ONE PENSION and disseminated the valuable information about burning issue of one rank one pension as per the details given below so that Govt can accept the workable plan once the detail presentation given to them for which letter has already been sent to concerned authorities.

    Band concert of ASC unit was enjoyed by every one. Complimentary drinks were offered to all by Sapper veteran Lt Col S K Makin, Makin Associates. Veterans who attended the function were:
    Maj Gen BC Khanduri, AVSM, Ex CM, Lt Gen HB Kala, Lt Gen TPS Rawat, Air Marshal DC Dhyani, Air Comde AK Khanna, Air Comde P Badoni, Lt Gen YS Tomar, Lt Gen CB Jhaldiyal, Maj Gen Pranav Dutt, Maj Gen PK Gosain, Maj Gen PK Chhiber, Maj Gen Shamsher Singh, Brig PS Gurung, Brig K G Behl,president DESL, Brig M K Shukla, Lt Col B M Thapa, General Secretary DESL, Lt Col B S Chhetri, Lt Col RP Jairath, Lt Col RK Arya, Lt Col SS Thapa, Col RC Joshi & others.

    A talk on OROP was given by Brig KG Behl which can be assessed by clicking here
    Lt Col BM Thapa (Retd)
    Gen Secy, Dehradun Ex-Serivices League

    Judges and Judicial ethics

    Topic: Is corrupt judiciary the new reality of modern India?
    The judges are honourable men and women. They have an unwritten code of conduct. They have professional ethics that may be called judicial ethics. The judicial ethics is a few notches higher than the ethics of other professions. A high standard of personal morality is maintained by a judge who lives up to the decorum maintained by the committed judiciary. His behaviour, public as well as private, his personal and professional conduct are expected to be above board.

    Too high and too difficult to observe, one may think. Not exactly. One has to have the will to live like a judge. A judge judges others when their legal cases come before him. In turn, he is also judged by those he comes in contact with. Does an individual drop out of the society when he is elevated to the bench as a judge? No, certainly not. No man is an island. A judge is also a social being. A man is gregarious by nature. A judge is also a man, and now, a woman too. A judge cannot cut himself off the normal human relationship in the family, in the social set up and in the country he lives in. His judgements influence the individuals he has judged. He is influenced by the human trends in the society as he watches the TV, listens to the radio and reads newspapers. How can a judge not be influenced, though indirectly, by the social factors listed heretofore. And yet when he delivers a judgement on the case listed before him, he goes by the facts on record, the law of the land and does not allow extra-judicial factors or personal relationship influence him.

    Balancing so many things and acting impartially is not an easy job. But a good judge does it. Can a judge socialise? He may. He should, otherwise he would be a frog in the well. The legal fraternity of judges have inter- action among themselves. In addition, the lawyers in lower courts as well as in higher courts interact socially with the judges and judicial magistrates. In non-descript towns they are members of the same club and play bridge or badminton together. Does this social circuit influence judicial decisions? Yes and No. It all depends on the individuals and not on bridge or badminton. Should this club activity of the bench and the bar under one roof be stopped? There is no law of the land that prohibits it unless it leads to a professional misconduct by one or both the parties.
    Brig Chitranjan Sawant (Retd)
    Read full article at Judges and judicial ethics

    A two Minute Silence to those Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice

    Lest we forget why they died defending the nation.. Appreciate the freedom we have. May we never take it for granted.

    Quote excerpts from a speech President Barack Obama gave at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention on August 17, 2009:
    “And our nation owes these Americans -- and all who have given their lives – a profound debt of gratitude… And as always, the thoughts and prayers of every American are with those who make the ultimate sacrifice in our defence… We will fulfil our responsibility to our veterans as they return to civilian life… Whether you've left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfil our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned… These are commitments that we make to the patriots who serve – from the day they enlist to the day that they are laid to rest…”

    Do these sentiments apply to Soldiers in India?

    National Integrity: Are our Soldiers revered and compensated adequately?

    On Sat, 11/21/09, Harbhajan Singh wrote:
    Dear Mr Dua, (Editor in Chief, the Tribune, India)
    Our felicitations on your being nominated to the Rajya Sabha. You deserve the honour for the journalistic and other services that you have rendered to the Nation.

