Sunday, July 5, 2015

Kargil : How Much ‘By The Throat’ Did The Pakistan Army Have Us?
Syed Ata Hasnain
Lt. Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain is the former Corps Commander of the Srinagar based 15 Corps, and is currently associated with Vivekanand International Foundation and the Delhi Policy Group, two major strategic think tanks of Delhi
Of course, Pervez Musharraf’s claims that the Pakistani army caught ‘India by the throat’ in Kargil in 1999 are wrong. Here, Lieutenant General (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain explains just how wrong they are. 
Coming into the 16th anniversary of Operation VIJAY (Kargil 1999), the media is awash with analyses about the operations in Kargil in May-Jul 1999. This is aided no less by gung-ho statements by the likes of General Pervez Musharaf, the then Pakistan Army Chief and later dictator President. Considering that the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict is also shortly going to be upon us, Pakistan is going to open the floodgates of psychological warfare to project to our people its military prowess. Informed military and other strategic analysts need to meet this projection head on lest the Indian people are left in self-doubt. This analysis is all about Operation VIJAY and suitable pieces on 1965 too will follow.
In 1995, I was in Leh and tasked to attend a wargame of the Kargil Brigade. In the course of doing so I happened to ask the very competent Brigade Commander, late Brig. Sandeep Sen, as to why a 120 Km frontage in the mountains was being held only by a brigade. He gave me an astounding answer which I quote –
“this is the concept of traditional gaps; it is a quid pro quo kind of understanding (unwritten) that deployment can be light on both sides and neither side will exploit an advantage”.
He further went on to explain that this being a Shia-dominated area we did not expect any irregular operations because the support base was firmly with India. In 1997, Pakistan commenced deliberate shelling of Kargil sector targeting even the road from Zojila leading to Leh. It was testing of the waters. The occupation of the heights vacated in winter across the LoC in 1998-99, even as the Peace Diplomacy was underway under PM Vajpayee, was ostensibly Musharraf’s brain child. I dare to say I share one thing in common with Parvez Musharaf; he and I are both alumni of the UK’s iconic institution, the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS).
Did Musharraf’s ploy really have the Indian Army and nation by the throat as he boastfully states, is the question under debate. Analysis of this has to begin with the presumed aim of the mission Musharraf undertook.
In 1999, Pakistan was concerned about the flagging militancy in Kashmir and the possibility of the international community losing interest in it. The nuclear test of 1998 had exploded the clandestine Pakistan capability and Pakistan was on virtual nuclear parity with India thus emboldening it to risk a conflagration. Considering the Pakistan Army’s diluting power within Pakistan’s polity and its ever-present desire to be the ruler, Musharraf could not allow the India-Pakistan peace process to seriously take off.
For the Pakistan Army, tension with India promotes its own political power and importance and Musharraf was not short on political ambition either. His perception was that a secured military advantage in a limited skirmish along the LoC in a remote area may not instigate India into launch of all-out war; the nuclear balance was anyway in place, as per his mind, thus probably enhancing India’s limit of tolerance by a few notches. He could thus play a few ‘games’ within that level of tolerance.
The area Musharraf chose was the same which late Brig. Sandeep Sen described as the sector with ‘traditional gaps’. As far as Musharaf was concerned, there was nothing traditional about it. It gave Pakistan the advantage of strategic surprise. The posts were vacated in winter by the Indian Army and only reconnoitered by air. Occupation of these would provide the distinct tactical advantage of domination; anyone who knows high altitude (HA) operations can assess that to dislodge a well-entrenched defender at these heights would need an advantage of 9:1. The Indian Army would have to push in reserve formations to achieve anything near that ratio and the reserves would be unacclimitized to HA operations thus elongating the response; besides of course, upsetting the order of battle of flanking formations. Most important of all, the main logistics route to Leh ran close to the LoC in the Dras-Mashkoh sub sector in the general area of Kargil sector. Interdicting this artery meant that winter stocking of Lima sector (Ladakh sector including Siachen) would be adversely affected. The alternate route from Manali via Upshi to Leh had limited capacity because of the nature of terrain and early closure for winter. Logistics choking of Lima sector in the perception of Musharraf would mean the inability to sustain deployment in Siachen thus forcing vacation without firing a shot.
Musharaf had other linked intentions too. One, to bring Jammu & Kashmir into limelight again and two, to trigger greater dynamism in the militancy in the Valley. Concerns of the international community would run high as there was little clarity on nuclear doctrines and protocols of the region. The forced movement of reserves from the Valley (immediate flank) would open vast spaces for conduct of militant operations and infiltration.
In discussions with Pakistani officers a year later in a strategic program abroad, I did admit that Musharraf’s plan was bold but just as the Pakistanis have always historically done, they ‘mastered the initiation and had no clue about termination’. Here is how I justify this statement.
Was the Indian Army taken by surprise? Admittedly it was but in conflict that is always possible. The more important issue is how it reacted thereafter.  15 Corps had an operational responsibility from Demchok to Gulmarg along the LAC, AGPL and LoC, with Siachen and the militancy in the Valley to contend with. It was not the best of arrangements with 3 Infantry Division in Lima sector at lower priority as the militancy in the Valley and ongoing infiltration grabbed all the attention. Initially, 15 Corps treated the intrusions as a local problem but as already explained, recapturing obnoxious heights in HA areas is virtually impossible unless you are prepared to fight attritional; for that you need troops.
The well acclimatized units de-inducting from Siachen were in different stages of rest and relief, strung out over the Lima sector. While they were available as unit entities there, bayonet strength hardly exceeded half the strength units usually deploy for offensive operations. There was no option but to induct 8 Mountain Division which was deployed on the counter insurgency (CI) grid in North Kashmir. Pulling a divisional size force from CI operations involves re-orbatting and reorientation. It is to the credit of the resilience of 8 Mountain Division under Maj Gen (later Lt Gen) Mohinder Puri, an astute Infantry officer, that the division could redeploy in such a quick time frame to the HA area of Dras. This move in driblets was under observation and shelling throughout, once Zojila was crossed. Space was a major constraint in the narrow corridor between the LoC and the Zojila-Kargil road. In the interim, the Indian Air Force had already stepped in followed by the redeployed artillery which kept the Pakistani positions under constant punishment.
Musharraf possiblly perceived that this would be the limit of our response. His troops could withstand this by occupying reverse slope positions by day and the nooks available in the broken terrain. However, once the virtual tactical pause, forced by the time required to redeploy 8 Mountain Division was over, there was no holding back. Waves of Indian Infantry undertook daring assaults in almost complete attritional mode, employing multi directional approaches simultaneously to divide reaction and exploiting success on any single approach to capture crucial objectives. In retrospect, could this have been done more smartly by isolating objectives and forcing surrender without contact battles?
Military prudence normally demands minimum application of force to achieve maximum gains. However, the Indian commanders were under pressure. The Nation was getting a little impatient and success in the capture of a few important heights visible to even the media would raise morale, reinvigorate confidence in the Army and most importantly send home the message to Pakistan that India would go to any length to restore the sanctity of the LoC. There is no doubt that the passion, courage and guile of the Indian infantry and artillery restored the situation living up to the then Army Chief’s statement that the Indian Army would fight with what it had. At no time during the approximately 10 weeks that the operations continued was the Indian Army so ham strung for options that it could be perceived that the Pakistanis had it by its throat.
Those unaware would need to be informed that by end of June 1999, the Dimapur based 3 Corps was already in Northern Command as was the strategic reserve mountain division. Their deployment gave Pakistan the shivers of the possibility of India broadening the frontage of contact thus preventing any reinforcement of the Kargil sector beyond the five Pakistan Northern Light Infantry units initially deployed.  With the looming presence of these reserve formations and Pakistan ill prepared for a larger war because of the need for secrecy of its Kargil misadventure, it was actually Pakistan which had its throat in a noose. Masterfully, General Ved Malik’s responses and Prime Minister Vajpayee’s mature political handling kept Pakistan on tenterhooks forcing PM Nawaz Sharif to immediately head to Washington to plead President Bill Clinton for pressure on India for closure of operations.While most analysts concentrate on the immediate Kargil front for analysis of effects, they rarely look at the Valley sector where the impact of Kargil operations was most felt. It is not known whether Musharraf ever contemplated the kind of effect he achieved or was even aware of it. The vacation of North Kashmir by 8 Mountain Division led to its takeover by the Victor Force of the Rahtriya Rifles, in addition to its own responsibilities in South Kashmir. While 8 Sector RR moved from the North East to fill part of the void as did a brigade of another North East formation, the resultant time needed for orientation and initiation of operations in the crucial Lolab-Handwara-Sopore belt led to the loss of operational space which took time to regain, giving a spurt to militancy in the Valley. For recall, it may be worth the while to remember that the first of the suicide terrorist attacks commenced at this time and the reinvigorated campaign was rumored to have been commanded by an SSG officer who had apparently infiltrated Handwara. It was the Rashtriya Rifles Kilo Force which was newly raised to replace 8 Mountain Division that ultimately regained control under Maj Gen (later Lt Gen) Nirbhaya Sharma, the current Governor of Mizoram.
Musharraf’s military maturity is questionable if he feels so gleeful about having his adversary by the throat and not having decapitated him. That the adversary could respond and defeat the entire effort is a display of poor operational and tactical acumen; the strategic acumen need never be debated in relation to Pervez Musharraf, if it takes an Indian Army General to tell him where he actually succeeded.Lastly, it should be China which should be unhappy with Musharraf. His botched operations led to the separation of Lima sector from the operational responsibility of 15 Corps (Srinagar) and raising of HQ 14 Corps which is now dedicated to look after Eastern Ladakh, Siachen and Kargil, thus optimizing India’s military capability in these crucial areas, one of them being on the Chinese front.

