Sunday, April 26, 2015

Army, Chinese PLA to March in Moscow Victory Day Parade

NEW DELHI: In a rare occasion, a 75-member contingent of the Grenadiers Regiment from the Indian Army, along with the People’s Liberation Army of China, would take part in the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade at Red Square on May 9.
It would probably be for the first time in the history that the two militaries marching in a parade.
The parade would mark the 70th anniversary of victory of Soviet people over Germans in the Patriotic War of 1945.
India and China would be amongst the 11 countries participating in the event. In fact, this is for the first time Indian Army is taking part in a foreign country’s victory celebration. The Indian contingent has on Friday left for Moscow, where they would practice with the  military contingents of other countries for the parade. The Grenadiers Regiment was awarded the best marching contingent in this year’s Republic Day parade at the historic Rajpath, which was witnessed by US President Barack Obama as the chief guest.
Raised in November 1779, the Grenadiers Regiment had won six Victoria Crosses pre-independence and three Param Vir Chakras post-1947.
About 16,000 soldiers, 200 armoured vehicles and 150 planes and helicopters would take part in the Moscow Victory Day Parade. Leaders from various countries are expected to witness the historic celebration.
Myanmar army intrudes into Manipur again
Imphal: Barely 10 months after the Myanmar army encroached on a portion of Indian territory along the Moreh sector of Chandel district in Manipur, it has again occupied a 3-sq km area in Ukhrul district of the state, villagers of the area claimed.

Taking note of the latest 'incursion', chief minister Okram
Ibobi Singh convened a meeting with top civil security officers, including the deputy commissioner of Ukhrul.

Manipur shares a 390-km porous border with Myanmar. Three of its districts — Chandel, Ukhrul and Churachandpur — share a border with Myanmar. Central forces, mostly Assam Rifles, guard the bordering areas.
Myanmar troops, including officers accompanied by police, last week intruded into Ukhrul's Choro Khunou village that lies between border pillar No 6 and 95, said the villagers. Choro Khunou, under Kamjong block, is located at a distance of 250 km from Imphal and 150 km from the Ukhrul district headquarters.
Claiming that the area belongs to them, the Myanmar army seized a saw mill and some other structures there, the villagers added.
The troops warned the villagers to refrain from building houses in the occupied area.
The village authorities urged the state and the Centre to intervene immediately.
Reacting to the development, Ibobi Singh on Thursday evening convened a meeting of the chief secretary, DGP, senior Assam Rifles officials, Army, BSF and CRPF and the Ukhrul DC in Imphal.
The DC said a sub-divisional officer and an additional SP of the district have been sent to Choro Khunou village to gather information, sources said.

The Army said it would raise the issue during the next bilateral meeting with its Myanmar counterparts, while the Assam Rifles said they have sent their men to the area to get a clear picture.ttp://

Meow meow peddler stayed at ex-Army officer’s home: Crime Branch

Written by Gautam Sandip Mengle | Mumbai | Updated: April 25, 2015 12:36 am

While 100 policemen were looking for meow meow peddler Shashikala alias Baby Patankar all over the city and neighbouring areas, she was staying at the residence of a retired Army officer in Konkan district, investigations have revealed. The ex-Army officer, who has admitted to having allowed Patankar to stay in his house even after learning about her fugitive status, is now under the police scanner.
Patankar, accused of having supplied drugs to former Mumbai Police constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe, was arrested on Tuesday by the Social Service Branch after a 40-day hunt. She is currently under interrogation in the custody of Crime Branch over the drug-peddling operation and the source of the contraband.
“Patankar told us that she was staying at the residence of a retired Army officer in the Kerawade village near Kudal in Konkan district. We sent a team there and they recovered three cell phones and a pen drive from the house on Thursday. The team also questioned the ex-officer. He said that he initially did not know that Patankar was wanted by the Mumbai Police, but she told him about it later. He still let her stay in his house,” said a Crime Branch officer.
The Crime Branch will soon take a call on whether to charge him for aiding and abetting a fugitive or to make him a witness. He has detailed information about Patankar’s movements for the 40 days that she was absconding.
“Patankar has claimed that the retired officer practices astrology and she had once consulted him, after which they kept in touch. We are conducting further inquiries,” the officer said. He added, “We have already been able to ascertain that she came to Mumbai twice on the sly during this period. She has, in her interrogation, named a few more policemen with whom she has been in touch and we will soon investigate the nature of their associations with her.”
The officer added that Patankar has named a drug dealer based in Mumbai as the one who supplied drugs to her. The police are now looking for the drug dealer. Patankar’s son Satish, who had been taken into custody by the Crime Branch on Thursday, was produced in court on Friday. He has been remanded to the Crime Branch’s custody till April 28.

