Friday, April 16, 2010

Views on ‘apolitical’ Character of the Indian Army

Character of the Indian Army By madhavibhasin Wednesday, April 7th 2010
General V.K. Singh assumed charge as India’s new Army Chief last week. Though appointment of Army Chiefs in India does not attract as much media, the trend is gradually changing. The Indian Army continues to remain apolitical but has gained greater visibility in the public domain recently. Comments by military men and issues of corruption have put the military under media glare. Rarely has the war strategy of the Indian Army received so much attention in the media as it did after former Army Chief Deepak Kapoor’s comment on the ‘cold start’ doctrine.

Several opinion pieces highlighting the challenges confronting General Singh have appeared in the mainstream media. There are two approaches for handling the task at hand. Strategic analyst C. Raja Mohan advises for the continued apolitical nature of the Indian military but argues for a pro-active role. Lt. Gen. Vijay Oberoi (Retd.), former Vice-Chief of Indian Army, calls for an activist role for the army which challenges the institution’s apolitical nature.

According to Raja Mohan, General Singh will have to check corruption in the Indian Army for the purpose of retaining public confidence and present the army as an attractive career option for young Indians. Civilian control of the Indian military has raised concerns about the role of the Army in contributing to the national security policy. Raja Mohan is insightful in suggesting that, “…resentment within the army and the other armed services is mounting at the perennial short shrift they get from the civilian bureaucracy, where the capacity to manage the nation’s military appears to be eroding rapidly. The answer to this lies in the army improving its institutional capacity to frame policy issues, to engage other governmental agencies, and to better communicate with the public — rather than the occasional public venting by the chief.” Raja Mohan is of the view that Army’s political neutrality does not imply passivity on issues of security policy debate. “Civilian primacy over the military in our democracy does not mean that the chiefs of our armed forces have to be mute in the face of persistent neglect of national defense by incompetent bureaucrats and indifferent ministers. If he can make the army’s case calmly and in a sustained fashion, within the government and to the public, the new chief can make a huge difference to the national discourse on defense policy.”

Lt General Oberoi’s suggestion on similar issues is markedly different. He raises concern over issues of military modernization and dwindling morale of the armed forces. But his revisionist views on the apolitical role of the army are alarming. Lt. General Oberoi makes a case similar to the one highlighted by Raja Mohan when he refers to the limited role of the army in shaping the country’s security policy; but he has a different suggestion take on the issue. According to Lt. Gen. Oberoi, “However, in India, the military has been deliberately kept out of the policy formulation loop and even after over six decades of loyal, patriotic and dedicated service to the nation, it is obvious that it is still not trusted!”

The apolitical nature of the army is attacked by Lt Gen Oberoi in direct terms, “The military also needs to modify the concept of being apolitical. The army’s long standing stance of keeping a distance from the leaders of political parties other than those of the party in power needs to be modified. In a parliamentary system like ours, policy is formulated by all parliamentarians despite differences of the opposition. After all, the Parliament Standing Committee on Defense and similar other committees are all-party bodies. Consequently, though remaining apolitical, the army needs to apprise and discuss its concerns with the political leadership across the board. This would not reduce the apolitical nature of the army, about which it is justifiably so proud.”
Read the full article
Views on ‘apolitical’ Character of the Indian Army

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ex- armymen possibly helping Maoists, says Home Secretary

ndtv — March 05, 2010 — Union Home Secretary GK Pillai said on Friday that the Maoist objective was to overthrow the Indian state by 2050.

The Curse Of The Gorshkov and now a honey trap to turn the tide

The Curse Of The Gorshkov
November 17, 2008: Russia is risking its reputation as a reliable source of weapons, and related services, over a botched deal to refurbish an old Russian aircraft carrier (the Admiral Gorshkov) for the Indian Navy. The latest twist in this four year old saga has Russia threatening to give the Gorshkov back to the Russian Navy if the Indians don't, again, come up with more money. All this is a sad tale of bungling, corruption, greed and lost blueprints. Work on the Gorshkov is about half completed. The 44,000 ton Gorshkov, was supposed to be delivered this year, and renamed the INS Vikramaditya. But now delivery has been delayed until 2012. The Russians admitted that this project suffered from inept planning, shoddy workmanship, and poor management.

The original price for the refurbishment of the of the Gorshkov was $1.5 billion. Building a Gorshkov type carrier today would cost about $4 billion, and take eight years. Last year, the Russians admitted there were problems, and demanded another half billion dollars to make it all right. India went along with that. But this year the Russians raised the price again, and now want $3.5 billion for the job, and an additional four years. The Indians refuse to pay, and the Russians are playing hardball with one of their biggest arms export customers.

Given that India currently has $10 billion worth of Russian military items on order, and has been Russia's biggest, and most profitable customer for military equipment for decades, the Gorshkov is looking to be an error of gigantic proportions. The boss of Sevmash naval shipyard, when the Gorshkov deal was negotiated, has been fired and is under criminal investigation, on suspicion of financial mismanagement. Naturally, the Indians were not happy, and at first insisted that the Russian government (which owns many of the entities involved) make good on the original deal. India sent its own team of technical experts to Russia, and their report apparently confirmed what the Russians reported, about shipyard officials low-balling the cost of the work needed. This is a common tactic for firms building weapons for their own country. It gets more complicated when you try to pull that sort of thing on a foreign customer. The Russian government initially offered to cover some of the overrun cost. But now they insist that India cover all the costs, or lose the ship entirely. There's no word on whether or not the Indians would get any of their money refunded.

The Admiral Gorshkov entered service in 1987, but was inactivated in 1996 (too expensive to operate on a post Cold War budget). India is building another carrier, from scratch, but that 37,000 ton vessel won't be ready until 2015. India's sole aircraft carrier, the 29,000 ton INS Viraat, is currently spending 16 months in a shipyard getting maintenance and upgrades, leaving India with no carrier capability. This was to have been avoided by the timely arrival (this year) of the refurbished Russian carrier. If that had happened, the INS Viraat would have been retired in 2012, after 53 years service (for Britain and India). But now the INS Viraat will get its engine and hull refurbished, and its electronics upgraded, and possibly serve for another decade.

