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PostPosted: 16 Dec 2011 08:02 
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Indian Express on 1971 victory

Dhaka calling: C Raja Mohan

Fourteen days to freedom: Inder Malhotra

Indian Army's official commemoration

Promises made, promises kept


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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2011 22:19 
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Here is Pranabda on the the 71 was in India today

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The war was decided by the oil supply! Before operations began, she checked out how much oil we had. They said they had oil for 20 days. "OK," she replied, "then we will have to finish it in 16 days." If General AAK Niazi had not surrendered in Dhaka, outside intervention would have come-Russian as well as American. Henry Kissinger was a bit garrulous at that time. Later, he changed his stance a lot. But in 1971, he just didn't get it. He once told me, when I was defence minister, that Washington had never imagined India would enter into a non-aggression agreement with Russia. Political compulsions would prevent India from going to Russia. He admitted that American intelligence had failed. Washington was fed information that Soviet experts were visible everywhere in India. For instance, one report said that the Republic Day parade was not only dominated by Soviet tanks but Soviet troops too. Kissinger told me that often such totally unfounded reports were fed to the State Department. It's hard to tell whether the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman in 1975 had any foreign backing. Nobody has been able to unravel that mystery. Not even his daughter and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Samar Sen, our high commissioner in Dhaka then, probably had some clue because he warned Mujib. But Mujib was overconfident.



Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/indi ... 64579.html


Its always easy to beat up on the people involved in 71 but lets understand the severe limitations we had


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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2011 01:16 
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How Goa became a part of India.

In 1947 when India became independent, Portugal had control of a handful of enclaves on the subcontinent. Lisbon’s Estado da India consisted of Goa, Daman, Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

It covered an area of around 4,000 square km. The population inhabiting the area was 637,591 in 1947. Religious distribution was 61 per cent Hindu, 36.7 per cent Christian and 2.2 per cent Muslim.

Resistance to Portuguese rule in Goa was pioneered by Tristão de Bragança Cunha, a French educated Goan engineer who founded the Goa Congress Committee in 1928. Da Cunha released a booklet called 'Four hundred years of Foreign Rule' and a pamphlet, 'Denationalisation of Goa'. Eventually Da Cunha would become the first president of the Goa Congress, affiliated to the Indian National Congress.

In 1947, Portugal's Estado da India consisted of Goa, Daman, Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Several leaders of the Indian Independence movement like Rajendra Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose expressed solidarity with the Goan people's craving for independence.

On June 18, 1946, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia along with Da Cunha and Dr Juliao Menezes, a nationalist leader who had founded in Bombay the Gomantak Praja Mandal and edited the weekly newspaper, Gomantak, held a protest in Panjim against the suspension of civil liberties. The Portuguese government brokenup the protest and arrested the leaders. Intermittent mass demonstrations were reported from June to November.

Post-1947, armed groups such as the Azad Gomantak Dal (The Free Goa Party) and the United Front of Goans became active. The Indian government supported these groups and gave them financial, logistic and armament support. The armed groups acted from bases situated in Indian territory.

Commenting on the armed resistance, Portuguese army officer, Captain Carlos Azaredo ( who later retired as General) stationed in Goa said in an interview to Portuguese newspaper O Expresso: "To the contrary to what is being said, the most evolved guerilla warfare which our armed forces encountered was in Goa. I know what I’m talking about, because I also fought in Angola and in Guiné. In 1961 alone, until December, around 80 policemen died. The major part of the terrorists of Azad Gomantak Dal were not Goans. Many had fought in the British Army under General Montgomery against the Germans."

In 1950 when India asked Portugal to open negotiations about the future of Portuguese colonies in India, Lisbon rebuffed it, saying that its territory on the Indian subcontinent was not a colony but part of metropolitan Portugal and hence its transfer was non-negotiable. In protest, India withdrew its diplomatic mission from Lisbon in 1953.

By 1954, New Delhi instituted visa restrictions on travel from Goa to India which paralysed transportation between Goa and other enclaves like Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The Indian union of dockers also instituted a boycott on shipping to Portuguese India.

Between July 22 and August 2, 1954, armed activists attacked and forced the surrender of Portuguese forces stationed in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

On August 15, 1955, about 5000 Indian activists attempted to enter Goa at six locations and were repulsed by Portuguese police. About 30 people were killed. The news galvanised public opinion in India against the Portuguese rule in Goa and on September 1, 1955, India shut its consul office in Goa.

Portugal’s prime minister, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, alarmed by the possibility of armed Indian action, first asked London to mediate, then protested through Brazil and eventually asked the UN Security Council to intervene. Meanwhile, Krishna Menon, India’s defence minister and head of India’s UN delegation, stated in no uncertain terms that India had not “abjured the use of force” in Goa.

On 24 November 1961, the Sabarmati, a passenger boat passing between the Portuguese-held island of Anjidiv and the Indian port of Kochi, was fired upon by Portuguese ground troops, resulting in injuries to the chief engineer of the boat, as well as the death of a passenger. That gave Nehru the immediate alibi for armed intervention.

Eventually, on December 10, 1961, Nehru stated to the press that "Continuance of Goa under Portuguese rule is an impossibility".

After the government asked the armed forces to get ready, India's Southern Command fielded the 17th Infantry Division and the 50th Parachute Brigade. The assault on Daman was assigned to the 1st Maratha Light Infantry while the operations in Diu were assigned to the 20th Rajput and 4th Madras battalions. Air resources for the assault on Goa were concentrated in the bases at Pune and Sambra.

Operation Vijay saw the Indian Navy deploy two warships — INS Rajput, an 'R' Class destroyer, and INS Kirpan, a Blackwood class frigate, off the coast of Goa. The actual naval assault was assigned to four task groups - a surface action Group comprising five ships (Mysore, Trishul, Betwa, Beas and Cauvery), a carrier group of five ships (Delhi, Kuthar, Kirpan, Khukri and Rajput centred around carrier Vikrant), a mine Sweeping Group and a support group.

Salazar, disregarding other officials and military officers, asked the Portuguese authorities in Goa and there would be no surrender and that Portugal should fight till the last man. He asked the Portuguese forces to at least hold out for eight days which he thought was enough time to garner international support against 'Indian invasion'.

Portuguese ground defences consisted of 3,995 men, including infantry troops and 810 Goan soldiers. In addition, there were about 1,040 police officers and 400 border guards divided among the three Portuguese enclaves in India. The strategy employed to resist Indian invasion was centred around the Plano Sentinela which divided Goa into four sectors, with forces assigned to each sector and tasked with slowing the progression of an invading force. These plans were however unviable because of the desperate shortage of ammunition and communication equipment.

One Portuguese Navy ship, Afonso de Albuquerque, was present in Goa at the time of invasion. The vessel was armed with four 120 mm guns capable of two shots per minute and four automatic rapid firing guns. There were five merchant navy ships in Goa and three light patrol boats, each armed with a 20mm Oerlikon gun.

Commenting on the Plano Sentinela, Captain Azaredo told Portuguese newspaper O Expresso in 2001, "It was a totally unrealistic and unachievable plan which was quite incomplete."

On December 18, Indian Air Force Canberras pounded the Dabolim Airfield, rendering the runway invalid but causing no damage to infrastructure and facilities. Another raid by Hawker Hunters neutralised a wireless station at Bambolim.

On December 18, under covering fire from INS Trishul and INS Mysore, Indian troops landed on the island of Anjidiv and engaged the Portuguese defenders. The Portuguese ceased fire and raised a white flag, thus luring the Indian soldiers out of their cover before opening fire again, killing seven and wounding 19. The Portuguese defences were eventually overrun after fierce shelling from the Indian ships offshore. The island was secured by Indian troops by December 19.

On the morning of 18 December, Afonso de Albuquerque was anchored off Mormugao harbour. Three Indian frigates led by the INS Betwa took up position off the harbour at 9 in the morning. At 11 AM, Indian planes raided the harbour and at 12.00 pm, INS Betwa, accompanied by INS Beas, entered the harbour and opened fire on the Portuguese ships with their 4.5-inch guns while transmitting requests to surrender in between shots in morse code. In response, Afonso de Albuquerque lifted anchor, headed out towards the enemy and returned fire with its 120 mm guns.

A few minutes into the exchange of fire, the Afonso took a direct hit in its control tower, injuring its weapons officer. At 12.25 pm, an anti-personnel shrapnel bomb fired from an Indian vessel exploded directly over the ship, killing its radio officer and severely injuring its commander, Captain António da Cunha Aragão, after which First Officer Pinto da Cruz took command of the vessel. The ships propulsion system was also badly damaged in this attack.

At 12.35 pm, Afonso de Albuquerque swerved 180 degrees and was run aground against Bambolim beach.

Eventually at 12.50 pm, after having fired nearly 400 rounds at the Indians, hitting two of the Indian vessels, and having taken severe damage, order was given to abandon the ship. In all, Afonso de Albuquerque lost 5 men and 13 were wounded in the battle.

The 50 Para Brigade moving in from the north and the northeast on December 18 was the first to reach Panjim on December 19. The Aguada fort was run over and Portuguese forces were overrun and many surrendered.

Meanwhile from the east, the 63rd Infantry Brigade marched on Margao. On the way fell Ponda, Candeapur and Darbondara. They then continued till Dabolim Airport and Mormugai harbour.

By the evening, most of Goa had fallen to advancing Indian troops and the Portuguese had gathered around 2,000 soldiers at the entrance to Vasco da Gama to make their last stand.

