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Indian Military News
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Mar 17 2006, 12:24 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Mar 17 2006, 12:24 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>ARMY HEAD COUNT: A MOMENT OF TRUTH?</b>   --by Col R Hariharan (retd.)
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->.............
I did not want to write on the issue earlier as a full-blown debate was fought in the arena eight-second dispensers of wisdom on the TV and the hallowed op-ed pages of national media. When the heat and dust has settled now, I want to caution, perhaps a last hurrah, on the dangers of meddling with a complex working organism like the army. I fear if they treat the issue of headcount in the armed forces like any other issue, it requires no great foresight to say the nation would pay the price for such casualness. We will then have an army fighting with itself, than the enemy. All those who have served in the army would agree to this. Not because army is the ideal institution where no wrong is ever committed in the name of caste or creed but because it is not accepted part of the culture, unlike most of the other limbs of the government. But if the representatives of the people still want to go ahead with it let them have the courage of conviction and follow the due process of law. Amend the constitution; create reservations for all communities in the armed forces; have promotions made on the basis of caste and religion.

And thank God, I have retired from the army well before all this happens!

I don't get this though. if indian government wanted to know how many muslims serve in indian army why can't they just get break down of army based on everyone's cast/religion rather than singleing out muslims? why not to say "give us the break down of army on the basis of age,state of origin, language,.... and oh ya, religion too" that would have not raised any alarms.
Indian army deployed on Golan Heights
[ Saturday, March 25, 2006 06:11:41 pmPTI ]

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GOLAN HEIGHTS: Boosting its presence in the Middle East peacekeeping, an Indian military contingent has joined the UN Disengagement Observers Force at the Golan Heights, a strategic position between Israel and Syria.

The 185-member contingent led by Lt. Col. Ajay Singh of Poona Horse took charge from the Canadians, who had been serving the UNDOF for the last 32 years since its inception in 1974.

While India has contributed an infantry battalion of about 1,000 troops to the UN peace-keeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) since 1999, it is the first time that it has deployed its forces on Israel's border with Syria.

At an elaborate ceremony organised for the change of guard yesterday, Indian Ambassador to Israel Arun Kumar Singh said "India has contributed more than 30 peace operations in various sensitive theaters of the world."

...The very presence of Indian troops in these locations are also a testimony to the acceptance of the Indian presence in different situations, he said.

"We come from all corners of the country and bring with us a rich historic blend of the colours, taste and cultures of incredible India. With this kind of a background we look forward to our Nepalese, Austrian, Polish, Slovak, Japanese and Canadian friends to work together,"" Lt. Col. Singh said in his address.

The Indian contingent, which will be responsible for logistics support at the base, includes troops from 17 Horse, Corps of Engineers, Electronic and Mechanical Engineers, Corps of Signals, Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, Military Police and Army Postal Service.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Hostels for veterans soon </b>
Pioneer News Service / New Delhi
The army, in a major welfare measure for the retired officers and men, is reaching out to them in the hinterland to take stock of their problems and plans to set up "Veterans' Hostel" for old soldiers throughout the country. The Army will also help the families in performing last rites if approached.
The Army to begin with will now call the retired soldiers as "Veterans" in English and "gauravshali senani" in Hindi and Adjutant General Lieutenant General AS Jamwal is now holding meetings with the veterans in major cities and smaller towns of the country. The focus is on listening to the problems of the veterans or their surviving families and take best possible measures to ameliorate the problems, Army spokesman Colonel SK Sakhuja said here on Monday.

The Adjutant General has already held such meetings in Delhi, Guwahati and Chennai in the past few weeks and will now travel to some other important cantonments as part of this exercise as ordered by the Army chief, the spokesman said.

It may be mentioned here that nearly 50,000 officers and men retire every year and the Army has taken the onerous responsibility of looking after them in a formal manner now, he added.

Appreciating the problems faced by the veterans in their old age, the Army now plans to set up hostels for them in Delhi, Pune and Bangalore and will spread the network of such hostels in other places in the next few years.

Similarly, <b>many veterans have no one to perform the last rites of their near and dear ones and families also lack the resources to do the same for the veterans and the Army will now take care of this sensitive and humanitarian issue.</b>

In fact, the commanding officer of the local Army canteen or the sub-areas will also place a wreath on behalf of the chief of Army staff as a mark of respect to the veteran, Colonel Sakhuja said.