IS trying to gain hold in PoK: Indian Army

Jammu: The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group is attempting to gain a foothold in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) even as the terror infrastructure across the border was intact, a senior army officer said on Friday.
“Whatever inputs we have…Islamic State is definitely trying to gain a foothold in the area (PoK),” the General Officer Commanding (GoC), 16 Corps, Lt. General K.H. Singh, said on the sidelines of ‘Jhangar Day’ at Noushera in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.
The GoC also said that the terror infrastructure on the other side of border was intact and around 200 to 225 militants stationed at 36 launchpads across the Pir Panjal range were waiting to cross over to the Indian side.
“The terror infrastructure across the border is intact and training camps are still active,” Lt. General K.H. Singh said.
The comment comes days after a masked youth waved a flag of the international terror group during a rally organised by separatist group Ummati Islami to commemorate the death anniversary of separatist leader Qazi Nisar Ahmad in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
‘Jhangar Day’ is observed to commemorate the sacrifice of Brigadier Mohammad Usman, who was martyred during the 1947-48 operation in the Noushera sector.
Brigadier Usman played a pivotal role as commander of 50 Parachute Brigade, during the recapture of Jhangar and the battle of Nowshera, which earned him the titles of ‘Hero of Jhangar’ and ‘Saviour of Nowshera’. (IANS)

Army steps in to restore 150-year-old Christ Church clock in Kasauli

Locals are hard pressed to remember when they had heard the clock, housed in an imposing clock tower, chime the hour. By some estimates, the clock is in full working condition after nearly 50 to 60 years.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Kasauli | Published on:July 4, 2015 10:26 pm
The nearly 150 year old clock of the church in the quaint little hill station of Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh is ticking once again after being in a state of disrepair for pasts several decades, thanks to the efforts of the local Infantry Brigade of the Army and a good samaritan from Chandigarh.
Locals are hard pressed to remember when they had heard the clock, housed in an imposing clock tower, chime the hour. By some estimates, the clock is in full working condition after nearly 50 to 60 years.
But it is now working in its full glory after the local Army brigade’s Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) workshop stepped in to give its help and managed to repair a machine which had been imported from the United Kingdom in the latter part of the 19th century.
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It was Ashwini Kumar, an employee of Chandigarh’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, and a regular visitor to Kasauli, who noticed that the clock of the imposing church building was not in working condition during his various visits to the hill station over the last decade.
Speaking to The Indian Express in the courtyard of the Christ Church, Ashwini Kumar, said that he had often spoken to the caretaker of the Church as well as the local pastor about the reason for the clock being out of order.
“I was always told that there was no mechanic who could repair it and I took it upon myself to examine the complex levels and gears of the machinery at the top of the church,” he said.
Ashwini found that the clock was a weight driven assembly and that it had most probably been manufactured sometime around 1870s. The church itself had been founded in 1844 and the building came up around 1852.
Ashwini spoke to several clock agencies who offered to put an electronic clock in the place of the original machine driven one, but that was not acceptable to him as he wanted to restore the original work.
He even approached a Kolkata-based company and paid Rs 5000 out of his own pocket for them to send an engineer to have a look at the clock. It was at this point of time that he got help from a retired Army officer, Major General Surjeet Singh, who too was a regular visitor to Kasauli.
Christ Church kasauli, Christ Church clock, christ Church clock Kasauli, Church clock Kasauli,  christ Church clock Army, Kasauli news, himachal pradesh news, india newswidth=”700″ height=”1244″ /> Pastor Reverend Nathaniel (right) and Ashwini Kumar who started the process. (Source: Express photo by Man Aman Singh Chhina)[/caption] Being a retired EME officer himself, the General spoke to his contacts in the Army and the EME Workshop of the Kasauli brigade, which is located in adjoining Dagshai, was approached for help. The troops of the workshop, under Major Sudhansh Rohilla paid several visits to the Church before it was ascertained that several new parts would have to be fashioned in order to make the clock work. And with precision and time bound discipline which is the forte of an Army unit, they managed to do what many thought was not possible. The Army engineers found that the clock was still eight to ten seconds ahead per hour and they have persevered and reduced the margin of error to three seconds per hour and are now working towards ensuring zero error. The pastor of the Church, Reverend Nathaniel, is understandably very pleased with the results. “Several individuals gad come forward in the past few years to help get the clock repaired but none showed the resolve of Ashwini,” he said adding that the main effort would now be to ensure that the machine is kept in a working condition. Devinder Kumar Gupta, an old Kasauli resident who runs a provision store right opposite the church, says that he has never seen the clock working and that it was the sheer passion of a tourist to the town and the Army which has given Kasauli a new landmark. Kasauli has had a deep connection with the Army ever since the town was founded in 1842. An important cantonment during the British-Raj protecting the summer Capital of Shimla, the town has had a steady presence of Indian Army troops after independence too. - See more at:

War tourism in india: The 70th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Imphal

By Col VY Gidh, VSM (Retd)
`A Nation That Forgets It`s Past, Has No Future`
– Winston Churchill
Photo: WW II Imphal campaign foundation
The 70th Anniversaryof The Battle of Imphal and Kohimawas held from March to June 2014. It was 70 years ago that Manipur and Nagaland were witness to an epic battle between the British-led Allies and the Japanese and the Indian National Army (INA). Unfortunately not many in India remembered these twin battles and except for a few stray reports, the Commemorations or commencement of War Tourism in India were hardly noticed by our national media. It was a wonderful experience visiting Manipur to participate in some of the events during these Commemorations.
The Battle of Imphal and The Battle of Kohima were voted as `Britain`™s Greatest Battles`™ in a contest conducted by Britain`™s National Army Museum in London in April 2013, beating others like Normandy and Battle of Trafalgar. The result surprised people in England who thought Waterloo was their greatest feat. And yet, many Indians are unaware of these battles, and that Manipur and Nagaland were the key battlegrounds during the Second World War. Field Marshal WJ Slim, Commander of the British 14th Army during the battles, was voted as the best British general of all time with Duke of Wellington, they were both schooled in warfare in India.
70th Anniversary Commemorations
The 70th Anniversary Commemorations of The Battle of Imphal were organized by the Manipur Tourism Forum and 2nd World War Imphal Campaign Foundation from 23rd March to 28th June 2014. The programme involved a series of events to mark and commemorate key dates from the Battles of Imphal. The aim was to draw attention to the extraordinary events that took place across Manipur from March to July 1944 andpay tribute to the martyrs who died fighting during these fierce battles.
The Eastern Heritage Trails, Imphal has recently introduced a series of guided tours focused on the Battle of Imphal. An initiative of MrHemant SinghKatoch, son of a retired Army officer and an ex-United Nations and Red Cross official, it isthe first-of-its-kind of War Tourism in India.Having undertaken field assignments in conflict regions like East Timor and Congo while in the UN, Katoch wanted to come back to India and research about the World War II battlefields in India, when he realized the possibility of War Tourism in India. These half or full- day tours cover prominent sites in and around Imphaland across Manipur related to this historic battle. They include the Battle of Imphal Tour-a half day tourin and around the city of Imphal; the Tiddim Road, the Shenan Saddle, the Battle of Sangshak, the INA and Victoria Cross Tours. The most popular Battle ofImphal Tour includes the Second World War era airfield-Koirenge; the two War Cemeteries (Imphal Indian Army and the Imphal War Cemetery), which commemorates the memories of theIndian and British soldiers who died during the War; battlefield visits around Imphal and the colonial era Gen Slim`™s Cottage, which is now a heritage property in Kangla Fort Complex. It was once the headquarters of the British 14th Army Commander from where he planned and initially fought the Burma Campaign.
Sketch of Battle of Imphal
The Battles of Imphal and Kohima
The Battles of Imphaland Kohimapitted 1,20,000 British-led Allies against 70,000 Japanese and 7000 INA soldiers in some of the bitterest fighting seen during the Second World War. `Fought between 07 March and 18 July 1944, the Battles of Imphal and Kohima were the the turning point of one of the most grueling campaigns of the Second World War. The decisive Japanese defeat in Northeast India became the springboard for the Fourteenth Army`™s subsequent re-conquest of Burma`: National Army Museum, London.
The two battles were the result of the 1944 U-Go Offensive of the Japanese 15th Army under Lt Gen RenyaMutaguchi. The plan was to conquer India and use it as a launch pad of future Japanese military campaigns. It initially involved the capture of Imphal, cut off the key Imphal-Kohima-Dimapur road and prevent any British invasion of Myanmar (now Burma), which Japan had controlled since 1942. During the battle, 70,000 Japanese soldiers marched to Manipur to fight the Allied forces. Imphal, which was heavily invested by the Japanese 15th and 33rd Divisions of the Japanese 15th Army, was defended by the IV Corps of the British Fourteenth Army, comprising the 17th, 20th and 23rd Indian Infantry Divisions, including the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade.
While 16,000 on the Allies side were either killed or wounded at Imphal-Kohima, 12,000 of them died during the Battle of Imphal. An estimated 30,000 Japanese soldiers died due to fighting or disease in the simultaneous battles of Imphal and Kohima, and on the retreat back to Burma.Soldiers carried the injured back towards the Chindwin river. Those who could not be carried were left behind. The fingers of many of the dead were cut to be cremated back home. It was the greatest defeat on land in Japan`™s history and the vast majority of casualties occurred during the Battle of Imphal. Among the 7000 INA men who accompanied the Japanese till Moirang, about 400 were killed in the battle, while 1500 died of disease and starvation during their withdrawal towards Burma. Till this day skeletons presumed to belong to the dead soldiers are found in Manipur.
The British military historian Dr Robert Lyman who played a prominent role in preparing the case for the Battle of Imphal and Kohima, notes that Imphal-Kohimawas one of the four turning-point battles of the Second World War; the Battles at Stalingrad, El Alamein, and in the Pacific between the US and Japanese navies were the other three. The Victoria Cross (VC), the highest British military decoration for bravery, was awarded to five personnel during the Battle of Imphal and two during the Battle of Kohima.
The ProgrammeDuring the Commemorations
The Inauguration Ceremony held on 23rd March 2014 was attended by several dignitaries including the Japanese Ambassador to India, Mr Takeshi Yagi. Thecommemoration of the prominent battles started with the `Battle of Sangshak`™ on 26th March, where troops from 152 ParaBn with 4/5 Maratha held the garrison against a strong Japanese force. While 152 Para Bn later fell back to the Imphal plains, 4/5 Maratha (now 4 Maratha LI) was ordered to hold the defences around Sangshak. The delay imposed by the battalion on the advance of the Japanese Army enabled the Allies to land forces by air at Imphal and reinforce Kohima by land, thereby saving the fall of these two important locations. The first battle fought on Indian soil from 21-26 March 1944, it was a prelude to the famous battles of Kohima and Imphal. The next was the `Start of Imphal Siege`™ at KanglaTongbi on 7th April, where the Japanese forces planned to capture the large supply depot. A handful of non-combatants of mostly Ordnance soldiers belonging to the Advance Ordnance Depot led by Maj Boyd repulsed a series of attacks of the Japanese forces before troops from the erstwhile 14 Punjab and 9Jat Regiments could arrive. This epic stand enabled the Allies sufficient time in moving back 4000 tons of war-like stores.The Depot was selected to accompany the British Commonwealth Occupation Force to Japan after the war. Today KanglaTongbiWar Memorial is a revered shrine visited by all. A tradition still followed by all young AOC officers is that upon commissioning they first visit the memorial at KanglaTongbi. The DG Ordnance Services and Senior Colonel Commandantalong with WW II veterans and their families from Britain and Japan laid a wreath on 7th April.
The `Battle ofNungsigum`™ was commemorated on 13th April, where Jemadar Abdul Hafiz of 9 Jat Regimenthad won the first VC on Indian soil at Runaway Hill on 6th April 1944. This 1000 feet massif located North East of Imphal town which dominated several road junctions and the vital Koirenge airstrip, was recaptured by the Allies on 13th April after its fall to the Japanese forces.
On 14th April, the INA day was commemorated at Moirang. Col Shaukat Ali Malik of INA had hoisted the Indian tricolour for the first time in India at Moirang on 14th April 1944, where the INA Memorial and Museum stands today. The INA`™s 1st Division had participated in the Battle of Imphal, which included the Gandhi, Subhash and Azad Brigades, as well as INA Special Groups attached to the Japanese Divisions. The other battles commemorated were the `Battle of Tengnoupal`™ near the Indo-Myanmar border on 19th May;`MaibamLokpaching`™(Red Hill) on the Tiddim Road on 29th May, where Sergeant Hanson Victor Turner of West Yorkshire Regiment and RfnGanju Lama of 7th Gurkha Rifles won their VCs at Ningthoukhong on the Tiddim Road; and `Silchar-Bishenpur Track`™ on 25th June, where NaikAgansingRai and Sub NetraBahadurThapa of 5th Gurkha Rifles won their VCs on 26 th June 1944.Some old Manipuri elders who had witnessed these battles as children, also narrated their experiences at many locations.