Unless the Russians suddenly backtrack and offer to eat the overruns, this is not going to end well for anyone involved. Indian officials believe that they can persuade the Russians to make a deal that will be more acceptable.
The Curse Of The Gorshkov
Photos from Russia
Honey Trap of Commodore S Singh

Future Indo- China economic war

While it is the task of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force to be prepared to tackle any threats to the nation on the northwestern and northern land borders of the country, what is emerging is that the seeds of India’s next war are quietly being sown in the seas surrounding the Indian sub-continent. The seeds are being sown in the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea and even in the South China Sea.

The scenario as it is unfolding, presages a major conflict with China. A conflict that is likely to take place within the next 5-7 years. A conflict that shall be fought on dimensions and planes very different from any battles between major military powers in the past. We are not likely to see any pitched battles between sea-borne armadas. While many minor incursions and skirmishes may occur, a full-scale Chinese invasion from Tibet into India, of the ‘boots on the ground type’, is also rather unlikely. So what are the dimensions of this war likely to be? Let us do some crystal gazing and examine the possibilities and the probabilities.

India’s next war will be with China but the attrition that China will try to inflict upon India will be way of economic damage rather than military destruction. While the military muscle shall be used more to intimidate than to destroy, the major effort is likely to be to try to strangulate India through an embargo on its seaborne trade. This would serve a two-fold purpose. The prime purpose would be to signal to all the Asian nations the supremacy of the Chinese nation and its primacy in Asia-Pacific affairs The second would be to indicate to the world that China should no longer be considered a military lightweight that can be pushed around – in other words, that it is now ready to do some pushing itself. That if it can take on and constrain India, it can easily squeeze the other smaller Asian (particularly ASEAN) nations. It would be a major signal to the USA that the world is now to be divided into two empires: America’s western empire and China’s eastern one, and that each should respect the other’s domain. As all China watchers know, that country’s collective psyche has still not recovered from the “humiliation” the Middle Kingdom suffered at the hands of the Europeans in the 19th century and the Japanese in the early 20th century. The dragon is just biding its time and building up its strength to recover its lost hegemonic glory.
Read the full article:
India’s Next War by Amrish Sahgal

China's peace time war strategy
China will resort first to encourage break-away factions within India. It will build up relations with India's neighbours such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh etc in order to ensure that they do not support India in any way in the war. It will actively support divisive factions within India such as naxalites and maoists and the tamils to break away from India and carve small splinter countries. This will chip India's capability to defend itself, as well as make it easy for China for piece-meal future annexations. The maoists and naxalites with their communist links, can be covertly sponsored by China to wage a proxy war within India. China can count on Indian maoist support since the 1962 war saw them actively recommend completely Indian surrender and merger with China in the Indian legislative assembly. Dealing with a civil war, will remove India from the board as a rival. By encouraging the disputed areas to splinter-off, It will also be easy for China to annex them silently and slowly after a short period on the basis of some police action or intervention.

Read all the comments at link given below:
Future war China Vs India at Strategy Page

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Army’s officer intake hits new low

Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By Saurabh Joshi

The number of officers being commissioned by the Indian Army annually has fallen for the second consecutive year.

Figures revealed to StratPost indicate that the army commissioned 1374 officers in 2009. While in earlier years, the army has ordinarily commissioned some 1750 officers every year, which is also below par by 250, the intake fell sharply in 2008 to 1506 and has continued its slide in 2009.

Significantly, 2008 also saw a substantial deficit in the annual net intake of officers, with the number of officers being commissioned falling far lower than the number of officers leaving the service due to superannuation, premature retirement or resignation. While in 2004 and ‘05, the army saw a net gain of some 400 officers each year, this number dropped to a little less than 200 in 2006, to a figure of -22 in ‘07 and more steeply to -294 in ‘08.

This is the result of a steep drop in the number of officers commissioned in 2008 from previous years and a concurrent, gradual and continuing increase in the number of officers leaving the service. The number of officers leaving the service annually increased from a little over 1300 in 2004 to 1800 in 2008.

While 2009 did see a net gain of 83 officers, in actual terms, worryingly, the number of officers being commissioned in comparison to earlier years has continued its fall, in spite of the circumstances of the economic recession as well as the enticements of the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. The army has also taken measures in the past to increase recruitment, like easing benchmarks for recruitment and allowing a ten to fifteen per cent over-subscription of the capacity of the military academies in accordance with operational imperatives.

Also, although the number of applications for premature retirement and resignations fell in 2009, largely due to the recession and the recent pay hikes, the army has further tried to stem the flow of officers out of the army by curtailing approvals of such applications. While around 57 per cent of the applications for premature retirement were approved in 2006, the figure fell to around 36 per cent in 2009. Similarly, while almost 50 per cent of resignations were approved in 2006, only 18.6 per cent were permitted in 2009.

Although the second Officers Training Academy (OTA) coming up at Gaya with a likely capacity of around 700, may contribute to beefing up the army’s officer intake, sources in the army say it will take up to 2014 to be established and may be too late for urgent action to be implemented to bolster the strength of the officer intake, especially since existing academies are already running below capacity.

These figures are likely to worsen the shortage of some 11,500 officers in the 1.2 million-strong army that has a sanctioned officer-strength of over 46,000 officers.
Army’s officer intake hits new low

CRPF Massacre- Dantewada Inquiry

13 Apr 2010: Veteran Views
Do you think India is soft on terror?
There were three recent news items of significance related to the Dantewada episode.

1. First, an inquiry has been set up to look into what went wrong at Dantewada resulting in the massacre.

2. Next, another item stated that all reporters and other media people were prevented by CRPF officials from talking to the non-critically injured admitted in hospital to share their experience firsthand.

3. The third said, quoting someone from the CRPF,"The troops walked into the ambush site as they had missed the point in hours of darkness. Such a thing could have happened to the best trained force in the world. It was not due to lack of training of troops".

Setting up an inquiry is fine. What comes out of it can be made out to a great extent from the items 2 and 3 mentioned above.