A short history of the Gurkhas

In 2015, Gurkhas will have served in the British Army for 200 years. We look back at some of their fiercest battles and proudest moments over the past two centuries

1814-1816: Anglo-Nepalese War

In 1815 the Gurkhas are first enlisted into the armies of the British crown.

1845-1846 & 1848-1849: First and Second Anglo-Sikh wars

Gurkhas helped to defeat the Sikhs in battles with heavy casualties on both sides.

1857-1859: Indian Mutiny

Gurkhas fought with the British to defeat the mutiny and the Sirmoor Battalion were awarded the Queen’s Truncheon in recognition of their bravery and loyalty at the Siege of Delhi.

1878-1880: Second Afghan War

Worried by Russian influence in Afghanistan, the British sent a force to invade, including five Gurkha regiments. After several major battles the Afghans were defeated.

1900: Boxer rebellion

Gurkhas fought against Chinese nationalist insurgents.

1914-1918: First World War

More than 90,000 Gurkhas served the British Crown, of whom more than 20,000 were killed, wounded, or missing in action in France, Gallipoli and elsewhere. Gurkha regiments earned hundreds of gallantry awards throughout the War.
Gurkhas capture a German trench during the First World War (The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

1930s: India

Gurkhas fought on India’s North West Frontier.

1939-1945: Second World War

More than 137,000 Gurkhas served the British Crown, from North Africa to Italy, Burma and beyond. More than 23,000 were killed, wounded or missing in action. They earned over 2,500 awards for bravery.

1947: Indian independence

Of the 10 existing Gurkha regiments, six stayed in the Indian army and four transferred to the British Army. These were 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) and 6th, 7th and 10th Gurkha Rifles.

1948-1960: Malayan Emergency

This was the first conflict in which Gurkhas fought as part of the British Army. They were continually on active service, winning many awards for bravery.

1949-1959: New regiments

Three new regiments were formed, now known as The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, Queen’s Gurkha Signals and The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment.

1962-1966: Borneo Confrontation

From bases in Sarawak, Gurkhas defended the country against Indonesian forces, engaging in long-range operations in dense jungle.
Gurkhas patrol the Limbang River in Borneo in 1965 (Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images)

1965: Victoria Cross

Latest Victoria Cross is awarded. LCpl Rambahadur Limbu (left) of 10th Gurkha Rifles was awarded the VC for valour in Borneo, after storming an enemy position and rescuing fallen comrades under concentrated fire.

1969: Gurkha Welfare Trust

The Gurkha Welfare Trust is founded with the aim of relieving poverty and distress among ex-Gurkha soldiers and their dependants. Today it also delivers community aid such as water-supply systems, schools and medical camps.

1982: The Falklands

The Gurkhas’ fearsome reputation led to the Argentines deciding not to face the Gurkhas when challenged in battle.
Gurkhas apply camouflage cream before setting out on patrol in the Falklands (PA)

1990s-2000s: From Kosovo to Sierra Leone

Gurkhas served in Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor and Sierra Leone.

2001-2014: Afghanistan

Gurkhas’ skills in hand-to-hand combat, peacekeeping skills and ability to build relationships with the Afghans proved invaluable. Cpl Dipprasad Pun (above) was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for single-handedly repelling a Taliban assault in Helmand Province.