Since our Battalion, 14 Punjab (Nabha Akal) had served in Manipur during late 1990s`™ while insurgency was at its peak, we have very fond memories of our two years tenure in the Imphal Valley. MaibamLokpaching (Red Hill or Point 2926) was located in the unit area and I proudly recollect meeting Viscount Slim (son of the famous Field Marshal) in April 1998, when he visited Imphal with a British delegation comprising of 50 war veterans of the 14th Army and wards and sons of men killed in the War. The Viscount`™s son, Dr Hugo Slimwas also among the group. MaibamLokpaching was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles involving hand to hand combat fought on the hillock code named Red Hill, adjacent to the Imphal-Tiddim Road. Fought in the last phase of the Imphal Campaign in May 1944, this battle turned the tide of the war in favour of the Allies. Red Hill was later Gen Slim`™s Tactical Headquarters during the initial stages of the Burma Campaign.
The Japanese War Veterans had constructed `India Peace Memorial`™ at the bottom of Red Hill in 1977 in memory of the Japanese martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the battle. The memorial`™s gate faces Japan and is a pilgrimage for Japanese tourists who pay homage to their fallen comrades.
The Closing Ceremony of the three-month long programme held at the Imphal War Cemetery on 28th June 2014 was attended by representatives from Britain, the United States, Australia and Japan. Dr Hugo Slim, grandson of Field Marshal Slim was among the dignitaries. The highlight was the presence of few World War II veterans including 93 year old Sokhojang, who had fought in the Battle of Imphal.
AtSangshak, 84 year local YA Shishakproudly showed us his museum set up at home. It contains rare Allied, Japanese and INA artefacts, photographs, medals, flags, paintings besides other collected items from the World War sites. The SangshakWar Memorial honouringthe valour and sacrifice of the martyrs of 152 Para Bn, 4/5 Maratha and locals of Sangshak village was made many years back, while the Japanese have recently constructed a War Memorial in honour of their martyrs who died during this battle. In Imphal, we were delighted to visit a similar war museum set up at home by one of the founding members of the 2nd World War Imphal Campaign Foundation.
Importance of the Battles
Dr Slim says, `The India/Burma Campaign was long known as the `Forgotten Army`™ in the UK. In the British popular image, the greatest battles and heroes were all in Europe. Scholars the world over are recognizing the significance of the Campaign as the beginning of modern integrated mobile warfare (air supply etc) and a model of defensive and offensive warfare. The Campaign is now taught in the UK and US military academies. Imphal is now recognized as the longest battle of WW II and the combination of so many different nationalities in the XIV Army makes it an important example of what today is called diversity.`
Louis Allen in his book `Burma `“ The Longest War`™ writes, ` Imphal`¦the last place on earth one would choose as the venue of a vast military campaign. Yet it was here that Japanese, British, Indians, Gurkhas, arrived in 1944 to kill other in their thousands. The Japanese were driven by the dream of invading India: the others by the need to stop them.`
Unfortunately, we in India seem to have forgotten these famous battles. Independent India has never shown any care or concern about these war veterans, as they are a living memorial of India`™s colonial past `“ men who fought a `foreign war`™ for a foreign government.It was for the first time that the Indian Army fought a foreigner invader on Indian soil. And it was for the first time the seemingly invincible armies of the Emperor of Japan were decisively beaten by Indian soldiers. It makes us proud of the contribution of our Armed Forces. As per one of our war veteran `“ `Victory in the Second World War has been, by far, our biggest military achievement, yet hardly anyone in India talks about it. The country that sent the largest voluntary Army in history to fight the war, has forgotten the sacrifices of our soldiers`. Fortunately, this seems to be changing with the Indian government gradually acknowledging the significant role played by our Armed Forces during the World Wars.
The Indian Army During the World Wars
During the First World War, 1.3 million Indian soldiers played a major role in the fighting in European, Mediterranean and Middle East theatres. They won 11 Victoria Crosses, while 74,000 soldiers died and 66,000 were wounded. 2014 also happens to be the Centenary year of First World War.
During the Second World War, the Indian Army began the war in 1939 numbering just 2,00,000 men. However by the end of the war, it became the largest volunteer Army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men. It fought gallantly in North Africa, Middle East and Italy, though a major force was committed to fighting the Japanese Army. Their valour and grit was recognized with the award of 31 VCs. These campaigns cost over 36,000 lives, whilst 34,354 were wounded and 67,340 became Prisoners of War.
War Tourism
Many Western countries and some South East Asian countries have preserved the World War sites.`The Battle Box`™ is one of the most important WW II sitesand premier tourist attractions in Singapore. War Tourism is a flourishing industry in Europe with Tour Operators conducting `battlefield tours`™ of World War sites and War Memorials for scholars, tourists and families of war veterans. The 70th Anniversary Commemorations of WW II at Monte Cassinoor Normandy in May and June, or the Centenary Commemorations of WW I this year are fine examples. The visit to Imphal for the 70th Anniversary was enriching, given this was the first-of-its-kind of War Tourism in India. Among the distinguished visitors I could interact with in Imphalwere a group of British scholars, wards of war veterans and the Curator of The Kohima Museum at Imphal Barracks, York. They later left for Kohima to visit the battlefield sites and pay homage to their martyrs at the famous Kohima War Cemetery.
We had a fine taste of War Tourism last year, when we visited the Italian battlefields where our 257 year old unit, 14 PUNJAB (NABHA AKAL), the erstwhile NABHA AKAL INFANTRY had fought with distinction against the Germans during WW II. It was very heartening walking through some of the remote locations and villages in Italy where our troops had served, and the locals speaking well of the Indian soldiers who fought during the War. We later paid homage to our unit and other Indian soldiers commemorated in the famous Cassino War Cemetery and other War Cemeteries in Italy.
Manipur and Nagaland have great potential for tourism in terms of natural beauty,adventure, culture or tribal celebrations.Manipur, knownas `Jewel of India`™ by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, has inspired descriptions such as the `Switzerland of the East.`™ Famous for its indigenous sports and sportsmen, it has produced icons like Mary Kom. The `Manipur Sangai Festival`™held in Imphal from 21`“30 November and the `Hornbill Festival`™ in Kisema, near Kohima from 01-10 December every year draws many tourists from India and abroad. The 6th and 7th Manipur Polo Internationals were conducted in Imphal during November 2012 and 2013 respectively with teams from the US, Germany, some South East countries and India participating. This new form of `Polo Tourism`™ was a big success. There have been British and Japanese tourists who come to visit the war cemeteriesand memorials in Imphal and Kohima.The successful culmination of the 70th Anniversary Commemorations in Imphal this year shows that War Tourism is one area where these states can focus on.The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force and the Battles of Imphal and Kohima provide us an excellent opportunity to project ourselves to the rest of the world and reach out to those countries which fought in these battles. The 75th Anniversary of these famous battles will be commemorated in 2019 and we should plan to conduct the same in a befitting manner. War Tourism would not onlyhelp in curbing insurgency by providingall round development in the region, it would also assist in promotion of India`™s `Look East-ActEast Policy`™.
(This article by the author had originally been published in The Infantry (India) Journal, December 2014 issue and is reproduced here with permission.)

