LOVE MY INDIA

Thursday, September 3, 2015


For OROP & full Justice for ESM community
Ex-Servicemen Rally & RHS

At MOHALI 
(Ph-8, Dushera Ground, Near Amb Chowk)
Org by UFESM & sp by SEWA

On 06 Sep 15
(Sunday) wef 9:30 am to 1 pm,
After the Rally
Relay Hunger Strike (RHS): wef 1pm till OROP.
(Volunteers 7 to 11 ESM shall be on RHS daily)

 All ESM & Families are requested to Join please.

For full Justice & Community welfare Issues like:-

a.    OROP &to revert back to pre 1973 status.
b. Job Guaranttee up to 60 Years of age, in
state Police &civil Administration.
c. Formulation of Ex-Service Commission.
d. Implement 6- 9000 AFT/ Court decisions.
e. Replace Esm Welfare Dept of Bubus with ESM.
f. Misc: Widow’s Pen, ESM rep in all Govt bodies, Job
for wards of Soldiers, Pro rata Pen for pre retd & so on.

All Govt servants must serve Army on Borders for 365 days.

We request volunteers for Breakfast service
& Donations at RHS Mohali.

For more details please Contact:
Col Sohi. 9815107744, col cjs khera-9464551403 

OROP ‘figures’ in BJP-RSS meet

Govt top brass in attendance at three-day coordination event
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 2
The BJP has rejected reports that “one-rank-one-pension” (OROP) scheme was among the issues discussed at the much-watched-out samanvay (coordination) meeting between senior RSS and BJP functionaries that began today.
However, sources say concerns were raised by senior sangh leaders on the issue and its effect on the party’s image, even if on the sidelines of the main event. After listening to the government's side, they also advised a quick resolution to the impasse to avoid damage to the party’s image.
Refuting speculations, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav called as “baseless and false” the reports of OROP and Ram Mandir being on the agenda for the meeting.
“Ram Mandir and OROP was not a matter of discussion today, and any report saying that it happened is absolutely false. OROP is a government policy and its implementation is a government matter,” Madhav said on the first day of the meeting that was watched keenly by Opposition parties.
The three-day coordination meeting called by BJP’s ideological fountainhead RSS is to "exchange notes" among sangh affiliates on relevant social and economic issues. While both BJP and RSS deny it, the meeting is also being seen as a “review” of the Narendra Modi government’s 15 months in power.
This, even as Madhav today, and before him RSS chief spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya, maintained that the meeting was not designed to discuss government’s performance, but discuss matters such as national security, agricultural growth and social issues.
Opposition parties such as AAP have called the meeting between top BJP ministers and the RSS and its 15 affiliates a “mockery of Constitution”, an “interference” in political process and indication of sangh’s growing interest and involvement in governance.
Taking a dig at the RSS, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned how it could be called a social organisation. “So, the RSS is doing a three-day performance appraisal of the Modi government. Anyone else wants to tell me that they are a social organisation?” Omar tweeted.
According to a BJP leader, while OROP could be discussed in the meeting in the coming two days, it was not a part of the agenda for the day.
On the sidelines though, senior RSS leaders like Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi and Dattatrey Hosabale expressed apprehensions about the issue with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. RSS chief Mohan Bahgwat also talked to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parrikar separately on the issue and sought to know the problems the government was facing in its implementation.
Sources said all organisations affiliated to the RSS today gave their feedback on major initiatives of different ministries. The event was inaugurated by Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat, who highlighted the relevance of the word “samanyay”, saying “taal mel” (coordination) was required among different affiliates of the sangh parivaar. “He said a difference of opinion can result in ‘katuta’ (unpleasantness) and the aim of the meeting was to remove any difference of opinion, any communication gap, on various issues," sources said.
Apart from Rajnath Singh, Jaitley and Parrikar, BJP chief Amit Shah, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Health Minister JP Nadda were present there. PM Narendra Modi is expected to attend the meet on Friday.

Govt set to notify OROP based on own formula

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 2
The government is likely to notify the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) scheme, but as per its own definition. This could possibly include a compensation for soldiers retiring before age of 40 and a fixed tenure for revision of pensions to equalise them as per ranks and years of service.
It will take into account the very basic criteria that the pensioners get compensated for having “sticking their neck out” for defending the country and don’t feel let down.
The Bihar Assembly elections are also driving the government to finalise the OROP. Today another meeting was held on the matter to bridge the gaps.
The government formula was listed out by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley two days ago when he laid down a few ground rules for implementing the OROP, a pre-poll promise made down the BJP.
He ruled out any annual pension revision. In the talks between the government and the ex-servicemen, the government had proposed that the hike in pensions — to make them equal for same rank and same length of service — would be done once in five years.

The likely inclusion

  • The government is likely to include a compensation for soldiers retiring before age of 40 and fix a tenure for revision of pensions to equalise them as per ranks and years of service
  • It will take into account the very basic criteria that the pensioners get compensated for having “sticking their neck out” for defending the country and don’t feel let down
The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) at first agreed for a biennial (once in two years) equalising of pensions, but later withdrew the concession and demanded an annual equalisation. But indications are that a middle path may be worked out on tenure for revision of pensions.
Sources said the Government has made its best offer to the veterans and wants to tread a path that does not open a pandora’s box with similar OROP-type demands from other services like paramilitaries.
The system of equalising the pension is crucial as the OROP entails same pension for all those who retired in the same rank with equal length of service. Ex-servicemen sitting in Dharna have been asking for the OROP without dilution of the recommendations made by the Bhagat Singh Koshyari Committee.
Koshyari, who headed the Rajya Sabha Petitions Committee, said in December 2011: “Uniform pension be paid to armed forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement, and any future enhancement in the rates of pension be automatically passed on to the old pensioners”.

WW-II veteran’s pension battle: 50 years and still counting

Aman Sood
Tribune News Service
Patiala, September 2

While Army veterans are on chain hunger strike to fight for One Rank, One Pension (OROP), a 95-year-old former Risaldar, settled in Canada, has been struggling to get his pension arrears released for the past five decades.
Santa Singh represented the 8 Cavalry during the Second World War in Libya (North Africa). A retired Army officer is now fighting his case, writing to every Army unit and branch to ensure that the veteran soldier gets his dues before it is too late.
“Santa Singh was enrolled in the Army on September 24, 1937 and transferred to the pension establishment on September 30, 1964 after 28 years of service. However after a few months, his pension stopped and he has not been able to get it from April 1, 1965 till date,” says Colonel GS Sandhu (retd).
“I have written reminders for the release of pension to various Army Chiefs, Defence Ministers and even the Prime Minister many times. We get replies that one or the other Army unit will release the amount soon, but nothing has been done so far,” he said.
“Santa Singh’s father served during the First World War. Thus, it is a unique case of honour for two generations to represent the country in something great. But you can see how the country treats a living legend,” says Sandhu.
Santa Singh’s father Nidhan Singh was in the 15 Sikh and had served in Flanders in Belgium during the First World War.
“Without pension, you can well imagine how he would have spent those initial years. Almost 10 years of that time was spent in jail and fighting a legal battle in Canada as Santa Singh was charged with murder. But his pension had stopped before all of that happened,” he said.
Santa Singh Tatlay is fighting his case through letters with the Defence Ministry for the past five decades to get his pension released, which initially was Rs102. Now settled in Canada and nearing 100 years of age, the Second World War veteran says he wants to die with dignity. Post retirement, Santa Singh moved to Canada where he was implicated in a murder case and served a jail sentence of 10 years from 1976 to 1986.
“The fact that Santa Singh is in jail for murder was communicated to everyone including the military’s personnel and Auditor General’s branch through letters stating the nature of the crime,” says Sandhu.
On August 17, 2009, the Army wrote, “There is no formal order for stoppage of pension of the individual either due to his migration to Canada or his conviction in a murder case there. The individual is entitled to claim the unpaid amount of pension due to him, except for the period he spent in jail, further also justified since the pension of the individual was not forfeited consequent upon his conviction. There appears to be no need for government sanction for restoration of service pension,” states the letter dated August 17, 2009, in reply to a communiqué by former Risaldar Santa Singh.
Writing to The Tribune from Canada, Tatlay said, “As a senior individual approaching the century mark of my life, I am fully aware that I do not have many years left and I hope that I will be able to receive my pension soon. Despite all this ill-treatment, as an honourable soldier, I speak highly of the Indian armed forces to my grandchildren.” The 95-year-old has penned eight books on Sikhs and their history.

Army cycling expedition via Sachh Pass

Our Correspondent
Kangra, September 2

To commemorate Golden Jubilee of Elite 18 and to instill the spirit of sportsmanship and adventure amongst troops, a team of adventurers undertook a 10-day cycling expedition along the arduous route from Chamba to Tandi via Sachh Pass in Himachal Pradesh which concluded yesterday.
Lt Col Manish Mehta, a spokesperson of Ministry of Defence, said today that the expedition was conducted under 21 Sub Area with an aim to provide a wholesome outdoor exposure to the team and cycling in inhospitable terrain at an altitude of 14,500 ft.
Lt Col Mehta said the expedition was led by Major Sonu Rai and the team covered a total distance of 322 km. The expedition was flagged off from Pathankot on August 22.
The team moved through the hinterland of Chamba district, where they interacted with locals to understand their culture and met the veterans as part of the Army’s initiative to reach out to them and address their problems. The event successfully concluded yesterday.
50 YEARS OF 1965 WAR

A war that tested Indian nationhood

The 1965 War was not a war India initiated but it turned out to be a war India needed. It provided just the spark that reinvigorated our national arrangement

Harish Khare
FIFTY years ago this month the Indian nationhood was tested. Pakistan chose to initiate a war against India. This was the first grave crisis the country faced without Jawaharlal Nehru at the helm. The country was still reeling under the setbacks on the India-China border, but the physical locale of that conflict was on the sparsely populated periphery. This time around, the country was called upon to defend itself against an adversary who sought to inflict damage in the geographical heart of India.Pakistan had astutely chosen to strike at a time when India seemed most vulnerable. Let it be recalled it was a time when India was flirting with tentativeness. Nehru had passed away, there was a new prime minister who was yet to carve out a place for himself in the public imagination, and, whose authority was being snipped at from within the ruling party. The economic situation was defined by a foreign exchange crisis and food shortages. If the Naga agitationists were being difficult in the North-East, the Kashmir valley was in plain disquiet. And, then, in the third week of January, 1965, came the language implosion. 
The Constitution had envisaged that as of January 26, 1965, the country would switch over from English to Hindi as the official language. The entire 'South' erupted, with Madras being the epicentre of a massive political earthquake. Suddenly the very ability of “the Centre to hold” was in doubt. Internally, the democratic mechanisms produced conciliation and compromises; but, the outsiders seemed to have drawn wrong conclusions about Indian resilience.
Perhaps the most erroneous inference was drawn by Pakistan's president, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, who probably saw in the diminutive Lal Bahadhur Shastri a weakling and a pushover. Ayub and his generals had initiated a probing mission in the Rann of Kutch, and though India responded adequately, the matter ended up in international arbitrator's chambers. 
Ayub and company were probably encouraged in their adventurism by a devious British foreign policy establishment. The British, led by that conniving mind, Duncan Sandys, were smarting under a rebuff from US President John F. Kennedy, who had refused to accept the British argument that the West should take advantage of India's trouble with China to impose a Kashmir settlement. The Brits were active again, lending a conspiratorial ear to Pakistan and its mischievous propaganda that a “revolution” was round the corner in Kashmir. 
When Pakistan pushed India to the wall, Shastri turned out to be the man of the moment. He allowed the Indian armed forces a free hand to roll back the Pakistani aggression. And, then, on August 13, he went on air and bluntly told Pakistan: “I want to state categorically that force will be met with force and aggression against us will never be allowed to succeed.” Two days later, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, he made himself crystal clear. He remained unfazed even in the face of a Chinese ultimatum. 
The “war” lasted 48 days. And, then the diplomacy took over, leading to the “peace” at Tashkent. Perhaps China was the only long-term winner in this conflict. Beijing cleverly sensed Pakistani bitterness at American even-handedness and stepped in the breach. India was now saddled with a very heavy strategic burden: a China-Pakistan alliance.
The 1965 War was not a war India initiated but it turned out to be a war India needed. It provided just the spark that reinvigorated our national arrangement. As a contemporary observer noted presciently: “The fiery ordeal had cleansed the nation's soul and forged a rare unity among the people. Through the valour and sacrifices equally of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Anglo-Indians and Parsi youths and the Indian armed forces' sterling performance in the field of battle, that miracle had been wrought. It further underscored the inherent strength of a composite, secular state that is India.”  India was tested. It came out with flying colours, on and off the battle field. 

