Saturday, October 16, 2010

IESM: Same Rank and Same Service are the main criteria for Pension Parity

Dear Colleagues,
There have been a large number of emails from the members giving differing perceptions almost on each subject. These are all useful inputs to arrive at balanced decisions.
I would like to reiterate the following points:
  • There seems some doubt on grant of OROP. It is clarified for the information of all that other than the Service Chiefs and Army Commanders/equivalents, no one from a Sepoy to Lt Gen is in receipt of OROP.
  • There are quite a few emails giving different versions of the definition of OROP. These are all justified. However, let us keep in mind that these points are essentially officer-centric. For JCOs, NCOs and Sepoys that form the vast majority of ESM, rank and total service can be applied without difficulty. It may be prudent on our part to avoid creating an impression that we are concerned about the officer corps only.
  • Some ESM have expressed an apprehension that we must clearly specify what we mean or imply by OROP, or else the officialdom will shoot us down because of this perceived lack of clarity. I suggest let us first focus on OROP as a concept. Once we get the government to agree, details will follow and we have enough experts to work out the nitty-gritty in a manner that the majority benefits. We continue with ‘same rank and same length of service’ as the twin criteria for OROP.
    It is empirically known that depositing of medals has been one of the most effective methods of pressing our OROP demand. This is evident from the repeated hints by the government through their representatives that we must not return medals. (The latest such advice from the government came to Shri Satpal Maharaj, MP who had headed the recent Parliamentary Committee on Defence that had recommended grant of OROP). We need to reinforce this success and motivate more of our colleagues to volunteer to collect and deposit their medals. Our next visit to the Rashtrapati Bhawan for this purpose is scheduled on Sunday, 28 November 2010 when the Parliament will be in session.
    I had written a letter to the Defence Minister on 03 April 2010. One of the points made by me was:
    “Since the Government has already accepted constitution of a separate pay commission for the Defence Services – which has a bearing on the pensions – you may kindly consider constituting such a pay commission right now instead of waiting another six years for the 7th Pay Commission.”
    The MoD has replied the letter on 22 Sep 2010. Their response is:
    “Constitution of Separate Pay Commission
    “I am directed to refer your letter dated 03rd April 2010 on the above subject and to state that it is too early to consider setting up of another Pay Commission for Armed Forces because of the fact that 6th PC recommendations have been implemented recently.
    Yours faithfully,
    (Naveen Kumar)
    Director (AG)”

    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM
  • Indian Women Atheletes create history

    India winning Gold Medal in Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 - 4 x 400m relay FINAL

    AtreyGotram @olebaj
    Yes.. very true and sad that not many know the names of the GEMS of India. BTW I found her name: It is Ashwini. Here in Order - Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur

    AtreyGotram RockStarV1
    11 hours ago It is awesome....i mean this is hands down awesome ....what can be more awesome...girls you rocked...beat the opponents...keep this coming...

    Indian Athletes and Volunteers have saved the Face of India when it almost got lost due to Kalmadi and Sheila Dickshit's corrupt ways...

    Indian Soldier is the biggest winner for the Country

    The Indian soldier is the biggest winner for the country in the Commonwealth Games
    Soldier firepower at Games
    New Delhi, Oct 11: The Indian soldier is the biggest winner for the country in the Commonwealth Games.

    Indian Army soldiers and Indian Navy sailors have won 23 medals between them so far. They are all havildars, subedars, petty officers and cadets — called PBOR for “Personnel Below Officer Rank”. None of the medal winners is a commissioned officer.

    Rajyavardhan Rathore, who had brought laurels for the country in shooting, is a colonel in the army. He has not qualified to be part of the Indian shooting contingent in the CWG this time.

    Staff of the Indian Railways has also won 17 medals between them in the CWG.

    Chief petty officer Omkar Singh of the navy has won three golds and a silver in different categories of air pistol shooting. Subedar Vijay Kumar has won three golds and a silver in different categories of rifle shooting.

    The soldiers and sailors have won medals in five disciplines: shooting, weightlifting, wrestling, archery and athletics (20km walk).

    A total of 41 soldiers are part of the 600-plus strong Indian contingent at the CWG. The army began a “Mission Olympics” programme in 2001 aiming at podium finish at the world-level in select disciplines.

    If soldiers must necessarily be good marksmen, India’s armed forces have reason to be proud. In shooting alone, the soldiers and sailors have won 15 medals — 11 golds, two silvers and two bronze.

    K. Ravi Kumar, Sukhan Dey and V.S. Rao — all havildars in the army — have won three medals in weightlifting. Master chief petty officer-II Sudhir Kumar of the navy took the bronze in 77kg weightlifting.

    The sportsmen were trained in the Army Sports Institute, Pune, and the Army Marksmen Unit in Mhow.

    Even off the field, the armed forces are being applauded for their contribution to the CWG. Army engineers put up a foot overbridge in four days after the one built by a Chandigarh-based company collapsed, injuring 23 workmen 12 days before the Games were to begin. The bridge is connected to the main venue in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
    Soldier firepower at Games

    Modern Engineering Marvels

    Joyous Swiss celebrate longest-tunnel breakthrough

    Swiss officials hug each other after a giant drilling machine beneath the Swiss Alps completed the world's longest tunnel Friday
    By The Associated Press and Deutsche Presse-Agentur
    SEDRUN, Switzerland — Workers hugged, cheered and set off fireworks as a massive drilling machine dubbed "Sissi" broke through the last stretch of rock deep in the Swiss Alps. There was delight at the end of the tunnel — the world's longest — when it was completed Friday.