There will be a general cover-up to shield the organization’s top brass who in my opinion are culpable of not training their men for the envisaged operations. I fail to understand how a force moving at night, be it on foot, in vehicles, in dark, in close country (forest), on a foot track, or on road can ever 'miss the point'. Obviously they were not aware at all times where the column was at a given point of time. This is a basic need for any kind of movement by day or by night. Well trained troops cannot afford to make such mistakes. If we accept this logic put forward by some CRPF official we should be having far more army casualties patrolling the LC and fighting terrorists in J&K. Any force on the move has to know at all times where its head and where its tail is at a given point of time to able to respond correctly to an enemy strike anywhere along its length.

Reluctance of CRPF officials to permit the injured to share information of general nature is an obvious attempt to bottle up any adverse comment on the state of training of the Force: uncomfortable for the higher-ups.

True to our old habits our inquiries on Dantewada will also go the 26/11 way.
Col Vijay Rajdhan (Retd)
Dantewada Inquiry

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Antony leads nation in paying homage at Jallianwalan Bagh

Tuesday 13 April, 2010.
Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday led the nation to pay homage at the Jallianwala Bagh on the 91st anniversary of the brutal massacre of innocent people, including women and children who had gathered to listen to their leaders on the occasion of Baisakhi.

He laid the wreath at the Flame of Liberty in the presence of Central Ministers including Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Punjab Jail Minister Hira Singh Gabria and Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla.

In an emotional speech, Mr Antony said, he felt proud to be in the sacred land of Punjab but at the same time, it was a matter of regret and pain that the dreams of the freedom fighters remained unfulfilled.

''The barbaric episode had electrified the freedom fighters and there was a need to spread the information about this major incident of Indian history,'' he said and appealed to the people to re-dedicate themselves for the national cause.

Appreciating Punjab's contribution in ''ending starvation in remote states like his homeland Kerala'', Mr Antony said Punjab had always been in forefront when the nation was in need.

All the speakers were unanimous in noting that the ''dreams'' for which the freedom fighters sacrificed their life remained ''unfulfilled'' and there was a need to spread awareness about the freedom struggle and instil the feeling of patriotism among masses as barely 400 people had gathered on the occasion.

Ms Soni agreed to Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla's suggestion that a daily slot should be dedicated on television and radio for programmes, films or documentaries on the freedom struggle highlifghting the life of martyrs, to spread awareness among the youth.

Noting that today was also an auspicious day as the beginning of harvest season and founding day of the 'Khalsa Panth', the leaders felicitated the people on the occasion.

A light and sight programme would be formally inaugurated later in the day to highlight the Jallianwalan event and the freedom struggle.(ST-13/04)
Antony leads nation in paying homage at Jallianwalan Bagh

Gorshkov deal: Navy officer in honey-trap?

TNN, Apr 13, 2010, 04.03am IST

NEW DELHI: A senior naval officer, closely associated with the contentious project to acquire aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov from Russia, which saw several twists and turns, is now in the dock for alleged improper personal conduct.

The Indian Navy is on the verge of completing a high-level board of inquiry (BoI) against Commodore Sukhjinder Singh for alleged ‘‘loose moral conduct’’ while he was posted in Russia from 2005 to 2007.

This came after certain objectionable photographs of Commodore Singh apparently surfaced around a fortnight ago.

The seriousness of the affair, in what could even be a classic ‘‘honey-trap operation’’, can be gauged from the fact that Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has already “briefed” defence minister A K Antony about the case.

The BoI headed by a vice-admiral is also probing whether Commodore Singh’s “personal transgressions” had any bearing on the Gorshkov deal, which was renegotiated and inked afresh just last month after two-three years of contentious negotiations over the huge cost escalation in the carrier’s refit.

India will now have to pay $2.33 billion for the aircraft carrier’s refit to Russia and wait till early-2013 to get the delivery.

Commodore Singh was in Russia as the warship production superintendent overseeing the refit of Gorshkov till 2007.

While holding that the BoI report will be out in “a day or two”, Navy officials contended that the likelihood of Commodore Singh “compromising” the Gorshkov price negotiations were “negligible”.

“Preliminary indications are that the involvement has been at a personal level. He was the juniormost of the nine-member commercial negotiations committee,” said an official.

“Moreover, he had already been posted to the quality assurance wing when the actual work on the refit price was done in the latter half of 2009,” he added.
Gorshkov deal: Navy officer in honey-trap?

On his return to Delhi, Commodore Singh was appointed to the crucial post of principal director (Aircraft Carrier Project) looking after the Gorshkov project from the Indian Navy headquarters.

He was also a member of the cost negotiation committee (CNC) set up last year to resolve the unprecedented Russian demand for an increase in the carrier's refit cost.

India had last month cleared the $2.35 billion revised price for the carrier.

The warship, originally purchased for $1.5 billion, is currently undergoing a refit at Russia's Sevmash shipyard. Of the total cost, $974 million was meant for the refit and the balance for a squadron of MiG-29K combat jets that will be deployed on the vessel.

Citing additional costs for the refit, Moscow had jacked up the price to $2.9 billion, while New Delhi wanted this to be scaled back to $2.1 billion. The revised price was decided on during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi last month.(IANS)
Indian Navy probing officer handling Gorshkov project

A navy source said Singh was “hand-picked” in 2004 to look after the Gorshkov refit in Russia. He had been a favourite of the naval top brass and was involved in all ministry of defence (MoD) and naval delegation visits to Russia to look into the Gorshkov deal. There is no instance in recent memory of India assenting to revise an agreed defence contract and pay almost three times more, as was the case with Gorshkov. Though it was being justified by the government as because of the complex nature of the contract, many within the navy as well as others expressed outrage about the price hike demand by Russia. Many had informally called for the cancellation of the contract.
Navy officer in Gorshkov deal faces sex-scandal inquiry

Honey trap to hike up price of Gorshkov
New Delhi, April 14: Naval headquarters is investigating if a honey trap sprung on a senior officer compromised it during hard-bargaining with Russia for aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

The officer, a commodore, was posted in Severodvinsk as the warship production superintendent from 2005 to 2008. It was his responsibility to oversee the refit of the carrier.