2003-2011: Iraq

Gurkhas provided extensive medical and logistic support to the Allied forces while retracing their forebears’ routes from the First World War.

2007: Gurkha Pension Rights

All Gurkhas who serve post-1997 are awarded pension rights equal to other British servicemen.
Gurkha veterans call for better pension rights in Parliament Square, London in 2007 (Christopher Pledger)

2009: UK Citizenship Rights

All Gurkhas who served four or more years after 1948 are awarded UK citizenship rights and have the right to settle in the UK, following a high-profile campaign fronted by the actress Joanna Lumley.

2014: Ebola

Gurkhas sent to Sierra Leone to help contain Ebola.
For further information about the Gurkhas, their history and 200th anniversary events, see

5 Ways India Mistreats Its Bravest Men And Women. Yes, We're Talking About Our Ex-Military Officers

Here are just a handful of stories that will make you realise that the men and women who volunteer their lives in exchange for serving India are also endangering their dignity. 

1. Jobs for ex-servicemen are limited

Indian sikh soldier taxi driver
That’s not an ordinary taxi driver – it’s former Havaldar Gurmukh Singh Sahanu. There’s a reason you see ex-servicemen in careers that offer much less than a shadow of the glory and discipline of their former roles – the government isn’t pushing corporate India to hire them. Instead, you find ex-army men working in  blue collar jobs like security and gyms. There’s 50,000 men who retire from the armed forces every year, and most are still capable and willing to work. These men have a discipline and mental agility forged in life or death situations. 
India can learn from America, which offers tax benefits to companies hiring veterans (ex-servicemen). For a US corporate employer, the tax credit can be as high as $9,600 for every qualified veteran hired. These tax credit rules applied to all veterans hired before January 1, 2014. Since then, unfortunately, the US Congress has been in a bit of turmoil and the extension of the tax credit remains in abeyance. Last year, on Memorial Day, Wal-Mart, one of the largest retail chains, announced its commitment to hiring veterans. It set a target of 1,00,000 over a five-year span. 

2. Army authorities don’t care about disabled soldiers

Army authorities faced flak from the Supreme Court in a recent judgment ruled in favor of Sukhvinder Singh, who was discharged from the army in 2002, a year after he joined, because he lost his hearing. The court found that not only did the army 'NOT' give him a disability pension for 12 years, but also didn’t even consider if he should be retained in service in any other category. In fact, the Supreme Court has pulled up the army for fighting against giving ex-army soldiers a slight raise in disability pension.
“So what? The government can have at least this much of budget for its soldiers who are dying for the people of this country every day. What is the point of having these memorials and placards saluting our defence personnel if you litigate against the disabled soldiers till the Supreme Court. You should pay them,” said the Supreme Court bench.

3. The horrors of war and the poor living condition scars them with mental issues

Here’re some facts:
In the last 5 years, 597 military personnel have committed suicide. Out of these, 108 personn suicides are just from last year.
In 2012, it was noted that over four times more soldiers die battling their internal demons rather than fighting militants in Kashmir or north-east. Stress-related deaths in the shape of suicides and "fragging" (killing fellow soldiers) show no sign of flagging in the Army, with the toll alarmingly crossing the 100 mark year after year.
suicide gun
Those who live long enough to retire aren’t safe either.
Mental hospitals and military hospitals don’t have enough beds or staff to manage the inflow of ex-military men who report anxiety, frustration, and depression.  Many are pushed into disorder due to the combination of low pay, the stress of family, and inability to adjust to civilian life. And the army doesn’t seem to have the concern to do something about it.

4. If they are injured in the line of duty, Indian soldiers might not get war injury pension

After ex-Major DP Singh lost his leg to Pakistani mortar fire, the army refused to recognise him as a war-wounded soldier. He receives only 14,000 Rupees a month, because the army refused to pay him the dues that a war injured soldier gets (matching the salary he was receiving when hurt in the line of duty), and instead scheduled him for a disabled pension. Then, the army reduced his 100% disability pension to 90 percent.  
indian army
Today, he is a famous marathoner, and also engaged in legal 7 year marathon with the army for a dignified life. 
More recently, former NSG commando Surender Singh, who risked life and limb while saving Mumbai from the 26/11 attacks didn’t receive his pension for almost 2 years. He is today an AAP MLA, and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had to intervene to get his pension.