    The $10 billion, 35.4-mile tube will connect Europe's high-speed-rail network and is part of a larger effort to cut in half the number of trucks — now 1.2 million — that thunder through the Alps each year.

    The pride felt throughout Switzerland over digging the Gotthard Base Tunnel reflected the one cause that unites the country's wealthy city dwellers with those living in traditional villages: Protecting the beauty of the mountains.

    "Together, we risked a lot," said Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger. "Together, we achieved a lot."

    TV stations across Europe showed the event live. The embraces and cheers by the hard-hatted workers brought to mind the successful rescue of 33 miners this week in Chile.
    Read More: Joyous Swiss celebrate longest-tunnel breakthrough

    Soaring Hoover Dam bypass bridge finally complete

    A soaring bridge that will let drivers bypass Hoover Dam - and steer clear of its security checkpoints and gawking tourists - is set to open after nearly eight years and $240 million worth of work. Julie Jacobson AP Photo

    Dawna Robertson, of San Diego, Calif., takes a photo of Hoover Dam and the newly completed by-pass bridge from a Black Canyon River Adventures commercial raft on the Colorado River Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010, near Boulder City, Nev. The bridge will be dedicated on Thursday and open to the public Saturday.

    By OSKAR GARCIA; Associated Press Writer
    Published: 10/14/1012:20 pm
    BOULDER CITY, Nevada. A soaring bridge that will let drivers bypass Hoover Dam - and steer clear of its security checkpoints and gawking tourists - is set to open after nearly eight years and $240 million worth of work.

    The 1,900-foot engineering wonder perched 890 feet above the Colorado River is expected to drastically cut travel time along the main route between Las Vegas and Phoenix, as motorists will no longer have to make their way across the dam's winding two-lane road at a snail's pace.

    "I know that the Hoover Dam is one of the wonders of the world," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at a dedication ceremony Thursday. "I don't know who gives that designation, but I hope the bridge will become another wonder of the world."
    Read more: Soaring Hoover Dam bypass bridge finally complete

    Defence Minister Announces Cash Bonanza for Services Sportspersons

    The Defence Minister, Shri A. K. Antony felicitated the Armed Forces sportspersons who won Medals at the Commonwealth Games 2010, at a function, in New Delhi on October 15, 2010. The Minister of State for Defence, Dr. M.M. Pallam Raju, the Defence Secretary, Shri Pradeep Kumar, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik and the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. V.K. Singh are also seen.
    Photo no.CNR - 34051

    18:54 IST Friday, October 15, 2010
    The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has announced a cash bonanza for Armed Forces Sportsmen who excelled in the 19th Commonwealth Games (CWG) that concluded yesterday. Felicitating 19 Armed Forces Sportsmen at a function here today, Shri Antony declared a cash award of Rupees 12 lakhs each to the Gold Medal winning Services Sportspersons, seven lakhs for those who won Silver and five lakhs to the Bronze Medal winners.

    The Armed Forces Sportsmen have won 25 Medals out of India’s total tally of 101. Out of the 25 Medals the Services Sportspersons have won, as many as 10 are Gold, seven Silver and eight Bronze. They make up more than 25 percent of India’s overall tally and represent 30 percent of the Medals claimed by the Men in India’s tally. There were 50 Sportspersons drawn from the three Services representing India, who competed in 10 Games events.

    Speaking on the occasion, Shri Antony commended the contribution of the Armed Forces in making the Commonwealth Games a success. Besides participating in the competitions, the Services were involved in the day-to-day management of the Queen’s Baton Relay during its over 100-day journey across the country, Armed Forces Bands participating in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Flag Hoisting during the Medals presentations and in the erection of the Bailey Bridge at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex at the eleventh hour.

    Shri Antony lauded the Armed Forces for having organised the 4th Military World Games (MWG) at Hyderabad in 2007 at a cost of Rupees 50 crores, a fraction of the whopping budget of the CWG Games. He hoped that the Indian Armed Forces Sportspersons would bring glory to the nation at the 5th MWG to be held in Brazil in July next year.

    The Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal PV Naik and Chief of Army Staff Gen VK Singh were present at the function. PK/SR
    Defence Minister Announces Cash Bonanza for Services Sportspersons
    Army sportspersons do India proud by Prabhjot Singh Tribune News Service

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    India says good bye to Commonwealth Games

    India says good bye to Commonwealth Games
    12 days of sporting extravaganza where India showcased itself to the world. After all the pre-CWG negativity, the Games itself were so full of energy. All good things have to come to an end and India bid farewell to the CWG 2010. If the opening ceremony was simply spectacular, the closing ceremony was a beautiful blend of Indian culture and Scottish tradition and left the world awestruck.

    The Nehru stadium was painted in blue the whole evening and India once again displayed its might in ceremonies. CWG creative director Bharat Bala worked for over 18 months to get these two special days ready and why not! From the 'revival' of Vande Mataram to handing over of 'Games' to Scotland to some spectacular laser show to universal music of love, the evening was simply perfect. Did we miss something? The aroma of Scotland while taking over the games from India. The Chief Guest for the evening was Sri Lankan President Mahendra Rajapaksha.