A victory that wasn’t

A tough war for both India and Pakistan, it was inconclusive with neither side gaining a decisive military advantage
Dinesh Kumar
The August-September 1965 India-Pakistan War will go down as one of the country’s most significant wars. The war, which occurred at a critical juncture in India’s military history, took place less than three years after India’s humiliating defeat at the hands of the Chinese (October-November 1962). 
Furthermore, Pakistan had begun cosying up to China and had only less than two years earlier in 1963 illegally ceded an occupied portion of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to Beijing. Then again, just 10 months earlier, China had flexed its nuclear muscle by exploding an atomic bomb in October 1964. On the eastern front, an assertive Indonesia was laying claims to the Great Nicobar Island, seeking renaming of the Indian Ocean to Indonesian Ocean. 
Pakistan, member of both the US-led SEATO (South East Asian Treaty) and Baghdad Pact renamed CENTO (Central Treaty Organisation), had meanwhile been equipped with modern US weaponry comprising the far superior F-104 Star Fighter and F-86 Sabre jets, many of the latter equipped with Sidewinder air-to-air missiles; the latest Patton tanks and modern artillery guns among other equipment.
In contrast, the Indian Army was in the midst of its first post-Independence military modernisation with limited purchases made from both the US and the Soviet Union. The Army was in the process of increasing the number of its Divisions from 10 to 25. And so, when hostilities broke out, the Indian Army was statistically inadequate. Over half of the Army's Divisions on the western front were new and not fully trained. Compared to the latest US-supplied Patton tanks, the Indian Army’s most modern tank was the World War II vintage Centurion, the World War II discarded Sherman and the AMX-13 light tanks.  
Meanwhile, India’s limited military response to Pakistan’s incursion in the Rann of Kutch, acceptance to both international mediation and to conceding some part of the Rann, US indifference to India’s protests about Pakistan using US-supplied weaponry, the subsequent miscalculation that India would continue to deploy some of its Army formations in the Rann and the unrest in the Kashmir valley following Sheikh Abdullah’s arrest gave Islamabad confidence that it could take on India in J&K with relative ease.
As accounts of the war reveal, it was a tough war for both India and Pakistan. Although both had their failures and successes, from purely a military point of view, the war was inconclusive with neither side gaining a decisive military advantage. Territorial gains by both sides proved inconsequential considering that the Soviet Union-brokered Tashkent Agreement involved restoration of status quo ante to pre-conflict (pre-August 5) positions along the Cease Fire Line (CFL), renamed Line of Control (LoC) after the July 1972 Simla Agreement.
Thus, August 5 marked the beginning of a long arduous military engagement for the Indian Army. On September 1, the Pakistan army launched Operation Grand Slam comprising a joint armour-infantry thrust in the Chhamb-Jaurian area to take control of the strategically vital Akhnoor bridge to cut off the Naushera-Rajouri-Poonch area from Jammu.
But before Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam, so pushed to the wall had been the Indian Army that the latter embarked on a daring operation across the CFL — capture of the Hajipir Pass, which was the primary route for Pakistani infiltration into the Kashmir valley and the Poonch area. The successful capture of the Hajipir Pass on August 28 came as a major shock and setback for the Pakistanis. 
For India, the war revealed several drawbacks. Most notable was that India’s intelligence gathering remained steadfastly poor with the armed forces and intelligence agencies being repeatedly caught off guard. Equally notable was that there had been no prior joint planning, inter-service contingency plans, consultation or training exercises between the Army and the IAF. There existed little coordination between the two services both prior and during the war. In contrast, the Pakistani Army and Air Force had better intelligence on Indian military movements and fought in close coordination.
It was also a war in which, in contrast to the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the political leadership hardly supervised, let alone interfere in the Army’s operational planning. Both highly conscious of and on the defensive following the national outrage and criticism that the political leadership under late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and late Defence Minister Krishna Menon had received consequent to the 1962 Sino-Indian War, their respective successors Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan chose to give the armed forces a near blanket operational freedom during the war. 
But there were two notable areas in which the political leadership put its foot down:
1. There would be no fighting in the eastern theatre, i.e. East Pakistan; 
2. The Indian Navy was forbidden from taking any pro-active action.
Both measures were aimed at preventing escalation of the war. All through the war, the effort on India’s part was to keep the war as localised and restrained as possible.
Yet, the war marked several major unprecedented and bold decisions by India. Compared to the 1962 Sino-Indian war when IAF fighters were not allowed to participate, the government had no hesitation in permitting the use of airpower for offensive operations. 
Overall, the offensive actions by the IAF caused little attrition and material damage on the Pakistanis but nevertheless had a demoralising effect on the infiltrators.
The boldest decision yet was for India, on September 6, five days after Operation Grand Slam, to open up an altogether new theatre in Pakistani Punjab with a pincer attack directed towards Lahore and Sialkot. This created a valuable diversion, which prevented Pakistan from seizing the vital Akhnoor bridge. It is a different matter that so unprepared and inadequate had been the Indian Army and so lacking its coordination with the IAF that the Indian Army’s counter-attack fell through within hours after a brilliant start.
Equally notable was the Western Army Command Chief, Lt-Gen Harbaksh Singh’s refusal to withdraw Indian forces to Beas as ordered by Army Chief General Chaudhuri in the face of an imminent Pakistani armour thrust in Punjab’s Khem Karan sector. In the famous Battle of Asal Uttar, the forces under Lt-Gen Harbaksh Singh’s command went on to turn the Khem Karan sector into a graveyard of Pakistan’s much-prized Patton tanks.  
The Indian Navy was mostly deployed in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to ward of a perceived Indonesian threat. The remaining Navy assets were forbidden to cross northward of latitude Porbandar even though the Pakistan Navy had launched an (ineffective) attack on Dwarka.
As for Pakistan, it abjectly failed in its objective of wresting control of J&K with the Indian armed forces preventing that from happening. To that extent, Pakistan lost and India won the war. Contrary to its expectations, there was no public revolt against India in Kashmir. Neither did they anticipate India opening a new theatre of conflict. 
Despite being a member of SEATO and CENTO, Washington DC imposed an embargo on military supplies to Pakistan, which adversely impacted the latter considering that much of its defence hardware was of US-origin.
Arguably the biggest blunder on the Indian side was made by General J.N. Chaudhuri, who agreed to a ceasefire saying that India’s front line ammunition had been expended and the Army had suffered considerable tank loss. It was later discovered that the Indian Army had only used 14 per cent of its frontline ammunition and still possessed twice the number of tanks compared to Pakistan, which in contrast had expended 80 per cent of its ammunition. Had India continued to fight, would the outcome have been more decisive in India’s favour and change the course of history is a question that experts and students of warfare need to analyse.

Of false pride and misbelief

A misinformed president Ayub Khan and overconfidence of Pakistan’s senior army officers led to the war

Arun Bhatnagar
In the Kashmir conflict of 1947-48, Maj-Gen Akbar Khan led what has been called “The Pakistan army on leave”. At that time, the second of the two British Commanders-in-Chief of the Pakistan army, Gen Sir Douglas Gracey (the first was Gen Sir Frank Messervy) did not act on Governor General Jinnah’s orders for direct military intervention and, instead, referred the issue to the supreme commander, Field Marshal Auchinleck. Akbar Khan was later to be implicated in the Rawalpindi conspiracy following the assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. Another senior officer, Maj-Gen Muhammad Iftikhar Khan, who was widely tipped to succeed General Gracey, perished in an air crash near Karachi, clearing the path for the serving Adjutant-General Ayub Khan’s appointment as C-in-C in 1951.
The significance of this encounter was the false sense of optimism and superiority that the Pakistan military establishment had about its capacity to take on the Indian Army. The immediate fallout of the ‘perceived’ success in the Rann of Kutch was that the elements in Pakistan’s ruling circles that stood for an active policy on Kashmir were greatly encouraged to challenge India. The mood had turned jingoistic and militaristic. Thus a plan was born — Operation Gibraltar — to send infiltrators into Kashmir, which was suggested to President Ayub Khan by Maj-Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik, an Ahmediya, when Foreign Minister Z. A. Bhutto, General Muhammad Musa (who was now C-in-C) and senior military brass were present. Ayub Khan directed that the main objective of the campaign should be to capture Akhnoor, which had a great strategic value.
However, Akhnoor did not fall into Pakistani hands. The popular version in Pakistan is that Maj-Gen Malik had nearly captured Akhnoor when General Musa abruptly relieved him of his command in the Chhamb-Jaurian sector and his successor, Maj-Gen Yahya Khan (an Ayub Khan favourite, whom the ‘self-styled’ Field Marshal wished to see as a ‘hero’) failed to consolidate the gained ground. A differing opinion is that Ayub Khan lost his nerve just when Pakistani forces were poised to capture Akhnoor and decided to call off the operation because he did not want to provoke a war with India. However, a full-scale war did, more or less, ensue and on September 6, 1965, the Indian Army crossed the International Border in Punjab.
Except for a coterie of top generals, very few (not even in the Air Force) knew about Operation Gibraltar. The Lahore garrison commander was not taken into confidence; the governor of West Pakistan, Nawab Amir Mohammed Khan of Kalabagh, did not know what was afoot and vacationing in Murree.
The belief that India would not retaliate and attack Lahore and Sialkot proved to be a monumental miscalculation. Pakistan earned some successes in the battlefield. Maj-Gen Abdul Hamid Khan (later Deputy C-in-C in the Yahya Khan regime) was the GOC 11th Infantry Division at Kasur. This Division, in conjunction with 10th Infantry Division under Maj-Gen Sarfaraz Khan, effectively blunted the Indian thrust to Lahore and captured Khem Karan. However, further advances by the Pakistanis were repulsed. It is suffice to say that it was Lt-Gen Harbaksh Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, who stabilised the front and whose exceptional leadership carried the day for India. The defeat of the Pakistani army in the tank battle of Asal Uttar was one of the greatest setbacks suffered by their forces in the 1965 War.
A Pakistan’s career diplomat, Sultan Muhammad Khan (who later became foreign secretary), confirmed that after its only armoured division got bogged down during the Khem Karan offensive, the war had ended as far as Pakistan was concerned. It is on record that when Ayub Khan asked for a report on the second day of the war, Musa informed him that the army was running out of ammunition, which shocked Ayub so much that it might have hastened the cardiac ailment which overtook him after a couple of years. Had he held the senior generals squarely accountable and sacked them, this may have tied the hands of the military adventurers who followed him.
There are those in Pakistan who believe that Ayub Khan was not fully aware (or made aware) of the reasons for the 1965 War. His close advisers like Aziz Ahmed and Nazir Ahmed (former ICS men) AB Awan (ex-Indian Police) and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto convinced him that the operations initiated in Kashmir were only a small programme and would not lead to a war with India. It is possible that the advisers, particularly Bhutto, also sought to weaken Ayub Khan’s hold on the government. Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmed, a long-time hawk, put in his papers after the Tashkent Declaration, only to return to the government under Bhutto after Bangladesh came into being.  
The country’s first military dictator had already had a taste of political office as Minister of Defence in the second cabinet of Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Bogra (1954-55) and was not averse to playing favourites. The Defence Secretary, S. Fida Hasan (ICS, Punjab), was a valued confidant. When appointed as C-in-C by Ayub Khan, General Musa (who joined the ranks in the 4thHazara Pioneers at the age of 18 in 1926 and was only later selected to train at the IMA, Dehradun) superseded Maj-Gen Sher Ali Khan Pataudi, Chief of General Staff, Maj-Gen Latif Khan and Maj-Gen Adam Khan, all Sandhurst graduates. This only created dissensions at very senior levels in the armed forces.
Ayub Khan and Bhutto paid a closely guarded visit to China on September 19 - 20, 1965, to meet Zhou Enlai in Beijing. The Chinese, apparently, urged Pakistan to fight on, but neither Khan nor Bhutto was prepared for a long-drawn conflict. General Musa was demoralised by the shortage of ammunition and spare parts and Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan by the high-attrition rate, which was daily reducing the number of operational aircraft available for deployment.
Vice-Admiral S.M. Ahsan, an ADC to Muhammad Ali Jinnah in independent Pakistan (he was the first person to receive the Mountbattens when they arrived in Karachi) was a trusted adviser of President Ayub Khan and as Director General of Naval Intelligence planned Operation Somnath at Dwarka in the 1965 War.
For the Pakistan military, the 1965 War was a big exercise in image-building, even though the operations were, essentially, a failure. The influential information secretary Altaf Gauhar (ghost-writer of Ayub Khan’s political autobiography, Friends not Masters, which appeared in 1967) played a key role in recording failure as success in the public mind.If the current trends are anything to go by, the possibilities of Pakistan refraining from intrusions into the Indian territory in the future appear remote.—The writer is a former Union Defence Secretary
Posted at: Aug 31 2015 1:18PM