The instruction from Salazar was to hold out at the harbour till naval reinforcements arrived from Lisbon. But Goa's Portuguese Governor General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva took stock of the numerical superiority of the Indian troops, as well as the food and ammunition supplies available to his forces and took the decision to surrender. He later described his orders to destroy Goa before losing as "um sacrifício inútil" (a useless sacrifice).

In a communication to all Portuguese forces under his command, he stated, “Having considered the defence of the Peninsula of Mormugao… from aerial, naval and ground fire of the enemy and … having considered the difference between the forces and the resources… the situation does not allow myself to proceed with the fight without great sacrifice of the lives of the inhabitants of Vasco da Gama, I have decided with … my patriotism well present, to get in touch with the enemy … I order all my forces to cease-fire.”

The official Portuguese surrender was conducted in a formal ceremony held at 2030 pm on December 19 when Governor General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva signed the instrument of surrender bringing to an end 451 years of Portuguese Rule in Goa. In all, 4668 personnel were taken prisoner by the Indians - a figure which included military and civilian personnel, Portuguese, Africans and Indians (Goans). Of these, 3412 prisoners were taken in Goa, 853 in Daman and 403 in Diu.


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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2011 02:36 
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A participant in 1971 war writes:

1971 Indo_Pak War- Missed Opportunities


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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2011 07:12 
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liberation of Goa, Daman and Diu


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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2011 16:54 
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Hello I am new to this forum - having found it search the web for information regarding the 4th Indain Division in WWII - particularly 1944 in Italy.

Would like to seek the collective knowledge of the forum on the organisation & equipment of the "Central India Horse" who were part of 4th Indian Div. I have seen them referred to as all of; a Divisional Cavalry regiment, an Armoured Car regiment & a Divisional Recce Regiment?
These designations would imply radically different organisations & potentailly a wide range of equipment?

Can anyone supply me with a TO&E for this unit in Italy in 1944? Or any other related organisational & equipment information?

I am interested as I am a New Zealander & 4th Indian served along side the 2nd New Zealand Division in Italy - a unit in which my grandfather served.

As a related question, for several years the 4th Indian Division operated Brigade Recce Squadron's as the Central India Horse were detached (Feb 1942 to Feb 1944?). Can anyone provide me with information or sources as to their organisation & equipment? Equally the information I have been able to trace suggests the these Brigade Recce Squadrons were retained / remained in existance after the Central India Horse rejoined the division?


In anticipation & with thanks.


Regards,
Brennan


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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2011 17:05 
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Brennan wrote:
Hello I am new to this forum - having found it search the web for information regarding the 4th Indain Division in WWII - particularly 1944 in Italy.<SNIP>


Welcome to the forum.

Please see a brief history of 4th ID here: http://orbat.com/site/cimh/index.html


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PostPosted: 29 Dec 2011 04:59 
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rohitvats wrote:
Please see a brief history of 4th ID here: http://orbat.com/site/cimh/index.html


Thanks for that, a useful out line sketch which confirms things I had found & adds a few snippets. I will keep an eye on it as it is listed as "under construction", hopefully it will expand to cover the more detailed material I am looking for.

To explain a bit further I am trying to focus on the operations against the Trasimine positions in July 1944 & the Gothic Line in August to October 1944.

Regards,

Brennan


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PostPosted: 30 Dec 2011 16:50 
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Image

Image

Image

Image

The Indo-Pak Bangladesh Liberation War, 1971


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PostPosted: 30 Dec 2011 20:33 
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Himalayan Brigade Chinar Corps publishes Coffee Table book 'Iconic Shrines of Kashmir'


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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2012 10:44 
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A Pak article on the events in 1971:

http://www.viewpointonline.net/defeat-in-the-west.html


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PostPosted: 20 Feb 2012 03:18 
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The Courage of 13 Kumaon: Inder Malhotra


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PostPosted: 21 Feb 2012 07:48 
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The man who captured the Hajipir pass


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PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012 07:06 
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Road of Bones


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PostPosted: 25 Feb 2012 23:20 
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By e-mail.....
I have spent the last two years creating the Rats of Tobruk Association, Victoria, Australia, Membership Database and associated Web Site which was launched this week. Because the 18th Indian Cavalry and some Indian Pioneer Companies served alongside our Australian and British Soldiers, I thought you may be interested in this Web Site: http://ratsoftobrukvictoria.org.au and that you might like to Back Link to it for us.
Thank you in anticipation.
Owen Carlton
A Proud Nasho
ROTA N0003


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PostPosted: 26 Feb 2012 10:29 
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abhishek_sharma wrote:


May he RIP. Was known well to my family and ofcourse as an exceptional soldier


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PostPosted: 26 Feb 2012 13:37 
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Ranjit Singh Dayal was a true soldier's soldier just like the more popular Sam.


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PostPosted: 27 Feb 2012 23:42 
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Pioneer....

[url=http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51142-let’s-celebrate-memory-of-a-true-hero.html]Lets celebrate the memory of a true hero[/url]

Quote:

Let’s celebrate memory of a true hero Rate this item

Author: Sidharth Mishra

On Tuesday, February 28, when all the newspapers and news channels would be busy covering the next phase of the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, there would be some attending the function at Imphal to commemorate the centenary of a true national hero — Maj Bob Ranenglao Khathing, who won NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) back for us.

I too would have remained ignorant about Bob Khathing, whose compelling story I desire to narrate today, but for school senior Wing Commander (retired) UG ‘Unni’ Kartha, whose painstaking research helped him find about a faceless nation builder.

Kartha says that in 1966, when he joined National Defence Academy, his Divisional Officer in Foxtrot Squadron was a nephew of Bob; the same kind of man, with the same genes, simply an incredible, resilient, unstoppable, hardcore soldier. The story of Maj Bob Ranenglao Khathing is one of incredible, resilient and unstoppable heroics. He was the man who in 1951quietly retrieved Arunachal Pradesh back to India. However, the true story of Maj Khathing remains hidden from public view even after 50 years, though the Indian Official Secrets Act has a lifespan of only 30 yrs.

In 1903, alarmed by the Chinese and Russian influence in Tibet, Col Francis Younghusband of the British army led a military expedition to subdue Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama (predecessor of the current one Tenzin Gyatso ). Thubten took asylum in China. In 1914, Henry McMahon, the then British foreign secretary, finally managed to get Thubten’s envoy into Shimla to sign a free trade agreement between Tibet and India. As part of the agreement, they also signed a treaty demarcating the southern boundary of Tibet.

Under the Shimla agreement, the border between India and Tibet had three buffer Kingdoms — Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. East of Bhutan was the large stretch of sparsely populated and utterly inhospitable land. It was referred to as the Dirang Dzong of Tawang. Dzong in Tibetan stands for fort. It became North East Frontier Agency in 1954 and Arunachal Pradesh still later. Tawang became a contentious territory only around 1951, when China advanced into Tibet. Here the story of our hero commences.

Khathing was born on February 28, 1912 in Manipur’s Ukhrul district. In 1939, when WW-II started, he enrolled in the army and was sent to the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. Commissioned into the 9/11 Hyderabad Regiment (now Kumaon Regiment), he had KS Thimaya (later Army Chief) as his company commander and TN Raina (also to become an Army Chief) as fellow subaltern. After the war was over, for his exemplary sacrifice and valour, he was awarded the Military Cross and made a Member of the British Empire, but also demobilised.

In 1951 he was inducted into the IF AS (Indian Frontier Administrative Service) as an assistant political officer. One day, he was summoned by Assam Governor, Jairamdas Daulatram. “Bob, do you know where is Tawang?” Jairamdas asked him. “No Sir,” Bob answered. “He who controls Tawang shall control the far east,” Jairamdas said and after a pause the Governor asked, “Do you think the Chinese should control it?” Bob answered the way only he could have, “No Sir.”

Thereafter, Jairamdas opended up, “Neither the Centre nor I have the ability to get the C-in-C Roy Boucher to agree to a military expedition for this task. We need someone to do it quietly. Keeping in mind your war record, I cannot think of a better man to do it.” Bob answered immediately. “I will do it.”

Within three weeks, he drilled his men into a tough bunch with high morale and camaraderie. The drill came to the notice of Major TC Allen, the last British political and intelligence officer of the East, based in Dibrugarh. He visited Bob, who told Allen to either come with him to Tawang or face close arrest under guard till the expedition was over. Allen, a keen mountaineer, applied himself with zest as Bob’s second-in-command.

The expedition started out from Lokra on January 17, 1951, and it reached Bomdila on January 25. On January 26, he hoisted the Tricolour in front of the Dzong and invited all the inhabitants to a feast. From here on, February 1 started the March to Tawang. Bob and his force reached Tawang on February 7, after some real tough trek through most inhospitable Himalayan terrain. On February 20, the local chieftain submitted to Bob’s persuasive tactics and agreed to accession of Tawang, which rightfully belonged to India as per the Shimla Agreement.

After the accession ceremony, Bob had a final task to do, to go back to the Governor and inform him that he had carried out his duty, to everyone’s satisfaction, without firing a shot (except for the fireworks for entertainment). So he set out downhill to Tezpur with a small retinue leaving the expeditionary force in charge of Allen. The Governor sent a Dakota to pick him up from Tezpur and they flew to Delhi and went to see [b]Prime Minister Nehru, who was livid.

“Who asked you to do this?” he vented his anger at the Governor. “I wish you had the good sense to consult me before you commissioned this colossal stupidity?” he mourned. “I want a complete black out on this incident,” he ordered the PMO.
:eek: India acknowledged its control over NEFA only in 1954 when Bob’s men were replaced by Special Security Bureau.