Made in India rifle to replace INSAS: Modified Excalibur currently undergoing trials to meet Army requirements

The Indian Army has decided to go for an indigenous assault rifle to replace the problematic INSAS rifles. 
The decision that could save thousands of crores in foreign exchange and boost local manufacture was taken recently by Army Chief General Dalbir Singh. 
The Army then cancelled a problematic Rs 4,848 crore order for importing Multi Caliber Assault Rifles on June 15 — first reported by Mail Today on July 1.
An OFB officer with the indigenous Excalibur 5.56mm assault rifle. If the Excalibur/MIR clears trials, it could be in the hands of infantry soldiers within two year
An OFB officer with the indigenous Excalibur 5.56mm assault rifle. If the Excalibur/MIR clears trials, it could be in the hands of infantry soldiers within two year
“We are going in for a designed and Made in India rifle in keeping with the government’s indigenisation thrusts,” senior Army sources told Mail Today.
The performance of the DRDO-designed ‘Excalibur’ assault rifle in trials last month at the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune has further enthused the Army. 
The Excalibur had only two stoppages (where the bullet gets stuck in the breech) after 24,000 rounds were fired, close to the Army’s specifications of only one stoppage. 
New features 
The Excalibur is an improved version of the INSAS rifle and fires 5.56x45 mm ammunition. It has full-automatic capability over the INSAS which can only fire a three-round burst. 
The Excalibur barrel is shorter by 4 mm, has a side folding butt stock and features a Picatinny rail, a universal mount that allows a range of weapon sights and sensors to be fitted on the rifle. 
DRDO officials say it will take the OFB’s Rifle Factory Ishapore at least eight months to incorporate design changes suggested by the ARDE and field the first prototypes of what they are calling the ‘Modified INSAS Rifle’ (MIR). 
Changes suggested after trials include a smaller handguard and improved polycarbonate magazine. 
If the Excalibur/MIR clears trials, it could be in the hands of infantry soldiers within two years, DRDO officials say. 
The DRDO is designing a second version of the Excalibur, the AR-2 that fires 7.62x39 mm rounds used by AK-47. The AR-2 will be offered as an alternative to the Russian-origin assault rifle. 
The Army’s 2011 tender was for a Multi Caliber Assault Rifle or for a weapon that could fire INSAS and AK-47 ammunition with a barrel change. 
Five international firms— Beretta of Italy, Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI), Colt Defense of the U.S., Ceska Zbplojovka of Czech Republic and SiG Sauer of Switzerland—were shortlisted for the trials. 
However, Army officials now admit the specifications were poorly drafted and unrealistic.

Army's Donation to JK Just a Photo-opNEW DELHI

It has now been confirmed that the much-publicised event where Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag had handed over a donation cheque (of amount equivalent to one day’s salary of all ranks) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Jammu and Kashmir flood relief was nothing more than a photo-op.

In reply to an RTI query, the PMO has confirmed that it has not received the donation till date. On the occasion of the 67th Army Day on January 15, Gen Singh had presented a cheque titled ‘one day’s pay of all ranks of Indian Army’ to PM Narendra Modi in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. “Donation is yet to be received in the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF),” B K Roy, Under Secretary and Central Public Information Officer, PMO, said in reply to a RTI query on June 24.
This revelation comes as a huge embarrassment to the Ministry of Defence(MoD), which was in the news recently for submitting a bill of `500 crore to the Union government for the national service it had rendered during last year’s J&K deluge. The Army had played a major role in the rescue-and-relief operations the devastating floods, the worst witnessed in the picturesque state in nearly half a century. In an operation that lasted for two weeks, the troops had rescued over two lakh stranded people.
It was first reported by Express on January 18 that many Army officers were upset with the ‘arbitrary’ decision taken by Army Chief to donate a day’s pay to contribute `100 crore to the PM’s relief fund to help the flood-hit in Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, annoyed with the decision taken without their consent, over 2,000 Army men, including officers wrote to the office of the Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA), which handles the salaries of Army personnel, conveying their disapproval at the decision. Some of them went ahead, saying they will take legal action if any amount is deducted from their salary account.
Realising the discontent among the officers, the Army Headquarters (HQ) had no other option but to approach the Office of the CDA, which eventually advised them that it would require a consent letter from each soldier for deduction of their salary to avoid any legal action or further controversy. But nearly six months on, the Army has failed to meet its commitment to the PMNRF.
The Army HQ initiated the process of collecting the money nearly two months after the Army Day, on March 12. The letter issued by the Adjutant General branch titled ‘Voluntary Contribution of One Day’s salary by Indian Army personnel to Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for floods in J&K’ was signed by an officer of the rank of Brigadier.