    CWG handed over to Glasgow
    CGF Flag was handed over to Glasgow, the next host of CWG in 2014 in the beautiful country of Scotland. The flag was handed over by CWG 2010 Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi to Lt. Gov of Delhi, Tejinder Khanna, who then handed it over to the Scottish delegation led by Lord Smith of Cambridge, who will be the Chairman of the Organising committee for CWG 2014.
    The organising committee of India had put up a bollywood-style extravaganza while being handed over the games by Melbourne in 2006 and today Glasgow responded with a fabulous display of Scottish tradition, heritage and culture in a 10-minute presentation that was simply stunning, especially the technicalities of the performance left the audience with a sparkle in the eye.
    India says good bye to Commonwealth Games

    Closing Ceremony- 44 crore Helium Balloon echoes Kalmadi's boring Speech

    Posted: Thu Oct 14 2010, 00:25 hrs New Delhi:
    "It was like a big, fat Indian wedding." This was how some of the spectators described the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games tonight, which proved to be a dampener after the spectacular opening 12 days ago.

    The opening extravaganza on October 3 had showcased thousands of years of Indian civilisation and culture and had swept away all the gloom that preceded the games marred by corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement and delays.

    Ironically, the presentation by the Games' next host Scotland was probably the best part of the closing ceremony witnessed by a packed crowd of some 60,000 fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. 'Vande Mataram' item presented by Delhi school children was was yet another highlight.

    The glitzy Rs 44 crore worth aerostat that was the centre of attraction during the Opening Ceremony also remained dormant laying suspended 25 metres above the ground except for the occasional videos that were played on the 360 degree projection surface of the aerostat.

    The only time that the world's largest helium balloon actually came alive in all its colours was when the 'golden moments' of the Games was played out and also when the Scots performed.

    In stark contrast, during the Opening Ceremony, the aerostat had captivated everyone inside the stadium.

    To add to the boredom, there were speeches galore, the longest by the Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who was roundly booed to start with.

    He thanked all and sundry including Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Lieutenant Governor, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, City Police Commissioner etc etc.

    Top singers like Sukhwinder Singh, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kailash Kher, Usha Uthup, Shaan, Ila Arun, Shobha Mudgul, and Shankar Mahadevan lent a touch of Punjabi wedding ambience when they crooned some popular numbers.

    Even the Army bands played stale tunes heard over the years at the traditional "Beating the Retreat" ceremony during the Republic Day celebrations.
    CWG closing ceremony a big dampener

    Will Kalmadi ever face an enquiry on the fraud committed on the Citizens of the Nation? His Pride as an Air Force Pilot is a National Disgrace.

    Punjab Veterans meet CM

    Dear All,
    1. We held a meeting with CM PUNJAB, Mr PARKASH SINGH BADAL, today for thanking him for passing a resolution in PUNJAB assembly on grant of 'ONE RANK ONE PENSION'.
    2. Punjab CM had invited about 50 ESM to attend celebrations of "Banda Bhadur Singh's' memorial- laying of foundation stone- at Mohali on 09 Oct at 10 AM.
    3. We discussed and obtained concurrence of CM Punjab on the following issues concerning Veterans welfare including the War Wounded.
  • We requested CM to ask other state Governments to pass similar resolution in their state assemblies.He agreed to get in touch with all states.
  • We informed him that we have prepared a common draft for all MP's to raise the issue in the winter session of Assembly. He agreed to get it conveyed to all MP's of Punjab.
  • We also requested CM to consider writing a DO to the PM on the Issue of granting OROP to soldiers. He asked for the Draft which he said he will approve and forward to PM with copy to Defence Minister.
  • CM asked all ESM organisations to unite and put up joint front. We informed him that we the ESM Organisations have already joined hands. Director Sainink Welfare Punjab has been empowered to contact only representatives of Combined Union front of ESM organisations.
    4. We also raised few points regarding welfare of ESM Punjab.
  • There must not be any further reservation in 13% vacancies allotted to ESM in Punjab. He agreed to this point.
  • ESM qualified in teaching in Army and other equivalent Army qualification must be considered for granting jobs in Punjab.He asked for more details.
  • Minimum wages for Punjab for Security Guards must be enhanced close to rates in Haryana and Chandigarh. He agreed.
  • We must take up case with centre to review recruitment in Punjab as per RMP. Punjab is always at disadvantage.He agreed to take up case with centre.
  • We also requested him to ensure Mohali Sainink welfare building comes up at the earliest so that CSD canteen and ECHS can be shifted there.He asked Secy Defence Welfare for more details.
  • CM also asked us to come forward to suggest more improvements in welfare of ESM.We plan another meeting with him soon.All ESM from Punjab are requested to forward points.
    5. We have been informed by Colonel Rajan The Tiger of Karnataka that Karnatka Assembly is likely to pass such resolution when they meet next.HP is also inclined to pass it soon. Please approach all Politicians to request them to do so.We will soon send you common Draft letter being sent to Punjab MP's which can be replicated for MP's of other States also.
    6. Tomorrow first thing I will send draft DO to CM.
    Veteran Nawab
  • Thursday, October 14, 2010