Bob went back to Tawang in 1986, for celebrations on Arunachal becoming a full-fledged state. This nation acknowledges Arunachal as an integral part of India, but was still to recognise the heroics of the expeditionary force. Like all old and bold soldiers, he did not die; he simply passed away, having done his duty well.[/b] Unni says, “One soldier to another, three cheers; Long live Maj Bob Ranenglao Khathing MC, OBE, hip hip....”

PS. We promise to bring soon the complete story of Bob Khathing.



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PostPosted: 28 Feb 2012 14:20 
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Well, the stupidity of Nehru when it comes to Pakistan and China seems to know no bounds....I have a strong feeling that the story of the period till 1965 has not been completely told. It might seem like a conspiracy theory but to me, it seems that the foreign powers had some very powerful and "very secretive" levers with-in the GOI...look at India between 1965 and 1971 and compare the record in previous years? Why did all this happen after Nehru passed away? Something is not right somewhere...was Nehru a machuria candidate? :-?


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PostPosted: 28 Feb 2012 14:41 
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no, i think nehru was very naive. he believed that he could be an equal at the big table and that the rest of the third world would be with him, especially china. he didn't understand great power politics and believed in the satyameva jayate principle

his biggest heartbreak was the 'betrayal' by china


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PostPosted: 11 Mar 2012 06:04 
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The more complete story of Maj Khathing:http://www.dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/top-story/48702-forgotten-the-man-who-won-us-tawang.html

In 1951, Major Bob Khathing commanded a force of 200 soldiers and re-established India’s sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, much to the annoyance of Jawaharlal Nehru. Sidharth Mishra profiles his life and work on his 100th birth anniversary


Sixty-four years after Independence, it seems we have consigned to the dustbin of history some of our freedom fighters and stalwarts who played a sterling role in knitting the country together. Ironically, the discourse has been confined to the positive role played by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and, of course, the fallacies of Nehruvian policy. In the process, the contributions of a few great men do not even make it to the footnote of our mainstream history. Blame it on the lack of official acknowledgment of their work and, of course, the failure of intellectuals, rooted in their respective ideological moorings, to initiate an independent research to unveil the truth.

One such initiative has been taken by a retired Indian Air Force Wing Commander, Unni G Kartha. As a cadet of the National Defence Academy in 1966, Kartha was impressed by an instructor who was the nephew of Maj Ralengnao (Bob) Khathing. “The same kind of man, with the same genes, simply an incredible, resilient, unstoppable, hardcore soldier,” recalls Kartha.

“The first decade of my soldiering was in the Northeast,” says Kartha, who in 1972-73 had the opportunity to fly around the region with another unusual personality, Murkot Ramunny. A Malayali like Kartha, and also an Air Force veteran albeit from World War II, Ramunny was then Chief Secretary of Nagaland. “I first heard of Bob in 1972-73 from Ramunny. Being 22-year-old then, I was a Dakota and Mi-4 helicopter pilot based in Jorhat, Chabua (both in Assam) and Chakabama (in Nagaland). Ramunny was like Khathing, a paladin of another era, those who had joined the Indian Frontier Administrative Service (IFAS) and to whom all the good things about the northeastern States can be attributed to,” says Kartha. After retiring from the force, Kartha attempted to write the story of these unforgettable men who helped integrate the seven sisters of the Northeast into the Indian mainstream.

One such story is about re-establishing, after Independence, Indian sovereignty in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). Here comes in the role of Maj Khathing and his guardian angel, Jairamdas Daulatram, about whom historical references are limited to him being a representative from Sindh and later East Punjab in the Constituent Assembly. It was, however, after Independence — during his tenure as the Governor of Assam between 1950 and 1956 — that he played the role of being a nation-builder, though largely unacknowledged by the Government of India. One such initiative was to re-establish India’s sovereignty over what is today identified as Arunachal Pradesh.

In the autumn of 1951, Maj Khathing from the IFAS, then working as an assistant political officer, was summoned by Assam Governor Daulatram. “Bob, do you know where Tawang exists?” Daulatram asked. “No sir,” Bob answered. “He who controls Tawang shall control the Northeast,” Daulatram said, further asking a question: “Do you think the Chinese should control it?” Bob answered the way he alone could have: “No sir.”

Thereafter, the Governor opened up, “Neither the Centre nor I has the ability to get the Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Roy Boucher, to agree to a military expedition for this task. We need someone to do it quietly. Keeping in mind your war records, I cannot think of a better man.” Bob readily agreed. Daulatram, a veteran of several struggles, could not have made a mistake in choosing the man who could have fulfilled his nationalistic desires.

An envious record

Khathing was born on February 28, 1912, in Manipur’s Ukhrul district. In 1939, when World War II started, he enrolled in the Army and was sent to Dehradun. Commissioned into the 9/11 Hyderabad Regiment (now Kumaon Regiment), he had

KS Thimayya (later Army Chief) as his company commander and TN Raina (also to become the Army Chief) as fellow subaltern. After the war was over, Khathing was awarded the Military Cross and made a Member of the British Empire (MBE).

What was so exemplary in Khathing’s records that caught Daulatram’s attention? As per the details collected by Kartha, after the Japanese had blocked the Burma road, the British Army formed a guerrilla outfit called Victor Force, using the missionary-educated tribals of Nagaland. Its task was to use topography and the jungles as its cover, live off the land and operate 100 to 150 miles deep inside the enemy territory to cut the Japanese supply and communication lines, to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy and act as a screen for the then retreating British Army from Burma. Capt Khathing was sent to command the Victor Force in the Ukhrul area. He shed his army tunic, shaved his head like a typical Tangkhul tribesman with a thick mane running down the middle of his scalp, Mohawk style. On his back he carried a basket with dried salted meat and concealed his gun in his Tangkhul shawl. It is believed that while in command of Victor Force between 1942 and 1944, he killed more than 120 Japanese soldiers.

After appointing Maj Khathing as a serving officer of 2, Assam Rifles, the Governor allowed him to collect Rs 25,000 from the treasury and requisition any stores or personnel he felt necessary for the expedition. Khathing asked the Governor to give two months to conclude the operation. Daulatram, however, gave him just 45 days.

Fast but not furious

Before we go any further, a small flashback is necessary. In 1903, alarmed by the Chinese and Russian influence in Tibet, Col Francis Younghusband of the British Army led a military expedition to subdue Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama (predecessor of the current one). Thubten took asylum in China. In 1914, Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, finally managed Thubten’s envoy to come to Simla to sign a free trade agreement between Tibet and India. They also signed a treaty demarcating the southern boundary of Tibet.

Under the Simla agreement, the border between India and Tibet had three buffer kingdoms — Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. East of Bhutan was a large stretch of sparsely populated and utterly inhospitable land, referred to as the Dirang Dzong of Tawang. Dzong, in Tibetan, stands for fort. It officially became the North East Frontier Agency in 1954 and Arunachal Pradesh still later. Tawang, which is clearly south of McMahon line, became a contentious territory only in 1951, when China advanced into Tibet and the ruler of Tawang decided to pay allegiance to the Chinese-backed Tibetan authority in Lhasa.

To make his men battle-ready, Khathing got down to arranging stores and arms. What he got from the army stores was brown US Army-issue Angola shirts, which he accepted, though they were mostly of awkward sizes. He travelled to Chabua and Dinjan where the US Air Force had left behind large metal containers of stores when they withdrew their operations six years ago. There were hundreds of containers kept in safe custody of the Army and the Air Force. When he broke open these containers, he found camping gear, tents, Irwing Jackets, woollen gloves and socks, inners, just about everything that he wanted for his expeditionary force. He got them repacked into four of the same containers and had them transported to the Tinsukia railway station, from where he sent them to Tezpur via Guwahati — this was the only road and rail crossing across the Brahmaputra river.

Bob himself caught a routine ferry from Dibrugarh to Majuli island and crossed over to the north bank of the river on elephant back. Once across the river, he requisitioned an old war surplus jeep from a British tea planter and drove down to Tezpur, arriving several days before the men and material actually arrived there.

At Tezpur he made arrangements for around 200 mules and donkeys, 400 odd porters from the plains, and another 200 from the hills. He also requisitioned 10 odd tailors and cobblers to go with him on the expedition. He procured food supplies locally. As the men and material arrived, he moved his base camp to a large clearing at Lokra, about 20 km north of Tezpur.

For three weeks he drilled his men and took them on long endurance runs, carried out rifle shooting practice. He formed small teams of porters, each hundred men, in charge of a Naik of the Assam Rifles, and sent them with the men and animal ported packed stores in relays to establish forward camps. He also sent scouts towards Tawang to not only reconnoitre easy mountain trails, but also gather intelligence.

Due to the sudden nature of Bob’s activities, the expedition came to the notice of Major TC Allen, the last British political and intelligence officer of the East, based in Dibrugarh. Allen visited Bob, who told the former to either come with him to Tawang or face arrest till the expedition was over. Allen, a keen mountaineer, applied himself with zest as Bob’s second-in-command.

Expedition begins

The expedition started from Lokra on January 17, 1951, with 200 soldiers. There were no regular roads or bridges over the rivers and streams; one just had to walk cross the region. Because of physical endurance of troops and staging of camps 20-25 km apart over inhospitable terrain with just goat tracks, Bob was able to move his expeditionary force at great speed. Within nine days they were able to reach the Dzong at Bomdila. Bob camped right at the closed gates of the Dzong, which was held by local feudal lord Katuk Lama, who owed allegiance to Dzongpen of Tawang.

