Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Karan M
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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Karan M » 20 Feb 2014 20:56

Vivek, a request or perhaps a suggestion. Perhaps you could include more local color and lingo, our people now speak like us.. its not always prim and propah British english...also, in your books, you often have a lot of interludes where the character speaks to himself or has recollections.. they break the narrative flow & if used overmuch, become predictable. Perhaps describing what the character felt without dipping back into first person (from that persons view) might work better. Just a few suggestions - you are the guy doing the heavy lifting, so thats about it.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28468 » 20 Feb 2014 21:43

Vivek i am reading your threads from start and cant find anything equal i got registere on BRF only due to your thread.
If i may i want to contribute something but it is@@@ not my work @@@it is of a friends but he is busy and i have his permission to post this.
It is not entirely military but have other elements also(time travel but realistic story). I would very much like to start new thread if someone let me know how or point me to right direction.
here is first page i will assure you it is superb.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28468 » 20 Feb 2014 21:43

2035

Looking back, I sometimes think of when I changed, but I guess it was a long and gradual process.
As a young boy I was afraid to go beyond the end of my street in Richmond, London; I’d often make it as far as the big red post box, but no further. I fondly remember long hot summers playing in the local park, and I remember the first time that I camped out with the local Boy Scouts; for the first time I was away from my parents. I stayed up late, I woke early and excited, and I watched the dawn rise for the first time, over a still and silent forest.
As a teenager I discovered London, and I tried both my first beer - and my first cigarette. I didn’t take up smoking, thankfully, but I did like the odd sneaky beer now and then during my school exams. In college, London shrank to the point where we knew the good places to go, and the suburbs were just where people lived.
My first job out of college was at a city stockbroking firm, starting at the bottom, and I spent my days trying to persuade people with money to buy shares in companies that neither I nor they had ever heard of, and I would practise lying convincingly.
Then everything changed.
Looking back, I was in awe of London as a kid, afraid of the end of the street and the great beyond, and I stared hard out of the window of the family car when we drove across London, wide-eyed with excitement; all those buildings, all those people. The world really was a big place back then.
When was it that the world shrank? When was it that I started to ignore US Presidents when the phone rang, and started planning invasions, wars, or speeches to deliver to the masses?
Somewhere along the line, a line of some forty years, I changed, and calls from the various world leaders were sometimes ignored. My mentor had once quoted something to me, and not even he remembered where he had first heard it.
‘A young man cares for his family, an old man cares for his tribe, but a great man cares for those he has not yet met.’
It may have been picked up on his travels through Africa, a long time ago. A very long time ago. As a young man, I looked at the world through nervous and excited eyes, and by time I started my own family I was already worrying about world politics, wars, pandemics, and the future of mankind.
Sometime later I was point-man for the entire plant, and I was worrying about those I had not yet met.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 20 Feb 2014 22:12

vishant chaudhary wrote:Vivek i am reading your threads from start and cant find anything equal i got registere on BRF only due to your thread.
If i may i want to contribute something but it is@@@ not my work @@@it is of a friends but he is busy and i have his permission to post this.
It is not entirely military but have other elements also(time travel but realistic story). I would very much like to start new thread if someone let me know how or point me to right direction.
here is first page i will assure you it is superb.


Vishant,

First off, welcome to BRF.

Secondly, please be very careful about posting material written by someone else, even if you know them personally. Remember that BRF is openly readable and so the material becomes open source when you post it here. I have been doing this with my books because they are written in an interactive format, wherein the BRF members contribute as much to the story-line as the writer does in near real-time. As a result, the scenario gets written using detailed inputs from various sources. Hence the slower pace of the posts, more nuanced analysis and much longer duration of the project.

Chimera and Fenix books are such scenario formats.

However, if your material is already written and finished, consider putting them into a single eBook format and link it here so that BRF readers (and other readers for that matter) can download it in one go and enjoy the pace of a novel.

Cerberus is a novel of mine that will follow this route for the same reason. It will be a straight-to-publishing novel unlike Chimera and Fenix.

Thirdly, please keep in mind that this thread has traditionally been focused on Indian military scenarios. So the readership is focused on that. If you feel you have a scenario that will meet the objectives of the thread, please do contribute freely.

At the end of the day, its really up to the writer to contribute as he/she can. I think you will find that the readers here are as fair as they are straight shooters. They will point out the good stuff they like about your writing as well as the flaws without mercy. And you as well as your friend must be prepared for it. All in all the writer's work improves over time as a result of such feedback.

If you need some ideas for your novel in terms of editing or formatting, please drop me an email at vivek _ ahuja 123 @ yahoo dot com

Regards!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28468 » 21 Feb 2014 07:51

here is the link please look at this
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6749&p=1597970#p1597970

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 21 Feb 2014 10:51

Image

CHANDIGARH AIRBASE
INDIA
16TH MARCH + 1800 HRS


Pathanya thanked the young air force officer who had dropped him off on the tarmac near the parked aircraft. He grabbed his rucksack from the back of the gypsy and returned the salute of the driver who accelerated away. It was already dark now with the last shades of red and orange sunlight making the western skies look ablaze. Pathanya looked around as he saw the airfield abuzz with vehicles, aircraft, soldiers and cargo. The air was alive with noises of trucks, jeeps, aircraft engines and the roar of afterburners…

But down on this side of the tarmac, the activity was more subdued. He saw the two, large C-130J four-engine turboprop transport aircraft parked a few dozen yards away. Men in green flight-suits were milling about and a fuel bowser was parked nearby, a large pipe trailing from its side and heading above into the wing of one of the nearer C-130Js. Pathanya could see the rear ramp of the aircraft lowered and about a dozen men with similar rucksacks standing nearby.

As he walked towards the aircraft, Pathanya saw the pilots in the cockpit adjusting their helmet mounted night-vision goggles. The greenish glow from these optics reflected around their eyes as they settled into the darkened cockpit. It was then that Pathanya noticed that while the night had crept in, the airbase had not lit up as under normal circumstances. Lighting was being kept to a minimum. It would do no good for people in the pay of the Pakistanis to keep tabs on the happenings of this base, considering its strategic value as one of the lifeline nodes to Ladakh and Kashmir.

“Major Pathanya, glad you could make it to this party!” a voice said from the group of men Pathanya had spotted at the rear ramp of the aircraft. The group as a whole turned to face Pathanya and revealed that they had been consulting with small flashlights on the maps held by one of the men. This man then folded the map and stepped forward. Pathanya saw the man was wearing the shoulder ranks of a Colonel and dressed as a Paratrooper down to the beret. Pathanya instantly dropped his rucksack on the tarmac and saluted.