A CD of photographs delivered to naval headquarters shows the officer in intimate contact with a woman, probably Russian, at the time of his overseas posting. This has led to suspicions that the officer was blackmailed into making recommendations that forced India to accept the Russian demand for a huge hike in the carrier’s price.
Honey Trap

Strengthening Civil Military Relations

Civil control of the military is managed and maintained through the sharing of responsibility for control between civilian leaders and military officers. Specifically, civil authorities are responsible and accountable for some aspects of control and military leaders are responsible and accountable for others. Although some responsibilities for control may merge, they are not fused. The relationship and arrangement of responsibilities are conditioned by a nationally evolved regime of principles, norms, rules, and expectations concerning civil-military relations. Although a Government may be stable for long periods, it can change as basic causal factors such as values, issues, interests, personalities, and threats change. Alterations of rules and decision-making procedures account for the dynamic nature of civil-military relations, while alterations of norms and principles account for conflict in civil-military relations. Differences between states in the sub continent account for the particular national character of civil-military relations, much as like-minded Governments account for cross-cultural similarities in civil-military relations.

The first is that the military must reach out to the civilian world. Given the essentially universal agreement that civilians must control the military, the duty falls upon the military to find ways to talk to civilians, not the other way around. The second is that civilians must articulate a clear vision of what they expect in terms of the military mission. And the final suggestion is that the most practical and effective means of bringing about dialogue and understanding is to be bilateral education, in which both military and civilian elites would jointly attend specialized schools. Such schooling would emphasize military-strategic thinking, Indian history and political philosophy, military ethics, and the proper relationship between civil and military authority.

The increase in diversity among military personnel (all regions, multi lingual, all religions) has essentially strengthened ties between society and the military, especially those ties weakened by caste, language and religion in civil society. The results of wars China War of 1962, Indo Pak wars and JK & NE terrorism which had weakened our Civil Military Relationships now has further deteriorated with the advent of Naxal and Mao terror. This is obvious from news reports and analysis which led to massacre of CRPF Jawans.

Presently the advisers on military affairs to GoI are the IPS and IAS and randomly a few selected Military Strategists. The Military needs to do more to a healthy, sustainable and endurable CMR. The Military should be more Vocal especially now that we have an upgraded "Officer Cadre" after implementation of AVSC recommendations.

Soldierly Silence: Is ours a Fake Democracy where Military has no Voice?

Dear Sir,
Your editorial of 12 Apr 2010 click here to read is again pillorying the Defence Services without reason. Your Editor forgot that Admiral Verma is Chairman of the Chiefs Of Staff Committee. The NDTV correspondent was interviewing him in that capacity and therefore, Adm Verma has the right to speak on behalf of the three services, in the absence of a CDS. That much for your declaring the Navy useless!

There have been any number of statements, within 24 hours, by senior police officers indicating that the unfortunate policemen did not follow the SOP. Were they being insensitive to a "bereaved and grieving" force or doing so to protect their necks. But a Service Chief saying something closer to the bone, becomes unpalatable. Double standards or is IE once again crawling before the powers which can strangle whatever squeaks that come out of it.

Your ignorant editor is not aware that the Indian army has survived any number of ambushes organised not by a rag tag rebel force but by troops equally well trained as itself.

Please do not belittle the INDIAN ARMY out of ignorance and stay away from casting baseless aspersions on the Service Chiefs. Blessed are those who know their limitations.
Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)
Soldierly Silence: chiefs of India's army and air force need not have weighed in on anti-Naxal operations
Related Article
Govt to recruit ex-servicemen to tackle Naxals

My Dear General SK Bahri,
This is an excellant peice of advice to the Govt click here but point is what an single honest man can do in amidst the collection of wolves who are determined to make money while in position, may be bureaucrats or ministers or MP's or MLA's.

They are all sold out to the system which is so deep rooted in corruption that any attempt to dislodge will be met with brutal attack from these very government servants or more appropriately I would say rulers of our independent country. To give a small example the rot is so deep and is evident from the simple fact you daily see on our highways in punjab may be similar in other states too, the so called TOLL tax (mind you this is in addition to the road tax we pay on our vehicles) collected on BOT roads/ bridges which have been placed within a distance of few kms goes to the pockets of CM's and his IAS stooges. It is an open secret everyone knows but nothing can be done as things are done so cleverly that the system gets bypassed. Similar is the case with all the departments of the Government may it be transport, revenue, PWD so on so forth.

The authority to counter check is also part of CM's conclave not only this the tribunals set up are also helpers to the issue of common loot. They all close their eyes. What can poor judiciary do when all the witnesses are bought by these very people so no witness hence no case and whatever is left stands dismissed---so clever a ploy to bypass the system. The beauty is same people are returned to rule us by "we the people".

Who conducts the raid to ascertain assets disproportionate to the known income of a person are also party to loot undertaken by bigwigs of the society including IAS, IPS, Allied Services, Politicians and Judiciary and in the end, who suffers is THE COMMON TAX PAYING HONEST MAN.

Therefore it is the common man who has to rise and stop the loot before it kills the nation and we will become slaves at the hands of mafia like the one surging in the hinterland of the country and if not done, soon it will over take the country like wild fire...

Now that we the veterans are all together to fight the issue of dominance by bureaucrats we should enlarge the issue to save the country from corruption by fighting the top as well as at grass root level. Let us get like- minded communities together and go ahead with common agenda.
Jai Hind
Col VJS GILL (Retd)

Are you thinking in terms of 1946 when the Gurkhas were ordered to open fire on the sailors of RIN who had 'mutinied', and the Gurkhas refused to do so.

I fully endorse the views of VADM Awati, except that going in for the lateral induction of ESM into CRPF etc should not be viewed as a 'price' but as a right and required step. Please also see the letter written by Lt Gen Bahri to Mr Chidambaram.