<b>It was also learnt that the project to set up a National War Memorial, a long pending demand of the Armed Forces to honour the men who sacrificed their lives for the country, was in the advanced stage and would most probably come up near India Gate, Delhi. </b>
<b>CBI arrests 3 in Navy War Room leak case</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Navy had constituted a board of inquiry after intelligence officers had recovered a pen drive from senior Air Force officer Wing Commander SL Surve in December which reportedly contained classified Naval information.

After two months of inquiry, the board found three senior officers - Captain Kashyap Kumar (former director of Naval Operations), Commander V Rana and VK Jha guilty and they were dismissed from service
<b>Indira Gandhi, not US, credited with ending 1971 war</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Tuesday, April 11, 2006  
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: Henry Kissinger’s claim that it was the Nixon administration that leaned on India after the fall of Dhaka not to carry the war to West Pakistan has been challenged by a new book, which asserts that the decision was entirely that of Indira Gandhi, the Indian prime minister.

In his new biography of the late Indian leader, author and journalist Inder Malhotra writes,<b> “It was eight in the evening (of 16 December 1971) when she (Mrs Gandhi) declared ceasefire in the West. She needed the time to discuss the matter with the cabinet colleagues and with opposition leaders. To those who predictably urged that the ‘unfinished job’ in West Pakistan, too, should be completed, she replied, ‘In Bangladesh the people and the army would be battling to defend their homes. We should not subject our forces to undue ordeals’ … the military leadership endorsed this policy wholeheartedly.”</b>

He adds, <b>“In view of this, how ridiculous it is that almost to this day Kissinger has gone on claiming that Indira was saved only by the US warning to both India and Soviet Union. PN Dhar is right when he says that Kissinger’s laboured account of how the war ended had the compelling quality of a ‘spy thriller’. Others call it the proverbial ‘Big Lie.’”</b>

Turning to the Simla Conference in the summer of 1972, Malhotra writes, <b>“The essence of the Simla Accord was a private and verbal agreement between Indira Gandhi and Zulfi Bhutto that the line dividing Kashmir … would, over time and gradually, be converted into a permanent border. The key word was ‘gradually’. Bhutto pleaded that he could not possibly include this commitment in the written text but told Indira: ‘Aap mujh per bharosa kijiye.’ (Please trust me.) The text of the Agreement did indicate the direction in which the two countries were moving. For the UN-sponsored Ceasefire Line … was converted into a bilateral Line of Control. Both sides committed themselves fully to respect the LoC ‘without prejudice to either side’s traditional position on Kashmir.’ Later, it became clear that Bhutto – living up to his reputation of being so slippery that compared with him an eel would be a leech – reneged on his Simla commitment.”</b>

Malhotra refers to an in the Times of India in 1995 by PN Dhar to <b>“make Bhutto’s secret commitment public”. This was denied vehemently in Pakistan, including by some who were present at Simla. Dhar’s comment was, “About the only (Pakistani) in authority who did not react was Pakistan’s then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.” As a teenager, Malhotra recalls, she had accompanied her father to Simla and had been “kept informed of every twist and turn in the protracted negotiations”. </b>

Malhotra also records an amusing exchange between Gen Zia-ul-Haq and Mrs Gandhi at Harare in April 1980 during the Nonaligned Summit. <b>The day Zia and Indira were to meet, that very day’s newspapers quoted Gen Zia making certain uncharitable remarks about the Indian prime minister. When they met, Zia opened the conversation with, “Madam, please do not believe everything you read in the newspapers.” Mrs Gandhi replied, “Of course not. Aren’t they calling you a democrat and me a dictator?”</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>GEN.MALIK ON GEN.MALIK</b>
By B.Raman
The perennial debate over the functioning of the intelligence agencies  between the Army and the  agencies has once again been revived following the publication by Gen.V.P.Malik, who was the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) at the time of the Kargil conflict in 1999, of his memoirs titled "Kargil: From Surprise To Victory".

2. In his book, he has stated that  Pakistan's successful intrusions reflected a major deficiency in our system of collecting, reporting, collating and assessing intelligence. He  throws stones at the agencies from his safe sanctuary of retirement, hoping that people would have by now forgotten his sins of commission and omission. The book is about how despite being, according to him, let down by the intelligence agencies, he and the army, operating under his leadership, retrieved the honour of India and ejected the Pakistani intruders from the mountain heights they had occupied.

