Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

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rohitvats
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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby rohitvats » 17 Dec 2013 17:40

Very balanced and argued article by Ajai Shukla on issue of J&K and army's role:

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/12/winning-and-losing-in-kashmir.html

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby merlin » 17 Dec 2013 18:29

rohitvats wrote:Very balanced and argued article by Ajai Shukla on issue of J&K and army's role:

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/12/winning-and-losing-in-kashmir.html


Nothing balanced about it. The suggestion to disband the RR is certainly mischievous (and putting it mildly). Remember Shukla is the give-Siachen-to-the-Pakis person so any and every dilution of the IA posture in J&K will be pushed by him.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 17 Dec 2013 19:30

merlin wrote:
rohitvats wrote:Very balanced and argued article by Ajai Shukla on issue of J&K and army's role:

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2013/12/winning-and-losing-in-kashmir.html


Nothing balanced about it. The suggestion to disband the RR is certainly mischievous (and putting it mildly). Remember Shukla is the give-Siachen-to-the-Pakis person so any and every dilution of the IA posture in J&K will be pushed by him.


While Shukla, on many occasions has proved himself just as capricious and downright ignorant as the folks he criticizes, de-militarizing Siachen as per the Indian plan (which the Pakis wil never agree to) does not automatically mean handing it over to them.

Neither does questioning RR's eventual fate...having a large heavily militarized CI force "on-demand" has some unintended consequences for both the army and the netas who would use them indiscriminately. For parallels see the huge debate going on in the US currently, much of it started by ex-military, on the heavy militarization of local police, post 9-11, and some of the unwelcome situations that have arisen from that state of fear.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby abhishek_sharma » 18 Dec 2013 16:34

Just completed reading Gen V. K. Singh's autobiography. It appears that he is not a big fan of Gen Sundarji. In particular, he is critical of Sundarji's handling of following issues:

1. Operation Bluestar.
2. Operation Trident.
3. IPKF

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 18 Dec 2013 18:18

abhishek_sharma wrote:Just completed reading Gen V. K. Singh's autobiography. It appears that he is not a big fan of Gen Sundarji. In particular, he is critical of Sundarji's handling of following issues:

1. Operation Bluestar.
2. Operation Trident.
3. IPKF


Haven't read the book so no idea about the specific grounds of criticism, but there is no doubt that for all his cerebral brilliance which makes him standout among all the COAS, Sundarji's trademark absolute confidence in one's own abilities led to the cardinal sin of "situating one's appreciation rather than appreciating the situation."

IPKF was an ignominious example of the same. Bluestar it is easy to second guess his (and everybody else's) actions--that was a thankless job from start to finish with no good options, just a) bad b) worse and c) worst.

What is Operation Trident in Sudarji's context?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby merlin » 18 Dec 2013 18:20

RajitO wrote:While Shukla, on many occasions has proved himself just as capricious and downright ignorant as the folks he criticizes, de-militarizing Siachen as per the Indian plan (which the Pakis wil never agree to) does not automatically mean handing it over to them.

Neither does questioning RR's eventual fate...having a large heavily militarized CI force "on-demand" has some unintended consequences for both the army and the netas who would use them indiscriminately. For parallels see the huge debate going on in the US currently, much of it started by ex-military, on the heavy militarization of local police, post 9-11, and some of the unwelcome situations that have arisen from that state of fear.


Eventual fate is so far away I certainly cannot see it. I don't see the J&K problem sorted anytime soon unless an ultra-nationalist government comes to power, kills all the terrorists, take back PoK thereby severing the Pak-China link and then completely emasculates the Pakis. Besides once J&K is "solved" RR can be diverted to the NE, so why disband something created at great cost with a lot of blood and sweat?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby abhishek_sharma » 18 Dec 2013 18:41

>> What is Operation Trident in Sudarji's context?

Gen V K Singh says that Sundarji was imagining Paki actions when they were not doing anything mischievous. Due to his mistakes we ended up in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation.

Having said that, he gives Sundarji credit for modernizing IA.

Gen V K Singh is pretty harsh on defense secretaries. He didn't say anything negative about Antony.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 18 Dec 2013 18:45

merlin wrote:Eventual fate is so far away I certainly cannot see it. I don't see the J&K problem sorted anytime soon unless an ultra-nationalist government comes to power, kills all the terrorists, take back PoK thereby severing the Pak-China link and then completely emasculates the Pakis. Besides once J&K is "solved" RR can be diverted to the NE, so why disband something created at great cost with a lot of blood and sweat?


Yeah well, I don't see Sunny Deol becoming PM of India anytime soon either.

The North East has had a theater specific CI force for quite some time now, and its less than stellar performance on many fronts--a lot of which has to do with the silly way in which it is set-up--should lead to some time for reflection, rather than throw more bodies at the problem.

But it's interesting that the NE is seen as a bigger CI theater than the Naxal region, the opposition of successive COAS to which should be enough indication of what they think of baby-sitting the country's IS machinery for the next 50 years as well.

When thinking about cost also look at the opportunity cost of what taskings/formations the RR soldiers can be redeployed and retrained for supporting warfighting in scenarios for which we are currently underprepared, but are in the pretty adjacent future.
Last edited by member_23455 on 18 Dec 2013 18:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 18 Dec 2013 18:51

abhishek_sharma wrote:>> What is Operation Trident in Sudarji's context?

Gen V K Singh says that Sundarji was imagining Paki actions when they were not doing anything mischievous. Due to his mistakes we ended up in an eyeball-to-eyeball situation.