Grand Old Man of the IAF remembers

Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC flies down memory lane to recount the hits and misses
Star Performer: Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC is the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to the five-star rank
 
Roopinder Singh
The mettle of Chief of the Air Staff Arjan Singh, DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross),  was to be tested in the 1965 War against Pakistan. He had led the numerically stronger Indian Air Force (IAF) for over a year, and now it was pitted against what was regarded as the technologically superior Pakistan air force. The IAF was chaffing because it had been allowed only limited operations during the 1962 skirmish with China. Now it was unleashed, to devastating effect. 
A measure of success of the Indian Air Force is that at the end of the war, the rank of the Chief of the Air Staff was raised to that of Air Chief Marshal. Arjan Singh thus served as the IAF Chief for a record five years. In 2002, he was made Marshal of the Indian Air Force — a five-star appointment he holds for life. The 96-year-old MIAF spoke on a number of issues regarding the 1965 War. 
How the air war started
“I was in Vayu Bhavan when General J. N. Chaudhuri said the Army needed air support. He had come from Srinagar and wanted to blunt the Pakistani attack on Chhamb Jaurian, which could have cut off vital installations and given the enemy an upper hand.
“We went to Defence Minister Y. B Chavan to seek permission for an air attack, because once the air force comes in, the engagement becomes a war. 
“Now Chavan was a man of decision, a Maratha leader, who had served as the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He asked me “Can you do it?”
“We just can. If you give orders now, we may be able to attack before night.”  (The IAF then lacked night combat equipment).
“Chavan promptly gave the orders without even consulting the Prime Minister and we launched three sorties from Pathankot that day. Vampires of World War II vintage were used. The first wave of four Vampires took off at 1719 hrs, as soon as they got orders. They inflicted considerable damage on the enemy tanks, unfortunately also hitting some Indian troops. We lost one Vampire to ground fire in this attack. 
“The second sortie of four Vampires was attacked by Sabre (F-86) jets of Pakistan Air Force which were vastly superior in performance and armament. We lost three Vampires in this air battle, with one managing to escape. The fourth sortie did not encounter any aircraft and attacked enemy men and materials.
Vaulting over Pir Panjal
“The air attack was meticulously planned. Our aircraft from Agra used to go to Chandigarh to refuel. From Chandigarh, we used to take off at such a time that the aircraft would fly over Kashmir Valley on the right side of Pir Panjal, a high mountain that provided cover against radar detection in Pakistan. 
“We used to go over the Pir Panjal near Peshawar catching the enemy unawares. We penetrated deep into Pakistan territory and attacked Peshawar, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Sargodha and other Pakistan cities. The IAF disrupted Pakistan army's supply lines and attacked more than 70 trains. After the Tashkent agreement, we were asked to visit each other’s countries, and I went to Peshawar. Malik Nur Khan, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Air Force, and I knew each other and he was quite frank in his discussions. He also showed me the place, a few hundred yards from his house, which had been destroyed by our bombing. He showed me the trenches in his house and said: “That is where we spent our time.”
Interaction with Shastri
“Our instructions from Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri were simple, “avoid hitting civilian targets”, and we never targeted civilians. Shastri as Prime Minister and I as air chief used to live a few hundred yards from each other. Our son, who is now settled in America, often used to have dinner with the Shastri family. The Prime Minister’s wife would cook the dinner and the family ate together in the traditional fashion. 
A short war
“The 1965 War was too short for us. I was disappointed when the ceasefire was announced because in my opinion the war was going on well for us. We were able to attack every place in Pakistan, while they could not send planes beyond Ambala! They could not even reach Delhi, let alone Mumbai or Ahmedabad. We had minimal causalities in the Air Force.”

Terrifying tales of trying times

Air strikes, mass exodus, razed houses — those who experienced the war are still haunted by it

Amir Karim Tantray
In the Chhamb sector of Jammu region, people still have memories of the 1965 War etched in their minds. Scenes of air strikes, shelling from the other side of Cease-fire Line, later renamed as Line of Control, and abandoning homes to take shelter at safer places during the 1965 War still haunt people living in this Jammu district. Thousands of people of this belt were rendered homeless after Pakistani army captured the area till Naiwal, near Akhnoor, during the war. Areas of Chhamb, Jaurian, Pallanwala, Kalith and other adjoining villages were captured by Pakistan and people had to migrate to safer places. 
Recounting the horror, Neku Ram Sharma, a retired lecturer, and resident of the Thangar area of Pallanwala, whose father was killed in the airstrikes by Pakistani fighter jets on September 2, 1965, says: “When the shelling began, we abandoned our houses and migrated to the Mandi Wala area near Jaurian on September 1 and left everything behind. On the morning of September 2, the Pakistani air force started shelling in Jaurian. The shells hit civilians killing many people and injuring scores of others.” He adds: “My father, Kripa Ram Sharma, was also injured but I never found him again, neither among the dead nor the injured.” Few days later, someone informed the family that Kirpa Ram Sharma was hit by a shell and was spotted near a canal. “My grandmother died while waiting for her son.” Pakistan had started the attack in the area by first sending in guerrillas. They did recce of the area and took locals as hostages. Their main motive was to terrorise people near the LoC.
Bodh Raj of Rajwal area of Akhnoor, retired from as zonal education officer. He saw the war from close quarters. “The guerrillas were decapitating locals and taking their heads along.” Bodh Raj's first posting after being appointed as a teacher was at Nawa Chak village, which is now in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. “In August, shelling from across the LoC began. The Pakistani army attacked from two sides, one along the banks of River Chenab and another from the hilly areas of Chhamb,” Raj says. At that time, security arrangements along the LoC were not sufficient, which allowed Pakistan to enter deep inside the Jammu region.
“Few personnel of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) were posted at some sites and the border was open. No fencing or Ditch Cum Bandh (DCM) was in place,” adds Sham Lal Sharma, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) senior vice-president, who was studying in Class II when the war started. “Our ancestral village, Palaton was situated near the LoC and we had to migrate from there. We first moved to Chak Malal and from there to Mandi Wala near Jaurian. Eventually, we migrated to the Muthi area near Jammu,” Sharma says. 
“From Muthi, segregation of people started. Serving and ex-servicemen were moved to Jajhar Kotli and we were taken to the Chidyayi area near Tikri in Udhampur district. We only came back to our homes after the Tashkent agreement,” he recounts. This area remained under the occupation of Pakistan till Tashkent Declaration of January 10, 1966, and all structures, houses and public property were either damaged or set ablaze by the enemy. “Everything was damaged,” says GD Sharma, Sham Lal Sharma’s elder brother, who works as a librarian in a government school, Pallanwala. After half a century, life has taken its normal course but the wounds of the war haven’t really healed. The victims doubt if these ever will, because there is no compensation for the loss of loved ones. 

Winning against the odds

The Indian Army regained ground at Pallanwala, only after a fierce battle

Maj Malkiat Singh (retd)
The actual Chhamb-Jaurian War of 1965 with Pakistan was on August 7/8 when the enemy occupied Kalidhar mount and captured Nathan and Mehra posts. A company with additional gun groups under the command of Major Virk was sent to capture the Kalidhar Ridge, but it was re-captured by the enemy within a few hours as they had more troops. The company suffered some causalities. On August 17, Nathan and Mehra posts were captured by us under commanding officer Lt-Col P. K. Nanda Gopal and handed over to another unit. 
I was posted in the unit in July 1965, which was deployed in the Chhamb sector, where Pakistan had already initiated trouble since April 1965. There were rumours that Field Marshal Ayali Khan had obtained Indian war plans from an Indian Brigadier through treachery. Pakistan was also under impression that after India's defeat on the Himalayan ranges and  death of Jawaharlal Nehru, it was vulnerable and so was its leadership. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto thought that it was the best time to launch Operation Grand Slam to occupy Chhamb-Jaurian and to capture Akhnoor to cut off Kashmir from the rest of the India. 
According to intelligence sources, a Pakistan armoured division was preparing to attack Chhamb. I was given the task to go to forward posts in the evening to recce and ambush the places where enemy patrols likely to come. In the evening there was always heavy cross firing of small arms. 
On August 14, we fired at the enemy posts. In reply, on August 15, they shelled heavily till late night at our location as well as at the Dewa area. At Dewa, Brigade Commander, Behram Master and G-3 of the Brigade were killed. Our unit also suffered some causalities. Next day, battalion headquarters, along with a company, shifted us further near the bank of Tawi River. 
After four-five days, a Pakistan armoured division attacked our forward posts. After capturing these posts they came near Sakrana village via Dewa. They were hardly 500 yards from our location. Our patrolling party captured an enemy jeep and killed the officer who was driving. 
Once day a Pakistan surveillance plane came above our location. We fired upon it but it was not hit. This plane may have given some information of our location to the enemy. 
Another time, the enemy lined up six tanks to attack our location. Our RCL Gun fired at the tank which was not hit. Within a few minutes, enemy fired at RCL Gun which was damaged. We had one tank which was behind a house surrounded by bajra crop and was not visible to enemy. I approached Maj Bhaskar Roy, in charge of the tank, to try our luck. We provided him ammunition. He fired four shells and three tanks were hit. The remaining withdrew immediately.
Our higher authorities were not aware of our situation and even our fighter planes bombarded at our location. There was no supply of any rations, we consumed tinned ration for two days. 
There was a delay due to our unready state, same thing happened during the 1971 War while I was posted at Fazilka. Finally we got withdrawl orders on the night of August 31. Had some tanks and support been given to our unit there was no question that enemy could have crossed Tawi. On September 1, after our withdrawl, Pakistan troops crossed the Tawi and advanced towards Akhnoor, supported by their fighter planes causing some damages with bombardment. The Pakistani forces was halted at Pallanwala with support from other units which had joined just two days before. 
Within a few days, 10 Division was raised at Akhnoor and more troops reached there. After a few days, our brigade moved to Sunderbani, where the enemy, after capturing Kalidhar mount and adjoing ridges, was preparing to capture Sunderbani to block troop movement to Rajouri, Poonch and other areas. 
Our unit was given the task to capture Kalidhar.  After a severe battle, Kalidhar was captured finally. There was a hand-to-hand combat with Pakistani troops. There seemed a shortage of ammunition with Pakistani troops. Most of the shells fired by Pakistani guns were outdated and did not burst.  India had frustrated all Pakistani efforts to capture Akhnoor and Sunderbani to cut off Kashmir from the rest of India.— The writer was posted in the Chhamb-Jaurian sector