Burma by Night, India During Day

For three days General A S Vaidya’s brigade lay siege to ‘General’ Mowu Angami and his forces at Phisame village in Tuensang. At the end of the third night, propelled by the divisions within his ranks along tribal lines, Mowu was forced to surrender. Not a single bullet had been fired. ‘General’ Angami was put behind bars. With his capture, a phase of Naga insurrection had ended.
In 1979, the same soldier, who had tracked Angami from Myanmar to India, entered Myanmar again. This time for an operation from the Tirap-Changlang districts of East Arunachal Pradesh. By then, he had become a Lt Colonel, and one of his missions was to go after S S Khaplang’s men. After Mowu’s arrest, the rebel Naga leaders developed their own spheres of influence, after forming the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, NSCN (IM). Isak Chishu Swu is a Sema Naga whose writ at that time ran in the then Tuensang district, which comprised the present Kiphire district as well. He controlled the tribes up to the border and beyond, into Mon and Tirap-Changlang districts. Thuingaleng Muivah, a Manipuri Tangkhul Naga, controlled Ukhrul, Churachandpur and Chandel, where the 18 Dogra regiment soldiers were killed recently. Muivah held no sway on Sema Naga areas and Semas had no influence on Tangkhul areas. Between these two were the Angamis and the Chakasang, the link between Manipur and Sema Naga areas.
They joined forces with Khaplang because he controlled, like a warlord, the areas along Burma’s border all the way up to the Kunming province in China. The alliance had another dimension: Khaplang was the key link between the smuggling cartels of drugs, precious stones and arms from China. Slowly Khaplang started giving shelter to Ulfa, KLO and also later the Bodos. His reach stretched all the way into Jairampur, 30km inside Arunachal from Myanmar’s border. Later, competing inter-agency interests led to Khaplang being propped up against Muivah and Isak as well. This is how the game was played in the Northeast.
Those days, the Burmese army was stretched. And these were areas so remote that the writ of the government did not run here. Northwards lay Kachin and Shan states seething with insurgencies. The Burmese army had very few posts here. Burmese soldiers did not get their salary regularly; the government didn’t have the money. The signs were everywhere: the poor conditions of their uniforms and gear; many of the soldiers wore rubber flip-flops and lungis instead of uniform. Whatever Indian soldiers gave them, they took gladly, whether it was extra rations or biscuits. A case of rum worked wonders. The trade-off was information and intelligence on Khaplang’s men and their activities. Then our soldiers went quietly across, hit them and came back. This happened regularly. On these clandestine operations, usually a group of 20 soldiers, commanded by either a Major or a Colonel, would take along light weapons, a large amount of bombs, smoke grenades and petrol with the intent to cause maximum damage.
These camps had sentries and guard dogs. The trek from the district headquarter Khunsa to the camps would be about 10 or 11km. Stealth was the way forward for Nagas had giant wooden drums they used to convey messages. The sound of the drums would carry for kilometres. Afterwards they attacked the camps; no one had the time to count the dead bodies. There would be a back-up team waiting on the border if the situation got too ugly. The trick was to hit the camps around three in the morning and get back before daylight. (To be continued)
Sudarshan is the author of Anatomy of an Abduction: How the Indian Hostages in Iraq Were Freed

The ‘faujis’ are feeling angry

The Tribune has always cherished its special and intimate relationship with the armed forces’ biradari. Serving and retired soldiers are our most valued readers; and, we often have the pleasure of publishing letters, opinions and comments from retired senior officers who are kind enough to share their perspective and insight with the readers. The soldier will always have the first claim on this newspaper’s attention and space.
The “One Rank One Pension” issue has agitated the entire ex-servicemen fraternity. We have received and continue to receive many, many articles on the subject. We have published quite a number of such write-ups, and would publish some more. Yet, many of our contributors feel aggrieved when The Tribune does not accommodate each and every piece offered.  
My own feeling is that the biradari is feeling especially frustrated because it chose to believe in the promises made by Narendra Modi before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. After becoming Prime Minister, Mr Modi has discovered — and, has candidly confessed —that the issue was much more complex than he thought and that his government was not in a position to deliver on what he had promised. The fauji biradari consists of men who have their own code of honour: promises made have to be kept. It feels betrayed. The anger is brewing. And, the ex-servicemen activists are doubly angry that the media is not giving them due coverage to their ongoing protests. 
Ireceived a communication a few days ago from one Lt Col DS Dabas (retd), expressing himself rather forcefully on what he called “ethical journalism — the need of the hour”. In his reckoning, the entire media has fallen short of expectations. He has an interestingly apt quote from Rudyard Kipling:
“In times of war and not before,
God and the soldier we adore
.But in times of peace and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.”