    Now that you are where policies are made and bills passed, it would be appreciated if you kindly take up various issues relating to National Security, pays and perks of Indian Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who day in and day out, since Independence have been deployed along our inhospitable borders, have fought so many wars and died in thousands defending the integrity of the Nation.

    Please do read the write up Military Pay: An Airman’s Response To Cindy Williams- click me. Most of what is written amply applies to Indian Armed Forces as well.

    Please draw your own conclusions and do the best you can for the Indian serving and retired Military personnel.

    Best wishes.
    Harbhajan Singh
    Lt Gen (Retd) PVSM
    Former Signal Officer-in-Chief

    IESM: Media coverage

    Dear All,
    IESM's AGM held at Noida on 13 Dec 2009 received wide coverage from Hindi Newspapers (I know of 07 newspapers...Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Navbharat Times, Hindustan, Rashtiya Sahara, Nai Dunia, Mahanagar....may be more have carried?).
    Please find below two links:
    Navbharat Times- 14 Dec 2009
    Dainik Jagran- 14 Dec 2009

    Best wishes,
    Commodore Lokesh. K. Batra (Retd.)
    Social & RTI activist

    IESM: Convenor in Canada

    Dear Colleagues,
    I am happy to announce that Major Gurjeet Singh, ENGINEERS, who is settled abroad, has kindly consented to be the North America convener for the IESM.
    I reemphasize the need for more volunteers to work for the ECHS Division of the IESM. We need ESM who can coordinate the activities at each polyclinic. Those willing to thus serve the ESM may kindly come forward and let us know.
    There is also an urgent need for us to find ways to connect/ communicate with the rural ESM. Majority of them are not computer users.
    Viability of communicating through SMS is already being examined.
    Any suggestions?

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM,
    Chairman IESM

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Let us honour our soldiers

    Dear brother Chander,
    I will go on sharing all that is glad.
    Apropo of my earlier email, when Gen. Jagdish was here, we launched a new scheme. We are making a film about how the launching of the schemes "Let Each School Adopt a Hero" and "Let Us Honour Our soldiers" in the four schools of Pondicherry and Villupuram has changed and moulded the characters of the students and teachers of the four schools, which have adopted these scheme. The two young filmmakers also interviewed and filmed Gen. Jagdish and his wonderful sister Mrs. Snah Nangia. They also interviewed and filmed Gen, KK Tewari, brother-in-law of First PVC Maj. Somnath Sharma at Auroville.
    The immediate gain was that one of the two young filmmakers Prasanna Venkatesh, a BE final year student is all aflame with patriotism and is keen to join the Armed Forces.
    Secondly, the director of a large chain of 80 colleges, is planning to open a Marine Engineering College. They need following navy persons:
    For Marine Engineering
    We need Chief Engineer interested in Academic Area to head the Marine Engineering Dept.
    For Nautical Science
    We need Captains interested in Academic area to head the Nautical Science Dept.

    I offered to circulate it through you. If the Navy people are not on your mailing list, please let it be displayed on their net work. Once I receive any application, I will give the person the address and phone no of the college authorities.

    Shyam Kumari

    CSD: Need to check default and degradation of services

    Extension of free gift schemes to CSD consumers and a need to check default.
    Many a times, service- members and veterans end up buying consumer goods from the open market because of the reason that certain offers and free gift schemes are not made available to CSD customers. Some of our people also believe that such schemes are not ‘legally’ not meant to be extended to CSD consumers.