We need to declassify our war records

In spite of many anxious moments, the Indian Army was able to successfully crush Pakistan’s offensive capability
Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)
As we mark the 50th anniversary of 1965 War with Pakistan, we need to reflect on the genesis of this conflict and on our successes and failures. The Indian Army had suffered a humiliating defeat in 1962 and Pakistan was under the impression that it would perform no better against it as well. 
To divert India’s attention away from Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan first made some moves in the Rann of Kutch.
Some months later, it undertook large-scale infiltration into the Valley. Pakistan’s assessment proved wrong as the locals did not cooperate with the infiltrators while the Indian Army reacted with alacrity to effectively deal with the infiltration by striking at some of their bases and capturing the Hajipir Pass.
Pakistan made another wrong assumption. It had calculated that its offensive in the Chhamb-Jaurian sector would limit the Indian Army’s response only to J & K. The terrain gave Pakistan an advantage while India had deployment limitations, especially the armour. Therefore, the Pakistan army made substantial gains in the Chhamb-Jaurian sector. It was well on its way to slicing off the Poonch-Rajouri sector at Akhnoor and threatening Jammu. This conflict could be termed as Phase 1 of the war.
India’s only option to relieve the pressure in Akhnoor was to launch a counter-offensive in the plains of J & K and Punjab. The Indian armoured division located in the Amritsar sector was sent to the Sambha-Jammu sector in complete secrecy, adding to the element of surprise. But truth be told, the Indian Army was in no state for a war with Pakistan. There were serious disparities in the capabilities of the two armies.
The Indian Army, in all, had 608 tanks of World War II vintage, 625 artillery pieces and 35 infantry brigades for the Western Front, including several mountain formations that were neither equipped nor trained for warfare on plains. Compared to this, Pakistan had 765 tanks, including 352 state-of-the-art Patton tanks, 552 artillery pieces, 26 infantry brigades and 9,000 irregulars.
Pakistan had two armoured divisions against one with the Indian Army. Its guns had better range and higher calibre. The Indian Army had slight advantage only in infantry.
The Indian war plan was simple. In Punjab, it was to advance and establish bridgeheads across the Ichhogal Canal and threaten Lahore. As India had no obstacle system of its own in this sector to anchor its defences, Pakistan was expected to launch an offensive to eliminate the threat to Lahore. However, the Indian Army held back reserves to deal with a Pakistani counter-offensive by leaving behind a tank regiment. Its Centurion tanks were the only ones that could stand up to the Patton tanks. Though this shedding of the tank regiment weakened the Indian armoured division’s offensive potential towards Lahore, it ensured the safety of Punjab. 
The Indian offensive, both in Punjab and Jammu sectors, achieved complete surprise. But on the Jammu-Sambha front, the Indian Army failed to exploit the element of surprise. The enemy mauled one entire armoured division. This was followed by a self-imposed and unforgiving freeze of 48 hours throwing away the element of surprise and giving Pakistan Army the time to recoup. On the Punjab front, there were some goof-ups as well. The Army was unaware of the existence of aqueducts under the Ichhogal Canal. It is through these that Pakistan launched its counter offensive, achieving surprise.
The battle on both these fronts could be termed as phase two. The third phase began with Pakistan’s counter-offensive being grounded in Punjab with destruction of the better part of its 1 Armoured Division. When the fighting ended, Pakistan’s offensive potential had been comprehensively destroyed and its troops forced to pull back in the Chhamb-Jaurian sector. That, in brief, is the story of 1965 War.
With both sides of the border densely populated, neither side was willing to concede territory. Therefore, pitched battles took place within a few kilometres on either side of the border. That was, and will, remain the dominant reality of offensive-defensive battles in the plains of J & K and the two Punjabs.
The destruction of Pakistan’s offensive potential by a weaker force was indeed a remarkable achievement. When the war ended, the Indian Army was decisively on top by completely crushing Pakistan’s offensive capability.
But the war had its anxious moments. The most controversial was the alleged order to fall back behind River Beas. K. Subramanyam wrote that the Army Chief sought and was refused permission by the Prime Minister to withdraw. Inder Malhotra wrote that once the Army Chief came to know about the presence of Pakistan’s second armoured division, he panicked and ordered a retreat. The sector Army Commander’s ADC referred to a midnight telephone call from the Army Chief ordering his boss to retreat. These are baseless claims, totally divorced from the reality of how operations are conducted.
The Indian security and intelligence establishment had failed to anticipate the threat from Pakistan. No effort was made to nail the MoD officials who had kept the Army starved of contemporary weapon systems and stalled the raising of more infantry formations, especially when Pakistan was heavily arming itself. We must declassify our war records with the MEA, RAW, MoD and Army Headquarters to get a clearer picture. It was indeed a miracle that given the disparities between the two opposing forces, the Indian Army got the better of the Pakistani army.
— The writer is a former Deputy Chief of  Army Staff and a defence commentator    

Patton tanks’ graveyard

A war veteran reminisces about the battle of Asal Uttar
Maj-Gen G.  S.  Jamwal (retd)
My boys had watered the fields before using anti-tank guns to hit the fleet of Pakistani tanks, which were stuck in muddy fields and were nothing more than sitting ducks for us. The battle of Asal Uttar had created a 'graveyard' of Pakistan's tanks near Khem Karan. 
But frankly, we were not ready for a war after the conflict with China and perhaps that is why Pakistan attacked us. The war was well planned by Pakistan, firstly by diverting the attention of Indian Army to J&K to deal with the infiltrators followed by an attack on Jammu via Chhamb, so that the Indian Army's entire attention was diverted towards J&K or up to Gurdaspur so that Pakistan could launch a major offensive from Khem Karan on Delhi. 
I was moving my battalion 1 JAK Rifles from Nagaland to Assam when I was suddenly asked to take over 9 JAK Rifles in Khem Karan in the Asal Uttar area. 
Although my battalion, as all other battalions involved in the attack, had suffered heavily yet their morale was not low. My battalion had lost 52 men (killed), 50 were taken as PoWs and 85 others were wounded and evacuated. Despite the loss of one-third of my battalion yet the remaining men were ready for another attack.We knew we were weak in the Amritsar-Lahore front southward, without knowing that Pakistan was planning to launch a major offensive against us in that sector with two Brigades — 7 and 62 of the 4 Mountain Division  when we attacked their main attacking force. Had we not opened Amritsar-Lahore front, we could have lost Akhnoor and even Samba.
Pakistan was surprised and totally confused by it and committed many mistakes, which formed its graveyard in Patton Nagar.
Lt Gen Joginder Singh Dhillon had smashed the Pakistani armour, poised to head for Beas bridge and then onto Delhi, in the opening days of war. That's how the Battle Honour of Asal Uttar was awarded to us.
The tank battle in Khem Karan still remains the largest and the most intense tank battles in military history between the World War II and 1965. Close to a thousand tanks, on both sides, took part in the pitched battles and offensives. We captured nearly 100 Pakistani tanks, damaged as well as functional tanks. 
Despite odds, we did fairly well in 21-day long war imposed on us. Yes, Pakistan had come very close to Akhnoor and they thought that we won’t expand beyond J&K but they were taken aback when we opened Amritsar-Lahore front on September 5, that too, with only one corps.
I get sad when I recall some bitter memories in the aftermath of the war. Many commanding officers and a Brigade Commander were sacked hastily after the war. 
Pakistan had sent hundreds of infiltrators into J&K with a misconception that population of J&K would support it. “But the people didn't support them. So, they targeted Akhnoor on September 1 under Operation Grand Slam with an aim of relieving pressure from the Uri-Poonch sector, where Hajipir operations had upset Pakistan.
However, I wonder why post-Tashkent talks, India returned Hajipir and Chhamb to Pakistan. 
Maj Gen ZC Bakshi was the architect of our victory but then we returned Hajipir Pass, Chhamb, Point 13620 that dominated Kargil town and many other strategically important areas. I still wonder why.(As told to Ravi Krishnan Khajuria)— The writer participated in the Battle of Asal Uttarhttp://www.tribuneindia.com/news/spectrum/patton-tanks-graveyard/125189.html

What stirred up a hornet’s nest

The disappearance of a religious relic and turbulent state politics were the triggers that made Kashmir an easy target

Azhar Qadri
In the summer of 1965 that ended with a war between India and Pakistan, multiple factors had conjoined to create an air of discontent in Kashmir. The disenchantment within Kashmir became the base for Pakistan's decision to launch a clandestine military mission whose success relied on a single hope that the Muslim population in Kashmir will ultimately revolt.Kashmir in 1965 was a political hotspot and the memory of an unprecedented agitation over the disappearance of a revered relic was still fresh. The series of incidents in Kashmir in 1965 had convinced the strategists in Pakistan that a covert entry of the Pakistan Army officers and soldiers, aided by volunteers, would trigger a rebellion in Kashmir and the “unfinished agenda” of Partition, the term used by Pakistani political and military leaders to describe Kashmir, would be completed.
The processes leading to gradual deletion of clauses of internal autonomy had picked up pace in the preceding decade, which had caused resentment in the political leadership and population in the area. The authority of Supreme Court, Auditor General, the Planning Commission and the Election Commission had been extended to Jammu and Kashmir. The customs barrier between India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir had also been removed.On March 3, 1965, five months before Pakistan launched its covert operation codenamed Gibraltar, there was a serious encroachment on internal autonomy when the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, a Congress loyalist, changed the nomenclature of state's Wazeer-e-Azam, or Prime Minister, to Chief Minister and the state's Sadr-e-Riyasat, or President, to Governor.It was a sign of strengthening of influence of the Union of India against possible secessionist tendencies of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Kashmir's most influential leader, and his National Conference, which was on the forefront of a political fight for plebiscite after an end to romance between its leader and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
“A sizeable section of Kashmiris resented the erosion of the provisions relating to state's autonomy,” authors Bipan Chandra, Aditya Mukherjee and Mridula Mukherjee write in the book India Since Independence.
Article 370 also gave birth to a powerful movement in state's Jammu region, which demanded full accession to India, a greater share for Jammu region in government services and even separation of Jammu from Kashmir. “The movement (in Jammu) soon acquired communal colours… it tarnished India's secular image and weakened India's case on Kashmir. It also unsettled Sheikh Abdullah, and made him doubt the strength of Indian secularism,” the authors note.
Abdullah's relationship with Nehru had soured in 1953 when he was arrested by the state police while still holding the office of Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. In April 1964 charges against Abdullah were dropped and he was released. Within days, Abdullah was on way to Pakistan where he met the dictator-president Ayub Khan and talked about solution of the K-issue involving the leaderships of Kashmir, India and Pakistan. Abdullah's Pakistan visit was cut short by Nehru's death in May 1964.
“He had died due to a dissecting aortic aneurysm. We received the news with stunned silence. Everyone knew that with his death, the hope of a solution for Kashmir and a thaw in relations between the two adversaries, India and Pakistan, had also been buried,” Gulzar Mufti, a Kashmiri doctor and author, writes in his book, Kashmir in Sickness and in Health. Mufti notes that after Nehru's death, India's appetite for rapprochement with Pakistani leadership was dead. “Kashmir's destiny was again at crossroads; fate had changed it again.”
A year after Nehru's death, in May 1965, Abdullah again went on another foreign tour, first on a pilgrimage to Hajj, then to Eygpt, England and finally to Algeria where he met Chinese premier Chou En Lai. On his return to New Delhi, Abdullah — the then most popular leader of Jammu and Kashmir — was detained and interned from the state. Abdullah's arrest and internment, which continued for several years, had created a new wave of discontent in Kashmir, where he was eulogised as the great leader.
The political upheaval of 1965 which engulfed Kashmir had another important chapter in the unprecedented agitation of the winter of 1963-64 against the disappearance of a revered relic from the mosque in the city. As crowds poured into Srinagar, Mufti writes, the agitation quickly transformed into “Mass anti-India political rallies” demanding plebiscite and implementation of the UN resolution. 
Pakistani strategists had missed an opportunity during the 1962 Indo-China war to make their move. In the aftermath of the 1962 war, Pakistan quickly seized the moment to begin developing friendship with China. Pakistan voted in China's favour in the United Nations and following a round of negotiations reached an agreement ceding the claim over the Shaksgam Valley to China, ensuring it had a friend in times of war that was soon to come.http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/spectrum/what-stirred-up-a-hornet-s-nest/125186.html

Air Force’s fiery foray into aerial combat

Initially lagging behind the technically superior Pakistan air force, the Indian Air Force broke the back of enemy supply lines