    IESM Karnataka Activity Report

    Expression of Gratitude
    1. At the very outset, Col SS Rajan, as IESM Convenor Karnataka wishes to thank and express his gratitude to:
    (a) Brig AK Pradhan, SM, Cdr Karnataka & Kerala Sub-Area for being kind to make available the Pioneer Corps JCOs & OR Institute as venue for the Ex-Servicemen Barakhana; and, also for his generosity in donating Rs. 5,000/- (Rs. Five thousand) towards the Barakhana.
    (b) Comdt, Pioneer Corps Training Centre, Bangalore, for his help, assistance & adm sp in hosting the Barakhana in their JCOs & OR Institute.
    (c) AVM Dr AK Behl, AVSM, Comdt, Comd Hosp Air Force Bangalore for being gracious to accept the invitation to attend the Barakhana.
    (d) Col Mukesh Rastogi, SM, Col ‘A’ representing Karnataka & Kerala Sub-Area for attending the Barakhana; and for announcing donation of Rs. 5,000/- (Rs. Five thousand) on behalf of Cdr Karnataka & Kerala Sub-Area.
    (e) Capt Ganesh Karnik, Hon’ble Member of Karnataka Legislative Council for participating in the Barakhana as Host; and, for generously contributing Rs. 5,000/- (Rs. Five thousand) towards the Barakhana.
    (f) All Veterans & their families and Defence Family Pensioners for enthusiastically participating in the Barakhana.
    (g) Veteran Hav Shanthaseelan, Madras Sappers, for enthralling all Veterans & their families with his spell binding Magic show. (All Veterans are requested to encourage & promote Hav Shanthaseelan, by recommending the Magic Show to the Principals of Schools & Colleges. Veterans may contact Hav Shanthaseelan on his Cell No. 8861063951 ).
    (h) Adml OS Dawson, PVSM, AVSM, NM, VSM (former Chief of Naval Staff), Air Mshl Douglas King Lee, PVSM,AVSM,VM,VSM (former AOC-in-C) and Lt Gen NSI Narahari, PVSM for their Greetings & Best Wishes on the occasion of Ex-Servicemen Barakhana. The three Veterans had conveyed their regrets to attend the Barakhana, owing to their ill health.
    (i) Col Ashok Kumar, IESM Dy Convenor Andhra for his participation in the Barakhana.
    (j) Col Balbir Singh Gill from Sikkim and four Veterans from Maharashtra for their participation in the Barakhana. The Veterans from Sikkim and Maharashtra after enrolling themselves as Members, collected 50 Membership Forms for their respective states.
    (k) Brig MS Parthasarathy ; for being ever considerate & helpful in taking the photographs and posting them as an Album.
    (l) Veteran Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar, VSM, for all his sp & encouragement.(m) Brig B Chandrashekar, VSM, Col AJ Bhandary, Sub Balachander and Sub Ram Mehr for their help, assistance & sp in organizing the Barakhana.
    Monetary Contribution
    2. Veteran Officers led by Vice Adml RN Ganesh, PVSM, AVSM, NM, VSM (former FOC-in-C Southern Naval Comd) generously contributed over Rs.50,000/- (Rs. Fifty thousand) for the Barakhana. Details of Contribution from Veterans and expenditure statement are as attached).
    Address by Veterans
    3. A number of Veterans incl Vice Adml RN Ganesh, PVSM, AVSM, NM, VSM, Rear Adml BR Vasanth, VSM, Air Cmde MK Chandrasekhar, VSM and Brig JS Narasimhan, AVSM, appreciated the hosting of Ex-Servicemen Barakhana by retired Officers of all three services at Bangalore; thus paving the way for Veterans all over the Country to emulate. Such Barakhanas would greatly help in further strengthening the bonds of brotherhood & camaraderie amongst the Veterans of all ages, ranks & services. They exhorted the Veterans present to work with renewed vigour for the welfare of Ex-Servicemen and form Cells that would attend to problems of Pension, etc. especially those of Defence Family Pensioners, who more often than not, have no one to look after them.
    Participation of Veterans in funerals of Veterans who pass away at Bangalore
    4. Col SS Rajan, the IESM Convenor Karnataka stated that daily, one or two Ex-Servicemen, of the rank of Officer or JCO or an NCO or a Sepoy of the Army, Navy & Air Force or Defence Family Pensioner pass away due to old age, sickness or other causes; and, it would be a humanitarian gesture, displaying solidarity, if at least ten Ex-Servicemen, comprising all ranks, of all three Services attend the funeral services; and, where required, give a helping hand to the next of kin of the deceased Ex-Servicemen or Defence Family Pensioner. The suggestion was widely welcomed by all Veterans present, with an applause.
    IESM as a Federal Organisation comprising of autonomous State Units
    5. The very first sentence or the opening sentence in the Memorandum of Association (MoA) of IESM states: “The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, hereafter referred to as IESM, is an all India Federation of Ex-Servicemen’s organizations”. In the interest of spreading IESM all over the Country and for strengthening the Movement; evolution of IESM as a truly federal org is a must; with structured autonomous state units, viz. IESM Kerala, IESM Karnataka, IESM Punjab, IESM Nagaland & IESM J&K, etc. all coming under one umbrella and the banner of IESM. Pursuant to resolutions passed during the South Zone Military Veterans Meet at Bangalore on 27 June 2010, the autonomous State Units of IESM declare allegiance to come under one umbrella and the banner of IESM; and, would willingly transfer 20% of their collection on account of Membership Fees (as was accepted & agreed upon by the Founder Members of IESM, at its very inception); and, also 20% of their collection on account of Donations to HQ IESM.
    Formation of IESM Karnataka
    6. Pursuant to resolutions passed during the South Zone Military Veterans Meet at Bangalore on 27 June 2010; in the interest of spreading IESM all over the State and for strengthening the Movement; IESM Karnataka would come into being as a structured autonomous registered organization after the Annual General body Meeting (AGM) scheduled at Delhi on 27 Nov 2010.
    MoA and Election of Office bearers of IESM Karnataka
    7. IESM Convenor Karnataka informed the gathering that a common MoA to be adopted by Kerala, Karnataka & Andhra was being drafted by IESM Kerala; and, the same would be sent for discussion and ratification by the AGM on 27 Nov 2010. In the meantime, Convenor Karnataka requested Veterans present to volunteer for election as Office bearers of IESM Karnataka. The Convenor Karnataka expressed his satisfaction at the positive response of a number of Officers, JCOs, NCOs & Sepoys of all three services and Defence Family Pensioners volunteering their services to shoulder the responsibilities as Office bearers on formation of IESM Karnataka.
    9. Veterans numbering around 500, comprising Officers:100; JCOs & OR: 350 and Families and Defence Family Pensioners: 50, then moved to have their lunch. There was all round bonhomie with Ex-Servicemen of all ranks & services participating in the Barakhana in a spirit of brotherhood & camaraderie.
    Veteran Col SS Rajan
    IESM Convenor Karnataka
    Click here for Slideshow of Photographs