<b>3. As I read his claim and his account of his great leadership of the war as projected by him, my mind went back to December 1971 when I was a young officer in the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency, then headed with great distinction by the late R.N.Kao. Kao was  professional to his finger tips and  known for his operational brilliance and personal humility and a readiness to give credit where it is due and to accept the inadequacies of the organisation, which he headed for nine years.</b>

4. After the brilliant win of the Indian Army against its Pakistani counterpart in 1971, Gen. (he was not yet a Field Marshal)Sam Manekshaw wrote a very warm letter to Kao, expressing his appreciation of what he described as the brilliant work done by the R&AW in the months preceding and during the war. Kao marked the letter to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister and the political architect of the victory, for perusal.

5. The letter came back from her with the  remark :" The General is generous in his praise because he won the war." Left delicately unsaid was  the  truism that the army would have been the first to put the blame on the intelligence agencies had it lost the war. The Indian army is yet to produce a leader, who does not look for scapegoats when faced with failure. And what easier scapegoats than the intelligence agencies! One cannot blame Gen.Malik for not being an exception to this rule.

<b>6. Even during the 1971 war, while the Indian Army covered itself with glory in the Eastern sector, it did not do that well on the Western sector. Its senior officers responsible for the Western sector shifted the blame for their lack-lustre performance  to the intelligence agencies.</b>

7. Why was the Indian Army taken by surprise in the Kargil heights? What was the surprise about? How did it happen? The Army was in the habit of withdrawing from the LOC in the Kargil area every winter and returning to its posts after the onset of spring. Thus, the LOC used to remain unprotected throughout the winter. Pakistan took advantage of this after Gen.Pervez Musharraf became the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in October,1998. During the winter of 1998-99, he sent his troops across the LOC and occupied the heights left unguarded by the Indian Army.

8. To put it in simple words, Gen.Malik's contention is that the Indian intelligence should have come to know of the intentions and plans of the Pakistan army. According to him, it was not aware of the full extent of the increase in Pakistani Army deployments and movements across the LOC, which would have preceded the Pakistani Army's foray into our territory during the winter.

<b>9. The fact of the matter is that as early as June,1998, even before Musharraf had taken over as the COAS, Shri Shyamal Dutta, the then Director of the Intelligence Bureau, had sent a detailed wake-up call to the Prime Minister, the Army headquarters and others, warning of the  training of large numbers of Pakistani irregulars across the Kargil sector. He also reported that increased Pakistani military activity had been noticed along the LOC in the Kargil sector. In July,1998, the IB further reported  new mine-laying  and other ominous activities by the Pakistan Army. The R&AW  reported  the induction of new Pakistani units into the area. It also warned that the Pakistani troops  were being given special training.</b>

<b>10. What would an alert Army chief have done in the light of these reports? He would have asked for an assessment from his own officers as to what these activities could mean. He would have requested the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) for an assessment on the likely implications of these activities. He would have referred the JIC's assessment to the Defence Minister and the Cabinet Committee on Security and recommended that in view of these activities it would not be advisable for the army to withdraw from the LOC during the winter and leave the heights unguarded. He would have requested the Government for the urgent sanction of the funds required for equipping the army units concerned to enable them to stay put where they were even during the winter.</b>

<b>11. Did he do any of those things? No. As a professional Army officer heading the Army, it was his responsibility to have warned the Government of the various likely scenarios in the light of the intelligence reports and advised on action to be taken. He failed to do this</b>. And, when after the onset of spring his troops, while returning to their posts found the Pakistanis esconced there, he blamed the intelligence agencies for not warning him that the Pakistanis intended to do this. It is like a house-owner blaming the police for not cautioning him that if he left his house open and unguarded, thieves might enter.