Ajay Banerjee
Epic tank battles crowd discourses, mind space and continue to hog media attention while the Indian Air Force (IAF), its pilots and ground staff have failed to get the attention it deserved.
The IAF was lagging behind the Pakistan air force (PAF) in terms of technology of that era. It had greater number of planes than the PAF but its lack of air-to-air missiles and night-flying abilities, hampered our force. The vintage IAF fleet meant nine squadrons (18 planes in each) had to be withdrawn from the front. The F-104 ‘Starfighter’ of the PAF, was among the first planes in the world to fly at Mach-2. It had heat-seeking missiles, a radar for interception and fire control. The Indian fleet of a 12-strong MiG 21s was not fully operational or integrated in the IAF.
The PAF relied on superior early warning radars installed at Peshawar, Multan, Sargodha and Badin while the IAF was dependant on single radar unit at Amritsar for its western operations. 
It was an on-the-spur decision to use the IAF. On September 1, the Army Chief, General JN Chaudhari, the IAF Chief, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, and Defence Secretary PVR Rao walked into the office of Defence Minister YB Chavan in New Delhi to decide on the IAF's role. 
Just before sunset the same day, 26 fighter-bombers, including 12 Vampires of the early 1940s British vintage and 14 Mystere-IV procured from France, had taken off from Pathankot for the Chhamb-Jaurian sector. 
“The IAF destroyed 10 tanks, two automatic guns and 30 to 40 vehicles of the invading column”, recounts S N Prasad in his book The India Pakistan War of 1965, an authorised account from the Ministry of Defence archives.Though the IAF had drawn first blood, the PAF retaliated within minutes. Its F-86 Sabre jets brought down four IAF Vampire aircraft. Three pilots were killed in action and one bailed out. The Pathankot base  turned grim after the initial euphoria.
Pilots set the momentum
After realising that Vampires and the Ourogan’s,  another vintage plane, were easy targets, the Air Headquarters directed Ambala-based 23 Squadron ‘the panthers’ flying the Gnat fighters to move to Pathankot. 
A pre-dawn briefing at Pathankot on September 3 was tense, the tactical plan was bold. Four Gnats, led by Sqn Ldr Trevor Keelor, were tasked to fly barely 100 feet above ground and at high speed. When the radar at Amritsar warned of approaching PAF planes, the Gnats zoomed up to reach 30,000 feet in less than 90 seconds. A F-86 Sabre carrying missiles showed up, Keelor opened fire from his onboard 30-mm cannon from a distance of about 450 yards and downed the PAF jet to etch his name in history and IAF folklore as the first Indian pilot to have a ‘shot down an enemy plane in mid-air’. “Shooting down of an F-86 Sabre by the small Gnat had a stimulating effect on the morale of the Indian pilots,” writes SN Prasad in his book. Within hours, Flt Lt VS Pathania had claimed a PAF jet. The 23 Squadron got the maximum kills during the three-week conflict. Elsewhere ‘The Tigers’, 1 Squadron based at Adampur and the ‘Battle Axes’, 7 Squadron based at Halwara were tasked to hit at military targets at Rahwali and the Lahore-Kasur area.
On September 6, the PAF chief, Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan, decided to launch pre-emptive strikes on Adampur, Halwara, Pathankot, Srinagar and Jamnagar air bases. A total of 60 F-86 Sabres and B-57s bombers were earmarked for the strikes. In addition, the F-104 Starfighters backed up. Ambala, Halwara, Adampur and Pathankot, all in Punjab, housed nine IAF fighter squadrons among these, amounting to 160-odd planes.
At Pathankot, the IAF lost six Mystere IV-A, two MiG-21s, 10 Gnats and one Packet transport aircraft — all caused by PAF’s 19 Squadron. Raids on Halwara and Amritsar were a disaster for the PAF. Flying Officer Adi Gandhi with Flying Officer PN Pingale were hit by the Sabres and both ejected. But Gandhi had also hit a Sabre. Two other Sabres were intercepted and brought down by Flt Lt DN Rathore and Flying Officer VK Neb, the latter was still under training. At Amritsar, anti-aircraft guns brought down a PAF bomber and the raid was aborted. A MiG-21 was lost and another one got damaged at Adampur while Jamnagar was raided six times by the PAF destroying four IAF Vampires. IAF shot down one bomber. 
Separately, an unusual attempt by Pakistan to destroy IAF aircraft and airfield installations failed. Paratroopers of the Special Services Group were air-dropped at night near Pathankot, Halwara and Adampur. Of the 180 Pakistani commandos, 136 were taken prisoners, 22 killed and the rest managed to escape back. 
Counter-strike
At the PAF’s Sargodha base, which had 64 Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns and was best defended, IAF pilots carried five raids.
The first strike on Sargodha was mounted by a team led by Wg Cdr OP Taneja. Flying the Mysteres of 1 Squadron at Adampur, the team made the audacious low-altitude run on Sargodha in broad daylight and strafed 7 PAF Sabre’s.
Apart from Sargodha, IAF attacked Chaklala and did an impressive raid on Peshawar. The Raiwind railway yard and a train was destroyed, Pakistani armoured columns at Kasur, Sailkot and Chhamb were attacked. 
Flt Lt Vinod ‘Jimmy’ Bhatia (who later retired as Air Marshal), based at Adampur then, recollects, “We were ready to take on the PAF anytime. Just a year before this, I had flown the Sabre in the US.” Bhatia was among the pilots, who attacked enemy tanks and gun positions in the Kasur-Lahore sector. Looking back, the IAF attack on Peshawar airbase, where the PAF had moved a bulk of its forces, tested nerves. IAF planes had a limited range. However, an audacious plan was put together, six Canberras flying at an altitude of 1000 feet, ripped across Pakistan in the dead of the night. The team led by Sqn Ldr JC Verma bombed the runaway and all six returned despite the PAF firing away. 
Pak pilot’s tale gets MVC for IAF pilot 
The raid on Sargodha holds a story. PAF’s Flt Lt Amjad Hussain and the IAF’s Sqd Ldr AB Devayya were locked in an intense dog fight. Devayya and Hussain hit each other’s planes. Hussain bailed out, Devayya could not and went down with his Mystere-IV, taking his act of gallantry to his grave. The mystery unravelled in December 1971 India-Pakistan War when Amjad Hussain was again shot, this time over Amritsar. Now a Prisoner of War (PoW), Hussain recounted the mid-air episode that had occurred September 7, 1965, and lavished praise on the IAF pilot. After Hussain’s account Sqn Ldr Devayya was awarded a Maha Vir Chakra posthumously January 26, 1988, 23 years after his effort.
IAF’s role in Khem Karan 
Even during the epic tank battle at Khem Karan, or the Battle of Asal Uttar, the IAF played an important role. The Pakistani tank reinforcements were cut off as Wg Cdr William Goodman’s formation destroyed 26 tanks on a train and Flt Lt Tirlochan Singh ‘Tango’ claimed another eight. The Mystere IV-A fighters, based at Pathankot, had a potent anti-armour rocket pods with 38x68 mm hollow-charge rockets that pierced through the armour plating and exploded inside the tank.
Despite the fact that this was the first-ever war where an unprepared and technologically inferior IAF had been involved in aerial combat, its men fought heroically.  The IAF had a haul of four Maha Vir Chakras (MVC), one Bar to MVC and 44 Vir Chakras (VC).
How the stage was set for the 1965 war
The events that led to the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan on September 6, 1965 are well known — the Kutch incursion of April 24, Operation Gibraltar of August 5, followed by Grand Slam on September 1. Each of them took New Delhi by surprise and were the reason that the government decided to constitute the Research & Analysis Wing subsequently.
Fifty years ago: A 1965 picture of jawans cleaning their weapons during the Indo-Pak war. File pic/Getty Images
Fifty years ago: A 1965 picture of jawans cleaning their weapons during the Indo-Pak war. File pic/Getty Images
This was a period of great change across the world, some were visible, others subterranean. The Cold War had peaked in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, the first signs of the Sino-Soviet rift were appearing. By 1964, the US was set on its fateful course in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964. In South Asia, India was licking its wounds after the humiliating defeat in the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and America’s most allied ally, Pakistan, was establishing close ties with China, and working out a détente with the USSR.
India’s situation was none too good. Its economy was stagnant and it had staved off famine by importing 17 million tonnes of food from the US between 1960-64 and the 1965 monsoon had failed. It sought to maintain an even keel in its relations with the US and USSR, even while the US struggled to manage its alliance ties with Pakistan and its newer proximity to India after the 1962 war.
The most important development for Indians, undoubtedly, was the passing of Pandit Nehru on May 27, 1964. He was the leader of our freedom struggle, prime minister for the first 17 years of our nation’s life and the man who shaped the India we know.
After his stroke on 7 January 1964 in Bhubaneshwar, Nehru got Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had been ‘Kamarajed’ out of the government, back into the Cabinet as a minister without a portfolio. Panditji’s death on May 27th was not unexpected, but it was sudden. Four days later, on 31 May, Morarji Desai was persuaded to withdraw his candidature, and Shastri was chosen PM by the Congress Working Committee.
The powerful men of the CWC hoped that the diminutive Shastri would be their puppet, but he turned out to be a man of firm views, and decisive to boot.
This was evident from his handling of the crisis over the theft of the Hazratbal holy relic that had occurred on 27 December 1963. Though it had reappeared after a week, it had given rise to a popular movement led by an action committee of people we would today call separatists. Besides the release of Sheikh Abdullah, they demanded a special deedar or viewing ceremony by experts to certify its authenticity. New Delhi was not inclined to agree, but on February 3, Shastri overruled the Home Secretary and ordered the deedar and this committee certified that it was indeed the genuine article. This helped calm things somewhat.
One fallout of the Hazratbal crisis was Nehru’s decision to release Sheikh Abdullah, who had been in jail since 1953, but for a brief period in 1958. The Sheikh travelled to Srinagar to an ecstatic reception. Later, after holding intensive talks with Nehru as his house guest in New Delhi, he travelled to Pakistan to discuss a possible resolution of the Kashmir issue with Ayub Khan. He had with him a formula that had been worked out after intensive consultations between Nehru and a committee of advisers. This probably involved the creation of some kind of a confederation or condominium between India, Pakistan with regard to J&K. However it was during this visit that Nehru passed away on May 27, 1964.
Not much attention has been paid by scholars to the far-reaching possibilities that could have emerged. Nehru’s initiatives were not welcomed by either the Left or the Right, or even members of his own party. Yet, his stature was such that if anyone could have sold a settlement in India of the nature that was being contemplated, it was Nehru.
The Kashmir initiative died with Nehru. Stung by the Hazratbal agitation, the Union government took the steps to integrate J&K closer into the Union by extending Article 356 and 357 of the Constitution allowing for the extension of President’s rule to J&K on December 31, 1964. The nomenclature of the head of the J&K government was changed from Prime Minister to “chief minister”. Another, equally significant development was the merger, in June 1965, of the J&K National Conference with the Congress.
Viewed from Pakistan, it appeared that the window of opportunity in Jammu & Kashmir was closing. In 1964, the UN had also more or less shelved discussion on the issue and earlier, in 1963, six rounds of bilateral negotiations with India had failed to come up with a solution on Kashmir. The Indian rearmament, which was proceeding apace, would soon blunt the edge the Pakistan Army had over India in terms of its US-supplied arsenal.
In March 1965, Sheikh went on a pilgrimage to Mecca via the UK and returned via Algiers, where he met Zhou Enlai. What they discussed was not revealed but on his return he was arrested. A senior CIA contact of the Sheikh has revealed in a memoir published in the 1990s that Abdullah was aware of the planning for Op Gibraltar, the covert invasion of Jammu & Kashmir by 30,000 armed Pakistani irregulars that began on August 5. When this invasion failed to trigger an uprising in the state, Pakistan sent in its 6th armoured division to cut off the Jammu-Poonch road.
Till then, the international community seemed to be unconcerned; the Pakistanis thought that like 1947, India will confine the conflict to Jammu & Kashmir. But the unassuming man who succeeded Nehru surprised them and the world. He ordered the Indian army to invade Pakistan and threaten Lahore and Sialkot and that touched off the second Indo-Pakistan war.The writer is a Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi
- See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/how-the-stage-was-set-for-the-1965-war/16500161#sthash.TAyJeP4p.dpuf

Remembering Lal Bahadur Shastri's role in 1965 war

As PM, he authorised the Indian armed forces to expand the scope of the war beyond J&K with Pakistan.

We have several friendly countries as neighbours, but one of them - a terrorist - is enough to cancel out those friendly benefits. We have been investing - both men and materials - so much in our defence plans because of this one terrorist. It all started with Partition, and despite nearly seven decades since then, the rivalry - albeit with patches of white flags in between - continues.
India is now celebrating the 50th anniversary of its 1965 war victory over Pakistan. Did we really win the war? It's not just us, but neutral analysts also say so. However, Pakistan has always claimed they too won it. They claim they defended the Indian forces with great pride and celebrate September 6 every year as their Defence Day! But it is a country that repeatedly says it does not sponsor cross border terrorism. Everybody laughs at that statement, maybe even the Pakistan leaders too, in private.
Kashmir has always been a jewel Pakistan wanted to possess. They devised Operation Gibraltar for it. It failed, and a war ensued. American author Stanley Wolpert wrote in his book India that "Ayub [Khan] was a giant of a man, as tall and sturdy as India's Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was small and physically frail. But India's army was four times larger than Pakistan's, and quickly dispelled the popular Pakistani myth that one Muslim soldier was "worth ten Hindus"." He concluded that India was in a position to inflict grave damage to, if not capture, Pakistan's capital of the Punjab when the ceasefire was called, and controlled Kashmir's strategic Uri-Poonch bulge, much to Ayub's chagrin.
As former national security adviser JN Dixit wrote, Shastri unexpectedly authorised the Indian armed forces to expand the scope of the war beyond Jammu and Kashmir across the international border with Pakistan and the army was ready to aim at Lahore and Sialkot. This surprised Pakistan and forced them to withdraw their forces from the Chhamb-Akhnoor sector and resist Lahore and Sialkot. This move effectively put Pakistan, which aimed Kashmir, to go on the defensive. Wolpert was also referring to this strategic upper hand India had in the war.
The United Nations suggested a ceasefire and both countries agreed to it. The formalities were later completed with the signing of the Tashkent Declaration. In hindsight, it was just one of the several agreements the two countries had signed. But as Wolpert wrote, Shastri never awoke to help implement that hopeful accord. He was found dead. No post-mortem. No official inquiry. Crisis man Gulzarilal Nanda was readied a second time to swear in as prime minister. End of story.
Current defence minister Manohar Parrikar has been critical of the Indian media that they did not give necessary coverage to the celebrations of the war victory anniversary. But what respect has the nation returned to Shastri? Even after 49 years of his death, Shastri's family has been asking for nothing more than justice to his memory. His family says his body sported blue patches by the time it reached India and that it also had several injury marks on it. As you would expect, our government still keeps classified files about Shastri's death, much like in the case of Subhas Chandra Bose.
The biggest asset of the small and frail Shastri was the power of his tactics. More than anything, he could direct an army which Pakistan thought was completely demoralised after losing the war to China. It also showed the decision makers under Shastri were quite apt for the job. Through his slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan", Shastri could enthuse both the soldiers and the farmers alike. Soldiers were cheered to defend the country and farmers were cheered to increase food production and reduce import in war time.
Will we give Shastri his due? Indian government fears that the truth about Shastri's death will harm our foreign relations. Doesn't the government in a democratic country owe certain responsibilities to the public? Soviet Russia undoubtedly holds the keys to resolving the death/disappearance mysteries of two of India's foremost leaders. No celebration is good if the nation does not care for its leaders who brought freedom and who defended the enemy with great pride and passion.http://www.dailyo.in/politics/1965-war-kashmir-subhas-chandra-bose-lal-bahadur-shastri/story/1/5985.html