Ah...Op Brasstacks. :twisted:

As Ravi Rikhye so brilliantly referred to it "The War that Never Was". Yeah, that's a discussion that probably needs its own thread. :)

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Rahul M » 18 Dec 2013 19:06

wasn't trident the PRC analogue to op brasstacks ? the original 2 front war ?

there is probably some grounds to the criticism that Gen Sundarji didn't give as much value to intel as much as he should have and depended more on massed tactical thrusts. IPKF and op bluestar both carry evidence of this trait, we were woefully under-informed of ground situation.

that said, can't blame him for brasstacks. one chain of thought was that the whole business was to provoke pak into a pre-emptive strike giving us an excuse to settle the pak issue once and for all before the pak nuclear umbrella came online.

of course, modernisation of IA was his most important contribution.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chaanakya » 20 Dec 2013 01:25

Unending saga.


Supreme Court notice to Centre, chief of Army staff

NEW DELHI: Cracks among the Army's top brass, which came for a public debate during Gen VK Singh's unsuccessful attempt last year to correct his year of birth, has again come to the fore through a petition by a top Army officer alleging favouritism in selection of Army commanders.

Lt Gen Ravi Dastane, in a petition before the Supreme Court, alleged that key ground combat strategy posts like Army commanders were filled by breaching standard appointment procedures and said selection to such sensitive posts smacked of 'favouritism' shown by chief of Army staff Gen Bikram Singh.


Appearing for Lt Gen Dastane, advocate RK Anand argued that his client felt victimized on being ignored for the Army commander's post despite being eligible for it. He said a lieutenant general, who faced serious charges, was surreptitiously extricated from the disciplinary proceedings and rewarded with the Army commander's post immediately after Gen Bikram Singh succeeded Gen V K Singh as Army chief.

A bench of Justices TS Thakur and Vikramjit Sen entertained the petition and issued notices to the Union government (defence ministry) and chief of Army staff (Gen Bikram Singh) seeking their response to the charges made by Lt Gen Dastane.

Given the seriousness of the charges and the sensitivity judiciary attaches to matters involving Army top brass, the bench also requested attorney general GE Vahanvati to assist the court during the hearing on the petition, which challenged an order of Armed Forces Tribunal dismissing Lt Gen Dastane's similar plea.

The apex court declined to issue notices to other respondents in the petition — Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, GOC in C Eastern Command; Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, GOC in C Northern Command; and the military secretary.


The petition, filed through advocate Uday Gupta, challenged appointment of Lt Gen Dalbir Singh and Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra as commanders saying it was in breach of seniority-cum-merit criteria and that the process adopted had rendered the Cabinet committee on appointment headed by the prime minister a mere rubber stamp while brushing aside serious disciplinary and vigilance charges against a promoted personnel.

Lt Gen Dastane made elaborate reference to the show cause notice issued by then Army chief Gen VK Singh to Lt Gen Dalbir Singh for an alleged illegal raid by an Army unit on a civilian's house in Jorhat, Assam, in December 2011. He narrated the manner in which response to the show cause notice was delayed to await retirement of Gen VK Singh.

The petitioner said the response came immediately after Gen Bikram Singh took over as Army chief. "The submission of reply was timed to be received the moment the new chief of Army staff (Gen Bikram Singh) took over since Lt Gen Dalbir Singh was confident that he would be protected," he said.

"In spite of the fact that there were glaring lapses, and serious allegations against various officials of the Eastern Command which led to the issuance of show cause notice on May 19, 2012, to Lt Gen Dalbir Singh including the disciplinary and vigilance (DV) ban with effect from May 19 last year, the DV ban was lifted by Gen Bikram Singh on June 7 last year, that is almost immediately after taking over as COAS," he alleged.

A week after the lifting of DV ban, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh was appointed as Army commander. The petitioner said, "There was serious conflict of interest in the matter of dealing with the show cause notice by Gen Bikram Singh (present COAS) in regard to the (Jorhat) incident in which show cause notice was given to Lt Gen Dalbir Singh. Gen Bikram Singh ought to have sent the entire file to the government in view of the fact that he was the person concerned who had directed the action to be taken against personnel involved in the incident and his directions were not agreed to by his predecessor (Gen V K Singh)."

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Karan M » 20 Dec 2013 02:56

VK Singhs book excerpts were available online. Anyways:

General VK Singh has been quite forthright in critiquing General Krishnaswamy Sundarji, one of the Indian Army’s better-known Army chiefs in contemporary post-Independence history, on three counts. He criticises General Sundarji, then Western Army Commander, for proclaiming in the presence of a cautious Army Chief, General Arun Shridhar Vaidya, and the then Director-General Military Operations, Lt-General Somanna, to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in May 1984 that the Golden Temple could be cleared of terrorists by the Army in "no time". Three years later in 1987, General Sundarji, by then Army Chief, had announced with much bravado that the LTTE could be sorted out within a matter of weeks should the latter renege from the July 1987 Sri Lanka Accord.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/201312 ... /book1.htm

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-new ... 48536.aspx

Operation Bluestar

By the end of May 1984, the situation in Punjab was becoming extremely tense. In May 1984, Indira Gandhi called for a conference at her residence. It was attended by the Chief of army staff (COAS), General Arun Shridhar Vaidya, the DGMO, General CM Somanna, and the Western Army Commander who had come down from Chandimandir, Lieutenant General Krishnaswamy Sundarji.

Indira Gandhi had discussed the situation within the Golden Temple, and asked the Western Army Commander if the entire group of militants could be flushed out. General Sundarji had responded positively, reportedly saying that if there was a requirement to clear the Golden Temple, he would have it cleared in no time.

Sundarji’s belligerent stance put the COAS in an awkward situation. As the chief, with General Somanna by his side, began to explain the reasoning behind this advice, Indira Gandhi impatiently cut him short and asked him why he was anticipating problems when the army commander on the ground was confident of resolving the issue.

General Sundarji always looked to be a man in a tremendous hurry, and it was felt that he was too willing to do things without getting into the details of the matter.

This set the ball rolling for what was to be one of India’s darkest chapters —Operation Blue Star. Indira Gandhi also unwittingly created a situation where Army headquarters now had to play a secondary role to Western Command in planning the operation.