5. They legally are not allowed to file High court cases against the army 

The Armed Forces Tribunal Act kills the right of army people to file High Court cases against the army.  This week, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM),one of India’s largest ex-servicemen bodies has written to PM Modi asking to amend the act.

100 Years Ago Today: Allied troops land at Gallipoli

One of the most controversial campaigns of the First World War began on April 25th 1915, when the Allied powers invaded the Gallipoli peninsula with the aim of knocking Turkey out of the war.
British and French forces were supported by the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs), as well as troops from the colonial Indian Army and Newfoundland (now part of Canada).
One hundred years on, the merits and conduct of the Allied assault are still vigorously debated by historians.
Gallipoli was originally conceived by Britain and France as a naval operation to seize control of the Dardanelles Strait from Germany's Ottoman ally and bolster support for Russia which had been under pressure in the Caucasus.
But Turkey defeated Allied attempts in March 1915 to force a passage through the Dardanelles, the narrow channel forming part of the sea route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.
Ground troops were landed on the beaches of the rugged Gallipoli peninsula on April 25th, with the aim of capturing the Ottoman forts and artillery batteries guarding the Dardanelles, and advancing on the capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul).
Landing troops at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli (Anzac Cove)  April 25th 1915. (Courtesy of Archives New Zealand Archives Ref: PC4 1587/1915)
Stiff Turkish resistance prevented any significant advance. A campaign also seen as a 'back door' way of trying to break the deadlock of the Western Front became a stalemate itself, despite a renewed Allied offensive in August 1915.  
A Turkish military commander, Mustafa Kemal, came to prominence for his defence of Gallipoli, going on to found the modern Republic of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Britain and France pulled out their forces after an eight-month campaign, successfully completing the withdrawal by January 1916.
The failure at Gallipoli cost Winston Churchill, an enthusiastic promoter of the venture, his job as First Lord of the Admiralty, the minister in charge of Britain's Royal Navy.
According to figures compiled by the Gallipoli Association, the Allies suffered more than 250,000 casualties; of these approximately 58,000 died. Ottoman casualties, including  German soldiers attached to the Turkish forces, numbered in excess of 300,000, of whom 87,000 died.
April 25th was first marked as Anzac Day in 1916. For Australia and New Zealand, Gallipoli is seen as a significant moment in their emergence as distinct nations from the UK.
Sources: Wikipedia/Gallipoli Association/various
Images courtesy of the Imperial War Museum © IWM Q 13653 (Cape Helles); Archives New Zealand Archives Ref: PC4 1587/1915 (Anzac Cove)Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

How I found my Gurkha family in Nepal

As the Brigade of Gurkhas turns 200, Annabel Venning goes to Nepal to discover her roots. Here she tells of the soldiers who have given their lives for our country