Military needs to be ready for short wars, says Army Chief Dalbir Singh

Speaking at the Tri Service Seminar on the 1965 Indo Pak War, Chief of Army StaffDalbir Singh on Tuesday said that themilitary needs to be ready for short warsas the borders are live with frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by Pakistan.
We are acutely aware that the swift short nature of future wars is likely to offer limited warning time. This calls for maintaining very high level of operational preparedness at all times, it's something that has now become important in our strategy, the Army General said here.He also said that the Indian Army has become more alert with the rise in the number of ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
Our threats and challenges have become more complex. The Indian army has increased in intensity in the past years. With frequent ceasefire violation and infiltration by our west neighbour, the border remains live and active. New methods are continued to be employed to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The recent incidents of terrorist violence are clear points to extend violence to other areas, the Army General said.
Speaking about the 1965 war, Singh paid homage to the brave martyrs who sacrificed their lives to save the contours of India.
1965 war is saga of raw courage, extraordinary greatness and dogged determination of the Indian military. Most prominently, Indian army delivered a blow to Pakistan across the entire western front. The war settled many negative myths, restored confidence and laid ground work for the spectacular victory in 1971 six years later, he said.
The Army General also praised the contribution of the civil population during the war and how the public support was highly important to the troops.
There was over whelming support from civil population. Breaking caste and communal barriers, people, plunged into civil defence work. Cheering crowds saw marching troops to the fronts as patriotism swept across the country. This immense public support was highly important to the troops as it strengthened the bond between civil society and the Army, Singh said.The Army Chief of Staff also saluted the brave veterans saying their invaluable contribution and guidance has been a source of strength to the organisation.http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-military-needs-to-be-ready-for-short-wars-says-army-chief-dalbir-singh-2120730

Pakistan lost the war with India in 1965, new documents reveal

 The Pakistan Army, which launched an attack in the Chamb- Jaurian sector on September 1, 1965, was on the verge of capturing Akhnoor. The force was commanded by General Akhtar Malik, an Ahmadiya. There were some in the Pakistan Army, who did not want General Malik to get credit for the 'victory', and overnight, he was transferred and the command was taken over by General Yahya Khan.
The change of command resulted in delay of the attempt to capture Akhnoor. 
Meanwhile, the Indian Army, which was taken by surprise, asked the Indian Air Force for assistance. There was an immediate response from the Indian Air Force, though it lost four Vampires on the first day of the war. 
Farooq Bajwa, a Pakistani research scholar, has authored the book after studying the declassified Brirish and American documents and memoirs and unpublished reviews of the war. 
The thrust of the message that runs through the book was that Pakistan was concerned that the Indian Army was strengthening itself after the humiliating defeat that it suffered in 1962, had gained the support of the United States , which was engaged in its own war in Vietnam, and was keen to bring India to the negotiating table to discuss the future of Jammu and Kashmir. It was gradually losing the advantage it had of being allied with SEATO and CENTO. 
The first step was the attack in Kutch. Pakistan occupied the Kanjarkot Fort and on February 1965, the Indian Army was authorised to get it evacuated.
India ordered a general mobilisation in the area. Concerned, the British Government intervened, and following negotiations, the Kutch agreement was signed on 1 July, 1965 and a cease fire came into effect. 
Pakistan had hoped that it would force India to the negotiating table to discuss Kashmir, but did not succeed. 
Disappointed, Pakistan took the next step in Jammu and Kashmir. Code named Operation Gibraltar' it sent thousands of Pakistani soldiers and paramilitaries from Pakistan occupied Kashmir into Jammu and Kashmir disguised as Kashmiri guerrillas, to engage Indian forces in the state. 
The author says that 'the majority of Muslims and their leaders' in Kashmir did not rise up at the behest of the infiltrators. Gauhar, a Pakistani author, says, when the Gibraltar forces arrived in the Valley, "they were met by a frightened and hostile population". 
Unsuccessful, Pakistan then decided to take the next step. As directed by General Ayub Khan in his letter to the Foreign Minister and the Commander in Chief, the aim was 'to take such action that will defreeze the Kashmir problem, weaken Indian resolve and bring her to the conference table without provoking a general war. However, the element of escalation is always present in such struggles. So whilst confining our action to the Kashmir area, we must not be unmindful that India may in desperation involve us in a general war violate Pakistan territory where we are weak. We must, therefore, be prepared for such a contingency". 
The task was given to General Akhtar Malik. Öperation Grand Slam' which was launched by him was successful in capturing Chamb. Jaurian and Akhnoor were the next targets. But the Chief of the Pakistan Army, General Musa ordered a change of command and Geneal Akhtar handed over command to General Yahya Khan. 
With Chhamb under severe pressure, General J. N. Chaudhri, the Indian Army Chief, asked the Indian Defence Minister for air support. 
The new commander of the Pakistani forces, the author says, followed the advice General Ayub Khan 'who decided to follow the advice of Musa rather than Malik and limit the offensive so as to avoid all out war with India. There was a delay in the progress, which gave India time to reinforce the defences. 
The author says, "Despite its bold objectives and initial success, Operation Grand Slam failed in its military objectives."
India then decided to attack Pakistan at its own place of choosing. The go ahead for the invasion was given by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Defence Minister Y. B. Chavan, and H-Hour for the attack on the Lahore front was fixed at 0400 hours on September 6. 
The Indian Army attacked Lahore on three fronts - Wagah -Lahore, Harike-Khalra- Barki, and Khem Kharan -Kasur Axis. Pakistan had to redeploy its forces and the progress of its forces in Chhamb sector came to a virtual halt. 
In the battles that followed the Indian Army troops, led by Lt.Gen. Joginder Singh Dhillon, reached the Icchogil Canal on the Grand Trunk Road (called the BBRD canal) by Pakistan on September 6, but was pushed back by the Pakistan Army. Pakistan lost Burki village and fierce battles took place in Asal Uttar in the Khem Kharan -Kasur axis. 
The objectives of the Indian attack called "Riddle", the author says, was a mystery. The destruction of Pakistani armour was more important than the occupation of towns. 
The author quotes General Chaudhri, as saying that the occupation of Lahore had never been an Indian objective and that once pressure on Akhnoor had been eased India's objective was to degrade Pakistan's armour and capability of offensive action by drawing its forces into a battle and destroying them. 
Pakistan's counter attack, called operation 'Mailed Fist' was a brave attempt to save the situation, but it also saw the abandoning of Patton tanks by its personnel. 
The author also gives details of the Indian attack on Sialkot by a force commanded by Lt. Gen P.O. Dunn who had with him the 1 Armoured Division commanded by Maj.Gen. Rajinder Singh Sparrow. 
The author also gives some details of the 'side show' in the Rajasthan sector and the details of the air battles. 
He points out that both India and Pakistan did not attack civilian targets during the war. 
Meanwhile, international pressure was building up on India and Pakistan to stop the war. The United States had put in a freeze on military supplies. 
The impact was more on Pakistan, but India too was in a difficult situation, considering that China was an adversary. 
A cease fire came into effect on 22 September 1965 at 0700 hours GMT. 
The author has extensively quoted CIA and British Intelligence reports about the performance of the Indian and Pakistani army and air force units during the war. 
It was estimated that Pakistan lost 250 tanks out of a total of 99, most of which were Pattons, while India lost 300 out of 1,500, mainly Centurions and Shermans of World War II vintage. 
Pakistan reluctantly agreed to Soviet mediation. Tashkent was chosen as the place for mediation. Bhutto was sceptical about Tashkent producing anything useful and sarcastically commented that Shastri was 'quite the little Napoleon these days'. 
The author gives extensive reports of the goings on at Tashkent, and the efforts Premier Kosygyn. The Tashkent Declaration was signed in the afternoon of January 10. 
According to the author, Premier Kosygyn persuaded Lal Bahadur Shastri to give up the captured areas, including those in Jammu and Kashmir like the Haji Pir Pass, and exchange prisoners of war. 
The author says: There is little doubt that the declaration was a diplomatic triumph for India and a defeat for Pakistan. Whatever the ambiguity of the result on the battlefield, the only reference to Kashmir - for which the whole war had been fought - was a passing reference in Clause I which merely recorded that the issue of Kashmir war was discussed'. The reality was the issue of Kashmir 'was simply not discussed by the Indian delegation at all'. 
After the signing of the declaration, a banquet was held on January 10. Lal Bahadur Shastri suffered a heart attack the same night and passed away. 
Next morning flags flew at half mast on the road to the airport at Tashkent, and 'with a gentle gesture from Kosygin, Ayub assisted Kosygin in lifting Shastri's coffin on to the aeroplane to return his body to India. 
The author concludes:"When the fog and noise of war cleared, medals were awarded, bodies buried and Tashkent signed, India and Pakistan were exactly in the same position geographically. 
Written by a Farooq Bajwa, a Pakistani scholar, the book is objective in its approach and gives insights into the minds of Pakistan Army commanders and also how the world looked at the conflict. 
I.Ramamohan Rao, was a former Principal Infomation Office of the Government of India. He can be reached on his E-mail: raoramamohan@hotmail.com
Book Review, From Kutch to Tashkent, Indo- Pakistan War of 1965, By Farooq Bajwa, pp 413, Pentagon Publishers, Rs 995/- http://www.newkerala.com/news/2015/fullnews-112498.html

New methods being used to create unrest in J-K: Army chief


Indian security forces should be prepared for short wars as the border with Pakistan has seen frequent ceasefire violations, Indian Army chief Dalbir Singh said on Tuesday, adding that new methods were being used to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.
"(Because of) the frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by our western neighbor, the borders remain live and active. New methods continue to be employed to create unrest in J-K. We are acutely aware that the swift, short nature of future wars are likely to offer limited warning time - this calls for maintaining very high levels of operational preparedness at all times," Singh said at an event in Delhi.
Speaking at the same event, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said the country's security environment was complex. "The security environment today is complex... (We) need to be vigilant all the time," Parrikar said at a tri-services seminar to commemorate the 1965 India-Pakistan war. 
Parrikar said Pakistan paid for its "misadventure" in 1965, and said India clearly won that war although skeptics called it a draw. India is commemorating 50 years of the war.
There have been 55 ceasefire violations from the Pakistan side in August and more than 240 such incidents this year.
In the worst such incident in two weeks, three civilians were killed and nine injured when Pakistani military resorted to indiscriminate shelling on the Jammu and Kashmir border on Friday. It was the worst violation of the 2003 ceasefire on the Jammu and Kashmir border since August 15 — India's Independence Day — when Pakistani firing and shelling killed six civilians on the Indian side.
Pakistan claimed that six civilians were killed when Indian troopers opened fire and shelled on the international border.
National security adviser-level talks between India and Pakistan were recently cancelled amid disagreements over the agenda. India said attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists must be discussed but Pakistan insisted it would raise the Kashmir issue during the talks.http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-s-security-environment-is-complex-manohar-parrikar/article1-1386361.aspx

India prepared for military action, says Army chief

The Army Chief on Tuesday said India is prepared to face offensive military action at its borders should the need arise.