The moment General Sundarji pulled the carpet from under the COAS’s feet, military logic had been compromised and each subsequent decision was guided by political rather than operational logic.

0811pg11a
A file photo of Army brass including the then Army chief General Arun Sridhar Vaidya (extreme right) after Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple in Amritsar

Operation Brasstacks

Towards the end of 1986, India had begun its preparations for Exercise Brasstacks. The war game was one of the largest ever to have been planned, involving thousands of troops and armour...

Lieutenant General RN Mahajan from the Kumaon Regiment had taken over from Somanna. General K Sundarji was elevated to the top job.

Mahajan finished briefing the chief, stating categorically that there was nothing discernible which suggested any problems. Sundarji, however, was not convinced. ‘Look at their (Pakistan’s) 10 Corps again,’ he insisted, ‘why is it moving troops to the north?’

This Pakistani formation was based around Murree and movement to the north would particularly impact the border in Jammu and Kashmir.

We re-examined every piece of information from every possible angle. …there was nothing that suggested even the slightest deviation to the Pakistani position that could be viewed suspiciously.

It almost seemed as if he was now second-guessing himself and in the process losing his nerve. He then issued an order that stunned the DGMO and everybody else in the room, ‘Move one of Army HQ’s reserves opposite the 10 Corps area.’

..(a) call came from Pakistan’s DGMO on the hotline to his Indian counterpart. The Pakistani general said that there were other (troop) movements that did not fit into the overall profile.

With war hysteria building up all around, hundreds of thousands of people evacuated the area. War seemed imminent, with both the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers issuing threats to each other.

War in Sri Lanka

…the LTTE, President Jayewardene, working with the Indian diplomat corps in Colombo, succeeded in selling to Rajiv Gandhi an agreement that could never have worked. The third person in this chain was General Sundarji, the army chief, who, in my opinion, had demonstrated time and again that the more complex and dangerous the situation on the ground, the greater the chance of the army charging in with bluster and bravado.

Within the first month, we had demonstrated to ourselves and also to the LTTE that we had no clear-cut objectives, and were just rushing from one location to the other.

0811pg11b
A file photo of the mechanised infantry section of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in action against the LTTE in Sri Lanka. (HT photo)

Gen JJ Singh’s fixed the line of succession

With the benefit of hindsight, some facts are clear.

General JJ Singh had taken over as the COAS in 2004 and his own tenure was to run till the end of September 2007. It is now an established fact that he had, within months of taking charge, initiated the ‘look down policy’ that would give a clear idea as to what the line of succession would, or could be.

At this stage, it was probably brought to JJ’s notice that if the COAS could truncate my tenure as the chief to a two-year period, then the path could be cleared for the officer of his choice, and perhaps the choice of other in the government, to take over in 2012.

While all the others had to be ‘fixed’ in their brigadier to major general boards, or by other delaying tactics that allowed the designated favourite to overtake them, in the overall scheme of things it was probably an imperative that I become the chief, but only for a limited period.

PMO official and the Tatra scam

But the bigger shock was yet to come. Having first looked at BEML and the Tatra truck while looking at procurements as part of the Transformation Study, I asked for more information, especially as an order for approximately 700 additional vehicles were awaiting Army HQ’s nod.

This just wasn’t making any sense. We were continuing to pay BEML almost four times what the vehicles were costing them. What was even more amazing was the fact that the chairman and managing director of BEML had been at the helm for 12 years, and his networking skills had plugged him into a lot of ‘helpful’ friends.

There were murmurings that the relatives of a senior bureaucrat at the PMO had been given plots in the BEML housing society and the son of a top official at the Planning commission had been living in the BEML guest rooms for more than a year.

‘Don’t ask too many questions, sir,’ I was advised by those in the know of the procurement business. ‘The trail goes right up to a very high official in the PMO.’

"'Don't ask too many questions sir,' I was advised by those in the know of the procurement business. 'The trail goes right up to a very high official in the PMO (prime minister's office)'."


These words of General Vijay Kumar Singh on the Tatra truck scandal and many other controversies that dogged his tenure as the 26th army chief of India will find a mention in a tell-all autobiography -- Courage and Conviction -- that hits the stands on Friday.

Tatra trucks, in service of the army for nearly 20 years, were being imported by government-run Bharat Earth Movers Limited. There were whispers that the vehicles were being imported though the government had mandated that they be manufactured locally.

Once Gen Singh took up the matter, the CBI launched an investigation. Singh claims he was advised against raising the issue because the link went straight up to a senior official in the PMO but hasn't identified the official.

The 363-page book, co-authored with writer and film-maker Kunal Verma and published by Aleph Books, blames ex-army chief and former Arunachal Pradesh governor Gen JJ Singh of "fixing" the army's line of succession.

The former chief, who was involved in a much publicised age row with the government, claims JJ Singh manipulated promotion boards to ensure that the Bikram Singh, the serving army chief, could take over from him.

Singh took over as the army chief on March 31, 2010 from Gen Deepak Kapoor.

Singh, who took the government to the Supreme Court over the age row, says throughout his career, his year of birth had been accepted as 1951. The sudden change was made after several other officers who could have been in the race to be the army chief, were "removed".

While Singh had to withdraw the case, he has always blamed government officials and one of his predecessors for the change in age. Had 1951 been accepted as his year of birth, Singh would have continued to be the army chief for another year-- till May 2013.

The court recently started contempt proceedings against him for comments he made about the case.

Singh also claims that his effort to weed out corruption led to a powerful clique conspiring against him.