In the shadow of the Himalayan hills we gathered on the parade ground, shading our eyes from the bright sunshine that glinted on medals, on the polished trumpets of the band, and on gold-braided saris and earrings.
I had travelled to Nepal, abandoning my husband and children for two weeks, for an occasion that was as significant to me – perhaps more so – as the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the London Olympics and a family reunion all rolled into one.
We – 3,000 serving soldiers and veterans, widows, wives, daughters, sons and grandchildren of the Brigade of Gurkhas – were there to commemorate two centuries of the Gurkhas’ service in the British Army.
Among the veterans standing on the parade ground was my father, Richard, who had served with the Gurkhas for 25 years.
He was there, like all of us, to pay tribute not just to the Gurkhas’ illustrious history, but to the individuals who made it so, including those killed in service or who had died, including both my grandfathers and a great- great-grandfather.
Annabel, in pink, with her sister and father, Lt Colonel Richard Venning, and his former driver (Sue Carpenter)
My sister and I watched with pride as my father, together with other former commanding officers, pinned medals, commissioned to mark the occasion, onto the men with whom they had served. Widows of those who had died or fallen in battle were also given medals.
For us, as with many of those there, the history of the Gurkhas is entwined closely with our own family history.
It was in 1815 that British troops of the East India Company and Gorkha soldiers from the kingdom of Nepal clashed in a war that ended in stalemate but began a friendship and alliance that was to last for centuries.
Both sides were so impressed by the fighting skills and gallant behaviour of the other that the British asked if the soldiers would serve in the army of the East India Company. They agreed and the first three Gurkha regiments, including the Sirmoor Battalion – later 2nd Gurkhas, my father’s regiment – were formed.
This was not a colonial relationship, but an alliance born of mutual admiration and advantage. Britain gained a highly skilled, deeply loyal fighting force, while the Gurkhas received better pay and conditions than at home.
Their bravery soon became legendary: “It is better to die than to be a coward” is the Gurkha motto. They have fought in every major conflict in which British troops have been involved in the past two centuries: on India’s frontiers, through two world wars, China, Malaya, Brunei, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
My family’s association with the Gurkhas began back in the 1870s when my great-great-grandfather, Lt Col Thomas Walker, commanded a battalion of the 8th Gurkhas in a war on India’s eastern frontier. His grandson, my mother’s father Walter Walker, joined that same regiment 50 years later.
As a young officer he had fought alongside them against Pathan tribesmen on India’s North West Frontier. It was here, in 1939, that he first saw action, bullets snapping and whining around him as he and his troops of 1/8th Gurkhas attacked a Pathan stronghold in what is now Taliban country.
Later he fought with the Gurkhas against similarly formidable foes: the Japanese in Burma in the Second World War, communist terrorists in the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian army in the Borneo jungle where, as a general, he was in command of troops that included one of his two sons, also serving in the Gurkhas (the other son served in the Rifle Brigade).
Like many of his generation, my grandfather was not prone to displays of emotion, but he became passionate, almost poetic, when he spoke of the Gurkhas’ loyalty, skill and supreme courage under fire.
Capt Khilbahadur Thapa receives a medal (Sue Carpenter)
From him I heard of the bravery of men such as Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung, who was under his command at the battle of Taungdaw in Burma in 1945, when he held off a Japanese attack, hurling grenades back at the enemy and continuing to fire with his rifle even after a grenade had blown off the fingers of his right hand and wounded him in the arm, leg, face and body. He was awarded a Victoria Cross, one of 26 VCs won by the Brigade of Gurkhas.
My father’s father, Ralph Venning, also served with the Gurkhas on the North West Frontier in the Thirties and Forties. He too had a row of medals and several kukris – the curved Gurkha knife – from his service with them and spoke with immense affection and respect for these soldiers, “The bravest of the brave.”
My father followed in his father’s and father-in-law’s footsteps, joining the Second King Edward VII’s Own Gurkhas in 1971. So my sister Belinda and I were lucky enough to grow up with the regiment. When people asked “Where are you from?” I’d hesitate. We moved house every year or so. Home was wherever the regiment happened to be.
It was an exciting, if peripatetic childhood. We moved from Hong Kong to Brunei and back again, living in houses on stilts on the edge of the jungle. Monkeys watched us from the roadside. We swam down the street in the monsoon floods, poked at scorpions with sticks.
Best of all was when we went into “camp” to spend time with the Gurkhas and their families at regimental picnics, where we ate our weight in curry. We celebrated the Hindu festival of Dussehra as well as Christmas with the regiment. It was an extended family.
Once, a party of Gurkhas took us and some Army children into the jungle for three days, where we learnt jungle survival skills, such as which trees you could cut open and find water, and how to catch a snake and turn it into curry.