    This is however an unfair trade practice by suppliers and dealers. If a gift scheme is offered by a supplier in the open market to all consumers and is not only a local arrangement by a particular dealer, it is bound to be extended to the CSD too. Entitled personnel should make it a point to survey the market first and demand gift schemes from the concerned dealers if the same are being extended to customers other than CSD consumers. In case of default, the same may be immediately reported to the following address :

    Customer Service Cell
    c/o DGM (MS)
    Canteen Stores Department
    ‘Adelphi’, 119, M K Road
    Mumbai – 400 020

    Posted by Maj Navdeep Singh

    Comment: The consumer/ household goods sold in CSD are obsolete models and many are of poor quality (example cell phone chargers which are a decade old and not compatible with latest cell phone models are being flooded in CSD canteens). Therefore, it is advisable not to buy electrical and household gadgets from CSD as they are likely to be out- dated models. Chroma a Tata Venture a consumer friendly outlet has the best quality and latest household products at very reasonable rates.
    Please Check out this webpage: Tata Chroma Retail

    CSD Canteens are money spinners
    Many formations and units have crores and lakhs of Rupees in Banks spinning even more interest. What is the earthly use of earning so much profits if it cannot be utilized prudently for implementing measures to improve quality of life of serving soldiers and veterans or creating permanent assets to enhance the image of the Armed Forces? The canteen staff are paid peanuts and in few cases the civilian staff are paid by dishing out liquor to compensate low wages! Is this the image the Military should create and spread among civilians?
    Truly the Mission Statement of CSD needs to be suitable revised as "Money Spinners" serving no worthwhile cause or purpose (in fact profits generated are grossly misused for other than intended purposes). The CSD ideally should be run on "no profit no loss" basis. This truly will be service oriented.

    IESM: AGM media coverage

    Dear Friends.
    Jai Hind.

    Large number of Hindi news papers of Northern India have published the news about the IESM AGM held at NOIDA on 13 Dec 09. A few of the news cuttings, from major news papers are attached as above. (click on images for reading). The credit for this media coverage goes to Cmde LK Batra.
    In Service of Indian Military Veterans
    Brig Chander Kamboj, Veteran

    Armed Forces Tribunal

    The Armed Forces Tribunal is now functional from 16 Nov 2009 at Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur and Chandigarh and has jurisdiction over both service as well as court-martial issues concerning the three services.

    The Chandigarh Bench of the Tribunal was inaugurated by Justice T S Thakur, Chief Justice of the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court who is going to be elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court today. The bench having jurisdiction over Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, J&K and HP was notified with effect from 16 Nov 2009.

    A comprehensive news report on the same can be accessed by clicking link below.

    It was also a good day for civilian retirees. The applicability of a new stipulation on encashment of leave has been taken back to 01 Jan 2006 instead of the earlier cut-off date of 01 Sept 2008. The letter issued yesterday evening by the Govt of India to this effect can be accessed and downloaded by clicking here.
    Posted by Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh
    Armed Forces Tribunal to overcome HC limitations

    Last letter or will?

    It was good that the letter was delayed. For once I thanked the Indian Posts!

    In Jeffrey Archer’s recent book ‘Paths of Glory’ a Lt in Royal Artillery asks his corporal “A letter to your wife, Perkins?” “No, sir.It is my Will.” My mind immediately raced back 38 years to Dec ember 10, 1971.

    Having fought a ferocious battle and pulled back to east of the river, the division was consolidating. It was to be a day of lull. Suddenly at about 10 am, there was confusion, as unverified information came: ‘Huge enemy tank-column crossed the river at crossing “D” and heading towards the nearest town.’ While that was being checked, as a precaution, reconnaissance of a gun area for the artillery brigade, further to the rear commenced, we being on the possible ingress route.

    Just then my friend Major Pakrasi from Corps HQ landed close to my fire direction centre in an Air-OP aircraft with a message for the division. Seeing the ‘fog of war’ and as the aircraft was urgently required back, he wanted to leave. I quickly wrote a letter (my last will and Testament?) to my young wife, then with her parents at Dehra Dun, in case the worst happened! I gave it requesting him to post it in the corps field post office for faster delivery.

    I had mentioned the negligible bank-balance; advising her not to be sentimental but to re-marry for the sake of our (then) only daughter, just a year-plus (in case...)?
    Information about the tank column was found to be false soon. With the arrival of the corps commander, reconnaissance rearward was stopped. A counter attack went in at D. The situation stabilised. Ceasefire came on 17th and I had my first weekend pass, after a month, on 15/16 January 72, to be with my wife then summoned to our vacant flat at Pathankot. Soon the postman delivered a forces letter (re-directed from Dehra Dun).