Singh, who early in his carrier served in the sensitive Military Operations directorate and had a ring-side view of Operation Bluestar, when the army entered the holiest Sikh shrine the Golden Temple in 1984. He blames the then Western army commander Lt Gen K Sundarji for undermining senior army officers and misleading Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

He says political considerations overtook military logic leading to the botched operation that would eventually cost Gandhi her life and triggered a spiral of violence in Punjab that continued till early 1990s. Gen Sundarji, he says, would make another strategic blunder a few years later, almost bringing India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

The book also blames the ministry of defence for the slow pace of military modernisation and talks about how a critical post was kept vacant during his tenure to prevent modernisation.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby VinodTK » 20 Dec 2013 06:14

Former Armyman’s information landed in Chinese hands
KOLKATA: Information given by subedar (retired) Madan Mohan Pal to the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was passed on to the Chinese and his pay-off was routed through Nepal, investigations have revealed.

Pal, who was arrested by the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate on Wednesday, was interrogated throughout Thursday by officials from several agencies, including the IB and Military Intelligence. The former junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Army's Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) apparently passed on some vital inputs regarding the raising of new units and deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

"It will take some time to ascertain exactly how much information he managed to sneak out. However, there is no doubt that his inputs were valuable. They wouldn't have continued with him for so long otherwise. He was apparently recruited in November 2011 and was paid Rs 5,000. From January 2012, this was raised to Rs 20,000. Though he operated alone, he made attempts to rope in others, including former Armymen," an official said.

The IB and other central agencies had warned the Kolkata and West Bengal Police of suspected ISI agents operating from here. For quite some time now, calls from Pakistan and those made to the country from Kolkata and districts were monitored carefully. As abnormally high traffic was detected in North 24-Parganas, it took some time for sleuths to zero in on Pal. During interrogation, the former JCO said that he believed he worked for an Indian agency but officials did not trust him on this. They suspect he knew who his handlers were.

"He is educated and served the Army for a long time which is enough to know that no Indian intelligence agency would seek such information from him. He is also aware that he isn't supposed to discuss certain issues with anybody. There is no ideological connection here. It was merely the lure of the lucre that seems to have done him in. We also suspect that he intentionally constructed a house in a remote area to evade detection," another official said.

Pal was arrested from his house in the Devpukur area at Telenipara of Shiuli gram panchayat, Titagarh. He lives here with his wife Kanika and elder daughter. His younger daughter studies in a school in Assam. On Thursday, his wife refused to speak to the media. "My husband has been framed. Please leave," she said.

Neighbour Amiya Patra said that Pal kept very busy and didn't socialize. "We knew that he was an ex-Armyman. He was always busy. They are a well-to-do family and their house is well done-up. We suspected nothing till the police surrounded the house. After that we came to know that he is a spy," he said.

The Army is treating the matter very seriously as three independent brigades and another strike corps were being raised for the eastern sector. The strike corps will be headquartered at Panagarh in Burdwan. A lot of infrastructure build-up is also underway in north Bengal to meet any threat from across the LAC.


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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby VinodTK » 20 Dec 2013 06:43

Attackers storm UN base in S. Sudan, kill 3 Indian peacekeepers
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:
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Three Indian peacekeepers were "targeted and killed" in the assault on Akobo, said India's UN ambassador Asoke Mukerji. A minute's silence for the soldiers was held at a UN meeting on peacekeeping in New York.

Forty other Indian peacekeepers and six UN police advisors were moved to safety at a nearby South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) camp, Haq said.
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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 20 Dec 2013 11:21

KIAs are from 8 Raj Rif...

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chetak » 20 Dec 2013 15:18

Sorry if this was posted earlier.


Keran intrusion: Three-fold aim of Nawaz Sharif



BY COL (RETD) RAJINDER SINGH

KERAN EPISODE, KUPWARA, J&K in September/October 2013 raised a question in my mind i.e. Is this episode not bearing typical signature of Nawaz Sharif, as Prime Minister of Pakistan? Wasn’t it a similar attempt as was done in Kargil in 1999?

Let me at the outset say, all Line of Control (LoC) violations by Pakistan military are the attempts to gain advantageous ground positions through silent nibbling acts without any major military conflicts. The purpose of the nibbling is to straighten the LoC so as to insulate its soft underbelly of Northern Areas (FCNA), which is vulnerable from Keran Sector and Kargil sector on the Indian side. Therefore his hidden motive is to obtain dominating ground features in these areas for future negotiations of LoC as an International Border.

I am of the view that if Pakistan military allows Nawaz Sharif, he would seek a solution to Kashmir problem along the modified LoC. Businessman in Nawaz Sharif is particularly keen to do so. This is why he had invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Indian Prime Minister, to Lahore in February 1999. No doubts, he had cleared Kargil operation but only for a limited extent of 2-3 kms east of LoC. But Pakistan military, led by General Pervez Mushareff, out-smarted him then and put paid to his plans by infiltrating some 8-10 kms. I personally feel that he had double aim, then, in clearing Kargil operations. One was to get into advantageous position along the LoC for ultimate negotiations on it as a border. Second one was to get his army’s wings clipped by engaging them with Indian Army and making them suffer loss of face by a strong countervailing act by it.

Coming back to Pakistan intrusion in KERAN Sector in September 2013, when Indian soldiers battled it out for 15-20 days to clear five square km area, infiltrated by some alleged militants. All sort of claims were being made to say that some 30-40 militants backed by Pakistan Army had infiltrated and 12 -15 had been killed, though bodies have not been recovered. Even today, there are different versions both by Army and civilian intelligence agencies. My question is: Were they really militants or Pakistani soldiers in the garb of militants who had occupied Shallabatho post in KERAN Sector? This village dominates the Neelam Valley road on Pakistan side.

Some newspaper reports had also stated that the strenght of the militants could be around 100 and their supply lines were intact, even 14 days after the counter offensive by Indian Army. The scene of action was around an abandoned Shalobatho village near the LoC. The area, as I stated was around five square km. I know the terrain backwards. But wait.

Was the Indian Army hiding something as it did during Kargil incident? Strange that the present chief General Bikram Singh was then posted as a Colonel in the DGMO branch of Army HQ and he briefed the Indian media daily along with his mentor, General JJ Singh. Is history repeating itself after 14 years?