“At ease, Pathanya.” Ansari said as he put his left hand out. Pathanya saw the hand and shook it.
“Sir, apologies for my delay!” Pathanya said with sincerity that Ansari recognized. He understood. Logistics were a nightmare for the entire Indian military at the moment, and nobody was exempt from it by the looks of it. No matter how important their task…

“Understood, Major.” Ansari said flatly and then took in a deep breath as he looked at the chaos on the rest of the tarmac. “Nobody expected to fight a winter war in the Himalayas. And despite the China war, we have yet to bring up our logistics in the mountains to acceptable levels. We are always caught flat footed!” Ansari shook his head and turned to Pathanya: “Well, we make do. Hopefully we won’t have to go back into Tibet this time around!” He let out a wicked smile and then turned to the rest of the men as Pathanya picked up his rucksack from the tarmac and followed Ansari, still not entirely sure why he was here or what the hell he was supposed to be doing…

“Sir, we are cleared to go in ten minutes! Suggest you get your men and equipment on board right away!” the senior air-force pilot said from inside the cabin at the edge of the ramp. Ansari nodded and stepped on board the cargo ramp before turning to the dozen men with puzzled looks on their faces:

“Gentlemen, let’s go. This war will not wait for us!”

As the others stepped on board and walked into the large cargo cabin, Pathanya took stock of the equipment that had been loaded inside already. This included a large contingent of small arms, explosives, communications equipment and a number of other Paratroopers and soldiers already sitting further up the cabin, keeping their own company aside from Ansari’s boys. They looked up to see the dozen men boarding the aircraft from the rear and taking their seats but otherwise continued with their work. For that matter, why on earth was a SOCOM Colonel doing what amounted to menial logistics? It just didn’t add up.

No, that wasn’t right. It added up perfectly…

Pathanya smiled as he took his seat on the side of the cabin alongside the other men and finally saw in the dim red lights of the cabin the ranks of those men. A couple of Captains, three lieutenants and the rest were senior non-coms. Pathanya grunted in amusement as he added up the symptoms. Ansari heard the suppressed grunt and took note as he sat down next to Pathanya just as the ramp was raised by the loadmaster. The noise of the rotating propellers was now audible along with the slight vibrations…

“You approve, Major?” Ansari said as he removed his beret and ran his hand through the balding white hair, ruffling them.
“Sir, I am not even sure what I would be approving!” Pathanya replied.
“But you approve?” Ansari pushed, and Pathanya chuckled.
“Yes sir!”
“Good.” Ansari said in conclusion. “By the way, has anyone told you why you are even here? Or what it’s for?”

“No sir,” Pathanya replied as he placed his rucksack on the floor between his feet. “I was told by my commanding officer to report for an immediate flight to Chandigarh and to report to you. They didn’t even tell me where I was supposed to find you in Chandigarh. I had all of three hours to prepare and have been traveling all day since.”

“Well,” Ansari replied, “Join the club, Major. If you think you had a strange day, you should step into my boots for the past week. But to put your curiosity aside, I should mention that you weren’t just picked out of a hat at random. I am in charge of putting together a very delicate operation and I needed men well versed with the craft, especially in the high mountains. Your experience in Bhutan was mentioned to me by one of my senior officers. Incidentally, you have met the man. Anyway, he told me where you were, I called your CO and here you are.”

Ansari paused as the roar of the engines increased suddenly and they felt themselves accelerating down the runway. A few seconds later they were airborne and the vibrations of the undercarriage rolling into the fuselage confirmed the same…

“As you are now acutely aware,” Ansari continued, “we are gearing up for some major operations in response to the Pakistani strike on Mumbai. I say Pakistani instead of a terrorist strike because we know now where the chain ends. Even so, New-Delhi feels that the appropriate response to such a devastating attack is still to take out key terrorist targets inside Pakistan. The majority of these locations are inside occupied Kashmir. You buddies are gearing up for supporting the air-strikes should the need arise to send in ground troops to finish the task. But it won’t and they aren’t going anywhere!”

Pathanya raised an eyebrow at that last comment: “Why is that, sir?”

“Because the camps and locations we will strike will be deserted of all targets long before we get there.” Ansari said and let that snippet sink in.
What?” Pathanya blurted out. “Then what’s the point of all this?”

“Exactly!” Ansari said with the air of a man who had realized this sad truth a long time ago. “We are doing this because we have to do something in response! Else we invite more such strikes on us. At least that’s the working theory in New-Delhi.”

“But we have a different plan?” Pathanya asked with all seriousness. Ansari smiled cruelly and turned to face Pathanya: “For the record, we don’t have a plan! At least not one different from what SOCOM has been tasked to do at the moment.”

“And off the record?” Pathanya queried.

“How’s your Urdu?” was the last response he got from Ansari.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby raj.devan » 21 Feb 2014 18:03

Hi Vivek, I have a minor nitpick with regard to the Chinese names you have used. Chinese people usually have a family name which is a single syllable, and a given name which is usually two syllables. The convention is to write the family name first, followed by the given name

For example you have former Chinese premier Wen Jiao-bao, where Wen is the surname and Jiaobao is the first name.

Tradition in China holds that you never address someone by his first name, except if he is a close personal friend. In an official or formal setting, people are addressed by their family name, and if they hold some sort of official position, that family name is followed by the title. Wen Jiaobao would be addressed by his subordinates as 'Wen Zongli', Zongli being the honorific title for the premier. Similarly each rank would have its own title. Current chief of the PLA General Fang Fei-Hu would be addressed as Fang Shangjiang.

It is the difference between addressing you as Vivek, or as Mister Ahuja or Doctor Ahuja, although in India, the use of the first name would be acceptable in all but the most formal settings.

In your story, Len Feng jars, since both Len and Feng are surnames, and is the equivalent of calling someone 'Singh Iyer'. Duan Chen is ok, but in China, this would correctly be put as Chen Duan, 'Duan' pronounced as two seperate syllables. The others called Wencang, Zhigao and Jinping sound out of place as these are first names. Jinping, I understand, is the senior officer, and calling him as such is like addressing Admiral DK Joshi as 'Devendra'.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby hpatel » 21 Feb 2014 18:43

Hi Raj,
Thanks - I learnt something by reading your post.
:-)

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby manish.rastogi » 21 Feb 2014 21:13

Vivek saar,

It would be brilliant if a post about intelligence boys tracking and locating the target in Pakistan is added!!!
My Two cents!!

Can't wait for the action now!!!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 22 Feb 2014 09:40

Image
P.A.F. SKARDU
OCCUPIED KASHMIR
18TH MARCH + 1700 HRS


As the tires touched the concrete, a puff of smoke released and was sucked up into the trailing vorticity behind. The engine roared as the F-16 pair thundered down the runway and slowed…
In the cloudy skies above, more white contrails made circles in the freezing air as others prepared to land. While the two F-16s were escorted off the runway into the empty hardened shelters, the smoke from their tires drifted and the engine noise echoed in the valley in dampened thunders. The second F-16 pair was barely off the runway when the next began pair began their approach for landing. The aircraft were quickly pulled into the shelters to bring the detachment at Skardu up to its predetermined wartime allocation. These were the advanced Block-52 versions of the venerable F-16 fighter design. And as such, their arrival at Skardu to compliment the older generation detachment was as much a signal as the arrival of many Su-30 and Mig-29 detachments to forward airfields on the Indian side.