I’ve never had occasion to use these skills but I remember feeling how fortunate I was to spend time with these generous, kind, resourceful men.
Gurkhas take the salute (Sue Carpenter)
So when the 200th anniversary of the Gurkhas approached and my father asked if I would like to attend the commemorations in Nepal, I leapt at the chance.
I don’t really have any “cultural heritage”, or allegiance to a particular place. But I do feel an unearned but deep pride in my association with the Gurkhas.
Originally my husband, Guy, and I planned to take our children Will, 12, and Alice, 10, to Nepal. But as it was term-time, we decided that he and the children would stay behind, along with my mother, while my father, sister and I travelled.
Although I felt mildly guilty about leaving my children, this was one opportunity that may not come around again. It was the chance not just to be part of the commemorations but to spend time with my father, now 70, for whom the event was tinged with poignancy because, he said, “This might be my last visit to Nepal.”
The commemorations began in Kathmandu where veterans and representatives from all the Gurkha regiments gathered, including those that had become part of the Indian army when, following Indian independence in 1947, the Gurkha regiments were divided between India and Britain.
My father’s face lit up in delight when he encountered old friends such as Major Manbahadur Gurung, who had been his Gurkha Major – right-hand man – when he commanded the 1/2nd Gurkhas; Lt Col Lalbahadur Pun, who had been my grandfather’s aide-de-camp during the war in Borneo; and Major Satyabahadur Pun, a distinguished soldier who had been decorated for his actions in Malaya and who once, while visiting our house in Brunei, had found a python lurking there and calmly evicted it.
Although, following successive defence cuts, what used to be four infantry regiments of the brigade of Gurkhas have now been so reduced in size that they have become a single regiment, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, the spirit and traditions of the original regiments remain strong.
So after the brigade’s commemorations, 2nd Gurkhas held their own bicentennial Durbar in Pokhara, six hours’ drive from Kathmandu.
It was here that the regimental family was reunited. At the centre of the parade was the Queen’s Truncheon, the bronze and silver ceremonial staff awarded to the 2nd Gurkhas by Queen Victoria in recognition of its outstanding loyalty during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
Now the emblem of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, it is also known as the Nishani Mani (symbol of the Great Mother, in reference to Queen Victoria) and has the status of a Hindu deity. Holding it erect was a 96-year-old veteran who had fought in Burma in the Second World War.
The parade of gurkhas in Nepal (Sue Carpenter)
The parade ended with the band of the Brigade of Gurkhas striking up the stirring regimental marching tunes I remembered from my childhood. To the strains of Men of the Hills the veterans marched past, shoulders straight as swords, even the elderly and lame somehow managing the quickstep.
Afterwards my father and all the other old soldiers, from field marshal to rifleman, lined up to pay their respects to the Queen’s Truncheon, visibly moved as they bowed before it. “It embodies the regiment,” my father explained. “And all the people who have fought and died for it.”
Of course every regiment likes to think of itself as a family. Men who have served together often feel ties of comradeship that transcend rank and background. But while I may be biased, I can’t help feeling that there is something different about this particular band of brothers from Britain and Nepal.
Maybe it’s partly that the men who join it, from both countries, often have a family allegiance: it’s common for several generations to serve.
Perhaps it is also important that they have striven hard to do so. Competition has always been tough for places in the Gurkhas, never more so than now, when every year several thousand young Nepalese men compete in gruelling selection tests for around 200 places.
Those chosen are an elite, almost superhumanly strong but also bright and highly committed. It is, as one serving officer told me, “an amazing privilege to work with such men.”
Joanna Lumley celebrates Gurkha veterans gaining rights to become UK residents (David Crump/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
In 2009, retired Gurkhas won the right to settle in Britain following a campaign fronted by the actress Joanna Lumley. But others still choose to return to Nepal, where they start businesses or found schools in remote villages, giving children there a route out of poverty through education. Many former Gurkhas now work with charities such as the Gurkha Welfare Trust that bring medical care, clean water and welfare to some of the poorest, most inaccessible parts of Nepal.
This Thursday, a memorial service will be held at the Gurkha statue in Whitehall. Gurkha units will march down the Mall to the pipes and drums, accompanied by the Queen’s Truncheon, one of a series of events this year to commemorate the bicentenary and to raise funds for the vital work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust.
It will be a time to remember not only the Gurkhas who have fallen but those who continue to keep their spirit alive, and continue to give so much to this country.
To donate to the Gurkha Welfare Trust, visit