I had served for three years in the KERAN Sector during Kargil operations in 1999. I was Deputy Commander of KERAN Sector, located at Pharkiyan Gali. I know the terrain fully and no one can fool me. It is a fact that the terrain is difficult but not so difficult that it can disallow the might of the Indian Army to ferret out some 30-40 militants. There is something more to it.

In the early 90s, Pakistan Army had in the same sector occupied GURJARTUR FORWARD (called Ramazan by Pakistan) post across the LoC in a similar manner. Somehow this was never reported. Similar thing had happened in the MAHCHAL sector, adjoining KERAN, and there is no secret about Point 5230 in Gurej sector. The Pakistan Army has been deliberately nibbling at some tactically advantageous positions along the LoC in North Kashmir whenever Nawaz Sharif has come back as PM. He has a clear and well defined aim.

You will ask me why? My answer is very simple. Nawaz, being a clever businessman, has realized that for Pakistan to grow economically it has to be at peace with India. His own business house would grow multifold if Indo-Pak relations are normalized and good business relations were established. But this was not possible till solution to Kashmir was found. To do so, he looks for an advantageous solution to Kashmir issue within its present realities rather than emotional strains of 1947. In so doing, he has further concluded that only solution to Kashmir problem was to accept the LoC with modifications as IB, which would also insulate his Northern Areas (FCNA), from any Indian misadventure in future.

It is this principle which made him invite then Indian PM Vajpayee to Lahore in 1999 for peace talks, while he asked his army to get into an advantageous position along the LoC to be able to negotiate better, when settlement talks begin. It is a different matter that then Pakistan COAS General Pervez Musharraf outsmarted him and went beyond his permission, which led to Kargil.

I have a lurking feeling that Nawaz Sharif plays a double game in such peace talks initiatives. I feel that he wanted his army to be sorted out, then as well as now. Therefore, he might have sounded to Atal Bihari Vajpaee, who along with his then Generals had exuded confidence that there was no intelligence failure. Lt General HM Khanna, then Northern Army commander, had boasted that he would throw out the intruders in 48 hours. Alas! he realized later that he was not only fooling himself but the entire nation.

Was it the same boast this time too when the present 15 Corps Commander claimed that there were only 30-40 militants, while 12-15 had been killed. What a laughable excuse he gave that to save own casualties his troops were going slow! Generals engaged in battle do not talk of caution, unless they were faking. How come they took 14 days to sanitize the five sq km area with everything at their disposal. Learned military minds would not buy this argument. Certainly, I won’t because I had choked LNVR (Lower Neelam valley road, life line for Pakistan troops in Northern Areas) of the Pakistan during Kargil.

It is no doubt that Pakistan Army had launched a well planned operation in KERAN. The operation had typical Nawaz Sharif signature for nibbling at the LoC. Therefore, though he makes noise for peace, whenever he becomes PM, he asks his army to straighten the LoC to Pakistan’s advantage.

His offer must have been so tempting that Manmohan Singh, and Vajpayee before him, could not say no. Therefore Singh went ahead and met him in New York despite a lot of hue and cry in the country. I wonder if the US had a hand in it.

Readers should know that KERAN sector dominates Neelam Valley Road of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which was the life line of Northern Areas of Pakistan. However in the early 90s, the Indian Army guns went silent and Pakistan constructed a shunt of 22 km outside the range of small arms fire of Indian troops. They made an alternative route and this was a tactical blunder by the Indian Army and its Generals then (Gujral Doctrine was in operation at that time, with the central theme of Love Thy Neighbour. This is emotional baggage of all refugees, whether it was IK Gujral, Kuldeep Nayyar, Manmohan Singh or even LK Advani. They all want to live in their past).

A village ATHMUQAM, along the banks of Neelam river (Kishanganga in Indian context) opposite KERAN Sector is the launching pad for the terrorists. This village is some 20 km from Muzaffrabad, capital of PoK. The shunt of 22 km takes off from ATHMUQAM village and joins the old Neelam Valley road at DUDHNIYAL, just short of KEL military base of Pakistan Army, which feeds Gultari and forces opposite Kargil. It is this shunt which is now under threat from enhanced weapon ranges of Indian Army. If it can be choked, Northern Areas of Pakistan can be effectively isolated because the only other route is a circuitous one from an inaccessible terrain in the winters.

This intrusion by Pakistan in KERAN sector is to safeguard its lifeline to Northern Areas, which can be easily cut off, as and when Indian Army desires. And it will result in areas like Gilgit, Hunza, Baltistan and Dardistan becoming untenable. Therefore, I personally feel this KERAN intrusion by Pakistan, under the garb of militants, is to give life to Sharif’s proposal to get into better position before he begins talks for peace with Indian leaders. Maybe the intrusion is by mix of militants and regular soldiers. This might be Sharif’s way of diverting militants and Taliban from Pakistan and let them be engaged with India. He achieves his triple aim:

Get militants and Taliban off his back;
Clip the wings of his army by getting it humiliated by Indian Army;
And most importantly get into an advantageous position to negotiate with India along the LoC. Thus find a peaceful solution by asking India to act like a big brother and be magnanimous.
I am of the opinion, Indian Army should tell the truth about KERAN intrusion to the nation. It will lose credibility if it continues to mask the truth with white lies.

(Colonel Rajinder Singh is a retired Indian Army officer from the Bihar Regiment. He is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap)

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby anjan » 21 Dec 2013 03:18

Karan M wrote:This set the ball rolling for what was to be one of India’s darkest chapters —Operation Blue Star. Indira Gandhi also unwittingly created a situation where Army headquarters now had to play a secondary role to Western Command in planning the operation.
Eh? Why would a command HQ play second fiddle to Army HQ for operational planning? The HQ staff for an Army is equipped, trained, staffed and meant to exercise independent operational control. The COAS is not an operational role and the final operational say always remains with the Army commander. Or atleast it should.