    Looking at Corps-FPO stamp of 10 Dec, I snatched the letter from her. She insisted on reading it and cried a lot. She then told me how Radio Pakistan had announced on 7 Dec, the names of my commander, me & two others as POW....a white lie: (We had just vacated our previous position west of the river). Luckily she had got a letter from me subsequently.

    It was good that this ‘Last-will cum-last-letter' from me was delayed by a month; for once I thanked the Indian Posts! We visited Durbar Sahib in Amritsar that Sunday, before I drove back to forward area on Monday morning.
    Brig A N Suryanarayanan (Retd)
    Tailpiece: My wife passed away in 1983; that daughter in 1994 and Pakrasi this year.
    Musings: Blog of author
    Last Letter or will

    An Army Officer's Daughter laments "Even a Dog will Not come if my father dies"

    I am Vaishnavi Prasad, daughter of Colonel K Prasad, whom you would remember from MHOW between 1991-93. I am a student of Journalism in Chennai and am closely following this issue, both on the news and through the email group Report My Signals which my father recieves regularly. You are doing a great service to the armed forces both serving and retired, in fighting the injustice meted out them by the bureaucrats and the politicians.
    Here, are my personal views on the same for your reading: Click me
    Sincerely & hoping for the best,
    A concerned citizen

    Message of Life: Anandpur Sahib

    Standing on the threshold of the decade of eighties as I step over the dividing line on November the fifth, the question of celebrating the birthday does not cross my mind.

    Come evening, there is a visit by a family of friends: father, mother and daughter, carrying a box of pastries and a bouquet of lovely blue- green and magenta orchids arranged tastefully in a basket.

    I am pleasantly surprised, overwhelmed and falling short of words, in how to thank for the thoughtful gesture: the present and the effervescent ‘Happy Birthday’ wish proofed in unison, mumble some thing...

    The box, containing Black Forest and Pineapple pastries, the pastries to be savoured slowly, is destined to the fridge, the basket, the Orchids to be admired at leisure, to the centre of the dining table.

    As the days pass, one by one, the pastries, slowly, dwindle in number, enjoyed in small bites and pieces, the orchids on the other hand, strangely, day by day grow by millimetres, both in height and beauty.

    Somehow, in the growing Orchids and dwindling Pastries I discern a subtle ’Message of Life’: its beauty, continuity and finality.

    The Gurudawara at Anandpur and Kababs at Chandigarh
    It was getting dark on that chilly, remembered, December evening of the year 1999. From Chandigarh, past Bhakra, climbing up, to Una in Himachal Pradesh and on to Bangara, Dharam Singh’s home, a hamlet of just four houses, mostly in second, gear on the twisting and turning, unpaved track of a road, I have been driving since morning.

    Now, returning back to Chandigarh , both of us tired, Jeet frail and weak, back from the recent long and debilitating journey from , New York, possibly deep in her own thoughts, a victim of cancer, that though defeated twice but not been vanquished is, once again, quietly stirring inside her, is unusually quiet.

    I am a worried man and a concerned husband, concerned about her and worried, already getting late in the night with Punjab recently returned from the heavy bout of insurgency coupled with so many other imponderables lurking at he back of my mind, of making it safe to Chandigarh.

    In a hurry, I am pressing the accelerator down and pushing the NE 118 hard on the lonely narrow dark road lit only by the twin car headlights as it hurtles ahead, with the engine humming smoothly, the reassuring, sound somewhat soothing to my troubled mind.

    On our way up as we crossed Anandpur Sihab, Jeet, was keen to pay her respects at the gurudawara, already late and I in a hurry to reach Una, where Dharam Singh, my section JCO from 1962, was waiting for us, had suggested to pend it for the same evening return journey.

    Nearing Anand Pur Saihab, I slow down and breaking her reverie indicate to her the gurudawara, now visible from the window of the moving car in far distance, perched on a hillock, flood lit and shining like a jewel.

    Sensing the latent tension in my tone, Jeet, perceptible as usual, responds “It is getting late; let us leave it for some other time.”

    I know that she would be sourly disappointed if she misses this opportunity and now already late, I reckon that now, another hour or so would not make much of a difference: ‘Who knows when we will come this side again.” I say and spin the steering wheel left, turning the car off the road and on to the track leading to the gurudawara.