Army and IAF chiefs should put their feet firmly down and tell the netas that the armed forces will not be used for quelling internal dissidence which has turned violent totally because of inept handling by netas and civilian officials for the last many decades. It is a classic case of "Tang aamad, bajang aamad" ie woh itna tang aa gaya ke majbooran woh jang pe utar aaya!
Cdr Krishnan K Punchhi

MP's concern for the Armed Forces

Click on images to read the letter

Dear Veterans,
A copy of a letter written to Shri AK Antony by Shri Harsh Vardhan MP Lok Sabha is as above for your information please. I had a meeting with Mr Harsh Vardhan today at IESM HQ and it was very productive interaction with him. He is very positively predisposed towards the problems of Defence Forces and has promised to raise these issues at appropriate forums.
With kind regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

Monday, April 12, 2010

IESM: Completes 2 years on 27 April 2010

Dear Veterans,
1. The Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) was formally launched on 27 Apr 2008 by placing a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. IESM is apolitical Movement with an aim of getting Justice for the Defence Forces. The event on 27 Apr 2008 at India Gate was replicated on the same day at other cities throughout the country. It is to our credit that inspite of the deep resentment within the Military Veterans, the Movement has been peaceful and dignified, this inspite of provocations by some mischievous elements. It is with some satisfaction to note that we have been able to achieve reasonable success by highlighting the Injustices done to the Defence Forces to the public at large and also the powers that be in the Govt.

2. The focus of our Movement is not only confined to rallies and holding meetings, but we are taking the fight for justice to the legal recourse and we have achieved a degree of success for which we should pat ourselves on the back. Certain AFTs and SC judgements have not only been favourable to us but the courts have passed strong strictures against the Govt and have given time bound judgements. It will be befitting the event if we go all out to commemorate the start of the Movement on 27 Apr 2010. The following suggestions are made:
(a) On 27 April 2010, ESM across the country to hold meetings/ rallies /discussions/ seminars at village, block, tehsil, city, district and state levels as per the local situation and as decided by the local IESM convenors and motivators. These events be given maximum publicity through extensive media coverage. All ESM organizations across the country are requested to join in to create the desired intensity and visibility throughout the country.

(b) I have requested the NDTV to replay the coverage of the event on 27 April 2010 a number of times during the day and hold panel discussion on the Movement, its events and outcomes. We will write to other media both print and electronic to cover the event. Let us hope the media plays up. All ESM who have contacts with the media, to please chip in and assist in organizing discussions and publishing articles.

(c) Veterans who have flare for writing to please write articles on Defence Forces, OROP, treatment of military over the years, current security scenario both external and internal, Indian military strength, security challenges, military leadership and challenges, making Military carrier attractive, civil military relations at its nadir causes and retrieval strategy, military pensions and any other contemporary topic. Maximum articles may please be published in National media to draw attention of the people of India. These articles should also be put on the internet on various blogs operating in the country.

(d) ESM organizations and individual ESM to interact with MPs, CMs and MLAs throughout the country and solicit their support to our cause. OROP must be sanctioned at the earliest. Separate Pay Commission which has already been accepted by the Govt, should be set up now and all anomalies of earlier Pay Commissions be tasked to it to resolve in a given time frame say one year.

(e) Writing letters and seeking audience with PM, UPA Chairperson, RM and Supreme Commander. Impressing upon these functionaries the need to grant Justice to the Defence Forces. The Govt should be magnanimous enough to accept all the judgements passed by the Armed Forces Tribunals and the Supreme Court and implement at the earliest.

(f) Effecting Unity amongst all ESM Organisations and ESM. ESM Cells of various political parties to shed their baggage and join with the Movement to get our demands met.

(g) All out efforts be made to get signatures in blood and medals from volunteer ESM. Irrespective of the ESM organizations, we belong to, every one should join for the common cause of getting Justice to the Defence Forces. A very large numbers of signatures and medals should be deposited with the Supreme Commander the next time. Gen Raj Kadyan our Chariman has written a letter to the Supreme Commander today.

4. Let us rise to the occasion and All together Heave to get our demands met.
With kind regards,
Jai Hind
Yours Sincerely,
Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement

Corps of Signals Centenary Celebrations Chandigarh

A motorcycle rider shows his skills during the centenary celebrations at Chandi Mandir on Sunday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Corps of Signals: Martial arts, skydiving mark centenary celebrations
Tribune News Service, Chandigarh, April 11, 2010

As part of the ongoing celebrations to mark 100 years of the Corps of Signals, a thrilling display by skydivers, martial arts experts and motorcycle riders was organised at Chandi Mandir near here today.

The show was kicked off by kalariyapattu, an ancient martial art. The eight-member team led by Hav KP Dhanesh performed with daggers, swords and sticks. This was followed by a display of taekwondo skills by a team led by Hav Arup Shaikhiya.

Next to come in was the silent drill team, the first of its kind in the Army. Based on the silent drill teams in the US military, the team executed synchronised and coordinated moves with weapons but without any word of command or accompanying music.

Commanded by Sub AC Gogoi, the 20-member team gave its first performance at Delhi in February this year.

Paratroopers from the Army’s skydiving team stole the show. Six of them led by Lt Col Satyendra Verma jumped from two Chetak helicopters hovering at an altitude of 10,000 feet and touched down with a precision at the designated landing point after opening their parachutes at 3,000 feet.

Dare devils of the Corps motorcycle rider display team put up a scintillating performance with their high-speed precision maneuovers and formations. Led by Capt Rahul Saini, their display included a group as well as individual stunts like jumping through a ring of fire and smashing through glass barriers.

The Corps regimental pipes and drums band was also in attendance. A large number of serving as well as retired military personnel and their families attended the event.

A series of events, including public displays and technical seminars, have been planned throughout the year at various locations across the country to mark the Signals’ centenary. The Corps was raised on February 15, 1911, with the formation of 31st and 32nd Divisional Signals Companies at Fatehgarh. Also known as information warriors of the Army, the Corps of Signals is responsible for secure and reliable communication at the tactical and strategic level.
Corps of Signals: Martial arts, skydiving mark centenary celebrations

Indian Express Report
Acrobats on speeding motorcycles to sky jumps from 10,000 feet above the ground, martial art presentations to a one-of-a-kind silent drill, it wasn’t for no reason that Chandimandir’s enormous Raina stadium was bursting at its seams this Sunday afternoon. The display by various Corps of Signals teams was organised as part of the ongoing centenary celebrations of the Corps being held across the country.