12. Months later, during a one-to-one meeting with Kao to discuss the report of the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) headed by Shri K.Subramanyam over which Kao had expressed his misgivings, <b>Shri A.B.Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, asked him for his considered opinion as to why the Kargil conflict happened. Kao told me that he replied to Shri Vajpayee as follows</b>: "<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'> Sir, Gen.Malik went into a happy sleep during the winter. He is now blaming the intelligence agencies for not preventing him from sleeping."</span>

<b>13. It was alleged that an Army Brigadier posted in the Kargil area, who had  also  warned Gen.Malik of likely Pakistani intentions and moves, was sought to be intimidated into silence by Gen.Malik through a departmental enquiry when he tried to go to the media with his story</b>. <b>It was also alleged that a distinguished journalist was sought to be black-listed and denied access to the army headquarters when in one of his articles he pointed out that there were no Pakistani intrusions in the areas where the Border Security Force (BSF) was deployed because it did not withdraw its men from the LOC during the winter, despite being ill-equipped to meet the rigours of the cold.</b>

14. During his tenure as the COAS, Gen.Malik sought to marginalise the role of the  JIC and make the COAS not only the Czar of the armed forces, but also of the Aviation Research Centre (ARC), the Special Frontier Force (SFF) and all technical intelligence (TECHINT) capabilities. The Special Task Force for the Revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus, which the Vajpayee Government had set up after the Kargil conflict, had asked the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) to prepare a statement of inputs received by the JIC and its successor the NSCS from the intelligence agencies during the months before the conflict.

15. Its statement showed that the largest number of inputs came from the R&AW, followed by the IB. <b>There were hardly any inputs from the Directorate-General of Military Intelligence (DGMI). </b>The Task Force asked a senior officer of the Army why the Army had stopped sharing with the JIC and other agencies the military intelligence collected by it. It was taken by surprise when he replied that since the army was the end-user of all military intelligence, it did not have to share with others the military intelligence collected by it.

16. During the testimonies before the Task Force, the army sought to damn the performance of the civilian agencies. The Air Force and the Navy were more objective and  balanced and highlighted the good as well as the bad points. The efforts of Gen.Malik to get control of the ARC, the SFF and the TECHINT capabilities of the R&AW failed  partly due to strong opposition from the Air Force and the Navy to his demands and partly due to his failure to convince the Task Force of the need for such action.

17. The Task Force had the benefit of a detailed presentation by some senior officers of the Army on the performance of the civilian intelligence agencies before and during the Kargil conflict. In an attempt to buttress Gen.Malik's demand for the transfer of the ARC to the control of the Army, one of the officers strongly criticised its performance. The Task Force confronted him with a copy of a letter which Gen.Malik had written to Shri Arvind Dave, the then chief of the  R&AW, after the war was over praising the performance of the ARC. He and the other officers were confused. After brief consultations among themselves, the officer replied:"<b> That is one of the routine letters of appreciation which the chief writes to everybody after a war is over. It does not mean anything." That was the attitude of Gen.Malik and his officers to the intelligence agencies.</b>

18. In other countries of the world, whenever an enquiry is ordered into military allegations of an intelligence failure, the enquiry committee has a representative of the intelligence agencies to ensure that the committee, in its deliberations, is fair to the intelligence agencies. The KRC had no representative of the intelligence community. The Committee showed an incorrect eagerness to protect Gen.Malik from any blemish despite indications, which did not reflect well on the way <b>Gen.Malik had handled the situation in the days before his visit  to Poland when worrisome reports regarding the extent and the nature of the Pakistani intrusions started flowing in from his own units.</b>

19. Gen.Malik allegedly created a messy situation  for himself, but he came out of it with a brilliant victory. Why blame him for creating the messy situation in the first instance, when he and his men had won a brilliant victory in the end at a tremendous sacrifice? That seems to have been the attitude of the KRC. They put the blame on the intelligence agencies for whatever had gone wrong and whitewashed the sins of commission and omission of  Gen.Malik.

20. Our civilian intelligence agencies are not perfect. They have many inadequacies. They were found wanting on many occasions. I have myself drawn attention to these in many of my articles. Despite this, I still retain, 12 years after my retirement, many friends and well-wishers in the intelligence community because I try to be scrupulously fair in my criticism. I was known for my fairness while I was in service. I am known for my fairness even today.

<b>21. Unfortunately, Gen.Malik was not known for his fairness while he was in service. He was perceived by many in the community of senior government servants and national security managers as a compulsive fault-finder and scapegoat-seeker. Even six years after his retirement, he has not changed. That is evident from his book</b>.

22. One person in the Government of India, who is completely  in the picture on the totality of the performance of the intelligence agencies is the Prime Minister of the day. One person, who is totally in the picture regarding their performance in the collection of military intelligence is the Defence Minister.