I was one of the original rah rah boys of Gen VK Singh. With stuff like this though I have to wonder whether there ought to be a far more nuanced look at his tenure,

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby NRao » 21 Dec 2013 11:06

India begins training Afghan commandos as ties deepen ahead of 2014

Afghanistan has been pressing India for military equipment including helicopters, tanks and field guns as well as greater involvement in the training of Afghan forces as foreign troops withdraw, leaving the Afghan military to deal with a resilient Taliban insurgency.


Tanks? Potential export orders for Arjun? Eh?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Rahul M » 21 Dec 2013 12:01

too complex for them. T-55's and upg T-72's most likely.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby NRao » 21 Dec 2013 12:09

from Indian stock? I guess.

Thx.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby vishvak » 21 Dec 2013 23:12

Why not? How does it matter exactly?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Rahul M » 21 Dec 2013 23:20

yes, T-55's are in storage, non-upg T72's will soon be.


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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Karan M » 23 Dec 2013 11:40

why dont we just open a 5* hotel in ladakh for these bozos, so they can make a beeline for it, make for the pool, do a photo op, after some r&r, face arnab on times now and go back. after all, they seem to be doing this to get attention and mark territory, and GOI is least bothered. so might as well make some money out of their fascination for coming over to the indian side of the border. :roll:

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby NRao » 25 Dec 2013 06:18

Man!!!!! Self reliance!!!!! Or for a lack of it.

'Friendly nation' supplied outdated satellite images during Kargil conflict: ex-Army chief

Malik said, "We had no satellite pictures of the battlefield area during the Kargil conflict. A friendly country provided us the pictures at Rs 35,000- Rs 36,000 per frame. We got the pictures of Tololing area but realised they were three-four year old. Another country agreed to provide us moving satellite pictures of the battlefield.. after few days, the pictures faded and we were told that the battery of the satellite was about to die. The three chiefs of the Armed Forces made all the noises and even met ISRO chief Kasturirangan apprsing him of the need for our own images. He promised that in three years we will have the satellite and he delivered."


Never heard of a sat "battery" "die".

I wonder which are these two nations. What a ride!!! Twice, that too.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby NRao » 25 Dec 2013 06:24



A gem:

"There are no friends during a conflict as everybody wants to make money.


We are importing 70 per cent defence equipment. How can we be a regional power? After so many years, we are yet to get our industry moving as there are mindset problems in our defence ministry…problem is import of technology.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby srin » 25 Dec 2013 08:35

Our Mig-25's were operational at that time, no ?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Karan M » 25 Dec 2013 11:54

Yes, but flying them low and slow over enemy held peaks was a concern.
They were used however. A very gutsy MiG-25 pilot agreed to do so (some of his peers didnt), and brought back excellent snaps. He was escorted by Mirage 2000s.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chaanakya » 25 Dec 2013 13:49

Army to court martial colonel, major, 4 others in Machchil fake encounter


A Jammu and Kashmir court has ordered court martial proceedings against one colonel, one major and four others in connection with the 2010 Machchil fake encounter case.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_27862 » 25 Dec 2013 14:31

Karan M wrote:Yes, but flying them low and slow over enemy held peaks was a concern.
They were used however. A very gutsy MiG-25 pilot agreed to do so (some of his peers didnt), and brought back excellent snaps. He was escorted by Mirage 2000s.


BTW.....A Mig 25 will never fly low and slow over anything...it is simply not used in that role due to operational limitation of its huge engines. Also flying at Mach 2+ (which was the mission speed at a height of around 13 km for this scenario) it will get the same quality of imagery akin to flying at Mach 0.5 or so.

And this gutsy pilot story is also a 'fable fabricated beyond comprehension'. Yes, MiG29s were used to escort this sortie (and not Mirages)......

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Vipul » 25 Dec 2013 20:13

Tatra trucks expected make a comeback.

Tatra trucks, over which there was a controversy, are likely to make a comeback into the Indian armed forces as the government is now planning to procure the vehicles directly from the company manufacturing them instead of buying through agent firms.

One of the agent companies selling the Tatra trucks to the Indian Army had come under cloud after former Army chief gen V K Singh alleged that he was offered a Rs 14-crore bribe to clear a file related to the procurement of these vehicles, prompting the government to order a CBI probe into the issue.

The validity of a pact between Bangalore-based PSU BEML and UK-based Tatra Sipox got over on December 17. Now, the defence ministry is planning to procure the trucks from the original equipment manufacturer Tatra Truck Company in the Czech Republic, official sources told here.

As per the plans, the trucks would be procured by BEML from the Czech manufacturer, they said.

The sources said India had also held parleys with the company to buy it out for meeting the requirements of its armed forces but the manufacturer refused to sell it.

Due to a hold on procurement of Tatra trucks from the UK-based company, the maintenance of the fleet of over 6,500 such trucks in India was getting adversely affected due to lack of spares and other parts.

After the allegation was made last year, the government had decided to put on hold the procurement of the trucks pending the CBI inquiry.

The ban on these heavy duty trucks had resulted in delay in the setting up of missile regiments for the army and the IAF.The major programmes stuck related to the Pinaka multi- barrel rocket launchers, BrahMos supersonic cruise missile regiments for the army and the IAF, Swati weapon locating radars for the army and other major missile programmes of DRDO.

The government, through its PSU BEML, had bought more than 7,000 vehicles from Tatra between 1986 and 2012. Of them, owing to special circumstances during 'Operation Parakram' in the wake of the 2001 terror attack on Parliament, nearly 1,950 vehicles were purchased between 1999 and 2002.

The defence ministry has already been offered trucks by Russian and Belorussian firms for replacing the Tatras, including the Volat trucks from Belarus which are used to carry strategic missile systems of the Russian armed forces.

Tata Motors was also supposed to make a presentation to the ministry on the issue of replacements for the multi-axle trucks.