I salute to that. 
A few days ago, Chandigarh was host to the National Council of the Communist Party of India. It was a congregation of some faded, some jaded, yet unbeaten, men and women. 
It felt good to be able to meet many old familiar faces from Delhi. In particular, I was happy to see AB Bardhan. He was looking frail and weak. But still as sharp as a gunshot. When I asked about his health, he replied with a twinkle in his eye: “Nothing wrong with me. I am only 90.”
I have had the pleasure of knowing Bardhan saheb for over two decades and he has always impressed me as a clear-headed ideologue. He is blunt in his views and assessment of people — and never apologetic about it. He is someone who would not give in to the political correctness of the day. It was always instructive for a political reporter like me to listen to him dissecting events and personalities from a new perspective. 
The Communist leaders who gathered in Chandigarh know they do not count for much. They know that parliamentary politics in India is an altogether different ball game and they are ill-equipped to play the game with any degree of competence, leave alone success. But the hallmark of the committed men and women is that they are not easily deterred from their chosen path. Rightly or wrongly, they believe in a certain notion of India.
A gentleman named Avtar Singh was playing host to them in Chandigarh. He counts himself as one among the comrades, but of a slightly different ilk. Not only does he refuse to fall in line with the regimentation that a communist party requires of its members, but he also has a fine business head on his shoulders.
Blessed with this acumen, he has just put together an impressive building, called Peoples Convention Centre, on a piece of land allotted to the Communist Party of India. He managed to persuade Comrade Bardhan to give him a free hand so that he could put up something different from a drab party structure. He also inveigled Shivraj Patil, first as Union Home Minister and later as Governor of Punjab, to help clear the ubiquitous red tape. It has the look of a three-star imitation of the India International Centre in New Delhi. 
Avtar Singh hopes the Peoples Convention Centre would become home, a kind of “adda”, where intelligent, forward-looking, sensitive and progressive men and women will bond and unleash their imagination to think of a different, better India in the 21st century.   
It must have been the first week of 2001.  I had gone to the PMO to visit my friend (and source) Brajesh Mishra, who was Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  Since the very early days, the Principal Secretary has occupied the corner room down the corridor opposite the Prime Minister’s room on the first floor in that grand building called the South Block.  About 60 steps connect the two most powerful offices; both are very, very coveted rooms. 
Those days the PMO used to be a relaxed place. It was sufficiently self-assured and  receptive to friendly intrusions. A visitor was not discouraged from roaming the corridors and take a chance on dropping on other officers after the initial “appointment”.
So, on that early 2001 morning after my chat with Brajesh Mishra, I took a slight detour, hoping to gatecrash on other officers. And I was surprised to find one very familiar gentleman supervising the putting up of a nameplate — his own. He greeted me warmly and rather sheepishly observed: “For the first time in my long professional career, there is going to be a nameplate outside my office.”
The man was AS Dulat, undoubtedly the most experienced “Kashmir hand” we have today. After he hung up his boots as the chief of RAW, he was cajoled and wooed by Brajesh Mishra to lend a hand in sorting out the Kashmir mess. He was designated as “Officer on Special Duty” in the PMO. Hence, the requirement of a nameplate.
Now, the very discreet and very reticent Dulat has allowed himself to be persuaded to put out his recollections, Kashmir — The Vajpayee Years. And, he has uncorked a can of assorted memories, accusations and recriminations.
Many readers have written that Kaffeeklatsch reminds them of Khushwant Singh’s famous column With Malice Towards One And All.
I find it very flattering and gratifying. The comparison would have perhaps pleased him. 
Khushwant Singh was my first editor in India at  Hindustan Times in Delhi.  He taught me the fine points of effective writing. 
Contrary to his public image of a tough-talking editor, he was a very gentle, almost meek, soul who would go to any length to avoid an unpleasant argument. Irate and angry readers would often barge into the newspaper office and demand an audience with the editor. Under Khushwant’s instructions, such visitors were gently steered away from him towards one of us young assistant editors.  
He was a great raconteur and when he was in the mood, he would regale us young assistant editors with salty stories of powerful people. Since he was also a member of the Rajya Sabha, he was brushing shoulders with the political elite of the day. His delightful anecdotes invariably had a moral:  always look at the feet of the pompously powerful and you will find lumps of malleable clay. 
He was also a generous soul. His greatest quality as an editor was that he would prod us to read good writings. He would pass on foreign magazines like The New Statesman and The Spectator to his junior colleagues. On his way out for lunch, he used to often stop by my cabin and inquire what I was reading and then suggest a few titles. Once he asked me if I had read Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. I replied rather sourly that I was not getting paid enough to be able to afford expensive books. The next morning, Rushdie’s book was on my table. 
Lastly, there was a bloomer in last week’s Kaffeeklatsch. “Muzaffarnagar” in western UP appeared as “Muzaffarpur”.  I and my colleagues were embarrassed that such an error had crept in. Alert readers took the trouble of pointing out the mistake. We have already acknowledged the error in our “Letters to the Editor” column. Thank you all.

Soldiers are not meant to die unprotected: Civil society

Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 4Soldiers are not meant to die unprotected: Civil society
“The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is needed in Jammu and Kashmir to protect soldiers because they are fighting Pak-sponsored terrorism. They are not meant to die unprotected, says civil society in the state.
“AFSPA had been imposed by virtue of the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) in the state. In the Agenda for Alliance, the PDP and BJP have hinted at the possibility of doing away with the DAA to pave way for revocation of AFSPA. If it happens then there will be serious repercussions in the border state,” said Mahesh Kaul, an eminent scholar.
J&K is not only a border state, but also a frontline state where Pakistan and China keep engineering anti-India activities from terrorism to intrusions and border firing, said Kaul in a bid to drive home the point that any tampering with AFSPA will open floodgates of troubles in J&K.
He said AFSPA was an enabling Act. “It is needed to protect soldiers as they are fighting battle-hardened insurgents trained and armed with sophisticated weapons by Pakistan. Our soldiers are not meant to die unprotected,” he added.
The president of the J&K High Court Bar Association of Jammu, Abhinav Sharma, said the situation was not conducive for withdrawal of AFSPA from J&K.
“The history of J&K says it all. It never remained at peace because of hostile countries. AFSPA is a must for our troops to combat terrorism. They can never fight militancy with ordinary law by their side. If India really wants to fight insurgency then soldiers are to be protected under special laws,” said Sharma.
Another prominent lawyer Sheikh Shakeel said, “They (militants) throw grenades on security convoys, open fire and carry out sneak attacks and then a demand of revoking AFSPA is raised.”
“Pak flags are openly waved and pro-Pak slogans are openly raised. In such a scenario how could anyone think of revoking or diluting the AFSPA,” he added.
“I personally feel that our forces need total protection because we are fighting a proxy war perpetrated from across the borders, but at the same time there should be strict adherence to the SOP (standard operating procedure) by the men in uniform on the ground to check even stray incidents of excesses,” he added.

AFSPA has helped forces in combating terrorism: Army

The Act came into force in state 25 years ago on July 5, 1990Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 3
Even as the Amnesty International -- a human rights watchdog -- picked holes in the “controversial” Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), top sources in the Army say, “Combating Pak-sponsored terrorism in J&K won’t have been possible without AFSPA.”
The Act came into force in J&K 25 years ago on July 5, 1990. In September 1990, Parliament had passed the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, which was “deemed to have come into force” retrospectively from July 5, 1990. However, peaceful Leh and Kargil districts in the Ladakh region were never brought under its ambit.
“Had the Army not been tasked to combat terrorism in the state and the police was given the job, it too would have needed a protection under a similar legislation,” said a senior Defence source.
In 2013 the then DGP, Ashok Prasad, currently Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs, had said, it was a misconception that armed forces were enjoying “immunity” under the law. He had also stated that even the police would need some kind of legal cover akin to AFSPA in case they were entrusted with the independent job of countering insurgency.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently described AFSPA as mandatory if the Army has to be deployed in J&K or any other state for internal security. “Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday said AFSPA will go when situation is conducive. March 20 and 21 terror attacks in Kathua and Samba districts are still fresh in the minds of the people and hence AFSPA is indispensable to combat terrorism,” said an Army source. “A call on AFSPA has to be taken keeping in mind all the aspects and serious ramifications in case it is to be withdrawn,” he added.
It may be stated here that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s PDP wants the AFSPA to be withdrawn, at least from “peaceful” areas to begin with, while its partner BJP has strong reservations over any such move. “There is a spike in terror activities this year. Some educated youth have joined militant outfits and at the same time terror camps are still functional in PoK. Security-related matter should better be decided on merit and not on political considerations,” added the source.
On May 2 this year, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda had told The Tribune that 42 terror camps remained intact and militants had been kept in good numbers in various launch pads across the LoC.