As the valley moved into darkness and the fading sunlight began to silhouette the western Himalayan peaks against the reddish-orange sky, ten F-16s of the PAF filled up all of the hardened shelters at the base. Inside the shelters, the orange-yellow lighting illuminated the aircraft and allowed the ground crews to help the pilots unstrap themselves from the cockpits and to begin refueling the aircraft. These aircraft were quickly refueled and the underwing pylons were fitted with live US made AMRAAM beyond-visual-range missiles. As the crew-chiefs verified the weapon readiness on the platform, the crews moved on to the next pylon…

As jeeps began taking the pilots to their ready rooms, the next sorties of transports began to land. Two C-130 transports landed in quick succession, bringing the requisite backup flight and ground crews as well as auxiliary equipment needed to support the much more modern Block-52 F-16s. Two of the PAF’s highly precious IL-78 tankers purchased from the Ukraine as well as the only surviving SAAB turboprop airborne early warning aircraft diverted to Gilgit airport, further north of Skardu and away from the Indian airbases to the south.

Hours later the first of the Indian RISAT satellites diverted by Air-Marshal Malhotra and his Aerospace Command confirmed the arrival of the PAF in force inside Kashmir. The imagery was enhanced and analyzed and the presence of the two advanced F-16s on the readiness platform as well as the two C-130s disgorging crews and equipment was easily spotted. Rawalpindi had just provided its rebuttal to the Indian government’s threats to strike terrorist targets inside Kashmir. Far from letting the Indians push their aerial strike packages through, the PAF had instead staked its claim to the airspace above occupied Kashmir.

Further satellite passes confirmed more of the same. Endless ground convoys were now beginning to move troops and artillery into forward positions all along the border with Pakistan. With the mountain passes barely allowing either the Pakistanis or the Indians to surge ground based logistics and with the Pakistanis now on the alert, Defense-Minister Bafna’s plan to release Indian plans before acting on them had cost the Indian military dearly.

The element of strategic surprise had now been lost.


Image
SOUTHEAST OF SKARDU
OCCUPIED KASHMIR
19TH MARCH + 1100 HRS


As the massive crowd of Pashtun tribesmen and militants from all across Pakistan got up on their feet and cheered his speech, Muzammil smiled and waved his AK-47 in the air. Following the Indian government’s warning to Pakistan to hand over the culprits or face massive aerial bombardment, Muzammil and his followers had responded with a call to jihad from all cadres of the mujahedeen devoted to a free Kashmir. As one of his colleagues standing next to him pointed out the circular contours of the Pakistani air force fighters patrolling the blue skies above, he smiled and recognized that his back was against a very supportive wall. In his vision, the Indians would be foolish to wage all-out war in their weakened state following the China war, against a Pakistani military armed to the teeth like never before in history. And if they did, his cadres would wage relentless warfare in their rear lines forcing the Indians to divert troops from frontal assaults against dug in Pakistani soldiers on all hilltops from the line of control across occupied Kashmir. In fact, should they do such a foolish act, they may very well lose Kashmir altogether…

And that was a vision worth fighting and dying for!

Muzammil knew he was under watch, and he used it to his advantage. He spotted several of the local Pakistan news crews filming his moves from the perimeter of the grounds where he had just delivered his speech. He wanted them seeing it. After all, he was calling New-Delhi’s bluff in their faces and declaring Islamic war against the infidel occupiers of Kashmir.

He wanted the viewership from South Block to see this…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 22 Feb 2014 10:16

Image
NEW CHINA NEWS AGENCY RADIO ANNOUNCEMENT
BEIJING, CHINA
19TH MARCH + 1400 HRS (L)


<Begin transcript>
“The government announced today that a large scale military exercise by the People’s Liberation Army will be initiated in the Tibetan Autonomous Region to validate warfighting doctrine enacted by the Central Military Commission last year. The doctrine was created after the military action taken against the imperialistic ambitions of our Indian neighbors three years ago.

The spokesperson of the Central Military Commission, air force General Chen confirmed that the exercise was intended to test refinements made to the fighting abilities of the armed forces and would include a new air-ground concept for mountainous terrain. The exercise will see the deployment of our comrades in the 81ST Airborne Army as well as air-defense troops and other aerial forces over the plateau of Tibet.

General Chen confirmed that the timing of the exercise was not intended to coincide with the recent happenings on the Indian subcontinent and were not designed to be hostile to other nations. However, he confirmed disappointment within the politburo with New-Delhi’s aggressive warlike postures against Pakistan. General Chen noted that New-Delhi was correct to pursue the perpetrators of the nuclear violence in Mumbai but were wrong to think that nations in the region will stand by and watch a blatant attack on a sovereign nation. He hoped that New-Delhi will see the light and conform to diplomatic channels to pursue the criminals behind the Mumbai attack…”
<End transcript>

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby sattili » 22 Feb 2014 15:35

raj.devan wrote:Hi Vivek, I have a minor nitpick with regard to the Chinese names you have used. Chinese people usually have a family name which is a single syllable, and a given name which is usually two syllables. The convention is to write the family name first, followed by the given name

For example you have former Chinese premier Wen Jiao-bao, where Wen is the surname and Jiaobao is the first name.

Tradition in China holds that you never address someone by his first name, except if he is a close personal friend. In an official or formal setting, people are addressed by their family name, and if they hold some sort of official position, that family name is followed by the title. Wen Jiaobao would be addressed by his subordinates as 'Wen Zongli', Zongli being the honorific title for the premier. Similarly each rank would have its own title. Current chief of the PLA General Fang Fei-Hu would be addressed as Fang Shangjiang.

It is the difference between addressing you as Vivek, or as Mister Ahuja or Doctor Ahuja, although in India, the use of the first name would be acceptable in all but the most formal settings.

In your story, Len Feng jars, since both Len and Feng are surnames, and is the equivalent of calling someone 'Singh Iyer'. Duan Chen is ok, but in China, this would correctly be put as Chen Duan, 'Duan' pronounced as two seperate syllables. The others called Wencang, Zhigao and Jinping sound out of place as these are first names. Jinping, I understand, is the senior officer, and calling him as such is like addressing Admiral DK Joshi as 'Devendra'.

I worked with several Chinese colleagues for several years, in fact managed a team located there. Contrary to what you stated above, I have always addressed my colleagues (including senior management) with their first names. Lets not get into unnecessary knit-picks. These character names are continuing from the earlier scenario (Chimera) and hence no need to start introducing the formalities here.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby raj.devan » 22 Feb 2014 16:25

No, the conventions I described are not used by the Chinese for informal interactions, much less those with foreigners in an international corporate setup. In the PLA, however, one is unlikely to address senior officers by first names unless there is a lot of personal familiarity.