The next day, on January 26, 1951, Bob hoisted the Indian flag in front of the Dzong and invited all the inhabitants to a feast. The Governor sent a Dakota from Guwahati to survey Bob’s progress. The aeroplane flew low over the monastery and while the soldiers waved, it did several rounds of the monastery. The show of force was enough to make Katuk Lama panic and despatch runners to warn all Dzongs towards Tawang.

After three days of rest, the expedition moved out on February 1, 1951, to Chakpurpu and Senge Dzong at the base of Sela Pass. The five-mile climb to Sela Pass sapped their energy and wits. Undaunted, they moved further up to Nauranang. On February 4, they camped at Jang village. Two locals and some troopers were sent out by Bob to collect information and gauge the feelings of the local people towards the expedition, besides inviting them for another feast. The next day, the headman and elders of Rho Changda and the surrounding villages of Jang visited Bob.

Through an interpreter Bob explained the purpose of his visit and advised them not to pay obeisance to Lhasa as they were now free citizens of India. Bob then detached Capt Limbu, Subedar Bir Bahadur and Jemadar Udaibir Gurung, tasking them to scout around the Sela tract to find a militarily defensible site and construct a permanent check-post and barracks to establish an Indian frontier post. He left behind some of his troops as well as porters and advised Limbu to take the help of the locals to carry out his task.

Bob moved his task force further. On February 6, they camped at Gyankar and the Dzongpen of Lhau came to meet them. They brought presents and offered Bob incentives in gold and women if he would go back. Bob smiled and welcomed them as fellow citizens of the new republic to enjoy the new-found freedom. Next day was Lhosar, the first day of the Year of the Iron Horse. In the evening, it snowed heavily and the weather turned extremely cold. However, the entire force, including the porters, were warm in American war surplus clothing due to Bob’s foresight.

The voice of God

Bob and his troops reached Tawang on February 7, 1951. They spent two days scouting the area for a permanent site where both civil and military lines could be laid out with sufficient area for a playground. A place was chosen north-east of Tawang Monastery and Bob camped his force at that location. He put his soldiers and porters to build a semi-permanent military camp with wooden logs and stones. He then sent emissaries to the Dzongpen for cordial meetings. For two days there was no reciprocity. The small population remained indoors.

After three days, Bob ordered his men to fire 20 rounds of two-inch mortar at the hill sides and fire off 1,000 rounds of .303 Ammo in the air. In the closed confines of the mountain, on a dark and silent night, the fireworks sounded like frightening thunder claps, echoing and reverberating, one placating message after another, “The voice of God.”

The next morning, Bob lined up his troops, fixed bayonets and marched his troops up and down Tawang for four hours. He also planted the Indian flag in front of the monastery. This had the desired effect and the Dzongpen sent emissaries. Bob put Maj Allen, his second-in-command, to negotiate armistice and draw up a parchment for the formal accession.

On February 13, as Allen was making no headway, Bob sent out patrols to round up the Chhgergans (officials) of the Dzong and bring them into the camp. For several days, they were wined and dined with great hospitality and respect. Thereafter, Bob issued a general order that they were henceforth not to accept the suzerainty of the Dzongpens or pay tax or tribute to them.

Finally, on February 20, Bob ran out of patience. He was also running out of the time that the Governor had given to him. Along with Allen, the Chhgergans and a hundred troops, he marched directly to the palace of Nyertsang, the Dzongpen of Tawang. He did not meet with any resistance and there was no violence. All proceedings were done with traditional cordiality and respect.

Nyertsang wanted to seek advice from the Dalai Lama in Lhasa. “What Government? The Chinese army has invaded Tibet,” Bob interjected. “Have you ever heard of Col Younghusband?” Allen asked Nyertsang. “There is a treaty with the Government of Tibet, and as per that treaty the area south of the McMahon Line is in India, not Tibet. Tawang is part of India. Since India is a republic now, you really have no business here,” Allen said.

Because of his awkwardness in sitting on the cushions placed on the ground and because his pistol butt was poking his hip, Allen suddenly took out his Smith & Wesson pistol and placed it on the ground in front of him. Nyertsang’s visage fell immediately; he deflated like an air pillow. Allen took out the parchment from his map case and the treaty accepting sovereignty of India was signed by Nyertsang without much ado. Maj Khathing signed the treaty on behalf of the Republic of India. As a token of appreciation, a nazrana of `1,000 was paid to Nyertsang.

Allen renamed the kingdom the North East Frontier Agency. Bob appointed Allen as a Lieutenant Governor, accountable to the Governor of Assam, to administer the area till the Government of India could send its representative.

Rebuke as reward

Once the expedition was over, Bob had a final task to do — to go back to the Governor and inform him that he had carried out his duty without firing a shot (except for the fireworks to create the ‘Voice of God’). So, he set out downhill to Tezpur with a small retinue, leaving the expeditionary force in charge of Allen. The Governor sent a Dakota to pick him up from Tezpur and they flew to Delhi to see Jawaharlal Nehru.

The then Prime Minister was livid. “Who asked you to do this?” he vented his anger at the Governor. “I wish you had the good sense to consult me before you commissioned this colossal stupidity. I want a complete blackout on this incident,” he ordered the PMO.

It took Nehru another four years of tough negotiations with Zhou En-Lai to come to terms and sign an eight-year agreement over Tibet and form the first Sino-Indian pact. In April 1954, after the pact, the Government announced its sovereignty over NEFA and appointed an Indian overseer team to replace Allen.

The country acknowledges Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, but is still to recognise the heroics of the expeditionary force. “Bob, however, left many fingerprints and footprints to piece together this whole story,” says Kartha.

Major Khathing went back to IFAS to serve the Union of India in consolidating its position in the Northeast in different capacities and his contributions were also acknowledged with a Padma Shri. The Government, however, is still to de-classify his valorous deeds in Tawang. As for Daulatram, he served as Governor of Assam till 1956 and was thereafter nominated to the Rajya Sabha.


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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2012 22:12 
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BRFite

Joined: 22 Apr 2005 23:50
Posts: 598
x-post
nelson wrote:
Sorry for posting this again, thinking that it must have been lost in all the noise yesterday. A poignant true life story by Wg Cdr retd Unni Kartha of his buddy of NDA time, Col AGJ Swittens (Late), POW after the 1971 war. Shows how an ungrateful country we are.

http://cyclicstories.blogspot.in/2012/0 ... l-pow.html

^
This should have never happened.
The last POW of 1971 war that was released by Pakistan.


(Maybe a thread for POWs to monitor them in the future.
but then there are fishermen and seamen with somali pirates who share similar ordeals)


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2012 19:51 
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BRFite

Joined: 19 Feb 2002 12:31
Posts: 1683
Eternal Vigil - POW :

Joe's Story



There is a Prisoner Of War (POW) story of my course mate Joe I would like to tell.

He passed away last year in Pune of brain haemorrhage.

My story below is what I recollect of it from what he told me about it in 1973-74. Afterwards he never talked about it despite my repeated urging him to write an auto biography because his life’s story from beginning to his end was one of tenacity and resilience against incredible odds which would have made you cry on every page. I have never known life to f*** any one with such zest on daily basis as it did to Joe.



I first met AGJ Swittens (Joe) when I was returning home during term break after my first term in NDA in Jun/Jul 1967. While haunching and front rolling in the corridor of the first class special compartment, simply to entertain a few bored seniors, I discovered that Joe and I came from the same place in Kerala. He from the coastal town of Alleppey and I from a village called Ambalapuzha, about 13 km further south. During the front rolling and haunching in confined space, around three feet of the compartment’s corridor, we bumped into each other many times and as a result we fused into a lifelong friendship that surpassed the ordinary feeling of brotherhood.



Because neither of us had any meaningful friends at home, during the holidays in that term break, as well as all the other term breaks that followed, Joe and I travelled the 13 km coastal strip to and fro to meet practically on daily basis. We did many interesting things together including joining a typing school because a large number of pretty Mallu girls were found going to the typing school. As a result of this very innovative idea we not only learnt to type but also the use of ‘Brail’ for man-woman communications after the sun set on Alleppey beach. Sometimes we managed to get hold of a ‘Pauwa’ Rum (smaller bottle with just 6 pegs) and learnt to drink it neat because the sea water did not taste good with Rum. It was difficult to climb a Coconut tree for coconut water and Coke was too expensive on our meagre pocket money. Hence, it was cheaper and more stimulating to sip neat rum, passing the bottle from one to the other, swearing everlasting friendship between each sip. Licking lime pickle in between helped tone down the euphoria. The packet of lime pickle came free with the Pauwa.



Joe and I were just 16-19 yrs old when we were in NDA. Joe was the eldest son of the keeper of the lighthouse at Alleppy beach and had more than a dozen siblings of all shapes and sizes, mostly girls who giggled loudly from behind closed doors when I visited their house. His younger brother Johnny (now an AF officer) was just a tiny toddler then. It was only natural that both our parents soon began to treat us like twins because of the NDA induced behavioural pattern that made us indistinguishable one from the other. While my father thought of me as someone incapable of earning a livelihood, Joe’s father was counting the days when Joe would get a commission and add something to the family pot.



In our 4th term, ‘Rangila’ the terrible, in the equitation lines kicked Joe in the face and he lost four of his front teeth and had to get dentures when he was 17 yrs old, a compulsive reason he had to use Brail to communicate with our GFs from the typing class. I think it was a blessing in disguise, probably the only time God was kind to Joe and I. His troubles were just beginning. We passed out of NDA in Dec 1969, he from J Sqn and I from F Sqn. The war clouds were beginning to rise in East Pak (now Bangladesh) border, but we had no idea of such things then and were single-mindedly interested only in the tactical manoeuvres of typing and Brail at Alleppey without misfiring our guns in the cockpits, a condom was unheard of those days. The tactical manoeuvre we had to master ourselves at our young age was ‘Coitus Interruptus’, a failsafe military tactic, not taught in NDA, but which we believed was perfected by the Roman army of Julius Caesar on their visit to Alexandria (Cleopatra).