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    China wooing Dictators and Islamic Fundamentalists

    Why China is wooing the jihadis, and what India should do
    The spread of two authoritarian streams, Chinese communism and Islamic fundamentalism, in combination or otherwise, threaten the survival of democracies in Asia.

    First, Beijing deftly sucked in most of the democracies in its economic orbit by making China a very cheap manufacturing destination of the world. This simultaneously created gigantic hard currency reserves and vast political influence.

    Second, from the inflow of foreign direct investments, a modern lethal military machine was forged.

    Third, Beijing skillfully invested in dictatorial or Islamic fundamentalist regimes in Asia like North Korea, Pakistan, and Myanmar.

    On one hand, this boosts Pakistan and North Korea's capability to tie down democracies like India, South Korea and Japan without the necessity of China being involved overtly. On the other, by transferring sensitive technologies to these countries, China deflects the attention of major powers from itself and conveniently shifts the debate to the rogue nations clandestinely supported by it.
    Click here to read the full analysis

    Defence forces play their part in India's CWG success

    The Times of India
    Surender Negi, TNN, Oct 13, 2010, 03.47am IST

    NEW DELHI: The Indian Army has silently played a key role in India's march towards its highest medal haul in the Commonwealth Games. Army's efforts are not just limited to building a collapsed bridge and helping the security for the Games - sportspersons from the forces are also winning medals for the nation.

    Till Monday, sportspersons from the Army have accounted for seven gold, four silver and five bronze medals. Naval sports persons are also not far behind fetching five gold and a silver & bronze each with Suranjoy Singh still in contention for gold in 52kg category in boxing.

    This performance by them can be traced back to 2001 when the Indian Army launched its Mission Olympics programme. The programme was envisioned by the Army to train talented and potential sportsmen in selected sports disciplines to excel with an overall aim to ensure a podium finish in the Olympics. Army's Mission Olympic Wings (MOW) has got five world class facilities across the country for round the clock training under experienced coaches in athletics, archery, boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, fencing, rowing and yatching.

    "The Mission Olympics is designed to produce outstanding results in international competitions. Children in the age group of 14-16 are trained to excel in various Olympic sports. It is all about catching them young. Pick them when they are about 14 and train them for a good six years," Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, Director General of Military Training said. "They are getting everything as far as upgradation is concerned - equipment, facilities and motivation," he added. Shooting, which has emerged the bedrock of India's biggest tally, has also accounted for majority of gold medals that the forces have won.

    While Army has won six out of its seven gold medals through shooting, Navy has won three out of five. Vijay Kumar (army) and Omkar Singh (navy) have been the most successful shooters, each winning three gold and a silver.
    Read more: Defence forces play their part in India's CWG success - The Times of India Defence forces play their part in India's CWG success

    Indian Armed Forces win 22 Medals
    A figure for your consideration and for feeling proud. Out of the 33 medals won by India in CWG till now Defence Forces have bagged 22, 16 by the Army and 6 by the Navy.
    Brigadier PT Gangadharan, Guards, Veteran

    India roar to track and hockey breakthroughs

    India's Danish Mujtaba (L), captain Rajpal Singh (2nd L) and Vikram Vishnu Pillay celebrate after they won a penalty shootout against England during their men's field hockey semi-final match at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi October 12, 2010. Credit:Reuters/B Mathur By Nick Mulvenney
    NEW DELHI | Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:09pm EDT
    NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Hosts India celebrated dramatic Commonwealth Games breakthroughs on the athletics track and hockey pitch on Tuesday with rapturous applause from their delighted home fans.

    Last week low attendances threatened to join the long list of problems that have blighted the Games. But Indians have gradually embraced their first major multi-sport event in nearly three decades and on Tuesday they were in full voice.

    A day after discus thrower Krishna Poonia won India's first athletics title in 52 years, some 55,000 fans roared the women's 4x400 metres relay team to an unlikely victory at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to end an equally long wait for a track gold.

    "The crowd was amazing, their support gave us extra motivation," Ashwini Akkunji, who ran the third leg, told reporters. "At the same time, I could feel some pressure as well. They would have gone home really upset had we returned empty-handed tonight."

    A packed house of nearly 20,000 had earlier shaken the rafters at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium as the men's hockey team came back from 3-1 down to beat England in a penalty shootout to reach the final and ensure a first medal in the national sport.