<b>23. Shri Vajpayee, the Prime Minister at the time of the Kargil conflict, and Shri George Fernandes, the Defence Minister, both denied allegations of intelligence failure immediately after the war was over.</b>

24. Whom to believe---Shri Vajpayee and Shri Fernandes or Gen.Malik?
<!--emo&:clapping--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/clap.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='clap.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Agni III Test Launch
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Scientists working on 'soldier as a system', robotic soldiers


If the country's defence scientists have their way, the Army could be equipped with hi-tech individual communications and weapons systems within three to five years, a top official said today.

And the next decade could see the advent of robotic soldiers trained in autonomous infantry warfare, said A Sivathanu Pillai, the chief controller of research and development in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Speaking about new initiatives in armament technology, Pillai told PTI that the scientists are working on a programme called "soldier as a system".

"You need to equip the infantry soldier well," said Pillai. "The man must be equipped with intelligent inputs, communication, lightweight night sights, special goggles, protective clothing, protective shoes against mines.

"Many things are built around the soldier with minimum weight so that he becomes more efficient. In about three to five years, you will see many technologies coming up to help the soldier," he said.

According to Pillai, this programme will lead to "robotic soldiers" trained for autonomous warfare, for which a "10-year horizon is seen". "It (robotic soldier programme) is in a very initial stage," he said.

Pillai said the DRDO is working on autonomous vehicles that could clear minefields and precision-guided munitions. It has also carried out "some studies" and "initial trials" on a major programme for developing autonomous underwater vehicles.

Noting that future wars will be "fast", Pillai said DRDO had started working on technologies for this.

1) Someone, please let us know what part of India/China border these photographs depict?

2) Someone, try waking up some MOD/MEA/MEOW babu in dilli and alert them of how Chinese plan to fight their next war with India.


Don't, however, spend the next three days scouring the world's mountain ranges trying to find a geographical match: the legwork has already been done for you by this (http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded....ge/vc/vc/1) enterprising Google Earth Community member who correctly identified the model as representing this (http://regmedia.co.uk/2006/07/19/aksayqin_hu.kmz) disputed area on the Chinese/Indian border.

It's clear that a huge amount of time and resources has been invested in this perplexing scale model, which incidentally represents an area of around 450 by 350 kilometers. The big question is: why?

The only sensible explanation we can come up with is that it's a training aid for pilots - possibly helicopter jockeys - designed to familiarise them with the landscape should military action ever be required.

No doubt you lot can come up with some better suggestions, but while you ponder this mystery keep one eye open for the black helicopters of Huangyangtan. ®
<b>Kargil hero makes a comeback</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->When Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa was shot down during the 1999 Kargil operations and taken prisoner by the Pakistani Army before being dramatically released, many thought his flying days were over due to a spinal injury he sustained while ejecting from his MiG-27 fighter - but he has proved the sceptics wrong.

Today a squadron leader flying AN-32 transport aircraft, Nachiketa has been approved for promotion to wing commander and could rise even higher, his peers in the Indian Air Force (IAF) say.

"I would even say that depending on the circumstances, he could even make (IAF) chief," Air Marshal AK Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-chief Western Air Command, maintained, not exactly in jest.

Nachiketa, however, wouldn't speculate on this, only saying: "The IAF is my home; I will definitely stay in the Air Force."

Nachiketa is one the very few IAF pilots to have returned after their aircraft crashed in enemy territory. He was shot down on May 28, 1999, and held in captivity before being released a week later on June 4. He was later diagnosed with a back problem - a compression fracture - meaning he could never fly fighters again. However, after a series of remedial measures and retraining, he has been flying AN-24s since 2004 and is currently posted with the Chandigarh-based 48 Squadron.

<b>Did he miss flying fighters?</b>

"Definitely. But, then, even this flying is very good. In fact, all flying is very good and very challenging - be it fighters, helicopters or transports," Nachiketa said.

"I think I've reconciled (myself to not flying fighters) because, from a broader perspective, I think life has got much more than fighters," he added.

Detailing the dramatic events of the day he crashed, he said: "I had a technical problem with the engine; my engine shut and I had to re-ignite. But you have to be flying at a certain height before you can do so. In my case, since I was flying over a terrain of five plus km, I did not have the adequate height. As a result, I had to eject.

"About two to three hours after I ejected, I was ambushed and there was a fire fight. Regular Pakistani Army troops fired at me, I fired back. Eventually, I was captured because I was outnumbered. I had one pistol vis-à-vis five-six AK-56s," Nachiketa stated.