In any case, the issue is not the formalities used in the dialogues, but rather the character names that are incorrect.

It may be a nit pick, but in military and political thrillers, verisimilitude is critical, and this is more so the case when describing the enemy. For instance you can take the example of Clancy, where even the Soviet officers in books like The Hunt for Red October have accurate identities and solid back stories.

of course, you are right that it is difficult to correct names in the middle of an ongoing series, but there may always be new characters introduced later on.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28352 » 22 Feb 2014 19:10

Guys, how do I ignore a particular user???

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby sattili » 22 Feb 2014 19:25

raj.devan wrote:No, the conventions I described are not used by the Chinese for informal interactions, much less those with foreigners in an international corporate setup. In the PLA, however, one is unlikely to address senior officers by first names unless there is a lot of personal familiarity.

In any case, the issue is not the formalities used in the dialogues, but rather the character names that are incorrect.

It may be a nit pick, but in military and political thrillers, verisimilitude is critical, and this is more so the case when describing the enemy. For instance you can take the example of Clancy, where even the Soviet officers in books like The Hunt for Red October have accurate identities and solid back stories.

of course, you are right that it is difficult to correct names in the middle of an ongoing series, but there may always be new characters introduced later on.

For me and for many others on this forum, Clancy is not the baseline to be referred to. In my opinion equating cheap thrill fantasies like Clancy's work with a scenario based work that Vivek is doing is actually undermining his work. Vivekji himself told he doesn't like to be compared to that particular author, please refer to older scenario threads.

I think KaranM earlier advised on similar lines to use more local lingo for Indian Army and others as well. Lets leave to Authors liberty on that.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 22 Feb 2014 19:36

sattili, raj.devan,

The scenario is very much collaborative and I do take into account corrections and feedback based on information that may be unknown to me, specifically about the enemy's culture. This is very important to me because I always focus on having characters in my scenario from both sides. In this context, both your inputs as well as Karan M's input about the Indian lingo are useful criticisms. These are things I can use during this phase of the scenario.

Yes, I cannot go back and change critical character names this late in a series, but I can mitigate the jarring errors as best I can. And then for the book, these corrections will help make a broader impact. That said, I like to think that the only places where the Chinese characters have informal scenes are where they are really informal and on first name basis with each other. I think there are only a handful of scenes where the incorrect usage of their names would be jarring to the reader. These can be corrected.

So keep the input flowing. Don't ever feel like you guys have to sanitize your criticisms. I can take it! :)

On a lighter side: FYI as far as comparison to Tom Clancy and his work, I have been compared with much worse by Chinese readers of Chimera! :wink: :mrgreen:
Besides, what raj.devan was pointing out was actually a good characteristic of his books.

Regards!

-Vivek

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Rahul M » 22 Feb 2014 22:34

>> I have been compared with much worse by Chinese readers of Chimera!

any available in public ?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Bala Vignesh » 23 Feb 2014 10:54

Was just about to ask that, RahulMullah.. Vivek miyan can we see what your chinese "fans" have to say about Chimera??

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 24 Feb 2014 09:08

Rahul M wrote:any available in public ?


Rahul M, Bala,

Unfortunately, there is little to go by as far as publicly visible reviews are concerned. But I do get "fan" email from the People's Republic of China from time to time. Disregarding their over-stressed need to use western names "John", "Steve" etc. :lol: :mrgreen:

The reason most of these reviews are not posted in public is because if they were, they would be shredded apart by other readers who will cut through the jingositic and propaganda bullshit like a hot knife through butter. So most of these reviews are more like sniping attacks where they say what they want via email but otherwise disappear behind their "John Doe" names.

Anyway. The point is that despite the usual percentage of crap like this, there are other Chinese readers who have very much liked the book and understand the perspective from which it is written. I get mails from these guys too.

For one thing, many Chinese readers liked some of the Chinese characters in Chimera. Feng and Chen in particular. I suspect this is the case because of the very same reason I put them in my novel: to put into focus what the PLAAF currently is, but what it could become. Feng and Chen were really composite characters that were molded into a single figure much the same way General Liu was a composite of the past and current characters in the 2nd Artillery Forces. The ideas was to show what the worst case scenario for us in India would be if the PLAAF started to modernize and professionalize its officer corps.

To the Chinese readers, these characters represented the same for the same reasons. Feng and Chen were what they wanted to believe their PLAAF is. So the other characters were more jarring to them. These included the corrupt and incompetent ones which most readers know are closer to truth than the likes of Feng and Chen.

One reader even mentioned that the first time he read Chimera, he was skipping past the Indian character scenes to get to the Chinese ones. This was perhaps more complimentary than I deserve. :)

Then there are other readers who have likened my work as the "Indian Tom Clancy". From their perspective, Vivek Ahuja's "Chimera" is no different from Clancy's "Bear and the Dragon" and represents a book where the Chinese are just there because the good guys need someone to fight. Sigh. :oops: :-? To these readers, the analysis done and the arguments made for what happens in Chimera are very much irrelvent. They see the book through the prisms of techno-thriller rather than as a scenario.

These Chinese readers just wanted a good war novel. And they got "Chimera" instead! And they weren't happy about it! Enough to send the author an email stating the same! :wink:

Finally, there are the disheartened Tibetan readers in India who accused me of "using the Tibetan struggle and sacrifice" to make a book about India and China. One such poster put a long comment on my blog accusing me of the same. Another sent an email saying he didn't like the way I used the possibility of the Dalai Lama passing away as a casus beli for war. Although he was objective enough to admit that such an event may very well occur in the near future.

-Vivek

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 24 Feb 2014 09:29

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SKIES ABOVE THE LINE OF CONTROL
KASHMIR
19TH MARCH + 1545 HRS


“We have inbounds!”
The young air force officer sitting at his console didn’t flinch as he noted the two pop ups on his screen. The on board computer within the belly of the Indian ERJ-145 airborne radar aircraft went to work. It classed the inbounds as two southbound fighters and provided the estimated speed and altitude in abbreviations next to the inverted “Vee” on the operator consoles. The officer staring at the screen simply had to read off the data into his comms mouthpiece to relay the same to his boss, overseeing the half dozen people on board from over their shoulders.
“What do we have?” the Mission Controller said as he walked up behind the operator, looking at the screen over his right shoulder. The operator moved his eyes to the side panel of the screen interface to see the radar auto-classification for the aircraft type. With a vector inbound from Skardu, there was little to guess…

“F-16s, scrambled out of Skardu.”
“Well, that didn’t take them long,” the MC said and then straightened himself. After a second he turned to his right to another operator: “Is Rambler Flight still on station?”
“Roger that, sir!” Rambler was a flight of three Mig-29s of No. 28 Squadron out of Leh.
“How long before they are bingo on fuel?”
“Twenty minutes.”
“Good enough,” the MC noted bearishly. “Bring them up.”