The first signal units, 31st and 32nd Divisional Signal Companies, were raised on February 15, 1911 at Fatehgarh and this year the Corps of Signals has entered 100 years of its journey, achieving significant milestones in fields of strategic, tactical and operational communications. Putting forth an enthralling display of daredevilry and team spirit were various groups comprising both officers and men.

The special showcase kicked off with presentations on martial arts such as Kalariyapattu, where an eight-member team performed battle acts using daggers, swords, spears and flexible swords. That was followed by a Taekwondo display that saw the Signals team break burning tiles and the like.

What truly got the massive crowd applauding, However, was the sky diving event. A team of six sky divers, led by Lt Col Satyendra Verma, jumped from a height of 10,000 ft from two hovering Chetak helicopters. Keeping pace with the high-adrenaline action was a 30-minute show by the motorcycle riders, more popularly known as the dare devils.

The team consists of volunteer Dispatch Riders (DR) and on Sunday afternoon, the 31-member team showcased acrobats as well as tricks and stunts all astride their thundering motorcycles. Captain Rahul Saini led the dare devils as they displayed high levels of precision and timing during the course of the event. Another highlight of the well-attended show was the silent drill. Formed in the Corps of Signals, the team is first of its kind in the Indian Army. The main attraction was that it was performed with perfect coordination and synchronisation, but without any word of command.

Given the boisterous nature of the Army drills, where commands by the leader can be heard from far away, the silent drill took most by surprise. The event was attended Lt Gen S R Ghosh, AVSM, SM, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen MS Bhuttar, VSM, Chief of Staff, Western Command, Maj Gen TK Das, VSM as well as senior serving and retired officers with their families.
Corps of Signals celebrate centenary anniversary at Chandimandir

Governance or a fake democracy?

I sent the enclosed letter to the Home Minister on 8 Apr 10 by fax and by courier. It has taken a different tack from what Gen NS malik has taken but, ultimately the question of leadership, governance and movement of ex service men into PMF are issues that the government must take immediate action on. I am not sending it to a paper as it will not see light of the day.
Lt Gen SK Bhari (Retd)
1st JSW Course, Former MGO

It was a long time ago, possibly 20 years, that I last wrote a letter to you. You were MOS in the same ministry and I was MGO in Army HQ. It was as a consequence of a meeting you had called in MOD, to discuss the supply of small arms to the police forces which were in their 3rd/4th qtr of life! I had explained to you that life of only artillery and tank guns is measured in quarters of life and small arms are only checked if the prescribed gauges pass through them or not.

This time I am writing about a much more serious matter. You being one of the few “proactive ministers” who has brought about substantive changes in whatever charges have been given to you, I am taking the liberty of writing on a matter which concerns us all.

The trigger for this letter has been the recent statement to the press by the Home Secretary, wherein he stated that a number of ex servicemen (ESM) are helping train the Maoists. The country is facing a very serious challenge from these destructive elements and the fact that a segment (ESM) whose loyalty to the nation is seldom questioned, is helping a rebellious force needs to be viewed with great concern. I remember in the early`60s a retired JCO, Nb Sub Pan Singh, had played havoc in the Chambal ravine area as he had created his own gang of dacoits. The reason for his going that way was that he had been deprived of a piece of his land by some powerful landlord and despite his pleas to the persons responsible for governance, nobody helped him. I am sure these alleged ESM must also be nursing a similar grouse.

Mr Minister, GOVERNANCE in the country has become the biggest casualty in the last 40 years or so. Unless some serious and concerted effort is made there will be many more Pan Singhs and ESM waiting to join Maoists or other anti national groups. Shouldn’t we all sit up and do something about it?

I joined the corporate sector soon after my retirement and saw things which I had been largely isolated from, in my 38 years of army service. Be it the IAS officers in the NOIDA Authority, or in the UP government, sales tax , income tax, excise, labour officers, minor judiciary or the electricity departments – everyone was on the take! If you resisted, they could bring your business to a halt and make you lose much more than what they demanded. Worse is that there was no one you could turn to. I am surprised that the corporate sector has not started their own vigilante force to get out of the clutches of a corrupt bureaucracy. Trouble is that they are a divided lot as some are able to bribe their way through and make huge profits while denying the government a large portion of its tax dues.

Unfortunately law abiding people are being dealt with a double whammy. Firstly, they are not allowed to go about their businesses without let or hindrance and secondly, law breakers are permitted to avoid paying their taxes make illegitimate profits and deny their workers a fair living wage in connivance with the guardians of the law.

What the police does or does not do is an open secret, as is evident from the daily newspapers. It is also a major contributor to misgovernance in the country and accretion to the ranks of law breakers. A simple case in point. Why is there total anarchy on our roads? The enforcers are totally bereft of any knowledge about road rules and etiquette, permit encroachments on the roads so, how can they prevent road rage which is becoming a major law & order problem and chaos on the highways.

Have you noticed that as the country is descending into lawlessness the state governments are turning more and more to ESM to train their policemen to manage their responsibilities. Is it not ironic that the same police officers who have been letting their hapless constabulary get slaughtered by the Maoists, have been resisting the induction of ESM in their ranks as they claim that they have a different `culture’. Reality is that the ESM will disturb their `give and take’ culture.

The recently launched Op GREEN HORN is in reality being run by green horns. 86 policemen being killed in two days and not a single officer killed or punished for not leading his subordinates is too much of a joke. There is speculation that eventually the Army will be called in, as per SOP. Army officers and men will get killed and the Ashok Chakras will be collected by police officers wearing a lot of brass and sitting behind huge desks. Surely some more DGP vacancies will be created and another force raised to accommodate them!

The government has to take a stand if it does not want the nation to reach the same anarchic state as some of our neighbours. Instead of constantly rewarding non-performers, for our country’s sake please use the same firm and well thought out measures against them, that you are using against the Maoists. We need a similar cleansing of this cancer in our vitals.

The 6th Pay Commission has been hijacked by the civil servants, despite their poor record in governance (except a very small minority), at the cost of the Defence Services. By denying them and the ESM their legitimate dues you are preparing grounds for swelling the ranks of other unlawful entities. The solution is in our hands we only have to take action and nip corruption at its roots and not let a minority of the government servants milk and destroy the country. I have said it in so many words to the PM but he is not inclined to listen. Possibly, because he does not want to take any stern action against his erstwhile colleagues! I am sincerely hoping that you will stop the drift before it is too late. As a concerned believer in INDIA I hope you will take prompt action to stem this rot any further.