While I went to the flying school in Bidar, Joe went to the Military Academy in Dehra Dun. He was commissioned into the Gorkha Rifles on 20 Dec 1970. After a short break he joined his Battalion (I think 1/4 GR). His unit at that time (I think) was deployed right on the Indo Pak border in Chamb sector somewhere near Mole and Phagla ahead of the Munawar Tawi river with Sikhs (5 Sikh ?) on their northern flank and Assam Rifles (5 AR ?) on their southern flank facing Koel and Bakan Paur, a few km ahead of them, probably held by the 111 Brigade of the Paki army.



Joe went through the usual initiation ceremonies in his battalion and by end of Nov 1971, he was already a hardened soldier and had endeared himself to his company commander. His company was deployed some 2 km away from the Unit HQ - rear administrative location with his CO and the 2 i/c. For tactical advantages Joe’s Company Commander had established an observation post (OP) about 400 mtrs ahead of the company deployment area ahead or almost on the Cease Fire Line (CFL) of 65 war which was at that time the border. The OP was around 50 feet higher than the surroundings and hence had a commanding view. The company itself was deployed in well prepared bunkers and trenches. The OP was simply a fox hole behind a low bush about four feet by three and around three feet deep, very painstakingly and surreptitiously dug over a period of time, at night, using helmets and Khukris so that it’s existence would not be noticed by the enemy. Every night the Company Commander would send someone or the other crawling forward towards the OP and they would replace the OP crew who had been there for the previous 24 hrs. The OP crew generally consisted of a junior officer (or an NCO) with two Jawans simply for company and for time pass, usually playing cards while staying hidden and surreptitiously observing enemy movements and deployments across the LOC. The enemy was deployed in depth and hence there was not much that one could see from the OP foxhole. So the OP duty was considered a boring and unproductive job, though it gave 2nd Lt AGJ Swittens some respite and relaxation from the daily rigours of infantry life.



On the evening of 3rd Dec 1971, a Friday, it was Joe’s turn to do the OP duty. So after sunset, after an early dinner, he collected his two Shakarpara packets (next day’s breakfast and lunch), filled his water bottle, and along with a Naik and two soldiers crawled to the OP to replace those who had spent the previous night and day there. Everything looked peaceful, there was no noise or activity or any lights from across the border and so Joe called up the Company Commander and reported, ’All quiet on the western front.’ He could not have been more mistaken, it was the lull before the storm. To his horror, Joe also discovered that the battery discharged and soon afterwards the ANPRC radio set went completely dead. But Joe was not too concerned, his entire Company was deployed just 400 mtrs behind him and that gave him a tremendous sense of security, adequate to fall asleep in the fox hole, a habit inculcated in NDA, to sleep instantly, anytime, anywhere, in any position.



Unknown to Joe, around 1800 hrs while he was on his way to the fox hole, the Paki AF crossed the border and launched a massive pre-emptive strike on various Indian airfields in the western sector. But all was quiet around the fox hole and Joe slept and dreamt, the kind of dreams that a healthy happy 20 yr old would have, I presume the Brail kind.



At around 2020 hrs Joe was rudely woken by incredible explosions of heavy calibre artillery shells. There was nothing that fell on him, but when he looked back he could see that his Company position was being obliterated systematically, inch by inch by a creeping barrage. He could not see from where the guns were firing, they were located beyond comprehensible distance in the west. However, he could see the entire sky filed with artillery shells streaking like meteors, each going overhead with shrieking banshee wail. Some were aimed at his Company position, but most of them were going deeper eastwards towards the other deployments of Indian infantry and armour. There were more than 150 enemy guns, probably 105 mm variety firing at them with deadly accuracy. Soon a similar number of Indian guns, probably of bigger calibre, began to return the fire. Heavy calibre artillery shells were firing to and fro, hundreds of them every minute over Joe’s head, but none fell on him. Joe and the three soldiers with him lay flat in the foxhole, one on top of the other for lack of space, cringing and shivering, covering their ears from the unbearable and most frightening sounds.



After about 30 minutes, they felt the ground begin to tremble like a mild earthquake. They heard clanking and grinding noises. When Joe peed out of the fox hole he saw a Paki Sherman tank about fifty meters ahead, heading straight for him. Joe ducked back into the fox hole and the tank rolled right over them almost crushing the fox hole and burying them into the ground. Soon there were other tanks going over them or around them and after a while he lost track which way they were coming or going, there were shouts and battle cry, soon he could hear soldiers running about, but he had no idea whether they were friends or foe. This went on all night.



In the twilight hours that arrived after an eternity (4th Dec 71), Joe poked his head out. He found himself surrounded by Paki soldiers and two Sherman tanks. When he looked backwards, he could not find any trace of his company. Unknown to Joe, when the shelling started, the Company along with the entire Indian Brigade had been ordered to withdraw, leaving poor Joe and his companions in the foxhole.



In the Foxhole the Naik took out his Khukri.

‘Shhaab’, he advised Joe, ‘Kafar Hunu Bhanda Marnu Ramro (Better to die than live like a coward)’.

The three soldiers took out their Khukri and Joe took our his revolver.

‘Ayo Gorkhali’, they screamed at the top of their voice, jumped out of the fox hole and charged out. They caught the Pakis completely by surprise, they were brewing or sipping tea with their weapons at ease. One of the tank crew jumped up, climbed his tank and let fly a burst of MMG fire at them. Joe tripped and fell down. The burst of bullets miraculously went by Joe, but cut up the other three Jawans into pieces. By then the Paki soldiers had grabbed their 303 rifles and formed a ring around Joe, twenty to one. Joe kept pointing his revolver from one to another, he turned round, fired one round and because his hands were shaking, the round went over the enemy’s head. The circle of enemy soldiers got closer and closer. Finally Joe gave up. He unhooked the revolver from his lanyard and put it on the ground. He raised his hands in surrender. A Paki JCO gestured to him to kneel. They ripped out the lanyard and bound his hands behind his back. For next half an hour they played ‘Russian Roulette’ with his own revolver. They would insert one round, twirl the drum and empty the gun on Joe’s head. Each time the gun clicked but did not fire, the Paki soldiers would laugh aloud, pass lurid comments and poke him with a bayonet several times. This went on and on and Joe died a thousand deaths.



After about half an hour, a Paki officer, probably a Colonel came by in a jeep. First he was unmoved by the fun that the Paki soldiers were having. Then better sense seemed to have prevailed. ‘Stop it,’ he ordered. ‘Put him behind my jeep.’ Joe was then taken to what he perceived as 111 Brigade HQ, large number of tents under camouflage netting, for interrogation. He was also given field dressing by a Paki MO who stitched up 64 bayonet wounds without the use of any morphine. Joe realised the futility of resistance, he was far too gone, he was just 20 yrs old, and he probably was the first helpless Indian POW of 1971 war.



About an hour later, there was a flurry of activity and the Pakis began dismantling the tent. Their HQ was being moved elsewhere. He was handed over to two villagers who put him into a bullock cart and took him westwards, he had no idea where they were taking him. His hands were put around his legs and tied tightly with his lanyard so that he was in a very uncomfortable yoga posture, completely immobile. En-route, along the villages where they stopped, children pelted him with mud and stones, while their parents watched with disdain. He was not given any water or food. After a long ride, he was taken to a police station and locked up, probably at Kakian Wala. The Military Police visited twice. They stripped him naked, hung him on a hook and beat him with a thin Malacca cane. All the bayonet wounds which had been stitched up, tore open once again and he started to bleed profusely. Joe gave them his life history, that he was just twenty years old, that his father was a light house keeper, about how Rangila kicked him and how he lost his teeth, how much he yearned his typing class in Alleppey and probably about a stupid friend called Unni in the AF, but he stuck to his story that he had joined his unit just two days earlier and that he did not even know the name of his company commander leave alone deployment locations or strength of the Indian army in Chamb. They beat him some more, just for the heck of it, but they fed him tea and rusk twice a day and two chapatis with dal at night. A local civilian compounder was called and he applied raw Iodine on his wounds, just as bad and painful as the beating. After a day he was put into a local bus handcuffed to a policeman and taken by road to Rawalpindi jail. He was incarcerated there along with common criminals. He was issued prison clothing. However Joe did not throw away his OG jersey, a memento of his Indian army uniform.



Around the 7th or 8th Dec 1971, because Joe’s name was not announced on Paki radio as a POW, or the names of the three soldiers in the OP with him, his unit presumed that he was ‘missing believed killed’. Soon afterwards, the Army HQ sent a terse telegram to his father. ‘Your son/ward missing / believed killed in action’.



For several nights, though the lighthouse continued to go round and round beaming high power lights to the ships at sea, there was gloom and darkness in the household below the lighthouse. The war had extinguished their aspirations and livelihood.



Seven months later, on 2 Jul 72 the Shimla accord was signed by Madam I Gandhi and Mr Bhuto. The two armies, both Indian and Pakis, went back to business as usual with their guns pointed at each other. A new Line of Control (LOC) was defined, doing away with the earlier CFL of 65. All captured territories by both sides were returned, except that in Chamb where Bhuto managed to convince I Gandhi that it was to be gifted to them. Sacrifices, blood sweat and tears, in Chamb and at Hajipir Pass were soon forgotten and in the diplomatic circle at Chanakyapuri both the Indian and Paki envoys began to once again have Mushairas and Mujras, excuses to hug and kiss each other as well as each other’s wives. Everyone went home happy and there was large acclaim internationally about how well India had handled the handing back of 98,000 Paki POWs. No one asked how many Indian POWs were still in Paki jails. Who cared, everyone was celebrating, writing their own citations and congratulating each other in Delhi.