"After about a two-hour halt at a place in the Batalik sector, I was taken by a helicopter to Skardu. After a night halt, I was shifted to Rawalpindi. I stayed there for four days. Thereafter a decision to release me was taken and I came back via the Wagah border," he said.

Looking back at the incident, was it wise to have flown an aircraft like the MiG-27 in the mountainous Kargil terrain? "I think that is for the tactics and policy makers to decide. We just do whatever is best for us," Nachiketa replied, adding "With the available intelligence at that time, we thought it was a good decision."

Asked how his captors treated him, he said: "They took it in two phases. First they declared me uncooperative. Then it became quite bad. I don't want to go into specifics."

<b>What did his captors question him about?</b>

"They asked me about our forces, their deployment, the kind of avionics and ammunition which we have."

He replied in the negative when asked if he expected to come back after he was captured?
"Absolutely not. As per our background, from 1971 what we have seen, no one generally comes back."

<b>Did he debate issues of life and death after being captured?</b>

"The only thing I was planning from my side was escape. But that takes time. Initially, there is high security, then slowly there is dilution. Being released by Pakistan was a surprise."

Asked if the IAF trained its personnel about what to do if one is captured, he replied: "In all our training, starting from the cadet days, the entire focus is on survival. In the Air Force, we have a special survival course for aircrew so that we are better prepared to handle such eventualities."
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<b>Kalam wants national war memorial in Delhi</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Chandigarh war memorial, Kalam regretted that no national memorial had been built after independence for soldiers who died for the country.

"Once I am back in Delhi, I will work for such a memorial there," he said.
<b>Video - Siachen soldiers go green, clean</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Defence attache recalled from Germany </b>
PTI | New Delhi
Defence Ministry has recalled the country's defence attache in the Indian Embassy in Germany, <b>Brig PC Panjikar, for allegedly canvassing with armaments firms</b>. Panjikar, a Mechanised Infantry officer, had completed two years of his three-year tenure in Berlin, Ministry sources said.

An Army official said the officer has been recalled "on the directions" of the Ministry.

"There is a likelihood that the officer may have exceeded his brief in the execution of his duties."

Panjikar's recall comes days before Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee is embarking on a high-level visit to Germany to interact with the leadership and defence industry. <b>Though the ministry officials were tight-lipped, highly placed sources said the intelligence agencies had tapped his phone conversations with armaments companies. </b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Army has no gender </b>
Media should be cautious in criticising the Army as it could demoralise the forces and jeopardise the nation's security, says Vinay Shankar

It is not funny how easily sanity and objectivity can become casualties in the wake of the media's competitive sensationalism and the political elite's addiction to expediency. The recent suicide by an Army officer is a typical example of this trend.

In fact, there were two suicides; both were used to put the Army in the dock. In one case, the officer's wife accused the Army hierarchy of covering up the murder; and in the other, the victim was a woman officer whose parents alleged that she was not treated well.

For a few days the media made the Army its punching bag. The frenzied pummelling was relentless till the bag ruptured and the stuffing drained out. The political leadership, instead of deflecting the attack, too, joined the fray.

The media moved on. The politicians, too, have perhaps forgotten the incident. And, the Army is left tending to its wounds. But few understand that the nation may end up paying a heavy price if the Army cracks. After all, it remains a vital national pillar. For the Army to deliver, its morale needs to remain high, it must have cohesion and self-esteem, and it must enjoy the respect of its countrymen. Unfortunately, other than the Army hierarchy and maybe a few other segments, most do not care.

Since the mid-1980s, the Army has been stretched to the limits, as it has been engaged in stressful combat situations with insufficient officers and inadequate equipment. Under more benign circumstances, the Army could have weathered such sniping and slashing. Even in these difficult times it might. But must we subject the Army to this kind of senseless battering.

It cannot be anyone's case that the Army must not be probed, scrutinised and subjected to the gaze of the media and the public. Like any other institution, the Army must be prepared to take the brickbats together with the bouquets. At the same time, it expects that the media does its homework, analyses the incident and makes an effort to understand the repercussions before it begins to splash.

Let us first look at the case where the wife alleged murder. While anything is possible the probability of a murder being twisted to a suicide is remote, especially in the kind of cheek by jowl proximity that pervades life in units and formations. Since the story is no longer being aired it can be surmised that the death has eventually been accepted as suicide. This chapter may have been closed, but the Army's image would have taken a beating.