    At the foot of the hillock, where I park, is a shanty market with the stalls doing roaring business, selling nick knacks, Karas, Kirpans and other souvenirs of the visit to the holy place to the devotees and eatables to the accompanying children. I wait in the car as Jeet opens her side door, gingerly steps out and starts her slow trudge up on the winding path.

    I, in a pensive mood, watch her slow laboured progress. She must have been half up when some thing hit me and exploded inside. “What am I doing here sitting in the comfort of the car, while she is struggling up, taking each step with the force of will power, I ask myself? In desperation I jump out, bang the car door and run up the track, taking the steps two at a time, hoping to catch up and join with her before she vanishes from sight in the milling multitude of the devotees.

    Huffing and puffing I do make it, surprising her in the processes. She, seeing me there unexpectedly, possibly experiencing frisson and as I hold her hand gives me a vane smile: both of us enter the portals of the holy place and following the customs, side by side, perform the required rituals and pay our obeisances.

    With the divine hand now looking after us all the way, we made Chandigarh safe and sound. However, on reaching the city, Jeet, though an extremely poor eater had an intense urge for Mutton Kababs. All the restaurants of the town did have Kababs but of Chicken. Mutton, we did manage finally in a five star hotel, after going around all the eateries, as the last resort. That however is another story, another episode, in the Odyssey of our life together to be narrated some other time.
    Brig Lakshman Singh (Retd)

    IESM: Goals to be achieved

    Dear Colleagues,
    The first AGM of IESM was held as per schedule in NOIDA today. It was attended by over 400 ESM from different States – Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, UP, HP, Punjab , and Haryana etc. Apart from the customary business of passing of the accounts and selection of auditors, which were done unanimously, the meeting also took stock of the progress made by the IESM in its first year of infancy. It was brought out that even though the OROP issue is yet to be fully resolved by the govt, the IESM can be legitimately proud of the following that have undeniably come about only because of the struggle launched by the Movement:
  • The almost forgotten issue of OROP has come on the national radar screen.
  • As per media reports, the government has been forced to accept the two demands of having a separate pay commission for the armed forces and of constituting an ESM Commission. Both these are part of IESM demands.
  • Two major political parties, BJP and CPM included the OROP issue in their election manifesto by categorically stating that if voted to power, they would sanction OROP. It may be relevant to recall that the same BJP had not sanctioned OROP during their over six years NDA rule.
  • The President of India included mention of the term OROP in her address to the opening session of the Parliament on 04 June 2009. This was the first time in India ’s history that the ‘taboo’ word was used by the First Citizen of the country.
  • A high level committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary was constituted (on the eve of General Elections) to examine OROP.
  • Substantial pension benefits for pre 1997 PBOR are in the pipe line and an amount of Rs 2144 Crore has already been set aside for this purpose.

    It was unanimously resolved to continue with the struggle. It was reiterated that the struggle must continue to remain within the ambit of law and discipline, and that we must not do anything that might put the public at inconvenience thereby risking their support and sympathy. Keeping these tenets in mind it was mentioned that after trying out various methods, depositing of medals was found to be the most potent form of protest. It has tremendous psychological significance, high visibility and has left the government groping for an appropriate counter. Admittedly, it is not spectacular and earth-shattering, but it is powerful and lasting in its effect. This must continue.

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM
    For more details and photographs taken during the IESM AGM, held on 13 Dec 09 at Noida, kindly visit the IESM website

    Dear Brig Kamboj,
    I take this opportunity, on behalf of many a Veterans here in Toronto (Canada) in thanking you and the organisation for the tremendous efforts being put in by you and others in regard to the problems of Veterans. Whatever has been achieved is entirely your effort. Thanks a million for everything. We would have been ' up the gum tree', without you, The President, Vice President and others. What a devoted and a dedicated team we have.
    I keep getting the info from my course mates( 23 NDA Course) and others too. I would like to pay whatever amount is due for the membership etc etc.Coming to India in Feb and would like to clear the dues then for becoming a life member. Please be kind enough to fwd the details at your convenience.
    Thanks for everything. May the organisation grow ' from strength to strength ' under the leadership of each one of you.
    Warm Regards.
    Col S S Cheema, SM, Veteran
  • Neglect defence only at India’s peril

    Football that politicians play

    ON November 18, 1962, C Company, 13 Kumaon faced Chinese human-waves at Rezang La in Ladakh. Out-gunned and greatly outnumbered, the company fought last-man-last round and perished in a saga of rare valour.