Indian Army launches exercise on Pakistan border to test battle readiness

New Delhi: In the largest combat exercise in recent times, the Indian Army has launched massive armored, artillery and infantry maneuvers in Suratgarh area of Rajasthan , bordering Pakistan , to practice for "swift multiple offensives deep into enemy territory."
The exercise, codenamed 'Brahmashira,' is particularly significant since they are being conducted by 2 'Kharga' Corps, which is the most crucial of the Army's three 'strike' formations. The 2 Corps, headquartered in Ambala, virtually contains almost 50% of the country's strike capabilities.
Over 20,000 soldiers, with armored, artillery, infantry, air defence and engineer brigades, are practicing maneuvers to allow Army formations to "break through multiple obstacles in a restricted timeframe," Times of India said quoting a senior officer.
"The focus of the exercise is on new and efficient ways of fighting a war in a synergized battlefield. The combat maneuvers also co-opt a significant contribution from IAF's fighter aircraft and attack helicopters," he added.
After Operation Parakram in 2002 exposed operational gaps and the slow troop mobilization along the border, the Army reorganized its formations along the western front, to deliver a more effective lethal punch with swiftness.
This involved the creation of the South-Western Command (SWAC) in Jaipur in 2005, as the 1.17-million strong Army's sixth operational command. While 1 'Strike' Corps falls under SWAC, the other two such "attack" formations are 2 Corps (Ambala), under the Western Army Command at Chandimandir and 21 Corps (Bhopal) under the Southern Army Command in Pune.

Damned if you do: China avoids involvement in Pakistan's contentious hydropower project

China's US$45 billion push into Pakistan is skirting one of the Indian subcontinent's most dangerous flashpoints.
The proposed 4,500-megawatt Diamer Bhasha hydropower plant in Kashmir would eliminate about half of Pakistan's power shortfall and irrigate more than a million hectares of parched farmland. While both the US and China have promised to help Pakistan find private investors for the dam, they've resisted putting up the cash themselves.
China's reluctance shows that its push to finance infrastructure across Asia hardly amounts to a blank cheque. It also keeps leaders in Beijing away from a project in a disputed area that has triggered three wars between Pakistan and India, where tensions over shared waters are rising.
"China is doing a smart thing by putting money up for smaller projects with better returns," said Priyanka Singh, an associate fellow at the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, who has published papers on the Diamer Bhasha project. "China has made its calculations and concluded that it doesn't directly serve its interests."
On a visit to Islamabad this week, President Xi Jinping picked a US$1.65 billion, 720-megawatt hydropower plant in Karot, Pakistan, as the first project for his Silk Road fund to build infrastructure in Asia. He made no mention of the Diamer Bhasha project, whose cost has risen to more than US$12 billion since it was first proposed in 2001.
China is unlikely to fund Diamer Bhasha because it doesn't want to get involved in a water dispute between India and Pakistan, said a senior Chinese water resources official, who declined to be identified because the information isn't public.
Electricity projects account for about half of a proposed US$45 billion economic corridor that would provide another route for China to export goods to Europe and import oil from the Middle East. The dam is opposed by the government in Delhi.
India and Pakistan have fought for almost seven decades for control of Kashmir, a region nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, the source of water for a quarter of the world's population. But melting glaciers and poor water management are stoking a crisis that threatens to intensify tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The 1960 Indus Water Treaty intended to defuse tensions by clearly delineating how India and Pakistan would share the resource, but times have changed.
If water pressures become extreme, India may violate the treaty to store water. In a worst-case scenario, anti-India groups in Pakistan could use a shortage as a pretext for launching a strike on India, prompting retaliation.
If that happens, the situation on the subcontinent could decline rapidly.
Pakistan sees the project as an answer to many of its problems. If it were built, the plant would singlehandedly boost the energy-starved nation's power capacity by 20 per cent, enough for 41 million people. It could also provide irrigation for 1.6 million hectares.