Some effort to understand the character of our Army could have made a difference to those in the media who latched on to this story. For those who are familiar with the ethos of the Army will vouch that in cases of suicide, the first organisational response is to look at what can be done to support the family because suicide does not entitle the dependants to normal pension benefits. Besides, units do try and adopt such families to the extent they can. Admittedly this tradition is today not as strong as it was some years ago, but nevertheless it endures.

The bigger issue was the suicide of a woman officer. As the news spread, the first charge that surfaced was that the officer's superiors did not deal with her with sensitivity and concern. The feminists then did not rise to the defence of the Army and proclaim that all officers must be treated alike and that women must be able to take the rough and tumble of Army life.

Instead they remained silent, like they remained silent when a woman candidate for the Army insisted that she be medically examined only by a female doctor. Her demand was acceded to and now as a policy only women doctors examine women. Could there be a socially more regressive step? Prior to this our society viewed doctors as doctors and not as men or women. Their sex was never an issue.

The really knottier problem exploded when the script took its inevitable turn to the issue of 'women in the army'. An unwary Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, when quizzed on this subject by the media, was perhaps not circumspect enough, or has been misquoted. While what he uttered may be reflecting the views of a reasonably wide cross-section of the Army leadership, it has to be admitted that he could have handled the questions more adroitly.

The animated and angry response from women's rights groups was to be expected. But what was surprising was the shrill vitriol spewed by an erstwhile Cabinet Minister, known for her intellect and sagacity. By stridently demanding the sacking of the Vice-Chief who has served the nation diligently for almost 40 years, she struck some vital body blows at the self-esteem of the Army.

The response of the Defence Minister to the tirade of the feminists was equally distressing. Given his experience, we thought that he would stand by his Vice Chief and skilfully diffuse the situation. Instead, he too succumbed and the Vice-Chief had to tender a public apology.

The Army has had women as doctors and nurses. The recent decision to recommend to the Government the induction of women as officers into the other branches of the Army was not imposed. It was a proposal that the Army made of its own volition. The primary reason for proposing the enrolment of women as officers in the Army was to address the problem of the acute shortage of officers. The gender issue also weighed in to strengthen the case.

Women have been in the Army for more than a decade. Before rushing to some rash decisions, it may be a good idea to conduct a dispassionate study of this experiment. Let a special committee be constituted for the purpose. Based on the recommendations that are made appropriate reforms can be implemented. But without adequate deliberation ordering the entry of women in the combat arms would be a monumental blunder.

The national imperative of addressing the complexity of gender bias and securing equal opportunities for women is unexceptionable. There may also be a case to further sensitise the Army leadership to gender issues. But to contemplate using the Army to engineer social change would be unwise.
- (The writer is former Director-General, Artillery)
Indian army crackdown on indiscipline

NDTV Correspondent

Watch story

Sunday, September 24, 2006 (New Delhi):

Indiscipline will not be tolerated in the Indian Army. Fed up with reports of petty corruption the top brass of the force has decided to act.

In the high altitudes of Siachen and Kargil in the jungles of the northeast or even the deserts of Rajasthan Old Monk rum is indispensable to the army jawan.

While that swig of rum may relieve a jawan's stress a major general found out last week that illegally selling regulation alcohol in the open market gives a nasty hangover.

He was stripped of his rank and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment.

Though it wasn't the first time a general was cashiered by the Indian Army - Major General GI Singh's case is an example of the new school of thought at the Army Headquarters.

Punitive action

Since 2000, the Army has court martialled nearly 6,000 troops including hundreds of officers.

Since 2004 three Major Generals, six Brigadiers and at least 20 Colonels have been convicted by military courts.

Their offences have ranged from corruption, fake encounters and deviant sexual behavior.

For the 1.1 million strong army, the declining standards of probity and discipline are major issues.

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>But serving and retired officers point out no other arm of the government is as swift in dispensing justice as the armed forces...</span>

A retired Major General says, "while it is certainly a source of concern that corruption has seeped in the higher echelons of the army".

He added, "our personnel come from the same society that believes in easy money and shortcuts and therefore are not entirely immune to various temptations to make a quick buck".

"<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>At the same time, the armed forces are the only institution that punishes offenders and hands out exemplary punishment". </span>

"Has one politician or bureaucrat caught in corruption cases faced similar punishment ever," the officer said.

Tehelka sting

In the 2001 Tehelka case for instance three officers including a major general were court martialled and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment.