    Four centuries earlier, Rana Sanga and the Rajput confederacy faced Babur at Khanwa, 60 km from Agra. Despite legendary heroism, extolled in ballads and folklore, the Rajputs were decisively defeated.

    Other than defeat, what is common in these two heroic battles? Both symbolise the Indian warrior’s unparalleled valour and limitless capacity for sacrifice. Both also illustrate our rulers’ great capacity to neglect national defence.

    The Rajputs failed to modernise artillery and cavalry. When facing Alexander, Raja Puru’s war-elephants were stampeded by the charging Macedonian phalanx and crushed their own forces.

    Thousand years later, the Rana’s war-elephants were stampeded by Babur’s artillery. Then the Rajputs were enveloped and routed by the Mughal cavalry’s tulughma.

    However, there is one notable difference between then and now: Rana Sangha and allied rulers personally led their men and many embraced veer-gati. In 1962, the Indian army was pushed into battle by ‘leaders’ in air-conditioned offices, totally oblivious of ground realities. The valiant Kumaonis braved the Ladakhi winter in summer uniforms. Then faced Chinese human-wave assaults with bolt-action rifles, which often jammed and vintage ammunition misfired. Nevertheless, the 120-odd heroes accounted for over 500 Chinese before their ammunition and life-blood ran out.

    Fast forward to Kargil 1999. Denial of surveillance equipment for a quarter-century by uncaring, ignorant babus helped Pakiatanis to surreptitiously intrude across the LC. The ensuing war again witnessed most conspicuous valour, which ultimately negated Pak’s napak designs. But 700 gallant sons were martyred to pay for their ‘leaders’ neglect of defence preparedness.

    This writer is witness to one such peremptory and callous dispensation, which literally made the Army blind. Illuminating shells for the indigenous Field Gun had been “under development” by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) since seventies and thus faced an import ban.
    Neglect of Defence only at India's peril: click here to read the full article
    Maj-Gen Pushpendra Singh (Retd)

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Immune Indian Police Service

    Dear friends,
    A couple of days ago, I was approached by Mr Aridaman Singh, who runs an NGO called "Nishan" from his house in Kurukshetra. The mission of his organization is to fight against corruption in out socio-political system.
    Aridaman joined government service and served as an officer with the NSG and the BSF He chose to seek pre-mature retirement after 20 years service, in 2003 to embark upon what he considers is the mission of his life.
    Since then he has travelled to more than a dozen countries to study their police structures. Amongst the many things he told me, I find the following three points worthy of mentioning in this mail:
  • Police officers in none of the European countries or the US wear badges of rank similar to those of army officers.
  • Police officers are not entitled to display 'star plates' on their cars in these countries.
  • The responsiveness of the police in our country at the time of a crisis is amongst the worst in the world. The only area in which we are leading is in the number of DGsP and ADGsP

    Aridaman's organization has several members from other countries including the US, Britain, Australia and Europe. Their website is
    Aridaman has sought my support to further his cause. The least little I can do is to beseech you to visit his website and give him your suggestions on how he should go about his 'labor of love' Personally, I found him passionately attached to his 'cause' Corruption in the Police service is high on his agenda. He thinks the IPS is "immune" to everything just or reasonable.

    Sometimes, I feel that we veterans should not limit our objective to fighting for better pension, medical facilities and canteen services. Can we not do some thing to improve the polity of our beloved nation? The words of Kennedy ring in my ears.
    "Ask not what your country can do for you..."
    Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd)

    Nishan is a non-profit public policy advocacy and development organization. We are dedicated to eradicating corruption and the abuse of power from Indian society. We are primarily focused on cases arising from police apathy and rampant corruption in the Indian bureaucracy and government authorities.
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