Rambler had been on station for very little time. But as with the Mig-29s of all types, the Indian ones were very low on endurance. They left a nasty trail of smoke in their wake and had to be refueled often to maintain them on station. The current flight would not be making it home on their own fuel if they decided to go head to head with the Pakistani F-16s.

Then next choice would have been a flight of four Mig-21 Bisons out of Pathankot to the south. But they were farther away and also less capable than the upgraded Mig-29s when compared with the Block-52 F-16s armed with AMRAAMs. And if the long-range missile threat was replaced with combat “in the merge”, commonly known as dog-fighting, the Mig-29s would run circles around the F-16 of any Block model. Despite its fuel-guzzling nature, the Fulcrum was a bruiser of a fighter. Besides, the Bisons would be running into their own fuel and endurance problems. At least the Mog-29s could refuel mid-air…

“Do we have a tanker up here?” The MC asked over his comms, as he carefully made his way further up the cabin. The operators and the consoles inside the Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft took up a lot of space. And the aircraft was small to begin with. The Indian modification to this aircraft had basically taken an ERJ-145 and fitted it out with some of the most advanced hme-grown radar and electronic warfare systems. The result was an aircraft bristling with antennae, empennages and bulges. And a cabin that was crowded, to say the least.

“No sir.” A voice on his comms said. “But we do have one on the ground at Srinagar.”
“Then scramble it! Our Fulcrum boys are going to get really thirsty soon enough.”
“Roger!”

The tanker in question was an IL-78 from the No. 78 Mid-Air-Refueling Squadron or MARS. It was the IAF’s only mid-air refueling aircraft squadron and was equipped with half a dozen IL-78s. These aircraft were basically modifications of the IL-78 platform that carried Israeli refueling pods. The IAF was extremely short-handed on tankers and it was something that had been glaringly visible for the last decade. But because the situation had not been rectified, the IAF was left very short on tankers during any major air war. The result was that the Mission Controllers on board the airborne radar aircraft had to stage-manage the deployment of tankers and decide which aircraft had priority over others for refueling.

Not all refueling needs could be met.
Those that didn’t get their requirements met were forced to break station and head home, regardless of how bad the threat situation in the skies might be…

The MC sighed and made his way into the cockpit cabin where he found the two pilots and the flight engineer scanning the skies. Compared with the cramped, hot and relatively windowless interiors of the main cabin further back, the cockpit was very comfortable and offered a bright panoramic view of the snowcapped and sunlit Himalayas from a bird’s eye view.

“You guys aware of the situation?” The MC asked the pilots, who turned to face him momentarily and then went back to scanning the skies for activity. He knew they were informed. The data fusion between the radar computer of the early warning radar and all cockpits of all Indian aircraft in the skies here was complete. If something could not be sent via datalink, it was made available via voice comms. The flight crew was well aware of the situation.

“We are.” The senior pilot said without looking away.
“So what’s our exit strategy?” The MC asked.
“If the buggers make a beeline for us, I am breaking pattern and diving for the south. Pike flight with their Sukhois are tagged to run interference.”

The MC nodded agreement. There was precedence for this, of course. The IAF had lost one of its ERJ-145s over the border between Sikkim and Tibet during the last days of the war with China. That had happened because a regiment of Chinese Su-27s had decided to make mincemeat out of the dangerous Indian early warning aircraft. In that they had been successful despite the IAF surging as many fighters it could to get in between and provide interference. The aircraft had been shot down in exchange for large Flanker losses for the Chinese. But it had underscored the point for the surviving Indian pilots and crews who manned these early warning aircraft:

They were always the main target for the enemy.

Indeed, the IAF had done the same to the Chinese 76TH Airborne Command and Control Regiment during the war. And it was expected that the Pakistanis had learnt from it as well. They had operated closely with their Chinese brethren flying the ZDK-03 ‘Karakoram Eagle’ early warning aircraft over the skies of occupied Kashmir. So it was not hard to guess that they had paid attention to the losses incurred by their allies during the war…

Which begs the question: where is that airborne radar aircraft of theirs? The MC thought. His thoughts were interrupted a second later as his headset opened up:
“Detecting atmospheric bounced signals from a long-range radar!”
Speak of the devil…He brought up the headset from around his neck and put it over his ears, covering it. Simultaneously he turned away from the awe inspiring view from the cockpit and headed back into the cabin.

“Range?” He asked as he walked past the operators to the console where the electronic warfare officer sat.
“Over the horizon. But heading southbound.”
One look at the screen info gave the MC what he wanted: the source azimuth.
“Our Gilgit bird?” The EW officer asked as he turned over his shoulder to face the MC. The latter, grunted and smiled. It was like a game of chess. These were all set-piece moves in three dimensional space. The chessboard was the Himalayas.

“Of course,” he replied. “Both sides are setting up their chess pieces on the board. And that,” he jabbed his finger on the screen showing the source azimuth of the PAF airborne radar aircraft, “is the other side’s queen taking her place on it!”

“Rambler is taking position on BARCAP, sir!” another operator said nearby. The MC turned to face the man as the EW operator went back to his tasks.
“They have the two Paki birds acquired?”
“Roger!” The operator replied sharply.
“Good. Tell Rambler leader to keep his flight on a short leash. No need for antics here that may snowball on us. He is not weapons free until I say so! Understood?”
Wilco!

As the operators went to work, the MC wondered how he was supposed to take the initiative in an air-war where the other side was being handed the same by the Indian government. Until twenty-four hours ago there had been very little PAF presence hard-deployed inside occupied Kashmir. Sure there were constant flights of Mirage-IIIs and even some older model F-16s over the line of control but these were being staged from airbases inside Pakistan proper. The amount of time it took to fly from these airbases into Kashmir meant that a proper window of opportunity existed for the Indians to strike from their airbases located much closer to the area inside Kashmir. By the time the Pakistanis could have reacted, it would have been all over. But because New-Delhi had stated that its intentions prematurely, the PAF had picked up on the gist of the Indian plans and within hours had deployed fighters to temporary airbases at Skardu and Gilgit. And now this is where they would stay until the threat of Indian action dissipated. As such, they now represented a blocking force that would have to be swept aside before the strike packages could go through.

If they ever do! The MC reminded himself. He was not privy to what the senior brass was now telling the civilian leaders in light of these developments. But he shuddered to think of what all the civilian leaders might do. The Chinese were making noise now to the east based on what the latest intelligence information said. All in all, the stage was being set to force India into inaction. Would they do it? The stupidity of their elected leaders didn’t help.