Facing shortage of trucks, the army has completed trials for two types of trucks — a six-wheeled high-mobility vehicle and an eight wheeled high-mobility vehicle.

The plan is to buy 1,239 units of the first type and another 255 of the second one.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby svinayak » 25 Dec 2013 23:29

NRao wrote:Man!!!!! Self reliance!!!!! Or for a lack of it.

'Friendly nation' supplied outdated satellite images during Kargil conflict: ex-Army chief

Malik said, "We had no satellite pictures of the battlefield area during the Kargil conflict. A friendly country provided us the pictures at Rs 35,000- Rs 36,000 per frame. We got the pictures of Tololing area but realised they were three-four year old. Another country agreed to provide us moving satellite pictures of the battlefield.. after few days, the pictures faded and we were told that the battery of the satellite was about to die. The three chiefs of the Armed Forces made all the noises and even met ISRO chief Kasturirangan apprsing him of the need for our own images. He promised that in three years we will have the satellite and he delivered."


Never heard of a sat "battery" "die".
I wonder which are these two nations. What a ride!!! Twice, that too.


Is there no agency with expertise who can assess the quality of the information for the armed forces.
Looks like suppliers just took advantage of this and made money

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby ramana » 26 Dec 2013 02:59

Probably one was France and the other was Israel. US most likely was supplying the pics for free to TSP.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby sum » 26 Dec 2013 09:21

X-post:
sum wrote:One step back?
Army must confine to tactical intelligence gathering, new units need our nod: MoD

Acting on the high-level inquiry report into the functioning of a controversial Military Intelligence (MI) unit set up by former Army Chief V K Singh, the Ministry of Defence has sent a set of instructions to the Army, reminding it about its limited mandate of intelligence gathering and emphasising the rules for creation and restructuring of units.

The inquiry report, prepared by Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, had claimed that the secretive Technical Support Division (TSD) had allegedly indulged in activities to affect the government in Jammu and Kashmir and had claimed to have even carried out covert operations. It had also pointed to widespread misuse of powers that were given to the unit.

While a decision on further action based on the report is yet to be taken, it is learnt that the MoD recently sent firm instructions that any change in the shape or size of the Army has to be cleared by the government.


The inquiry report put a question mark on the very creation of the unit given that there were no clear instructions from the MoD — or the Cabinet Committe on Security — to conduct such operations. And that the TSD was set up by the Army in 2010 by merely "interpreting" the operational directives given to it by the government. This has prompted the MoD to send instructions to Army HQ that from now on permissions need to be taken to change the structure or role of units.

It is also learnt that the new set of directions specify and emphasise that the mandate of the MI has to be restricted to gathering of tactical intelligence that is needed either by troops on the border or soldiers engaged in counter-insurgency operations.


Making it clear that the mandate for intelligence gathering across borders remains with the external agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the MoD has told Army HQ that no permissions have been granted to Army units to operate on foreign soil for matters other than gathering tactical intelligence.

In effect, the MI's role in using human intelligence has to be restricted to tactical depth, an area understood to span 20 km across the border.
Despite the inquiry report's findings, former Army Chief Singh, in his autobiography, has written that the unit was set up by him in 2010 after he learnt that the National Security Advisor (NSA) had wanted to know immediately after the Mumbai attacks in 2008 if there was any capability to conduct covert operations on foreign soil and whether such a unit could be set up.

Singh has claimed that the TSD was being used by the Army for covert operations on foreign soil. "The Indian Army had a unit called the TSD. It was set up to accomplish covert operations in other countries. It was a very important wing because it was the only unit which could perform this task," the former chief claimed in a letter he wrote to the Home Minister recently.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby ramana » 26 Dec 2013 09:33

Did or can MK Narayanan corroborate whether he had made such an inquiry after the 2008 Mumbai attack?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby sum » 26 Dec 2013 10:15

It was set up to accomplish covert operations in other countries. It was a very important wing because it was the only unit which could perform this task,

Im hoping Gen VKS meant only unit from IA and not across all agencies since that would paint a very poor picture of RAW otherwise ( premier foreign intel agency not even having a covert action arm)!!

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby nachiket » 26 Dec 2013 21:21

Karan M wrote:Yes, but flying them low and slow over enemy held peaks was a concern.
They were used however. A very gutsy MiG-25 pilot agreed to do so (some of his peers didnt), and brought back excellent snaps. He was escorted by Mirage 2000s.

Flying Mig-25's low and slow doesn't make sense. You might as well fix the same cameras on something more controllable at those speeds. The Mig-25's only advantage is that it can fly high and fast out of reach of most SAM's and enemy fighters. You take that away and it is worse than using a Jaguar (which I believe was used for some recce and observation sorties).

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Karan M » 29 Dec 2013 14:43

nachiket wrote:
Karan M wrote:Yes, but flying them low and slow over enemy held peaks was a concern.
They were used however. A very gutsy MiG-25 pilot agreed to do so (some of his peers didnt), and brought back excellent snaps. He was escorted by Mirage 2000s.

Flying Mig-25's low and slow doesn't make sense. You might as well fix the same cameras on something more controllable at those speeds. The Mig-25's only advantage is that it can fly high and fast out of reach of most SAM's and enemy fighters. You take that away and it is worse than using a Jaguar (which I believe was used for some recce and observation sorties).


The MiG-25s (at the time) had the best photo recce kit which could survey large swathes of territory, and there was simply no time to take that specialized stuff out and retrofit any other platform or test and validate it.

Ergo, the IAF went around asking the MiG-25 pilots, of whom one accepted the risky mission.

Jaguars werent a great success at Kargil because of their thrust-weight limitations.

Simply put, the MiGs had the power, but not the avionics.
The Jaguars had the avionics, but not the power.
The Mirage 2000 had both, and was hence heavily tasked.