Joe managed to make friends with his ‘Ward Supervisor’ in Rawalpindi jail, a convict with a life sentence for murder. He was very tall and well built sympathetic Pathan who was ‘desperately seeking Susan’. In Joe he found his Susan, a life’s companion. As Joe told me later with a sad smile, ‘What did it matter, what difference did it make, I was just 21. What choice was there, it was either being public property or exclusive private property. God probably decided that it was payback time for what we did to the typing girls on Alleppey beach’.



Despite his going around wearing his OG Jersy with two pips on either shoulders with 4 GR written on the epaulets, no one asked who he was, what crime he had committed and whether he had ever been tried for any crime in any court of law. He had no access to any news papers, magazines or a radio. In the Pathan’s cell, which Joe shared, he had a Paki calendar in Urdu on which he kept ticking the days and months as they flew by. Several times he wrote to the jail authorities, advising them that he was a POW, an Indian being kept in a civil jail with convicts without any trial and that he should be moved with other Indian POWs if there were any in Pak. But because the application had to be routed through the Pathan ward supervisor, who knew no English and who did not want to lose his Susan, none of his appeals were ever given to any one in authority. Two years went by. Everyone including me forgot about Joe Swittens. Joe had no idea that the war was over, that there was a Shimla accord and that 98,000 Paki POWs had been returned to Pak and in reciprocity all known or publicly acknowledged Indian POWs had been sent back to India.



Then one day, in Feb 1973, the Pathan told Joe that there was a team from ‘Amnesty International’ who was to visit Rawalpindi jail, to check for human rights violations. He wanted Joe to act as the interpreter. Joe really had no choice, he had to do whatever the warder told him to do. So he went and had a haircut, shaved, got his prison clothes pressed, rubbed toothpaste on his 2nd Lt’s cloth pips on his OG jersey so that it looked bright, rubbed shoe polish on 4GR to get it to lose the faded look, polished his torn and tattered shoes and was ready for the Amnesty team when they arrived.



‘Ladies and gentlemen, follow me, I shall take you on a conducted tour of the prison’, he announced like Dev Anand in the movie Guide, smartly saluting the ladies and shaking hands with the gentleman. The Pathan had briefed him that he was to make all efforts to show off and to make belief that there was no human rights violation in Rawalpindi jail.

‘Of course not, everyone is treated well here’ Joe kept saying with a sad smile whenever someone questioned him.

There was an elderly Swiss woman from the Red Cross in the team who was more curious and inquisitive. She took Joe aside.

‘Mon Ami’, she asked, ‘Who are you and why are you wearing an army jersey with a pip on each shoulder, were you in the Paki army ?’.

‘No Mam’, replied Joe vehemently. ‘I am a POW. I am 2nd Lt AGJ Swittens of the Indian Army.’

‘Arme de terre l’Indianne ? Incredible’, the lady exclaimed. ‘Don’t you know that the war finished two years ago and that all POWs went back home last year ?’.

The Pathan did not like Joe having a private conversation in a language which he did not understand, he sensed that something was going wrong. He quickly herded the lady away. But before they left the jail, the lady asked the Pathan, ‘May I take your photo and one of this young man for my personal album ?’.

The Pathan had no choice because there were Paki jailors present at that time who desperately wanted to please the foreigners.

The lady took several photographs of the Pathan and one of Joe too.

‘Please send one photo to my father, he is at Alleppey light house in India,’ Joe whispered to the Swiss lady from Red Cross.



So it was that one fine morning in Jun or Jul 1973, a Photo card came by ordinary post, addressed simply to ‘Mr Swittens, Light House Alleppey, India’, on which there was an address and tel number of the person who sent it from Switzerland. And the photo at the back was a black and white close up of a smiling Joe Swittens with no teeth, in a torn OG jersy, but with shining pips and 4GR on his shoulder. Below the photo was inscribed ‘Rawalpindi Prison’. There was much consternation as well as incredulity at the light house. Mr Swittens, Joe’s father immediately sent a telegram to Army HQ and MoD describing the event. It took MoD almost four weeks to send a reply by normal post. ‘You son/ward missing/believed killed in action’ the Under Secretary simply said. They had not even bothered to type it – it was a cyclostyled unsigned letter and left it to the recipient to cross out what was not applicable.



Mr Swittens went to see the local MLA in Alleppey who then had an agenda of his own. He raised the issue in Kerala assembly and soon there were questions asked by MPs in Delhi. It became a starred question in the question hour. The defence minister Jagjivan Ram sought time to reply. The R&AW were told to go and investigate in Rawalpindi Jail. They embarrassed the Pak Govt, the system in Pak did not want to accept that they had made a mistake by sending POWs to ordinary jails. They did not wish to proclaim that that POW camps were set up only after 15 Dec 71 and that there could be others who had suffered the same fate as Joe.

‘There is no 2nd Lt AGJ Swittens in Rawalpindi Jail’ was their reply.

‘There is no 2nd Lt AGJ Swittens in Rawalpindi Jail’, Jagjivan Ram announced in parliament with a sense of finality.



Mr Swittens, Joe’s father, did not give up.

He mobilised a few sympathetic Mallus and they in turn mobilised some more Mallus.

There was a demonstration outside the Pak embassy in Chanakyapuri. The press picked up the news. Someone, (I think the ‘Hindu’ paper) managed to get a sworn statement from the Swiss lady that she had indeed met a person in Rawalpindi jail who claimed that he was Joe and corroborated it with several photographs that she had taken. MEA asked the US Ambassador to intervene. Finally Pakis bowed to international pressure. They admitted that they did indeed have a person in Rawalpindi jail named ‘Wasim Khan Akram’ or such a name arrested for murder in general area of Kakian Wala and if the Indians think he is one of their army officers, Indians were welcome to have him.



2nd Lt AGJ Swittens walked through the Wagha border into the waiting arms of Indian military police (MP) sometime Sep Oct 1973. He was the last POW to be exchanged after 71 war. Promptly, as soon as he set foot in India, he was arrested and incarcerated in Red Fort in Delhi. He was accused of being a spy, that he voluntarily stayed back in Pak and that he was brain washed.

Joe told me afterwards, ’I did not mind what they did to me in Pak, after all they were the enemy. But what the MPs did to me afterwards in Red Fort was completely unjust’. He said all that with a smile. A man who had been to hell and back had much resilience and tenacity.



There were more protests by Mallus in front of the Red Fort and after a month of ill-treatment by our own MPs, Joe was asked to go and join his unit in Arunachal, at a post called Gelling which took about 22 days to back pack (walk) from the Unit rear.

I think that is where I met him in 1973 or 74, and where he told me his POW story. Gelling was another POW camp of sorts, at least for a 23 yr old.



The last time I met Joe was in his flat in Hinjewadi in Pune, around two years ago (2010). He only smiled, and said very happy things about our life and times while we passed the same Pauwa back and forth. After 1973 Joe Swittens lived to fight again and again, with tenacity and resilience, and with the same chant ‘Ayo Gorkhali’ , the last time in Kargil war in Jul 99 after which he retired and settled in Pune. Col Swittens spoke perfect Gorkhali besides several other languages. The last time I spoke to Joe was around three days before he died.



Joe died of a brain haemorrhage last year in the middle of the night with just his Alsatian dog for company. He died a lonely man. I can say this with certainty that his last words may have been the same, ‘Kafar Hunu Bhanda Marnu Ramro’.



I went to the lighthouse in Alleppey,

With half bottle of rum looking for the youth that I miss.

They looked at me with suspicion, ‘Are you a terrorist ?’, they asked.

I went out into the setting sun and to the beach where we learnt to Brail,

The Typing Girls are all grand moms in Dubai,

The sea water tasted just the same.

So I passed the bottle from left hand to right hand

And took sips from each hand, one for Joe and one for me.

Joe my friend, I am glad you are gone, A prisoner of life no more.

Set a table for me, where ever you are,

And keep the chair tilted for me, I am bound to come after this life.

I walked back in the dark, the sun had set.

The band began to play

Sare Jahan Se Acha, Hindustan Hamara,

The band began to play..............



With an apology to Rudyard Kipling as well as Joe. I stole the story from both of you.

Please forgive me.

Cyclic







ETERNAL VIGIL

In the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla , at the entrance of the dining hall there is a small round table, all by itself, with the table set for one. The chair is tilted forward. This is a special table, set in the honour of those missing in war, those believed to be still Prisoners of War (POW) somewhere amongst the enemies. The wars are forgotten quickly and missing persons forgotten even faster by all except the soldiers and comrades who fought alongside them. They cannot and will not forget, the soldiers hang on to their undying hope and confidence that the missing persons will return one day. The table shall await them too if such a fate was to befall them.

The Placard on the table reflects the sentiments of a soldier for his fallen comrade, it has the following written on it.



‘The table set is small, for one, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner against his oppressors. The single rose displayed is to remind us of the families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep their faith awaiting their return. The Red Ribbon on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn upon the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of those missing in action. The candle is unlit, symbolizing the upward reach of their unconquerable spirit. The slice of Lemon is on the bread plate, to remind us of the bitter fate. There is salt upon the bread plate - symbolic of the families’ tears as they wait. The Glass is inverted, they cannot toast with us this night.