Like most men in the unit, the MC knew people and relatives in Mumbai who had been forced to leave the city as a result of the chaos there. He had been forced to relieve some of his men from operations as a result of their mental anguish. The post-attack devastation had gripped the soul of the nation over the past days and morale had severely dropped. As a military commander, the morale of his men was a factor that he rarely, if ever, swept aside.

But if the Indian military was forced to sit this one out, as it had been forced to do in the past after every major terrorist attack, he feared the stress would break his men. And it would be followed soon after by the country.

And that worried him more than anything the Pakistanis and the Chinese could muster against him on the battlefield…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Rahul M » 24 Feb 2014 11:42

very interesting perspective vivek. if you don't mind how have the sales been ?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Karan M » 24 Feb 2014 12:00

lol at all the steves and johns emailing...reminds me of the days when i used to post on a chinese bbs, and whenever i posted something against the groupthink my registration email id used to be full of all "well meaning" western names in poor english making china out to be the nice guy

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 25 Feb 2014 09:39

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LEH
LADAKH, INDIA
20TH MARCH + 0800 HRS


“Cheerful ba$tard, isn’t he?” Basu said as he took the remote and switched off the television screen. He turned to see a dozen faces of young and tough special forces operators standing casually without a word. All of them were outfitted in white combat smocks designed for arctic combat conditions. Their faces remained stoic, as though chiseled in stone. If any of them felt any emotions at all from seeing Muzammil declaring jihad against their home country and way of life, they kept it to themselves. Basu reminded himself that these warfighters were not known for being verbose. Least of all in the presence of senior officers around…

“Indeed he is,” Ansari said for his group and got up from his leather seat. “That son of a bitch was a key player in the strike on Mumbai. He doesn't know it yet, but his days are numbered!”

Gephel did not respond but instead kept his peace, taking a deep breath and staring at the television screen despite nothing on it. The place was certainly well equipped for comfort, he realized. They had ‘requisitioned’ the officer’s mess at the Ladakh Scouts HQ for the time being despite the presence of a large SOCOM presence in Leh now. The main detachment of Paras at Leh was drawing too much attention to themselves. And attention was something Ansari and Gephel could do without. However, the more attention the others drew to themselves, the less attention would be given to the two dozen men working with Ansari…

“So Muzammil is our main target?” Pathanya asked for the team.

“Yes.” Ansari stated flatly. “He is currently in the Deosai valley organizing his jihad army for operations against India. It won’t succeed. These rag tag buggers are going to disperse like cockroaches when we deliver steel rain on them. However, that’s not you main concern. Leave the bearded foot soldiers to the rest of the army and your buddies in SOCOM. We are going after bigger fish!”
“So we are to take him alive?” Pathanya was surprised at that.

“If we can, we will.” Ansari stated and then looked at the others. “But if there is any risk of the bugger getting away, you nail his ass! Understood?”
“Yes sir!” The group responded in near unison. Their actual body language said: “With pleasure!” Ansari smiled wickedly and turned to Gephel:
“You have the floor, Colonel.”

Gephel nodded and got up from his seat. He then paced for a few steps and faced the group of men in front of him: “As you are aware from painful experiences, the biggest issue for any such operation is intelligence and timing. We need both if we are to arrive at the target and take him out when it is of maximum advantage to us and minimum advantage to the enemy.” Gephel then walked to the wall that had now been covered with maps of regions north of the line of control. He took the wooden pointer and poked at a point called Deosai on the map. “This region is where our target individual is spending most of his time these days. We know where he is and he doesn’t seem to mind us watching him all that much. The bugger feels very secure in the army of holy warriors that surround him and the Paki air force that’s protecting them. For now.

“South of there, you have the line of control and it is heavily fortified by the enemy frontline forces with layers of sensors, a few battlefield radars and observation posts. Very similar to our defensive line south from there. Mr. Basu here,” Gephel nodded to the RAW director, “assures us that when the time comes we will have the location of the target down to a few hundred meters. However, the issue at the moment,” he wave his hand at the maps of occupied Kashmir, “…is to find an ingress and egress route through these massive defenses.”

“Rest assured,” Ansari interjected, “we will figure that out. In the meantime however, I want you all to get acquainted with every detail of the target, the terrain and all relevant locations of interest to us. Our RAW friends here are proving very cooperative in helping us orient to the multi-dimensional problem. Use them effectively. Ask questions!”

“And now would be a good time to start,” Basu added with a smile. Pathanya and his men were already spreading out in smaller groups. A few were by the map, others were looking at the profile pictures of Muzammil from the files Basu and his men had brought over. Pathanya walked over to the map, lay his fingers on it and glanced up at the map scale. He frowned.
“Yes, Major?” Basu said as he noted the look on Pathanya’s face.

“Sir, putting aside the actual takedown of the target and his entourage, it is going to be near impossible for us to walk in or out for such a distance from the border. Even if we could sneak in undetected, we are going to have every jihadi in Deosai on our heels within an hour.” Pathanya said and looked at Ansari, who in turn looked at Gephel. The latter crossed his arms and nodded: “The thought has occurred to us as well. Rest assured, your team will not be walking into the A-O.”

“Helicopters, sir?” One of the other Captains said as he turned away from the map wall. Gephel nodded. The Captain shared a look with Pathanya that said more than they actually needed to. Ansari understood.

“Gentlemen, rest easy.” He said soothingly. “We will find the ingress and egress routes. Count on it. We are not going to send you in without a viable plan here. But as you can expect, it is being put together faster than we would normally like. Which is why you are all here to start with. All of you have had extensive combat experience in special warfare operations against the Chinese in the Himalayas. For all practical purposes, this is more of the same. These enemies have beards, lack training and battlefield competency, but they make up for it with zeal and determination. But they are no different from any other enemy you have faced.”

“Sir, what is the timeline on this?” Pathanya asked. “When do we go?”

Ansari crossed his arms, leaned back against the sofa and frowned: “Well, Major, that is the tricky question, isn’t it? Our ingress and egress depends a lot on what the rest of the military does to, shall we say, ‘light-up-the-sky’. When they go, we go. And they may go within hours. So time is a no-shit entity for us right now. Expect to go with little warning.”