Army Chief General Dalbir Singh on Tuesday said India is prepared to face offensive military action at its borders should the need arise. Referring to the frequent ceasefire violations along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir, which has put relations between India and Pakistan under a strain, the Army Chief said New Delhi is aware of the need to remain prepared.
Speaking at the Tri-Service Seminar on the 1965 Indo Pak War, the Army chief said a very high level of operational preparedness at all times has become part of India’s strategy as there is recognition that the swift short nature of future wars is likely to offer limited warning time.
The Army Chief’s comments come in backdrop of ongoing ceasefire violations, which have put India on the alert. “As we look ahead we can see that our threats and challenges become more complex. As a result the commitments of the Indian Army have increased manifold in scope and intensity in past few years. The frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by our western neighbour always remain live and active,” he pointed out.
Without naming names, the Army Chief accused Pakistan of employing “new methods to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir” and said the recent instances of terrorist violence are “clear pointers to extend this arc of violence to other areas”.
General Singh’s comments come close on the heels of the Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif’s statement blaming India for trying to “impose war on Pakistan”. The Pakistan Minister on Sunday has also cautioned India that it will suffer “heavy losses” if it tries to “impose” a war on his country.
India and Pakistan have been embroiled in a war of words over ceasefire violations; and tensions between two sides escalated after the Gurdaspur and Udhampur terror attacks, which New Delhi asserts were carried out by Pakistani nationals.
After the cancellation of the talks between the National Security Advisors of both sides, following disagreements over the agenda for talks, both countries have accused the other of violating the ceasefire agreement that has led to loss of civilian lives as well as casualties to the defence forces.
While India claims 192 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir till July 29 this year, Islamabad has countered it by asserting that the Indian forces have committed 37 and 24 unprovoked ceasefire violations on the LoC and the Working Boundary in July and August respectively.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-needs-to-be-prepared-for-military-action-says-army-chief-dalbir-singh/article7603623.ece
1965 war restored Indian soldiers' self-confidence: Army chief
New Delhi, Sep 1: Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh today said the 1965 war with Pakistan restored the "self-confidence" of the soldiers and laid the framework for India's spectacular win in the 1971 war which liberated Bangladesh. A new book titled '1965, Turning the Tide: How India Won the War', written by defence analyst Nitin Gokhale and commissioned by the Army's official think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies, has backed Singh's claim. File photo. Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. "The fruits of 1965 were to become spectacularly apparent six years later when the Indian military won its most famous and decisive victory in the 1971 war. Had it not been for the experience gained in the 1965 war, the Indian military would still have been prisoner to a defeatist mentality imposed by the reverse against the Chinese. That was the biggest gain from the 1965 war," says the book, which was released today by Vice President Hamid Ansari. Addressing a tri-service seminar to commemorate the 1965 war with Pakistan, Gen Singh said many unique lessons remain relevant even after five decades. He said that by 1965, Pakistan had gained technological edge over India. "However, war underscored that superior technology or weapons and equipment are no substitute to valour and bravery of our soldiers and bold leadership, human resilience and fortitude," he added. The Army chief further said that the 1965 war "settled many negative myths" and restored self-confidence. "The 1965 war gave the ground framework for spectacular victory of 1972, six years later," he said. The book, in its final analysis, says the 1965 war proved that the debacle in the 1962 war had less to do with the Indian Army as compared to the failure on "politico- diplomatic" front. It claimed that the biggest failure, however, was on the "intelligence front". "Despite the ongoing tension in Kashmir and the Kutch episode, Indian intelligence failed to anticipate the massive infiltration planned by Pakistan under Operation Gibraltar," it claimed. The book further says that another failure, and one that was perhaps of a larger strategic import, was India's "lack of ability" to assess the limits of ammunition available with Pakistan. Despite knowing that the Americans — who were the principal weapon-supplier to Pakistan at that time — always gave less than a month's ammunition to its clients, India lacked intelligence on the shortage of ammunition in the Pakistani arsenal, it said. "As it turned out, by 22 September — when ceasefire was declared — Pakistan had practically run out of its stock of ammunition, without any replenishment in sight since the Americans had already imposed an arms embargo. "Had the war continued for some more time, Pakistan would have collapsed and, who knows, the subcontinental history would have taken a different turn," the book said. PTI VIDEO : Indian Army prepared for swift, short wars in future, says Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh 

Read more at: http://www.oneindia.com/india/1965-war-restored-indian-soldiers-self-confidence-army-chief-1855647.html

SC Expresses Concern Over 1971 Indian POWs In Pak Jails, Asks ‘Are They Still Alive’

“Are they still alive”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre expressing concern over the present status of 54 Indian Prisoners of War (POWs) languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971.“We don’t know,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for External Affairs and Defence Ministries, told a bench of Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph.
“We presume that they are dead as Pakistan has been denying their presence in their prisons,” he said.The reply came when the bench asked, “First tell us, what is your understanding about their status? Are they dead or alive?”The court then directed the government to pay the salary and retirement benefits to the dependents of the PoWs, to which the law officer said this was being done.
Referring to the contents of an affidavit filed by the Defence Ministry, the Solicitor General said “as such, the exact status of these 54 missing defense personnel, believed to be in Pakistan jails, is not known. Amongst 54 such personnel, no service details are available with respect of three personnel of the Indian Army.”In response to a query as to why India cannot take the matter of the PoWs to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the SG said India has not submitted itself to the  jurisdiction of ICJ if the matter relates to armed conflict between it and Pakistan.Moreover, India had once successfully blocked such a bid by Pakistan, he said when the bench referred to the fact that once the water dispute between the two countries was taken to the ICJ.
The bench then adjourned hearing on three petitions raising the issue of POWs, brutality meted out to Saurav Kalia during Kargil War and beheading and mutilation of bodies of
two Indian soldiers in 2013 by Pakistani army, for a direction to the union government to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ).http://focusnews.com/india/supreme-court-expresses-concern-over-1971-indian-pows-in-pak-jails-asks-are-they-still-alive/119203/

Are Indian Prisoners of War still alive in Pak jails, asks SC

New Delhi, Sep 1, 2015 (PTI)


Supreme Court. PTI file photo,

"Are they still alive", the Supreme Court today asked the Centre expressing concern over the present status of 54 Indian Prisoners of War (POWs) languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971.

"We don't know," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for External Affairs and Defence Ministries, told a bench of Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph.
"We presume that they are dead as Pakistan has been denying their presence in their prisons," he said.

The reply came when the bench asked, "First tell us, what is your understanding about their status? Are they dead or alive?"

The court then directed the government to pay the salary and retirement benefits to the dependents of the PoWs, to which the law officer said this was being done.

Referring to the contents of an affidavit filed by the Defence Ministry, the Solicitor General said "as such, the exact status of these 54 missing defense personnel, believed to be in Pakistan jails, is not known. Amongst 54 such personnel, no service details are available with respect of three personnel of the Indian Army."

In response to a query as to why India cannot take the matter of the PoWs to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the SG said India has not submitted itself to the jurisdiction of ICJ if the matter relates to armed conflict between it and Pakistan.

Moreover, India had once successfully blocked such a bid by Pakistan, he said when the bench referred to the fact that once the water dispute between the two countries was taken to the ICJ.

The bench then adjourned hearing on three petitions raising the issue of POWs, brutality meted out to Saurav Kalia during Kargil War and beheading and mutilation of bodies of two Indian soldiers in 2013 by Pakistani army, for a direction to the union government to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ). 

While Solicitor General was mentioning about the recent affidavit, the bench said, "since Indian soldiers are in Pakistan for the wars of 1965 and 1971, we want to know whether their family members have been given the pay and retiremental benefits."

"Does it require a court order," the bench asked the law officer, who said all these issues are taken care of.

He said Indian authorities had tried from all channels to ascertain the facts about 54 PoWs, but Pakistan is not accepting that they are in their country.

The MoD, in its recent affidavit, has informed the court that it has no details regarding 54 missing POWs in Pakistan jails after 1965 and 1971 wars.

It also said it cannot even identify three such Army personnel since their service records, unit and family details were not known.

Of 54 missing personnel, 27 were from the Army, 24 from the Air Force, two from the Navy and one personnel from the Border Security Force, it has said, adding that while 48 out of the 54 were missing since the 1971 war, three went missing in the 1965 war.

The affidavit was filed in response to a query by the court which wanted an updated status on the PoWs languishing in Pakistan jails following the two wars.

Earlier, the court had imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on the government for its failure to provide the current status of Indian POWs.

The bench had said that the ministries have failed to comply with its six-month-old order directing them to file a report on the current status of 54 POWs languishing in Pakistan jails for the last 43 years, as also a counter affidavit.

The court had referred to the case of Pakistan raising in the ICJ the issue of downing of its spy aircraft in August 1999 by Indian forces despite New Delhi's objection which was upheld by the international tribunal.

The focus of the earlier hearing was on the issue of POWs and the government had said it cannot refer these cases to the ICJ as India is governed by a bilateral agreement with Pakistan based on the 1972 Shimla agreement.

On the issue of POWs, the apex court had in 2012 stayed a Gujarat High Court order directing the union government to move the ICJ on Pakistan illegally detaining 54 Indian Army men in breach of an agreement between the two countries after the 1971 war to exchange all prisoners of war. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/498522/are-indian-prisoners-war-still.html

No time for beauty sleep, Indian army chief tells his men


The military needs to be ready for short wars as the borders are live with frequent ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by Pakistan,” said Indian Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Dalbir Singh while addressing the Tri Service Seminar on the 1965 Indo Pak War on Tuesday.
“We are acutely aware that the swift and short nature of future wars is likely to offer limited warning time. This calls for maintaining very high level of operational preparedness at all times. It’s something that has now become important in our strategy,” the Indian army chief said, adding that the Indian Army has become more alert with the rise in the number of ceasefire violations.
“Our threats and challenges have become more complex. The Indian army has increased in intensity in the past years. With frequent ceasefire violation and infiltration by our west neighbour, the border remains live and active. New methods are continued to be employed to create unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The recent incidents of terrorist violence are clear points to extend violence to other areas,” Singh said.
Speaking about the 1965 war, Singh paid homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to save the contours of India. “1965 war is saga of raw courage, extraordinary greatness and dogged determination of the Indian military. Most prominently, Indian army delivered a blow to Pakistan across the entire western front. The war settled many negative myths, restored confidence and laid ground work for the spectacular victory in 1971 six years later,” he claimed.
The Army General also praised the contribution of the civil population during the war and how the public support was highly important to the troops. “Breaking caste and communal barriers, people plunged into civil defence work. Cheering crowds saw marching troops to the fronts as patriotism swept across the country. This immense public support was highly important to the troops as it strengthened the bond between civil society and the army,” Singh said.http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/09/01/national/no-time-for-beauty-sleep-indian-army-chief-tells-his-men/

SC rejects Army appeal against promotion of Major General

The ban on Dalbir Singh was imposed by former army chief and currently a minister of state, V K Singh, during the former’s tenure as 3 Corps commander in Dimapur.

In a setback to Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, the Supreme Court has turned down an appeal by the Army against an order to consider promoting a Major General who had held a key position when a disciplinary ban was imposed on Dalbir Singh in 2012.
The ban, imposed by then Army Chief V K Singh, was later revoked by his successor Bikram Singh. When the ban was imposed, Karun Kumar Sinha was the Major General (General Staff) of Eastern Command, and facilitated communication of such notices to Dalbir Singh.

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A bench of Justices J S Khehar and Adarsh K Goel found no merit in the appeal filed by the Ministry of Defence, challenging an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in April this year in favour of Sinha.
In a recent order, the court refused to admit the Army’s appeal against the AFT’s decision and ordered that “compliance (with the tribunal’s order) shall be ensured under all circumstances” by September 15.
The tribunal, while quashing the adverse comments made in Sinha’s ACR by General Dalbir Singh and his predecessor Bikram Singh, had directed the Army to convene a special board to re-consider Sinha’s case for promotion to the rank of Lt General.
The AFT had noted that downgrading the ACR was not only “vitiated by malice in law” but the assessment of Sinha’s performance was also “subjective, inconsistent and not at all justified” since the officer was conferred the Vishist Seva Medal for his duties during the same period between October 2012 and June 2013.
It gave the Army and MoD three months to convene the promotion board and complete the exercise in view of Sinha’s scheduled retirement on October 31.
The ban on Dalbir Singh was imposed by former army chief and currently a minister of state,V K Singh, during the former’s tenure as 3 Corps commander in Dimapur, citing an operation by an intelligence unit under his command.
Sinha’s petition said that immediately after retirement of V K Singh, following which Bikram Singh took over as Army Chief and then Lt Gen Dalbir Singh took over as the Eastern Army Commander, his ACR was downgraded by the two in their capacity as reviewers.
Aggrieved by the AFT’s decision and strictures, the Army and MoD had appealed in the top court, claiming Sinha was not considered for promotion due to his overall performance, relative merit and comparative evaluation. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who appeared for the Army and MoD, sought to rebut the charges of bias and subjectivity, saying Sinha’s ACR was adjudged objectively and in terms of the policy.
The bench, however, remained unimpressed with his arguments and said that the AFT decision was well reasoned.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sc-rejects-army-appeal-against-promotion-of-major-general/#sthash.qPyZepNL.dpuf

 World’s biggest war of tanks fought near Chawinda in 1965



Pakistanis knocked out invading Indian Army with historic defeat
ISLAMABAD – Whole of the world watched that the Pakistanis were shedding even the last drop of their blood for defending Pakistan from India and knocked out the invading army, forcing it to go back after this biggest defeat.