The chair – it is empty. They are not here.

Remember ! All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not
forsaken you. Remember them until the day they come back home......



The table was installed on instructions of Air Mshl Randhawa (38th) when he was the Commandant NDA around 2007-08.

Personally I think it is a most touching, emotional and motivating tradition that he started.



Reminds me of Joe Swittens.


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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2012 08:30 
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Precursor to Siachen

quoting Gen LP Sen, about Haji Pir Pass 1948.

"An error that had cost us such valuable territory on the Kazinag Range was, however followed by another. This one was to have even greater repercussions. It was tactical mistake of the highest order, and there not a single argument that can be advanced to migitate the seriousness of the lapse. With negotiations pertaining to a Cease Fire well under way, and every possiblity that would come into effect, extreme caution and care was called for to ensure that all territory in our possession was securely held. A usual feature of any Cease Fire Agreement is the all important one that all forward movement will cease from the time that the Cease Fire comes into effect, and the initial Cease Fire Line is normally traced on a map in-between the territory in the physical possession of the two contestants. Attempts at eleventh hour nibbling by the enemy into one's territory had to be therefore to be guarded against with utmost vigilance.

...
Ledi Gali and Pir Kanthi, and with it the Pir Panjal Pass and a deep salient beyond it, were lost without firing a shot. What 161 Infantry Brigade, reinforced by two battalions of 77 Para Briagdem had sacrificed lives to secure, was unfortunately presented back to Pakistan on a platter.

The Brigade Commander, on the score that the snow on the Pir Panjal Range was too heavy, withdrew the Ledi Gali and Pir Kanthi garrisions a few days before the Cease Fire came into effect.
In doing so, he not only threw open to the enemy the firmly held Pir Panjal Range but worse, he left 161 Infantry Brigade with its left flank unprotected, permitted the route to Poonch over the Haji Pir Pass to be cut, and presented to the enemy the ability to pose a threat to Uri from the South. Snow, no matter how deep, had never been considered nor proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to the troops of 161 Infantry Brigade during the winter of 1947-48, and at that period they were neither fully outfitted nor fully acclimatised to face the heights and the weather conditions. By the winter of 1948, the experience gained during the previous winter was available, and the necessary administrative and other requirements had been well taken care of.

Had the piquets established by 161 Infantry Brigade, during the winter of 1947-48, ill-equipped as the men were to combat snow conditions, with the snow no less heavy than that experienced on the Pir Panjal Range, been withdrawn on the excuse that the snow was too deep and the piquet positions therefore unteneble, it is not improbable that 161 Infantry Brigade would have been thrown back from Uri and Mahura to the Srinagar valley. The Cease Fire Line would then probably have been drawn somewhere in the area between Baramula and Uri.

While the snow on the Pir Panjal Range was considered to be too much and deep to be faced by the troops of the Indian Army, it proved no obstacle to the Pakistanis. The exccuse is, therefore, quite unacceptable. Even troops coming from areas devoid of snow such as Rajasthan and Madras had operated extremely well in the snow of the winter of 1947, and had not found it either too heavy or too deep. The officers and men of 2 Dogra had braved snows which were probably six times deeper than anything that the Pir Panjal Range is subjected to, when they crossed Zoji La Pass.

With the flood gates thrown wide open, the Pakistanis lost no time in occupying the abandoned Ledi Gali and Pir Kanthi piquets, and advanced further to the east. It was a heaven sent gift and Pakistan accepted it with grateful hands. With the Haji Pir Pass now once again in their possession, the Pakistanis fanned out rapidly to the north-east, east and south towards Poonch, creating a very deep salient. ... While the whole of it may not have resulted from the abandonment of the two important piquets, the areas closer to Poonch being the responsibility of the Poonch Brigade, there is no doubt that the lapse by the Brigade Commander responsible for the Pir Panjal Range left Poonch Brigade no opprtunity to salvage the situation, as the Cease Fire came into operation almost immediately."


---
Then it was re-gifted back in 1965.


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PostPosted: 08 May 2012 17:45 
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x post from tsp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.as ... 2012_pg3_2

Quote:
Since the first Kashmir war (October 1947-April 1949) had been a covert operation from Pakistan’s side, even the regulars involved were called mujahideen. The commander of the Azad Kashmir forces, Brigadier Mohammad Akbar, code-named himself General Tarique, after the famed Arab commander, Tarique Bin Ziyad, the conqueror of Spain.


I have heard this before, slightly confused hence posting for reference.

Gen Sen mentions code names Khalil and Jamil, but no Tariq. Maybe  both reported to Tariq. 

Forget about owning up Kargil, there is no recognition of commander in 1948 irregulars.


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PostPosted: 08 May 2012 20:42 
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ManuT and they called the 1999 Kargil fiasco, Operation Badr after the famous battle that established Muhammad as a ruler.


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 12:18 
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Have this fetish to collect all enemy surrender photographs .... here is another for the collection:

Major General El Edroos (at right) offers his surrender of the Hyderabad State Forces to Major General (later General and Army Chief) Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri at Secunderabad.

Image


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 15:12 
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ManuT wrote:
Precursor to Siachen

quoting Gen LP Sen, about Haji Pir Pass 1948.

...Then it was re-gifted back in 1965.


Haji Pir is a prime example of how we as a nation repeatedly overlook the sacrifices of the martyrs so that our politicians and babus look good in international fora. But, what did the nation gain out of it? Nothing...!!

My maternal grand dad was the Bde Cmdr in '65 and was awarded MVC for this...


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 17:29 
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Ajay Sharma wrote:
My maternal grand dad was the Bde Cmdr in '65 and was awarded MVC for this...


Sharma ji, you must be proud of him .


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 17:44 
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Very very proud of him...

This is him in wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorawar_Chand_Bakhshi


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 18:13 
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^^ Turns out he got a Vir Chakra too apart from Vishist seva medal and Param Vishistha seva medal.Tremendous warrior.

Quote:
In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1948, he was awarded a Vir Chakra for his bravery. Soon afterward he was awarded the MacGregor Medal in 1949. In the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, he was instrumental in the capture of the Haji Pir Pass from the Pakistani Forces, for which he was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. In the early 1960s, he led his battalion in a United Nations Operation to undo the secession of the province of Katanga from Congo, in the process earning a Vishisht Seva Medal. In 1969-1970, he led successful counter-insurgency operations in pockets of North East India. During the 1971 war, he was instrumental in the capture of territory in what is now referred to as the crucial Chicken-Neck Sector, for which we was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Meda


Legend might be a better way to describe him.Is he still around by the way ?


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 18:27 
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^^ Was Haji Pir captured again in 1971? Who were the main protagonists? Did RS Dayal and Bhawani Singh play a major role?


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 19:30 
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peter wrote:
^^ Was Haji Pir captured again in 1971? Who were the main protagonists? Did RS Dayal and Bhawani Singh play a major role?



Brigadier Bhawani Singh was operating behind enemy lines in Sindh in 1971. So I doubt he could be present there in Haji pir area simultaneously.


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 20:14 
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He is there darshhan. It used to be a treat listening to his experiences right from WW2 to 1971. Its like listening to history from someone who has experienced in person.

Peter, don't think Hajipir was captured in 1971


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 20:22 
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Ajay Sharma wrote:
Very very proud of him...

This is him in wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorawar_Chand_Bakhshi


you should be.

Quote:
Image

Gorkha troops cross a nala during operations in the Chicken's Neck area

Image

Map showing the territory occupied by India

Chicken's Neck "wrung" by Zoru

26 Infantry Division occupies key salient without major Opposition.

Dec 07, Chicken's Neck (Akhnur): "Chicken's Neck" is a narrow strip of Pakistani territory that lies south of Akhnur in Jammu and Kashmir. About 170 sq km in area, it has a small neck in the south, from which a jagged head, with a beak like point, extends northwards. The beak points to the strategic bridge over the chenab.

Major General Zorawar Chand Bakshi, one of the highly decorated officers in the Indian Army is the local commander who was entrusted with the task. Maj Gen Bakshi has a MVC from the 1965 War and a Vir Chakra from the 1948 Kashmir War. He also has a VSM for distinguished service.

Before Maj Gen Bakshi took over 26 Infantry Division in this area, it was referred to as "The Dagger", on account of its shape and percieved danger to Akhnur. As far back as in October when Maj Gen Bakshi took over, he stated that the name will be henceforth "Chicken's Neck" and that hew was soon going to wring it.

Referred to as the Phuklian Salient, it was important as the Marala headworks lay south of it. The plan was for 19 Inf Brigade under Brig Mohinder Singh to infilitrate from south to block the enemy's route of withdrawal and thus demoralise them before taking on the main defences. The Brigade was also supported by a group from 9 Para Commando and some armour.

The Operation started last light on day before yesterday. Aggressive patrolling was undertaken before the commencement of the operation.

An assualt on an enemy company who had occupied a post vacated by us inflicted 19 killed and 18 POWs on the Pakistani 37 FF Regt. about 30 Rifles and 4 MMGs were captured. All at an expense of 4 of our own killed.

Once the operation was launched, The leading battallion encountered no opposition at all and soon the villages of

Tibba, Pul Bajuan and Pindi Bajuan were in our hands.

Though the other two battallions were also in the fray soon after, the progress was slightly slower than anticipated and a Major chunck of the enemy forces occupying the area slipped through the cordon.

The whole area was cleared of the enemy troops by evening today. Still the casualities on the Pakistanis holding the area is significant. 32 killed and 28 taken prisoners. Most of them were not regular military but from the Para Military rangers force.