“Yes sir.” Pathanya replied, understanding the general operational constraints on this mission. Ansari looked at his wristwatch and nodded to Gephel, who also got up from his seat. The team members came to attention as the two Colonels left the room along with Basu a few moments later. Behind them they left a room full of maps, files and several RAW officers to help Pathanya and his men in putting the meat on the bare bones objective that had now been handed to them…
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 25 Feb 2014 09:43, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 25 Feb 2014 09:39

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LHASA
TIBET
20TH MARCH + 1600 HRS


The peace and calm over the city was drowned by muffled jet engine noises during the afternoon as the first Chinese transport aircraft began approaching the city at high altitude from the northwest. As the civilians ran into the streets, the blue skies above started to fill with circular white contrails of multi-engine aircraft while others contrails dissipated in a straight line to the north. Those near the airport got to see firsthand as the first Y-20s of the Chinese air force landed on the massive concrete runway with their large wing flaps deployed and engines screaming in reversed thrust. As one aircraft landed, another took up approach until aircraft were making a beeline in the skies above at steps of two thousand feet each. The Chinese 15th Airborne Corps had started to arrive into its theater of operations…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_26730 » 25 Feb 2014 23:46

Please keep it coming!!!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby asbchakri » 28 Feb 2014 17:49

Vivek bhai some posts to forget this depressing week :(

Either that or a bottle of Vodka :)

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby amol » 03 Mar 2014 21:04

Arrey Vivek mian, aur kitna intezaar karvaoge?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 03 Mar 2014 21:46

Pliss to hold the line saar! Reinforcements are inbound today. 8)

On a serious note however, I was unable to work on Fenix over the past week mainly because I found myself disturbed by the whole fiasco with the Navy stuff. The event brought out the bugs from the woodwork from a lot of folks I know and the news wasn't pretty at all. As I had said before on the other dhaga, the issues coming out regarding rapidly declining morale within the forces is indeed disturbing. And I found myself questioning then the validity of arguments I had made for setting up Fenix and whether they were still rendered valid under the new data coming in. Was I writing pure fantasy now? With no shed of realism compared to ground realities in the forces?

In any case, the whole thing shook my confidence quite badly. And I am still recovering. But will continue to write today onward.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby amol » 03 Mar 2014 22:05

Vivek saar, that's been on my mind as well, so was looking for a morale boost in this dhaaga. Completely understand your emotions too. Apologies for being selfish about this.

Please take your time. And if you need to adjust the narrative to make it more relevant to the ground realities, more power to you.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 04 Mar 2014 09:40

Rahul M wrote:very interesting perspective vivek. if you don't mind how have the sales been ?


It has been pretty decent so far. About 1,800 copies have been sold worldwide. Primary readership has been in the US, Followed by UK and then India in distant third.

To give you an example, only about 150-200 copies have been sold in India. About 1,300 copies in the US and about 300 copies in UK.

Majority of the readers outside of the BRF crowd has been Americans. Most of the recent reviews on amazon are also from non-Indian readers.

Overall book rating is at 4.6 out of 5 stars over 63 reviews thus far.
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 04 Mar 2014 09:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 04 Mar 2014 09:40

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NEW-DELHI
21ST MARCH + 1140 HRS


“Care to explain what you are up to?” Ravoof said to the Chinese ambassador sitting across from him. The latter man simply sipped his tea with all the deliberations of a snail. The act was designed to get under Ravoof’s skin in order to put him at a disadvantage. But the veteran Indian External Affairs minister was not new to the game. With decades of experience dealing with the likes of such state representatives, he could play the game to no end as good as anybody else. And he had, when time had not been a factor. Today was different.

After what seemed like an eternity to the Indian minister, the Chinese ambassador put his cup on the table and looked up at his host across the meeting room: “I am afraid I don’t know what…”
“Let me just cut to the crux here,” Ravoof interjected sharply. Enough to cause his opponent to grimace. But he ignored it and continued: “Your country is currently in the process of deploying a massive airborne army inside Tibet. Spare me the denials and the faked surprise, sir. We know. You know we know. So I am asking you directly. What is Beijing’s intention here?”

“The scheduled military exercises inside our territorial borders is nobody’s concern other than China’s!” The ambassador replied. Ravoof noted that the gloves were now off…

“When such exercises threaten the borders of a neighboring country undergoing a tense standoff with your supposed ally, they cease to be the concern only of Beijing, sir!” Ravoof leaned back in his seat rested his arms on the armrest as he spoke: “I should remind you that while we don’t particularly relish the idea of going back three years, we will not hesitate to do so.”

“Such belligerent stance is typical of New-Delhi off late.”

Ravoof sighed. “When we have neighbors who enjoy costly provocations, it is hardly a surprise, sir, that such stances need to be created.” The lack of diplomatic tact and civility between Beijing and New-Delhi did not surprise Ravoof. The costly war in Tibet had created deep scars on both sides that were not going to heal easily. Of course, it didn’t help to have a painful neighbor in the form of Pakistan attempting to take advantage of the delicate and precarious peace between the two regional powers…

“This would be so much easier,” the ambassador noted after several seconds, “if your government was to approach this Mumbai matter via diplomacy with Islamabad rather than through military belligerence.”

And there it is…Ravoof thought. The message delivered.

“I doubt Beijing would be advocating peaceful diplomacy if this nuclear strike had taken out Shanghai. We have offered to resolve this diplomatically. It has been a week since the attack and we have still held off our military response to allow diplomacy to work. If you expect anything more, I would be inclined to say your allegiance is less to maintain peace and stability and more to provoke war, sir.”

“Should I take that as a threat?” the Chinese diplomat asked neutrally.
“Take it for what it’s worth.” Ravoof added flatly. “I only represent the government and do not make unilateral policies. Least of all on national security matters.”
“So you are only the messenger?”
“If you insist on calling me so.”
“And what is your government’s message?”

“Stand down your military deployments currently taking place in Tibet. Pakistan is not worth it.” Ravoof replied with emphasis. The Chinese diplomat nodded in silence for a few seconds and then prepared to leave, collecting his suitcase by the chair. Ravoof also got up in response.

“I am afraid,” the ambassador noted as he buttoned his coat, “that as much as you are a messenger and servant of your government, so am I of mine. As such, I will convey your concerns to Beijing. That said, I do not think Beijing’s response will be nearly as civilized as mine. The war in Tibet is still a festering wound on the souls of many who now lead both our nations. Don’t you agree?”

Rvavoof nodded slightly. He understood and echoed some of the same hostile sentiment. Even so, he understood clearly his country’s current weakened state more than any military officer. Unlike many in South Block, he actually listened when the senior military brass spoke. He heard from them not what he wanted to hear but what they were telling him. And what they had been telling him was their inability to fight both Pakistan and China at the same time. And from their faces Ravoof had seen the clear-as-day message from the military to the government: Keep China out of this.

But as much as Ravoof would have liked to deliver on that, he feared that Beijing would not be so cooperative. They may not go all out, but they would keep India under pressure along its Tibetan border. The Chinese 81ST Airborne army and it’s three divisions were already piling into Lhasa and surrounding airbases. One division and its convoy of vehicles had already been spotted heading west from Lhasa towards the Tibetan border with Ladakh. These units were forcing the Indian military to keep a wary eye on their Chinese front and, in doing so, were beginning to sap New-Delhi’s determination to see the issue through to the sticky end…

As Ravoof wished the Chinese diplomat a good trip and walked back to his office, he sensed that Beijing was using the current standoff with Pakistan to good effect. The window for action was fast closing. He made a mental note to call on Basu and impress the same upon him. Ravoof understood that his main job was to buy time for Basu and the military brass to get the job done. He was willing to pay the price buying this precious entity.