    It was miserable day, though, for Nigeria with Osayemi Oludamola stripped of the women's 100 gold after her B sample confirmed a positive test for a banned stimulant and Samuel Okon, a sprint hurdler, also disqualified for the same offence.

    Alana Boyd won the women's pole vault, which not only helped boost Australia's gold medal tally to 68 but also gave her a share of family bragging rights with her father Ray, the 1982 pole vault champion, and mother Denise, the 1978 200 champion.

    Indian shooters Annu Raj Singh and Heena Sidhu won the women's 10 metres air pistol pairs to ensure the host nation a best Games gold medal tally with a 31st title in Delhi, beating the 30 the country won in Manchester in 2002.

    The 32nd came completely unexpectedly in the women's 4x400 on the last night of athletics, Mandeep Kaur taking the baton home to clinch India's first track title since Milkha Singh's 440 yards gold at what was then the Empire and Comonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958.

    England grabbed thrilling victories in both 4x100 races to stay in the hunt for second place on the medal table with 30 golds, Mark Lewis-Francis producing a magnificent final leg of power and pace to overhaul Jamaica and clinch the men's title.

    "It feels like it was some cricket match going on," Indian javelin thrower Kashinath Naik said of the crowd. "I hope the audience will support us in the same manner every time."

    Oludamola was awarded gold in controversial circumstances when Australian Sally Pearson was disqualified for a false start three hours after crossing the line.

    Natasha Mayers of St Vincent and the Grenadines, who crossed the line third in the blue riband sprint, will now be awarded the gold. Mayers herself served a two-year doping ban after testing positive for testosterone in 2005.

    On a last night of athletics thrills, Kenyans again provided a touch of class with world leader Silas Kiplagat winning the 1,500 in three minutes 41.78 seconds and world champion Vivian Cheruiyot cruising to the womens' 5,000m in 15:55.12.

    The Delhi athletics competition was seriously weakened by withdrawals of big names, some like world and Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt because of scheduling problems, others because of health or security concerns.

    Poonia, who had expressed her hope that her discus gold on Monday would wipe away the problems of the games, lashed out at the latter.

    "Security concerns are everywhere and India is a very big country. I did not like it when they blamed our country for withdrawing from the event," she said.

    "We also love our life. They would have been our guests and we would have taken more care of them than ourselves."

    Out at Delhi University, the New Zealand rugby sevens team, their bare torsos adorned only by their gold medals and a kaleidoscope of tattoos, performed a celebratory haka after beating Australia 24-17 to win a fourth successive gold medal.

    Boxing takes center stage on the penultimate day of the Games on Wednesday with medals in diving, shooting and cycling also up for grabs
    India roar to track and hockey breakthroughs

    Offshore Wind Farming Gets a Giant Google Boost

    A huge offshore wind energy project took a leap forward today with the announcement that Google and the investment firm Good Energies are backing the mammoth underwater transmission lines that would carry clean electricity up and down the East Coast. The $5 billion dollar project would allow for wind farms to spring up all along the mid-Atlantic continental shelf.

    Google and Good Energies will both be 37.5 percent equity partners in the clean energy infrastructure project; the Japanese industrial, energy, and investment firm Marubeni will take a 15 percent share. The project, proposed by a Maryland-based company called Trans-Elect, would set up a 350-mile long energy-carrying backbone from Virginia to northern New Jersey, first allowing the transfer of the south’s cheap electricity to the northern states, and later providing critical infrastructure for future offshore wind projects.

    The AWC backbone is critical to more rapidly scaling up offshore wind because without it, offshore wind developers would be forced to build individual radial transmission lines from each offshore wind project to the shore, requiring additional time consuming permitting and environmental studies and making balancing the grid more difficult. [Official Google Blog].

    The transmission line is planned to have enough capacity to carry the energy of five nuclear power plants (6,000 megawatts, which could power almost 2 million homes)–energy that eventually will come from offshore wind farms. These wind farms will be situated in federal waters more than 10 miles from the shore, where the huge towers would barely be visible.

    “Conceptually it looks to me to be one of the most interesting transmission projects that I’ve ever seen walk through the door,” said Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees interstate electricity transmission. “It provides a gathering point for offshore wind for multiple projects up and down the coast.” [The New York Times].

    Construction is scheduled to start in 2013. The first section of the project, a 150-mile stretch between southern New Jersey and Delaware, could be completed in 2016 at a cost of $1.8 billion. From there, the backbone would be expanded to two more nodes, in northern New Jersey and Virginia, and offshore wind farms can be added, to provide power from the strong and steady winds that blow over the ocean.

    The complete project will not finish until at least 2021. Trans-Elect estimated the complete cost of the project to be $5 billion, plus permit and financing charges. But there are a lot of unknowns.

    Industry experts called the plan promising, but warned that as a first-of-a-kind effort, it was bound to face bureaucratic delays and could run into unforeseen challenges, from technology problems to cost overruns. [The New York Times].

    Google sees the project as a step towards building a “superhighway for clean energy,” enabling the East Coast to connect to the potential 60,000 megawatts of wind energy that could theoretically be harvested from Atlantic Ocean winds. Says Google:

    We believe in investing in projects that make good business sense and further the development of renewable energy. We’re willing to take calculated risks on early stage ideas and projects that can have dramatic impacts while offering attractive returns. [Official Google Blog]
    Offshore Wind Farming Gets a Giant Google Boost

    A witness who walked tall inspite of the Bureaucrats

    By T J S George, 04/10/2010
    A witness who walked tall
    Out of the blue, as it were, a new and wholly unexpected voice broke above the newspaper din in India in 1959. In a politics-obsessed world, this voice began talking about development projects – Bhakra Nangal, Damodar Valley, Hirakund, Nagarjunsagar – and then about “brand names of distinction” like HAL, HMT, BHEL, ONGC etc. These were all new terms at that time and the overall picture that came through was that of a massive change under way in the thinking as well as structural composition of India. It was as good as a scoop... That was B. G. Verghese's entry into public attention...