The Indian Army attacked Chawinda with 600 tanks. It was a major Indian attack, which was repulsed by the Pakistan Army and the local brave people who laid down under the attacking tanks with the heavy bombs on their bodies. They blew up all the Indian tanks by sacrificing their lives.

– Defence Day of Pakistan –

The Defence Day of Pakistan reminds the nation of the indomitable courage and unmatched sacrifices of gallant men who proved the world that the defence of Pakistan was unassailable, according to a report aired by a private TV channel. September 6 stands out as a symbol of unity, faith and discipline as a nation said by Father of the Nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Talking to the channel, Sialkot-based senior army officials said that the defence day reminded them of the indomitable courage and unmatched sacrifices of gallant men who 50 years ago proved to the world that the defence of Pakistan was unassailable. “September 6 stands out as a symbol of enduring display of unity, faith and discipline as a nation. On the day when the nefarious designs of the enemy bedeviled by her arrogance of numerical superiority were thwarted,” they said.

“It is the day to pay homage to our martyrs and ghazis and to draw inspiration from their iconic acts of valour and supreme sacrifices. The day also proclaims that the proud sons of this valiant nation are even capable of defending the sacred frontiers of the motherland,” they said.

Chawinda-base Haji Qayyum Ilahi, who had been serving as hawaldar in Mujahid Force during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war, said that the Pakistani soldiers and the people came to know this reality that the entire Chawinda and surrounding villages were ruined during the war and the land was littered with the bodies of the Indian army men. The monuments of 1965 war were established at Chawinda to pay homage to the armed forces of Pakistan and local people.

– More resilient, vibrant Pakistan –

The people of Chawinda wrote a golden history of bravery by sacrificing their lives for defending the motherland near Chawinda-Badiana during the war. “Compared to 1965, today's Pakistan has emerged as more resilient and vibrant country with strong conventional and non-conventional power. The day reminds us of determination, selflessness and sacrifices of our armed forces, which they had rendered for the Defence of Pakistan,” they added.
Parrikar, Ex-servicemen Begin Indefinite Strike for OROP

PANAJI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar along with ex-army veterans here today began a indefinite relay strike demanding implementation of the 'One Rank, One Pension'(OROP).
Several ex-army men including war veterans under the banner of All Goa Ex-Service men Welfare Association (AGEWA) said that they will continue with the stir till their demands are met.
‘One Rank One Pension’ basically means that retired soldiers of the same rank, who have retired after serving for the same length of service, will receive the same pension, irrespective of the date/year of their retirement.
"The person who retires now gets four times more pension than those who had superannuated with me. This is gross injustice," said Surjit Singh, ex-master chief Indian Navy, who had participated in 1971 Bangladesh war.
Singh said when he joined the service, they were told that their pension would be 70 per cent, but when he retired in the year 1986 he came to know that the pension was only fifty per cent.
"The families of those who die on the border get pension almost 50 per cent to that of ours. This imparity should be removed," he said.
The striking ex-servicemen have already forwarded a memorandum to Parrikar asking for OROP.
"Indian armed forces are best known for their valour, discipline and impeccable integrity. The veterans after their retirement remain as dedicated as they were during service, except that they not carry arms and have always been against any protest or agitation," said Captain Dattaram Sawant, President, OROP.
"Unfortunately for the first time in the history of Independent India, ex-servicemen are on relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi for their legitimate demand of OROP which has been promised by the government," he said.
The government should not betray the soldiers because the nation cannot afford to do so. Moreover, the credibility of government and the Prime Minister is at stake, Captain Sawant addedhttp://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Parrikar-Ex-servicemen-Begin-Indefinite-Strike-for-OROP/2015/09/02/article3006935.ece
OROP: Manohar Parrikar, ex-servicemen begin indefinite relay strike Updated: Wednesday, September 2, 2015, 17:17 [IST]
Panaji, Sep 2: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar along with ex-army veterans here today began a indefinite relay strike demanding implementation of the 'One Rank, One Pension'(OROP). Several ex-army men including war veterans under the banner of All Goa Ex-Service men Welfare Association (AGEWA) said that they will continue with the stir till their demands are met. ‘ One Rank One Pension’ basically means that retired soldiers of the same rank, who have retired after serving for the same length of service, will receive the same pension, irrespective of the date/year of their retirement. "The person who retires now gets four times more pension than those who had superannuated with me. This is gross injustice," said Surjit Singh, ex-master chief Indian Navy, who had participated in 1971 Bangladesh war. [Ex-servicemen blame Jaitley for OROP deadlock] Singh said when he joined the service, they were told that their pension would be 70 per cent, but when he retired in the year 1986 he came to know that the pension was only fifty per cent. "The families of those who die on the border get pension almost 50 per cent to that of ours. This imparity should be removed," he said. The striking ex-servicemen have already forwarded a memorandum to Parrikar asking for OROP. "Indian armed forces are best known for their valour, discipline and impeccable integrity. The veterans after their retirement remain as dedicated as they were during service, except that they not carry arms and have always been against any protest or agitation," said Captain Dattaram Sawant, President, OROP. "Unfortunately for the first time in the history of Independent India, ex-servicemen are on relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi for their legitimate demand of OROP which has been promised by the government," he said. The government should not betray the soldiers because the nation cannot afford to do so. Moreover, the credibility of government and the Prime Minister is at stake, Captain Sawant added.

Read more at: http://www.oneindia.com/india/orop-manohar-parrikar-ex-servicemen-begin-indefinite-relay-strike-1856828.html
News in numbers | OROP protest nearing 80 days
hree more Army veterans have joined the fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar, taking the total number of those on hunger strike to 12. Photo: PTI

Arun Jaitley is also right on OROP, but issue needs a compromise solution

With every passing day, the issue of OROP - one rank, one pension for retired armed forces personnel - is likely to become more unsolvable. When so many of them are sitting on strike at Jantar Mantar and getting increasingly emotional about it, it is simply not possible for government to wave an account book in front of them and expect a reasonable compromise. Emotions cannot be tackled by an accountant's rationality beyond a point.That this issue has been ruined by politicians promising OROP when they are not in power or as an election sop when they are about to lose power is obvious. Narendra Modi promised it before the 2014 elections, and so did the UPA before bowing out. Two finance ministers, P Chidambaram and Arun Jaitley, also promised OROP in vague terms in their budgets.
However, the real issue is emotional for ex-servicemen. They love their ranks, and two people who retired with similar ranks do not like being treated differently. They are also emotional because politicians made open-ended promises to honour their wishes without calculating the costs. They thus feel cheated repeatedly. The ordinary citizen will also back them out of emotion - for no Indian is ungrateful to men in the army who put their lives on the line to defend the country.
But just as emotions need to be handled well, rationality cannot be abandoned altogether. Arun Jaitley surely has a point when he says that "We cannot have an OROP where pensions are revised every month or year...can everyone come and start asking for annual revision of pension? You cannot create a liability which future generations have to pay."
AFP.
AFP.
Extremely well said. Nobody can disagree with this point, and as finance minister and guardian of public finances Jaitley cannot compromise national interests just to get over a political pressure point.
However, the point is this: if the OROP demanded by ex-servicemen is going to damage national finances significantly or irretrievably, why aren't these figures shared with the aggrieved parties and also put out in the public domain? Honesty and transparency is the only way to deal with an issue that has become emotive for millions of ex-servicemen and war widows.
This only proves that while politicians are good in stoking emotional responses from voters to get themselves elected, they are very poor at dealing with those same emotions once they catch fire. You can't make emotional pitches one day and then wave rationality and account books in their faces the next.Is there a way out for the Modi government out of this self-created mess?Yes, but it needs expert handling and a sensitivity that has not been on display so far.First, the government must put out its own calculations of costs based on its numbers using two or three basic methods of calculating OROP, including the need for periodic adjustments. These figures should be discussed with ex-servicemen's representatives and even put out in the public domain. Putting things out in public has two advantages: the public becomes aware of the numbers involved, and this automatically serves as a restraint on the agitators from pushing their case too far. If it seems like they are demanding the moon, they will lose public sympathy very soon. Two, it also serves to underline that the government is being reasonable. Claiming OROP as too costly without mentioning the actual costs make the government's claims incredible. No one will believe it. It is time to shed excessive secrecy in such matters.
Second, to ensure that OROP does not become a permanent entitlement for all people now joining the armed forces, the government should make it clear how it will handle pension and OROP issues for future employees. The logic has to be this: we have to move away from defined payments and open-ended pension entitlements to defined contributions that can be periodically topped up by specified amounts of government payouts. This will protect taxpayers from being fleeced in the name of benefiting the armed forces even while giving them better pensions than before.Third, an emotional issue has to be handled with emotional maturity even on the part of government. The Prime Minister needs to step in once the basic issues are settled to reasonable satisfaction. Men in uniform implicitly trust the BJP more than the other parties, and Modi himself has high credibility with them - though the OROP issue has dented this somewhat. If he re-enters the picture to seal a reasonable deal, he can pull it off. Maybe a well-publicised visit to Jantar Mantar is called for.
Fourth, emotional appeals are best countered with counter-appeals for higher motivations. If the basic creed of the army is sacrifice above self, it is foolish to believe that ex-servicemen will not respond to a call to accept less than what they are demanding in the national interest, where poor people also have to be fed from the same pot of national revenues. Sacrifices made to feed the country's poor are not less important than sacrifices made on our borders. Most armymen come from the same class as needs food and other forms of subsidy.
OROP has to be implemented with compromises quickly. Otherwise it will leave a huge gash across the hearts of the armed forces and the country they seek to serve.http://www.firstpost.com/politics/arun-jaitley-is-also-right-on-orop-but-issue-needs-a-compromise-solution-2415864.html

OROP: Government constantly shifting goal posts, ex-servicemen say


NEW DELHI: Ex-servicemen seeking the immediate implementation of the OROP scheme said on Thursday that the government is constantly shifting goal posts. 

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, ex-servicemen said that they can't talk to the government as it appeared to be confused."How do we negotiate when the government does not say what it is willing to offer?" asked Captain Anil Kaul at the Jantar Mantar protest site where retired soldiers are on hunger strike. 

Added Group Captain VK Gandhi (retired): "There is no one statement from the government... One person says one thing today, another person another thing. They keep shifting the goalpost." 
Both denied there were divisions among senior officers and junior commissioned officers on the issue of "one rank, one pension", which has led to an unprecedented face-off between ex-servicemen and the government.

READ ALSO: Govt plans unilateral OROP 'deal' this week

Demand for rolling pension change plan holds up OROP 

The officers underlined that the retired soldiers were not making any special demands and that no bonanza was on offer in the name of pension. 
"We are not asking for any three percent increment. There is no such thing as increment," Captain Kaul said. 
"What we have asked for is a periodic review of pension so that at no stage the definition of OROP as accepted by parliament is violated even by a letter." 
He said the expenditure that would accrue to the government by implementing the OROP had been vetted by different layers, including the defence minister. 
He said varying figures of supposed government expenditure were being floated "by people who do not know what they are talking about". 
Thursday is the 81st day of protest by ex-sevicemen in the national capital. Thirteen retired soldiers are on indefinite hunger strike. Relay hunger strikes are taking place in some 60 towns and cities.

(With inputs from agencies)

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, ex-servicemen said that they can't talk to the government as it appeared to be confused.
"How do we negotiate when the government does not say what it is willing to offer?" asked Captain Anil Kaul at the Jantar Mantar protest site where retired soldiers are on hunger strike. 
Added Group Captain VK Gandhi (retired): "There is no one statement from the government... One person says one thing today, another person another thing. They keep shifting the goalpost." 
Both denied there were divisions among senior officers and junior commissioned officers on the issue of "one rank, one pension", which has led to an unprecedented face-off between ex-servicemen and the government.
READ ALSO: Govt plans unilateral OROP 'deal' this week

Demand for rolling pension change plan holds up OROP 
The officers underlined that the retired soldiers were not making any special demands and that no bonanza was on offer in the name of pension. 
"We are not asking for any three percent increment. There is no such thing as increment," Captain Kaul said. 
"What we have asked for is a periodic review of pension so that at no stage the definition of OROP as accepted by parliament is violated even by a letter." 
He said the expenditure that would accrue to the government by implementing the OROP had been vetted by different layers, including the defence minister. He said varying figures of supposed government expenditure were being floated "by people who do not know what they are talking about". 
Thursday is the 81st day of protest by ex-sevicemen in the national capital. Thirteen retired soldiers are on indefinite hunger strike. Relay hunger strikes are taking place in some 60 towns and cities.
(With inputs from agencies)