Now, its different, with some 200 Su-30s in the fleet (est. from IISS).
Last edited by Karan M on 29 Dec 2013 15:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Karan M » 29 Dec 2013 14:52

sameerjoshi wrote:BTW.....A Mig 25 will never fly low and slow over anything...it is simply not used in that role due to operational limitation of its huge engines. Also flying at Mach 2+ (which was the mission speed at a height of around 13 km for this scenario) it will get the same quality of imagery akin to flying at Mach 0.5 or so.
And this gutsy pilot story is also a 'fable fabricated beyond comprehension'. Yes, MiG29s were used to escort this sortie (and not Mirages)......


As I recall from the conversation, during Kargil, the IAF was busy adapting whatever equipment and capabilities it had, to make the best of a tough situation. And as regards photo quality, the kit on the MiG-25 captured a wider area at good enough resolution for the IAF, as versus pods on other IAF aircraft. Of course, didnt get into specifics regarding particular items but correlating it with public info seems reasonable in that we didn't have many aircraft or a surplus of options. IIRC we only had Vinten pods then.

As regards this episode being a fable, the details as I remember them, came from a pilot who mentioned setting it up and the basic escort details (he was from a Mirage 2000 sq, so the working assumption that it was the Mirage 2000s doing the escorting). He did mention though that MiG-29s did do escort work for even the Mirages.

The specific pilot in question was fairly senior at the time and also deeply involved with the LGB work from the Mirages.

The low and slow part comes from "lower" the relative altitude of the ground vs aircraft (thanks to the peaks), and slow (slower than usual M2+). The speed issue was mentioned for some specifics - IIRC it had to do with turn limits & not crossing the LOC but the sortie was not the norm was clearly mentioned.

Per memory, he was also part of the mission planning itself, ergo his first hand account of how risky the mission was given the MiG-25 platform limitations and the SAM threat (which is why the other MiG-25 pilot/s demurred & they had a right to) but one agreed even so.

Its been a while now, but these are the specifics I remember, from the conversations at the time. All errors of interpretation/recollection mine onlee.

You may have more first hand detail on the matter given your experience.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Karan M » 29 Dec 2013 20:55

Bharat Karnad:

General Ballistics
Posted on December 11, 2013 by Bharat Karnad

Book Review: General V.K. Singh with Kunal Verma, Courage and Conviction: An Autobiography [New Delhi: Aleph Book Co., 2013], 364 pages.
Published in ‘India Today’, December 18, 2013
————
Jawaharlal Nehru with great perspicacity noted in 1948 that accepting the criterion of seniority-cum-merit in military promotions would quickly lead to seniority elbowing out merit. Alas, Nehru’s thinking didn’t take root. India, as a consequence, has suffered from its armed services being time and again hoist with Chiefs of Staff of indifferent quality.

It is seniority in service marked by the birthdate, and it’s manipulation by motivated seniors, which was at the heart of the “look down” policy initiated by the army chief General J.J. Singh in 2005, and pushed by his successor Deepak Kapoor, that led to the concept alien to the Indian Army of a “planned line of succession” victimizing General Vijay Kumar Singh. In his autobiography, one would have expected Singh to rant against those who did him in. Surprisingly, his memoir is free of bile and vituperation. He pleads his case, of course, but soberly about the age-issue ending up unfairly truncating his tenure as COAS. Singh doesn’t, however, explain why, after asking the Courts to decide whether the school-leaving certificate kept by the Adjutant-General’s Office is, as statutorily mandated, the decisive proof of an officer’s birthdate, and not some document in the Military Secretary’s keeping, he accepted a mere wordy salve for his honour as restitution, thereby upending his principled stand.

Many autobiographies are unreadable because much is sought to be made out of little. General Singh’s book, however, is a genuinely good read, perhaps because the bulk of it is an engaging account of army activity in peacetime, near-wars, and in war (Bangladesh, IPKF operations, ‘Blue Star’, Kargil, Op Parakram) as seen from a fighting unit (2 Rajput)’s unique perspective. Among other things, it details a series of snafus and fiascos of one kind or another, such as operations (IPKF, Blue Star) being mounted without updated maps; differentiates commanders who trusted their instincts, were respectful of the regimental tartib, earned the loyalty of the jawan, and gained success, and others who were sticklers for procedure and hindered operational outcomes. It also reveals the high cost imposed on the soldiery by blustery show-offs (K. Sundarji) and shrinking violets (Arun Vaidya), who as chiefs landed the army in heaps of trouble (IPKF & Blue Star, and Blue Star, respectively).

The writing, always easy, is informative about army life, often turning insightful and, because relayed with a straight face, even hilarious. Thus, a salt-of-the-earth jawan, for instance, after a briefing on “fear” and “panic”, explained the difference to Singh thus: the former is “dar” felt naturally by anyone going into action, and the latter is something senior officers feel in similar circumstances! Or, his exchange with officers of an armoured regiment whose use of flamboyant terms seem detached from their practical import. Requested by Singh, as Commander II Corps, to explain during a sand model exercise what the term “bouncing an obstacle” actually meant, the CO replied: “Err…sir, we’ll bounce them”. Asked to clarify this remark, a squadron commander added helpfully, “Umm, bounce, sir, means we’ll bounce them…”!

The General reserves his regrets for the widespread deterioration of morals leading to scams and scandals in the military, and his pith for the IAS (and Defence Finance) officials who, as in the rest of the government, routinely gum up the works in the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The Defence Minister, he charges, is worked over by the babus in the manner master puppeteers do the rag dolls they handle, exploiting the latter’s pet-peeves (in the case of A.K. Antony, corruption!) to stymie military demands and initiatives. More significantly, Singh rips the cover off “the greatest con” job perpetrated every year by the MOD officialdom on behalf of the government. It relates to the prevention by procedural means of the large capital defence budgets from being actually spent by the military because the unused monies are required to fund the wasteful, corruption-promoting, but vote-getting populist schemes (NREGS, food and energy subsidies).


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