    His stint as adviser to Indira Gandhi allows him to speak frankly about the reality of high-level activities - how drafts for after-dinner speeches are finalised only after the dinner has started, how the Government does not work out a world view and relies instead on tired slogans, "the haphazard manner in which government functioned and the Prime Minister's inexperience in so many matters".

    Verghese' assessment of Indira Gandhi is a highlight of the book. He pays tribute to her qualities of leadership, the dignity of her deportment, her pride in India. But he is unsparing in his condemnation of the Emergency, the "savage and thoroughly illegal demolition orgy" of Sanjay Gandhi and of Indira's own "split personality".

    B.G.Verghese is a serious person, concerned with serious, "un-sexy" topics like water resources. That makes his humour more appealing. The quality of his mind is reflected in the lightness with which he describes his introduction to the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

    "There was no airconditioner in the room as the previous incumbent was a mere deputy secretary who 'as per rules' was not entitled to feel overly hot. The official theory was that the blood grew thinner with ascending seniority, entitling the officer to one, two or more airconditioners. The same theory worked for arm rests, back rests and foot rests..... Nor did I allow my chaprassi to hover around the car park in the morning to relieve me of my briefcase the moment I arrived. Official research had established that senior officers carry so much responsibility that the weight of a briefcase could do incalculable damage to their spine".

    His briefcase tightly held in his own hand, Verghese kept his spine straight and walked tall.
    Read More: A witness who walked tall

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    Decoding Dragon for Dummies

    Decoding the Dragon
    India can’t be complacent on national security
    by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

    THERE can be no greater proof of failure of India’s foreign policy than the reality of our unsatisfactory relations with all our immediate neighbours. From Pakistan in the West to Nepal and China in the North, Burma and Bangladesh in the East and Sri Lanka in the South, our relations with these countries vary from hostility to indifference.

    China’s influence in countries on our periphery has been on the increase. In addition, China has this ‘String of pearls policy’. Though it is a nightmarish situation, India’s security establishment seems to sleep well. The Maoists’ problem and the one in Kashmir are security challenges being addressed in a cavalier fashion. Even if one is to discount the problems in the North-East, the overall security scene is disquieting.

    We have been decidedly and overwhelmingly complacent on the issue of national security. Not only has our foreign policy failed to create friendly environment on our periphery but grossly neglected the emerging threats.

    This policy suffered further setback when distant Japan, Australia and some South East Asian countries acquiesced to China’s claim that Arunachal Pradesh is a disputed territory. China has been calling it South Tibet and not a part of India.

    Moreover, China has declared Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory and started stapling visas of visitors from that state. More recently, it has reaffirmed its stand on this issue by denying visa to a senior army officer posted in Jammu and Kashmir and who was leader of a military delegation to China.

    This stance of China and reportedly inducting large body of troops into Gilgit region of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) is to give a fillip to the ongoing turmoil in the Kashmir valley, besides controlling any unrest in this part of POK. While China occupied large tracts of territory in Ladakh, Pakistan illegally acceded the Shaksam valley in PoK to it. China is also reported to be improving the Karakoram highway and setting out to build a high-speed railway line to Gwadar port on the Gulf of Oman, for transporting oil to Tibet and Xinjiang province from where it can be ferried to mainland China.

    There are suggestions flying thick and fast in the media that India must strongly protest against this Chinese move into PoK. But, protest to whom? China will summarily dismiss such protests and going to the United Nations will merely resurrect the old ghosts of Jammu and Kashmir. At best India can deny visa facility to Chinese, but what of the massive trade we have with that country?

    China’s policy keeps time on its side while complacency is our forte. Even keeping time on its side, China has been assiduously and with single-mindedness creating overall military capabilities and military infrastructure in Tibet and spreading its influence in countries on our periphery. It has with equal zeal and purpose followed the policy of using Pakistan as a proxy and a cheap option to tie down India locally.

    Then, there is the ‘String of pearls policy’ to squeeze India from all sides. China is building its naval strength at a furious pace and making forays into the Indian Ocean. We have slept through more than half a century, ignoring the emerging security scene and the gathering storms all around and within India.

    Not only have we been complacent but decidedly negligent of the emerging security threats, both internal and external. At 2 per cent of GDP for defence as against 7 per cent of China out of GDP, twice the size of ours, India’s lack of concern for its security ought to appear alarming, even to one with impaired vision and the dimwitted.

    In the real world, economic strength in the absence of military power is unsustainable. The gunboat diplomacy and wars of nineteen century were to capture markets and enhance influence and commerce for economic gains. The power play of the 21st century is going to be no different except that the form, formulations and contours of policy and coercive techniques will undergo a change.

    For long we have been indulging in a puerile debate on the issue of ‘development versus defence,’ as if the two are mutually exclusive and in no way reinforce each other. The mandarins in Delhi have been smug in a world of make believe. To quote Arun Shourie, “Corresponding factors that keep us from growing as fast as our potential are precisely the ones that weaken our defence. The same holds for constituents of defence: the choice is not, ‘valour or high technology,’ cyber warfare or conventional warfare or nuclear capability but capabilities across the broad spectrum.”