Mr P Chidambaram
Hon’ble Minister of Home Affairs
Government Of India
North Block
New Delhi 110011

File photo of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram addressing a conference in New Delhi. PTI Photo

Puducherry, Apr 10 (PTI) Home Minister P Chidambaram said today said earmarking Rs 1,47,000 crore for India's defence budget was "absolutely necessary and inevitable" as neighbours like Pakistan did not have a friendly attitude towards the country.

"Had the neighbouring countries been stable, peaceful and were oriented in a friendly manner towards India, our allocation of such a big fund for defence in the budget would not have arisen," he said at a meeting organised by Puducherry PCC as part of the 125th year celebrations of party formation.

Referring to internal security, Chidambaram said the budget for the current fiscal is expected to be Rs 40,000 crores to address the requirements of para military forces and the police.
Hefty allocation for defence is necessary: Chidambaram

Comment: Many Politicians forget the 1962 China war! What Home Minister needs to remember is that the success of Para Military Foces depends on the Jawans on ground led by frontline Officers and not the high tech gagetry as recommended by the Secretary Home Ministry. One needs to be cautious and judicious before going on a spending spree. Morale of troops is important to that extent the PMF need to trained and looked after. Maoists are looting PMF weapons and also procuring them with impunity. Can we not plug the loop holes by curtailing their finances and monitoring the porous borders?

IPS Officers need to lead from the front and not by flying flags from the rear

General Malik's arguments are entirely sustainable. In an earlier mail to you in reply to your mail, I have talked about an IPS which is a drag, not a service which can effectively police this nation. All the senior ranks of Indian paramilitary forces are manned by IPS officers, usually thoroughly politicised through their association with State politicians, always jockeying to equate themselves with their IAS colleagues in the States and at the Centre. Just look at the critical national security, intelligence, gubernatorial positions occupied by these gentlemen. They are imbued with all qualities except qualities of leadership in the field. Their cars fly flags and show stars which, to my knowledge, is not done by any other police force. These gentlemen wear badges of rank similar to army officers. Their Directors General are equated with Army Commanders in the field. Absolutely laughable if it were not so tragic in its all too evident consequences to nation's security. The IPS has been a thoroughly spoilt, inward looking, coccooned force, completely politicised, doing the bidding of their political masters in the States and at the Centre. How can such a service provide combat leadership in the field against well trained, combat hardened, well indoctrinated insurgents? General Malik has clearly visualised the prognosis. Bring in the already fully stretched army, with the dire consequences to the nation he anticipates. The Home Minister has spoken of deploying air power without thinking through the consequences of such precipitate action.

Time now to think calmly and clearly of what needs to be done to beef up our paramilitaries by training them for the very onerous task at hand, providing them with leadership in the field and at headquarters, leadership which understands its men, has their confidence and is ready to lead from the front. While this is being done which will take time, the existing PMF must hold the ring, at least contain the menace, not allowing it further successes of the kind it has registered of late. Can this be done? A good question the answer to which must depend on Central Competence.
Vice Admiral MP Awati (Retd)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Heat wave grips most states in India

Press Trust of India, Saturday April 10, 2010, New Delhi
From West Bengal in the east to Rajasthan in the northwest, heat wave swept several parts of the country with mercury hovering over 40 degrees in many areas.

In the national Capital, the maximum temperature rose from yesterday's 40.1 degrees to 40.5 deg C, which is five degree above the normal.

The temperature rose to 41 deg C in Kolkata and its neighbourhood while the districts of Purulia, West Midnapore and Bankura remained in the grip of a heat wave.

Jharsuguda in western Orissa recorded highest temperature of 45 deg C even even as the mercury level slightly dropped in coastal districts, including state capital Bhubaneswar. Many parts of the state reeled under the heat wave condition, which has so far claimed 28 lives in the state.

The desert state of Rajasthan also witnessed severe heat wave conditions with Churu remaining the hottest place with a maximum of over 43.3 deg C followed by Sriganganagar at 43.2 degrees.

Hill states also recorded relatively warm temperature. In Dehra Dun, the state capital of Uttarakhand, the mercury shot up to new high of 38.3 degrees, which is 4 degree above the normal?

With scorching sun, Shimla, known as the queen of hills, remained warm with mercury settling at 27 degrees.

Sundernagar in Himachal Pradesh recorded a maximum of 36.8 deg C while it was 35, 32.8 and 40.6 degrees in Bhuntar, Dharamsala and Una respectively.

In Punjab and Haryana, the maximum rose by up to eight notches above normal with Hisar sizzling at 42.7 degrees.

Chandigarh recorded the maximum temperature at 39 deg C, which was six degrees above the normal.
Heat wave grips most states in India

Mumbai woes“This means that while the taps dried up in some parts of the city, a large section of those who received water regularly made wasteful use of the supply,” said a senior hydraulic department official.
Mumbai Metro faces water crisis

Comment: As the Nation sweats alongwith power outages and dry taps the students are hard hit preparing for the examinations. The only beneficiaries are the Politicians who have 24x7 power supply and running water and they take a vacation to foreign lands like Swiss Alps to cool their heels!

Ex-servicemen protest outside courts

Ex-servicemen protest outside courts: Tribune News Service
Amritsar, April 9, 2010
Activists of the joint panel of citizens and ex-servicemen today protested outside the district courts for the acceptance of their long-pending demand of “one rank-one pension” and setting up of a separate pay commission for armed forces.

Holding placard they raised slogans against the government and appealed to end strong resentment prevailing among them. They urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to immediately intervene in this regard.

“The Union Government must correct the situation in national interest and Indian Army should not be neglected as it would lead to demoralisation of the forces,” said C.S. Sidhu, co-convener of the joint panel. “Peanuts won’t attract meritorious youngsters to join Army, which led to shortage of 14,000 officers apart from Navy and Air Force,” he added. Dr M.S. Randhawa, co-convener of the panel, said the external and internal security threats in the country had assumed serious proportions and therefore forces could not be ignored.