<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>But none of the civilians or politicians involved in the same case has been brought to book.</span>
It's been five years since the web portal exposed the corruption in defence procurement procedures.

Growing corruption within its officer cadre is certainly a concern for the Army but it is not yet a major worry since a quick court martial and dismissal still works as an effective deterrent against wrongdoing.

On 28th September one more MIG-29 Interceptor crushed in Punjab. The pilot was able to bail out to safety.It will once again raise the question of the continued reliability of the MIGs with the Indian Air Force.
Mig 29 is different from Mig 21
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Lt Gen Shah to take over as Dy Chief of Army Staff tomorrow  </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
<b>Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah will take over as the new Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems) on Sunday </b>(October 1) after the present incumbent Lt General GD Singh retires. <b>Shah is the elder brother of famous actor Naseeruddin Shah.</b>

An alumni of St. Joseph's College, Nainital, Lt. General Shah was commissioned into the 186 Light Regiment (Camel Pack) in June 1968 and<b> he saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan at Longewala in Jaisalmer sector</b>, an Army spokesman said here on Friday adding Shah, at present, was posted in 3 Corps in the north-east region.

Shah has participated in counter-insurgency operations in the north-east and Punjab besides serving stints in a mountain brigade, an instructor at the Officers Training Academy, Chennai and Additional Military Secretary, Army Headquarters.

<b>He also served as defence attache in Saudi Arabia</b>, the spokesman said adding Shah was a graduate of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and National Defence College, Delhi. Incidentally, his son is now serving in his father's regiment, the spokesman said.

In another major appointment Lt General SP Sree Kumar has been named as the new Signal Officer-in-Chief. A 1968 batch officer, Kumar is a graduate of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and took part in the 1971 war. He also served a stint in Sri Lanka during the IPKF operations and in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

Lt General PR Gangadharan was appointed as the new military secretary and will assume the new responsibility on October 1. A Maratha Light Infantry officer, he also saw action during the 1971 war in Jaisalmer sector and later served in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. At present, he is commanding a Desert Corps, the spokesman said. 
<!--emo&Smile--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo--> Restructuring Pakistan
written by Gen Saighal avilable at Amazon.com
also www.vinodsaighal.com
Pakistan's policies have led to NATO sitting on its flanks in Afghanistan.
Bagram will remain a US military base till the proverbial cows come home.
Other US military bases in and around Pakistan have come up. With only
slight hyperbole it can be said that there are perhaps as many FBI agents
operating in Pakistan as in stateside USA. Pakistan's making up with India
becomes a survival imperative for Pakistan. Pakistani civil society has
begun to comprehend the enormity of the dangers facing Pakistan from the
situation that the military hierarchy has allowed to develop in the region.
Should they be able to force their masters (never friends) to change course
Pakistan and India will yet find their collective way out of the woods. If
not, Pakistan must await the inevitable collapse. It has nothing to do with
Kashmir in the year 2003. It has everything to do with the military
hierarchy not wanting to give up power after having ruled the roost for over
fifty years .

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 30 2006, 01:40 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 30 2006, 01:40 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Lt Gen Shah to take over as Dy Chief of Army Staff tomorrow  </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
<b>Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah will take over as the new Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems) on Sunday </b>(October 1) after the present incumbent Lt General GD Singh retires. <b>Shah is the elder brother of famous actor Naseeruddin Shah.</b>

<b>Mudy Ji :</b>

I am greatly impressed by Lt General Zameer Uddin Shah’s Profile.

However the statement <b>He also served as defence attaché in Saudi Arabia</b> is no big deal as Our Secular Democratic Republic of India being ingrained and inculcated with the “Equality Norms” cannot appoint <b>Non-Muslim Senior Diplomatic Officers</b> top Saudi Arabia as Saudi Arabia insists that India appoint Muslims to Senior Diplomatic Posting in Saudi Arabia.

A Case in Point is that in the last 55-60 Years of Diplomatic Relations with Saudi Arabia, India has always been forced to Appoint a Muslim as Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

<b>Capt. Manmohan Kumar Ji :</b> With your connections in Delhi I hope you can either Deny or Confirm my above Statement in Respect of the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia always being a Muslim and that no Non-Muslim has as yet been appointed as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Cheers <!--emo&:beer--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cheers.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='cheers.gif' /><!--endemo-->

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