    China has developed the Gwadar port and it will have a strong naval presence there. This port is at the mouth of straight of Hurmoz through which oil supplies from the Middle East flow to India. The strategic importance of this move by China does not seem to have fully dawned on the Indian security establishment.

    The Chinese Navy will also have berthing facilities at the Sri Lankan and Burmese ports. Radars at Coco Island keep watch over the naval ship movement from mainland to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and India’s missile launches from the Balasore missile range in Orissa.

    India has helplessly watched developments in Nepal. It is with China’s help that the Sri Lankan government was able to decimate the Tamil Tigers. China, even with a late start, has galloped ahead, leaving us far behind in the fields of economy, science and technology and military capabilities.

    It is not our case that the developments on the Tibet border and in POK are the harbinger of an early conflict, but these do not bode well for India. These developments need to be taken as a wake-up call and shake ourselves out of our complacency and stupor. Activating a few airfields and adding some roads or two mountain divisions and deploying two squadrons of fighter aircraft or lodging a protest will not do. These are knee-jerk reactions and reminiscent of our actions leading to the 1962 war with China.

    India as a nuclear and emerging economic power, in the midst of potentially unstable regimes and with ambitions to exercise influence for the stability and security of the region and to safeguard vital national interests, cannot have military capabilities which in no way match those of the potential adversaries. Equally, an antiquated and potentially dysfunctional decision-making and operational system in the defence apparatus is anathema to the successful conduct of defence and foreign policy. India’s ability to meet future security challenges is highly suspect and this state of affairs cannot prevail any longer without seriously jeopardising national security.

    There is, therefore, the requirement of evolving a comprehensive and long term national security policy taking into account the current and future security concerns and synergising these with foreign policy. Thereafter, we must work assiduously to develop military capabilities backed by diplomatic thrusts to meet the security challenges of the future and be in a position to exercise influence in our immediate neighbourhood. We need to double our efforts to enhance our economic strength and create compatible defence capabilities.
    The writer is a former Deputy Chief of Army Staff
    The Tribune- Decoding the Dragon

    Indian Air Force Coping with Junk

    October 12, 2010 5:15:55 PM The Pioneer
    Forces need equipment, now!
    Air Chief Marshal PV Naik’s statement that nearly 50 per cent of the Indian Air Force’s military equipment is obsolete is truly alarming even if one accepts his prompt assurance that the figure will be brought down to 20 per cent by 2014. This is not an ideal state of affairs given the fact that Pakistan has been receiving huge supplies of military hardware from both the US and China which have significantly contributed to its aggressive posture vis-a-vis India. While India has emerged as a regional economic superpower, its efforts to grow in stature worldwide cannot be realised with depleted defence forces. Since the conflicts that it is involved in with its neighbours require negotiations to resolve, New Delhi would be severely constrained in such talks if it had to bargain from a position of weakness — which would be the case if our defence capabilities decline any further, irrespective of the economic progress made by us. Look at the extent of obsoleteness: Our MiG-21 and MiG-27 aircraft are 40 years old and should have been phased out completely by now; decades old radars are no longer in a position to track planes fitted with state-of-the-art technology; and, our ground-to-ground as well as air-to-air missiles are at least three decades old and ought to have been retired for good. When defence technologies are getting upgraded at a furious pace, disadvantaging the Indian Air Force and its fine personnel with antiquated equipment is really playing with the security of the country and failing the people who guard the air corridors.

    But it’s not just the Indian Air Force that carries the burden of old technologies; the Navy and the Army too are struggling with the malaise. Our T-72 tanks are fitted with second generation fighting devices, whereas most modern armies the world over have already upgraded to third generation equipment. While it is true that we have taken the first step towards resolving this issue by inducting the T-90 tanks and the Arjun Main Battle Tank, it will be some time before the newer acquisitions reach the critical numbers required. But perhaps the most glaring failure in equipping our Army with the latest hardware — one that could prove costly if we were to be forced into an armed conflict — is in the artillery. The last purchase we made were the Bofors guns and since then, following the massive scandal, our decision makers developed such cold feet that they have refused to finalise even a single artillery deal in the last 30 years, thus severely compromising national security. The Indian Navy, which has now been mandated to play a greater role in international waters to fight piracy, besides remaining on high alert to foil terror attacks, is similarly handicapped. How can one expect the Navy to deliver with outdated submarines — 10 of which should have been decommissioned by now — and three-decade-old helicopters and planes? Defence Minister AK Antony is aware of the looming crisis. Sadly, he has done precious little to correct the situation.
    Coping with junk

    India creates history in athletics, Gold after 52 yrs

    India created history by breaking the 52-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medal jinx with Krishna Poonia winning the yellow metal in women's discus throw to become the first woman from the country to win a Commowealth Games gold in New Delhi on Monday.

    India swept the event with Harwant Kaur and national record holder Seema Antil also winning the silver and bronze respectively.

    Poonia's gold, which she won by throwing the discus to 61.51m, was the first gold after 'Flying Sikh' Milkha Singh's 440 yard race gold in the 1958 edition of the Games in Cardiff, Wales.

    Harwant came up with an effort of 60.61m, a tad below her season's best of 60.66m, while national record holder Seema Antil threw the discus to a distance of 58.46m. (BJ-12/10)
    India creates history in athletics, Gold after 52 yrs


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