They urged the Prime Minister to accept their demands and immediately announce one rank-one pension and separate pay commission for armed forces on lines of Europe and the USA.
Ex-servicemen protest outside courts

Valuable Veteran inputs to combat increasing Naxal/ Maoist Terror

Dear Lt Gen Malik,
1. Your views put in a concise form as you must have done when you were Deputy Chief of Army Staff. I hope it reaches the Parliament tables of Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swraj and other Leaders like Arun Shourie, Mulayam Singh, AMMA, etc., who are sensitive to strategic and defence matters. The way forward gets lost in the competitive turfs. They are immune; if they do not like what comes, another Committee is formed and things remained buried. There is no point in persisting with trying to milk the cows.

2. At least once in 2/3 months, Man Mohanji should set up his PMO in remote areas to get the feel of realities at ground zero, first hand. Today there is no problem in being in continuous touch with South Bloc. And no heavens would fall during this period. In any case, he can be accessed in seconds. Further his Security Envelope follows him. That should be rural retreat though different from the Camp David Retreat which would give time to reflect and think and observe first hand things and problems of the poor away from hanger ons. Daily Yoga at home in A/C space is not sufficient and cannot substitute open remote areas.

3. Chidambaram has put more than 6 billion dollars in his chosen Secretary, Pillai, who has never stepped in the thick of things [Jungles] but keeps the dollars in his pockets, jingling in Seminar after Seminar seeking latest toys for Internal Security. Pillai's last job was WTO and other Economic trade works as Commerce Secretary. Toys take a decade to take roots. A false sense of security gets embedded meanwhile but that does not deter the Risers. What is the problem for Chidambaram camping in thick jungles. Let him take his security with him. Now only the Yuvraj goes to remote rurals to collect votes for them. Even a day spent there would give him enough mosquito bites and food off the Jungles but he would get cleansed internally and gain immensely. Let these Police Fat Cats consult him at his camping sites. He is more fitter than them. That would force the IPS Officers to lead from front. Gadkari has told his Party Office Bearers to spend 8 days in a month with the grass root players. Moguls and British did go to camps before them. They even took their Ladies to the camp sites. Cooks and other personal staff went with them. Now of course suitable packed survival food kits are available. I recall Vice Admiral MP Awati then Captain Awati, Petyas Squadron Commander in 1970/71, took teams from all his 5 ships under their 2nd in Command for 3 days camp and military training to the East Coast Hills. He could assess the morale of his men and ability of his 2nd in command of the Ships. Awati from top to bottom is a born Leader and transparency made him famous with his beard as Leadership mark. Our Political Leaders and Bureaucrats vociferously hold on to Raj privileges and trappings sans their good practices.

4. In my view, the Raj ended not because of DHARNAS/SALT MARCH/ DISOBEDIENCE MOVEMENT but because they simply could not divide & rule and hold on to an awakened people[s] any more in a vast country. Historically, time had come to withdraw from the rivers of milk and honey. Even if there were different set of Leaders this would have happened. Unfortunately the Congress Leaders kept their grudge of Armed Forces for taking part in WW2 despite their contrary advice and keep till date! So all the advice from Armed Forces comes through one ear and goes out from the other. That is the sad part. Even the Lankan President had to give free hand to his Armed Forces to wipe out LTTE with Chinese aid but typically post victory the President is hounding out his former Army Commander.

5. It is not to say Chidambaram is not the right person to hold the Office of Home Ministry. But he needs to:
Shed his Legal mindset. Get out of his previous frame of mind. Instead adopt Bhagwat Gita, precisely what Lord Krishna advised Arjuna. Do what is your duty and not worry how a few people judge you for. Act, Not worry about NHRC, few Media personalities, etc. He should be true to himself and lean on his spiritual powers.

Meet ordinary people, sandwiched between two forces, who are suffering. The Bureaucrats, the Judiciary, the Educationist, Health Care Providers, and others would follow him like the Pied Piper to the forests. Both writ of the Law and Development would happen slowly but surely.

6. All Political Parties should restrain their spokespersons, particularly appearing on the TV Debates to totally avoid mutual recriminations. Give no exposure to Leaders like Mani Shankar, Natarajan. The TV Media should call only those who have the credentials even if they do not belong to any political party. But above all there is nothing worse than the Anchor/ the Host hoisting his own pre-determined agenda mandated by their owners. One may recall that the UNS War were given precise 7 minutes to each Speaker-the Foreign Minister- to submit his Country's views. One can see the partisan participants intervening when some other is invited to speak on the TV. The worst offender is the Host himself!
With best regards,
Cdr Prem P Batra Retired.

Dear Prem,
As you are aware I receive and read your mails without fail. And am amazed at the level of stamina and perseverance you display. I have never found it necessary to respond because so many others do so with much articulation.

In this case I am taking the liberty because I had occasion to send the following mail a short while back to a media-person who had approached me for comments:

....Though it is too late to meet your deadline, it may be relevant to point out that what needs to be done about the Maoist challenge has been discussed at length at so many fora and any number of papers have been written on it. To be dealt with at two levels: first- address the genuine grievances of the tribals through effective governance; and second, tackle the armed Maoist cadres through well-planned and well-led operations.

And that leads me to your first query about what went wrong. Poor leadership and inadequate training. The answer is and always was: "lateral induction of Armed Forces personnel, including at the officer level, into the CRPF and other para-military forces, after they have done colour service of about seven or eight years in the Armed Forces in the case of the rank and file and in the case of short service commissioned officers, after they have done five or ten years. And since the problem is likely to remain with us for some time to come, I also reiterate my earlier suggestion that we resort to selective 'national service' to the extent that every individual who seeks to join the civil or police services at central or state government level, does compulsory service of a duration that can be determined in the Armed Forces, either at officer level or in the rank and file. I think our political leadership and civilian bureaucracy have ignored this essential component of our response to the internal turbulence long enough."
Warmest regards and keep the Brotherhood flag flying,
Satish Nambiar
Lt Gen Satish Nambiar (Retd)


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