In the two day operations besides the already mentioned casualities, 170 sq km of prime agricultural land has been taken in our hands, with minimal casualities to the formations of the Indian Army involved in these operations.


http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/1971/Dec07/Art06.htm

is the army holding this area now??


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 20:35 
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Ajay Sharma wrote:
He is there darshhan. It used to be a treat listening to his experiences right from WW2 to 1971. Its like listening to history from someone who has experienced in person.



Convey to him my Respect and Deepest Gratitude whenever you can.

By the way another link which covers his exploits.

http://faujibyheart.blogspot.in/2011/08 ... india.html

Quote:
A true officer and a gentleman, 'Zoru' Bakshi, as he was popularly known, remains an icon, and a source of inspiration to the past and present generations of Army officers in India.
Zoru was born in 1921, in the Rawalpindi district of Punjab, now in Pakistan. He was commissioned into the Infantry arm of the Army in 1943, and joined the 16/10 Baluch Regiment, then deployed in Burma.
Almost as soon as he joined, in series of operations in quick succession, Zoru earned the admiration of the rank and file. One of these operations involved the capturing of a hill feature, and Zoru was ordered to lead a small team of men. At the end of a bloody fight, the hill was captured. It was under Zoru's leadership that Subedar Bhandari Ram fought gallantly and was seriously injured, and earned a Victoria Cross.
In 1945, Zoru fought in the Battle of Kangaw, one of the hardest fought battles of the Burma campaign. It was in this Battle that Zoru won the first of the series of decorations. He was 'Mentioned in Dispatches'
At the time of partition, Zoru was assigned to the Punjab Boundary Force, entrusted to maintain peace in Punjab. Contrary to plans, the Punjab Boundary Force was found inadequate to manage the situation arising out of the riots and disturbances. Responsibility of maintaining peace in the disturbed areas was handed over to the respective Governments, and the Punjab Boundary Force officially ceased to exist.
In 1948, in the J&K operations, Zoru fought valiantly, and was awarded the 'Vir Chakra'. What was unique about this achievement was that Zoru was a staff officer and staff officers rarely got an opportunity to be in a combat situation.
In 1949, Zoru was awarded his next medal - "Mac Gregor Memorial Medal'. This was instituted in memory of Major General Charles Metcalf Macgregor, and was awarded every year for the best military reconnaissance or journey of exploration or survey of remote areas of India. Zoru was assigned the task of conducting a very important strategic military reconnaissance of some areas of Tibet. Zoru, disguised as a Tibetan monk, covered a distance of 400 kms in 80 days, and traversed some of the highest mountain passes of the Himalayas. For successfully completing this assignment, Zoru was awarded this medal - the fist one after India's independence.
In 1951, Zoru was selected for the 4th course of the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, and completed this with flying colours. He performed so well, that was recommended for an Instructional appointment. After completing Staff College, Zoru took up the assignment of Brigade Major – 121 Infantry Brigade. Zoru thus had the unique distinction of completing this assignment on two occasions.
After two quick stints – one as Instructor – Infantry School, Mhow, and then as Instructor Staff College (on promotion to Lt. Col.) Zoru got his command of a Battalion – that of 2/5 Gorkha Rifles which was in Calcutta. This was in 1951. Soon after, Bakshi’s Battalion sailed for Congo (erstwhile Zaire), for peacekeeping duties. For leading his battalion in effective implemtation of law and order and peace in Congo, Zoru was awarded the Vishisht Sewa Medal.

In 1965, Zoru was promoted to the rank of Brigadier, and posted as Commander 68 Infantry Brigade in Kashmir. The war clouds had gathered once again. Pakistani infiltration began just a few days after Zoru assumed command. While infiltration was being effectively addressed, it was felt that to prevent further ingress, by guerrillas and to block routes being used by them, some key tactical features had to be captured. The Hajipir Pass was one of them.
The Hajipir Pass was strategically very important as it provided one of the main routes of ingress into the Kashmir Valley. Zoru was assigned the mission to capture the Pass. In fact, so strong was the faith of the senior command in Zoru’s capability, that the whole operation was codenamed ‘Operation Bakshi’
In one of the most brilliantly executed operations in the 1965 conflict, Zoru captured the Hajipir Pass and wrote his name in the Indian Military history.
The credit for the capture went to Major Ranjit Dayal, who actually captured the feature, and to Zoru for planning and executing a bold plan, fraught with risk. There is no doubt that if this plan had failed, Zoru would have been solely held responsible, as he had not taken permission from his senior command to execute it. For his role as a commander in executing this mission, Brigadier Zoru Bakshi was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India’s second highest medal for gallantry. With a Vir Chakra already under his belt, Zoru became the only Indian Army officer to have been awarded both medals.
In March 1967, Zoru was appointed Brigadier General Staff of the Eastern Command, where Lt. Gen. Manekshaw as the Army Commander. Soon after Zoru was selected to do the senior command course at the Imperial Defence College, London. Zoru passed the course with distinction. He returned, and after a brief stint in the Military Training Directorate, Zoru was promoted to Major General and posted at GOC 8 Mountain Division, in Nagaland, where insurgency had become a serious problem.
As GOC, Zoru experienced an incident which was to earn him the reputation of being a very strict disciplinarian. One of his Brigade Commanders was Brigadier SK Sinha, (who later rose to the position of Vice Chief of Army Staff), under whose command two Nagas were killed reportedly because they were hostile. Zoru personally got involved in the enquiry and soon the truth was out that one of the battalions, in a bid to notch up the counter insurgency score had actually tortured and killed two Nagas, and their bodies were disposed off.
Zoru was extremely upset. Since this happened under Sinha’s command, Sinha was informed by Zoru, that the recommendation for an AVSM for Sinha was not being withdrawn. The commanding officer of the Battalion was removed from command and demoted to the rank of Major. Two more officers were court martialled and either dismissed from service or imprisoned.
When the 1971 operations against Pakistan became imminent, Zoru was commanding 26 Infantry Division in Jammu. As part of a strategic initiative planned for 1 Corps, Zoru’s Division was assigned a strategically important mission which was to advance towards Sialkot, Pakistan. However, soon after hostilities commenced on December 3, 1971, the situation on the ground changed fast, and soon, the original plan to advance towards Sialkot had to shelved, and 26 Division was redeployed to defend Jammu.
Zoru proceeded to capture ‘Chicken’s Neck’ a phrase coined by Zoru himself, that was of extreme strategic importance. That Chicken’s Neck was captured within 48 hours of implementation of plans, is a feat in itself. It was an operation reminiscent of the capture of the Hajipir Pass. Zoru once again proved the point that it wasn’t numerical superiority, but daring and audacity that bring success.


After the war, Zoru was posted to the Directorate of Military Operations. On promotion to Lt. General Zoru took charge as Military Secretary, at the Army HQ.
In 1975 Zoru was assigned 2 Corps as Corps Commander, replacing Lt Genl TN Raina who moved to take over as Western Army Commander.Zoru undertook his responsibility in a most distinguished manner, till the time he retired in 1979.
Age was against Zoru, else (there is little doubt) that he would have moved right up to the top most position.
Zoru is one of the most well known Generals of the Indian Army. A highly decorated soldier, he was a very successful military leader. He was also a brilliant strategist and a tactician. In all missions assigned to him, he did not taste defeat even once, nor did he lose an inch of territory to the enemy. His courage on the battlefront was matched by his sense of fair play, upright behaviour and the courage to stand by his convictions.
Zoru – a true ‘son of the soil’ defended the honour of his motherland and of his command, always and every time.

(With help from “Leadership in the Indian Army” by Major General VK Singh)


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PostPosted: 19 May 2012 23:10 
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He along with a fair no. of officers of his generation felt it was the biggest error on India's part to have gone to UN for ceasefire in 1948 over Kashmir. The tide was turning and sooner than later we would have wrested back what the Pakis had taken


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PostPosted: 20 May 2012 10:36 
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http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-openpage/article3437937.ece

Quote:
Gen. Cariappa led the Indian Army in Kashmir during the first war with Pakistan in 1947. The author recalls his father often being asked why the army did not evict the frontier tribesmen who, supported by the Pakistan Army, attacked India. The General used to reiterate that the government dictated policy. The Army was quite confident of clearing Kashmir. But the orders were to “cease fire midnight 31st December/1st January 1948-49.”

Later, Gen. Cariappa asked Nehru the reasons for the ceasefire. “You see, U.N. Security Council felt that if we go any further it may precipitate a war. So, in response to their request we agreed to a ceasefire,” Nehru said. But he sportily added, “Quite frankly, looking back, we should have given you ten-fifteen days more. Things would have been different then.”


This is exactly what I stated in my previous posts. No one ever holds politicians responsible for any of these f*** ups. A shame...!!


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PostPosted: 20 May 2012 12:52 
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Even now any recommendations from UN is considered worthy only per situation.


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PostPosted: 31 May 2012 22:01 
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I guess the ancedote narrated to me some time ago near a highway to Texas, is known. I am onlee retelling it to a bigger group because of Ajay Sharma, so blame him. Strictly speaking, it is hear say, but one that happened.

One day, a Major saab and a Captain saab showed up at Mrs Zorawar Singh's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanwar_Zorawar_Singh) house to invite them to their raising day as their chief guest.

Mrs Zorawar Singh invited them in explained over tea that there must have been some mix up. But, the Officers had been sent by the CO (one of the GRs?) who had served under Gen Zorawar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorawar_Chand_Bakhshi) would have none of it. So she agreed.

When the Lady did arrive as the chief guest, the CO as if he had seen the ghost of Gen Zorawar Singh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Zorawar_Singh).


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