Mandeep wrote:The brief I received from the coordinators of the BRF initiative on Quicklot kits was to negotiate and arrange the donation of the equipment to a suitable formation or Regiment/Corps of the IA. After discussions I approached the Jat Regiment through its Colonel of the Regiment and Centre Commandant. They were enthusiastic but needed time to evolve a suitable via media. The problem was that the Regt was unsure about how to go about the whole business. They were used to receiving donations from their regimental officers and ex-servicemen. Dealing with a civilian NGO of sorts was a new experience, therefore they needed to get clearance from their higher formation as well as AHQ. The permissions and clearances as well as discussions took up a considerable amount of time.
In the meantime the coordinators had decided that rather than donating the kits it would be preferable to give money in the form of a cheque/draft to the Regimental Centre and leave them to decide on the matter of procuring the equipment. Just as well since my detailed discussions with officers of the Directorate General of Medical Services (Army) including Maj Gen Mandeep Singh who deals with the subject had revealed that the Army Medical Corps (AMC) was not inclined to approve the induction of the kits on technical and medical grounds. Since the casualties were to be evacuated to AMC hospitals this would’ve led to unnecessary controversies leading to a failure in our objective i.e. troops’ welfare.
I therefore took up the case with the Jat Regt in the changed scenario. It was specified that the money donated with such generosity by BRF members in a spirit of patriotism was to be used by the Jat Regimental Centre for any kind of welfare measure for the troops in any way they liked. If that meant procurement of life-saving kits all the better. But they were to be the final arbiters of how the money was to be used. To avoid any controversy the JRC sought due permission from their higher formation, HQ Uttar Bharat (UB) Area. The Colonel of the Jat Regiment, Lt Gen BS Nagal, CinC, Strategic Forces Command sought the views of the highest dealing authority on the subject in the Army, the Adjutant General (AG) at AHQ.
Meanwhile upon my posting the matter in this thread, it was agreed by BRF that the donation should take place during the 4-yearly Reunion of the Jat Regiment which was to be held at the Centre at Bareilly between 17th and 21st November 2009. This involved a further delay but also meant that a large number of serving soldiers and ex-servicemen would be able to witness the event. On BRF this was perceived as the realisation of our primary objective, the upliftment of soldiers’ morale.
The AG had ruled that the donation should be routed through a regimental officer so as to avoid any controversy, since this was to be a test case as much for them as it was for us. In pursuance of the objectives of the project I agreed. This was done to circumvent any problem arising because of the fact that the donators were NRIs, some of them being PIOs. Sensibilities of the Army on this account had to be taken into account. The stage was now set for the culmination of the project.
The presentation was done on Thu, 19th Nov 2009 at the Regimental Special Sainik Sammelan held at the Bakshi Parade Ground (named after Lt Gen Bakshi Joginder Singh, ex-Colonel of the Jat Regiment who was awarded the MVC while in command of 340 Mountain Brigade in the capture of Bogra during the 1971 Bangladesh Campaign – he was also present) on Thursday, 19th November. In line with the AG’s decision and the traditions of Sainik Sammelans (earlier called Durbars) the cheque along with its poster was presented by my father, Maj Gen KS Bajwa, an ex-officer of the 3rd Battalion, on behalf of BRF. The audience consisted of around 3,000 serving soldiers, recruits and ex-servicemen. In addition to the Jat Regiment there were officers and men from affiliated regiments/corps like INS Trishul (affiliated to the Regt earlier this year), 65 and 98 Field Regiments, (the only two 100% Jat composition units in the Regiment of Artillery), 42 Armoured Regiment, affiliated units of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), TA and the Grenadiers (affiliated to the Regt since the 20s and 30s when both regiments shared a common Training Battalion). There was loud applause by all.
I was subsequently approached by many officers, JCOs and ORs, both serving and retired at later functions like the Barakhana, band concert and the Regimental Dinner Night to express their gratitude over the donation. My reply was, ‘I’m merely the facilitator, and you really need to thank the dozens of patriotic Indians who have donated money out of sheer nationalism and a desire to express their affection for the Armed Forces in general and the Jat Regiment in particular.’
That brings down the curtain on the project. My recommendation to all of you is to keep the programme going and thereby contribute to the strengthening of national security. More importantly I would strongly recommend that a case be taken up at the highest level in the Army to allow BRF to fully participate in such endeavours on its own. For the present this was an ad hoc arrangement undertaken because frankly neither we nor the Army was quite sure about how to go about the whole business, this being a novel effort. Such a permanent arrangement would allow BRF members and other patriotic Indians to participate fully in such projects.
Your effort has gone down very well with the Army and the Jat Regt. My commendations to all who contributed to the project. My sincere thanks to the coordinators and all those who contributed to the success of the programme by giving of their valuable time and money. It was a privilege to be associated with this very noble effort and I feel honoured to have been able to do something for the Indian Jawan and this great Regiment which has given so much to the nation.
My apologies for the time delay in posting this report. The inordinate delay experienced in receiving the pictures of the presentation ceremony is to blame. I received them on Saturday and will post them here tomorrow.
JAT BALWAN ! JAI BHAGWAN !!
JA HIND !!
Thank you Mandeep.
Good to have spoken to you telephonically for such a long time yesterday.
Good that you have given this report as suggested.
If I may recommend, if the JAT Regt has a magazine, they could publish the photo and it could also be posted.
I had an earlier long telephonic with a senior JAT Regt officer yesterday and he did emphasise that none could take donation from foreign shores and so it had to be done through a serviceman/ ex serviceman. I presume that is the route that was taken.
There were I believe three donations, including that of BRF through Mandeep's father.
I am sure this clears the fog.
It is heart warming to see NRIs so patriotic. However, the GOI being the GOI, one has to be sensitive to their sensitivity. I would recommend that if you wish to contribute anything to the Indian Armed Forces, send a letter explaining your desire and the route you wish to take and give a copy to the RM, the Chief, the AG so that all are in the loop and can advise accordingly.
I am afraid, you cannot help avoiding the CYA attitude of the IA since everything and anything is looked by the media and others are not quite above board and so they avoid controversies even at the cost of their own health and preparedness.
God Bless you patriots!