Brigadier Usman remembered on his 67th martyrdom day

Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 3Brigadier Usman remembered on his 67th martyrdom day
The J&K Freedom Fighters Association (JKFFA) remembered Brigadier Mohammad Usman, 1947 Indo-Pak war hero, on his martyrdom day here today.
Brigadier Usman was the only high ranking officer of the Indian Army who had sacrificed his life while saving Nowshera, Jhangar and Rajouri on July 3, 1948.
Brigadier Usman was offered a high post in the Pakistan Army, but he refused the offer and fought bravely against the neighbouring country’s Army.
The function held at the Bal Niketan, Ved Mandir, Ambphalla, Jammu, in the martyr’s remembrance was organised by association president Ved Gandotra. Vikas Bhatti was the guest of honour on the occasion.
The speakers paid rich tributes to the martyr and highlighted his deeds. They also lit candles in memory of Brigadier Usman.
Brigadier Usman was born on July 15, 1912. He attained martyrdom just 12 days before his 36th birthday.
The participants also remembered all those known and unknown martyrs and freedom fighters who had sacrificed everything to attain make India free from the British rule.
The speakers urged youth to fight corruption, social evils and poverty to make an India of their dreams.
Rajiv Mahajan, state president of the Shri Ram Sena; RR Raina, president, J&K Sangram Sena; Narinder Singh and Parbhat Kapahi were some of the prominent speakers who addressed the gathering.

Another militant killed in Uri encounter

05 Jul 2015 | 12:50 AM
SRINAGAR: In the ongoing operation to flush out a group of heavily armed militants close to Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, another militant was shot dead by the Army today.
Majid Jahangiri n the ongoing operation to flush out a group of heavily armed militants close to Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, another militant was shot dead by the Army today. The death toll in the encounter that began yesterday morning has increased to three, including a soldier.
An Army soldier of 8 Battalion Sikh Regiment, Harpreet Singh, resident of Abu Said Village in Ajnala, Amritsar, Punjab, was killed on Friday evening in the operation that is under progress in the Buniyar area of the Uri sector, nearly 80 km from Srinagar.
On Friday, the Army had claimed to have prevented a major attempt by a group of militants to infiltrate into Kashmir.
“As the combing operation in the vast rugged terrain was on, a contact with the hiding militants was again established around 11 am today. In the brief firefight, one more terrorist was eliminated, taking the total toll of terrorists to two,” an Army spokesman in Srinagar said.
He said three AK-47 and three rucksacks were also recovered from the site of the operation. “The operation is still in progress,” the spokesman said.
Sources said Army commandos were also involved in the combing operation and troops were ensuring that no militant managed to flee the cordon.
“The operation is going on the Line of Control and there are possibilities that a few militants might have been pushed back,” a defence source said.
The firefight started on Friday morning when an Army patrol intercepted an infiltrating group of four-five militants close to the Noori post in the Buniyar area of the Uri sector.
Another militant killed in Uri encounter
Army men take position during an encounter in the Valley. Tribune file photo
Doon Ex-Servicemen  Joined Protest Rally at Jantar Mantar
A team from Uttarakhand joined OROP protest rally at Jantar Mantar New Delhi  on 04 Jul 2015 with full enthusiasm and real "Janoon". A number of Officers and JCOs joined the rally including Lt Gens S K Bahri, Vinay Sharma of Dogras, A K Nanda of Engrs, Maj Gen Lalji D Singh of Engrs, Brig R S Rawat, Col P L Prashar and many more more others. Lt Col Inder Singh, who has been fighting this battle since early eighties also  came in a wheel chair and gave certain startling facts of his fight for OROP. We hope to hear something positive by Monday evening. Lt Gen S K Bahri, Maj Gen Satbir  Singh and team of United Front of ESM are in regular touch with the Govt. Reportedly 95% OROP is through and let's hope that balance of it also gets through by Sunday night. All ESM from various States  earnestly requested to show the strength of ESM to the Govt. to gain the more momentum.
In Put
Lt Col B M Thapa, Veteran
Vice President
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FEEDBACK --III Jantar Mantar
 Dear Sirs
We appreciate your concerns and note your apprehensions. Everyone is good at criticizing but rarely any one  comes out with practical suggestions approved by ground level ESMs. We will welcome good suggestions and ESMs who would like to lead the ideas proposed by them.  RHS is going on since last 20 days and everyday ESM are travelling from nearby states to take part in RHS. On an average 30 ESM are observing RHS at JM everyday. RHS is also being observed in more than 60 towns in India. Local LIUs are sending their report to center. Center is definitely taking note of these reports.

UFESM was called by RM on 2 July to give latest position of OROP. Do you think that he invited us without any reasons or just because of your mails? No sirs he invited us because we are sitting on JM and this is troubling the Government. We will be meeting him again on 7 or 8 July. 

Sirs we will be happy to support you in any agitation or program which you would propose and would lead. We will continue with RHS but will also support your program . Please take the lead. Sirs Please file a suit in courts as advised by you. We will all support you but please be aware that you will be putting OROP approval back by another ten years because then these bureaucrats will get an excuse to say that the OROP is subjudice and till we hear from courts we will not take any decision.

You are free to act as per your conviction and we will work on the strategy on which we are convinced.

UFESM  is convinced that RHS is making desired impact on Government. RHS is fully convinced that signature with blood and returning medals has had desired effect. It is the cumulative effect of slowly raising pitch of agitation that OROP is known to every citizen today and every one is supporting whole heartedly supporting OROP for you. 

 We are disturbed by your comment that this agitation is being lead by people with political ambition. This is a baseless allegation. Pl provide some positive inputs to confirm your allegations.

May we request you to contribute positive energy at this last stage of fight rather than create negative energy to demoralize the rank and file. 

May we also request you to visit JM to boost morale of the ESM who are observing RHS. 

Gp Capt VK Gandhi VSM
United Front of Ex-servicemen


The above cheques amount has been dontaed by the following Veterans for united front of EX-servicemen

1. Col Ragubir Singh,c-168 Sector3 ,Defene colony  from Dehradun--9719470972

2. Col  Sudhir Garg from ex-84 Armd Regt from Delhi-9810166878

      The amount will be transferred once United Front account is opened . Presently all accounts of IESM are sealed/Blocked i.e you can deposit but cannot withdraw.
      Any veterans desires to Donate for the cause and for the administrative arrangement at Jantar Mantar can make use of Sanjha Morcha Account which shall be projected on the Blog for Transparency or you can Transfer. 
Kindly write at back of cheques :for UFESM" and you name and address with contact number:

     Pay to 

                            PNB SEC 40/C-CHD
                            SB A/C N0-7386000100000193

                           RTGS/NEFT IFS CODE: PUNB0738600

44thNDA/53 Reg course, will join the MS&HS as a course, incl couple of Lt Gen and Maj Gens, on 11  Jul 2015.

Most of them are from outside Delhi.

The previous AG and DGMO, course mates of the present IAF and IA Chief have been vis the site on regular basis.  

The motivation is high and enthusiasm is brimming in them to contribute. The ex DG ARTY and DG AAC.are  to join in the MS&HS on 11Jul
 I contribute from Thane in my humble way