But soon there would be none left to buy.
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 04 Mar 2014 09:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 04 Mar 2014 09:43

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LADAKH MOUNTAINS
EAST OF LEH
21ST MARCH + 1510 HRS


“Where are you taking me?” Gephel said as he grabbed on to the railing of the Gypsy utility vehicle while Ansari swerved around the bend on the road that cut into the Ladakh mountains east of Leh.
“You will see.” Ansari said as they bypassed yet another army truck convoy heading down the road.

Gephel shook his head and looked to the side of the road as they drove on. The relatively flat road was bordered on either side by snow interspersed with rocks, canvassing an otherwise desolate mountain range. The cold winds cut through the thinly covered skin of the vehicle and made an otherwise arduous journey even more painful…

Gephel wondered how the old silk route travelers of centuries past had navigated such difficult terrain. There were no roads back then. No satellite navigation systems and no help if you got lost in the endless rolling mountains of Ladakh, devoid of all plant life except in a few valleys. Over the last few decades, however, the Indian army and air force had established themselves here in massive numbers. And so had the Chinese to the east into Tibet. The road heading east from Leh was as filled with activity as could be imagined. No civilians out here except those working with the government. Every few kilometers they would come across a sprawling army camp or a convoy of trucks parked by the road. For Gephel, the valley of Gyantse had once been an ancestral home. But he hadn’t been back there since his family had fled to India. Decades later, he wondered about his cultural lineage. What was left of it, at least. The Tibetan culture, his culture, had been decimated by the Chinese over the past decades. Would he ever even see his home again? He knew Gyantse only from his parent’s and grandparent’s words. Would his children even have access to that small luxury? It had been a question that had forced him to live alone his entire life. What use was future generations when they had no access to their own culture? He barely wanted to survive like this. Why would he wish that on his children?

“What are you thinking?” Ansari said without taking his eyes off the road as yet another curve in the road approached. Gephel sighed and realized he had been lost in thought for some time. He turned to face his friend as the latter focused on the driving.

“Nothing.”
“This place reminds you of home?” Ansari asked empathetically. He knew Gephel and his past. After all, Ansari hadn’t pulled Gephel’s name out of a hat for Basu for the Pathfinder missions four years ago…
“Of course it reminds me of home!”

“You ever wonder what it would have been like if your family hadn’t come over back in ’59?” Ansari asked as he finally took a turn off the road on to a dirt track and continued driving.
“Not really.” Gephel replied offhandedly and then turned to face the desolate mountains again. “We saw what my people had to live under over there. I have yet to see such misery elsewhere. I hope I never do. The Chinese will pay for what they did…but perhaps not in this lifetime.”

“We are here!” Ansari said as he applied the brakes and the Gypsy lurched to a halt on the snowy-gravel. Gephel looked around and saw several command trailers parked around relatively flat terrain nearby. They were covered with white snow-flake camo netting through which their many radio and electronics antennae projected into the cold, grey Ladakh skies above…
“We are expected. Come on,” Ansari said as he grabbed his gloves from the dashboard and exited the vehicle. Gephel did the same, following the man as they made their way through the freezing, slushy-wet mud towards the command trailers. They passed several soldiers along the way, all of whom were kitted out in heavy snow jackets. But as Gephel wondered where he was, his eyes spotted the two parked Light-Combat-Helicopters further away, covered inside white painted, modular semi-cylindrical hangers. He saw the sleek outline of the parked helicopters showing as the flaps of the modular hanger were rolled up for some work. He could see the ground crews working on one of the choppers.

“The hell?” Gephel blurted and stopped. Ansari did the same and saw what Gephel was referring to, then smiled.

“Our rides?” Gephel asked his colleague.
“No. Just the escorts. Come on.”
As Gephel continued to follow two steps behind Ansari, he mumbled a comment he knew only Ansari was in earshot of: “Sneaky ba$tard!"
“I know.”

“And who authorized this deadly support?” Gephel asked. Ansari did not answer but instead pointed to the several other Gypsy vehicles parked on the other side of the clearing. Gephel noticed a wooden sign pegged into the mud by the locals. It said: FARP ZULU 114-HU

Gephel now knew where he was. The location was one of several Forward Area Rearming Points, or FARP, operated by the resident attack helicopter unit of the air force. This unit had been formed in-situ during the Tibet war and specialized in the use of the high-altitude attack helicopters called LCH, or Light Combat Helicopter. These helicopters were advanced vehicles designed specifically for high altitude combat. The LCHs were small, sleek and sported advanced digital pattern white-brown camouflage to negate infrared returns by enemy sensors. They were capable of operating under all but the most difficult weather conditions and during the war, had proven deadly to both enemy armor units in Ladakh as well as unmanned drones flying above the battlefield. As such, they had developed a deadly reputation amongst both friendly and enemy forces in these mountains. The IAF 114 Helicopter Unit had been in theater ever since…

Ansari opened the door of the large command trailer and waved Gephel in. As both men entered the spacious interiors of the vehicle, they were met there by several air force officers in their green flight-suits, bent over a small map table. Other stations including the radios were currently unmanned.

“Colonel Ansari,” the air force Group-Captain held his hand forward and Ansari shook it. He noticed the senior air force officer looked much older than his age. Yet another veteran of the last war…
“Group-Captain Dutt,” Ansari replied and introduced Gephel in the same breath. Dutt nodded and motioned both men to come to the side of the map table. “Gentlemen, welcome to 114 HU FARP Zulu. I was informed today by the Western Air Ops commander that my men and I are currently removed from recon operations planned in support of the upcoming strikes and are instead assigned to your SOCOM special warfare task force. Does that sum it up accurately?”

Ansari nodded with a smile, so Dutt continued: “Needless to say, my boys and I are very curious to know why we have been taken off the roster just before the balloon goes up and instead assigned to your task force. Colonel?”

Ansari took the cue and opened his briefcase with the satellite imagery of the target areas. He handed these out to Dutt and the other pilots in the trailer. Dutt frowned as he looked over the color images.

“Forget your precious recon missions, Group-Captain. I have the kind of mission that will make your pilots drool over!”

Dutt looked up from the images to Ansari and then to his other four pilots before facing Ansari again:
“Fair enough, Colonel. You have our attention…”

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby rsingh » 04 Mar 2014 21:16

vivek_ahuja wrote:Pliss to hold the line saar! Reinforcements are inbound today. 8)

On a serious note however, I was unable to work on Fenix over the past week mainly because I found myself disturbed by the whole fiasco with the Navy stuff. The event brought out the bugs from the woodwork from a lot of folks I know and the news wasn't pretty at all. As I had said before on the other dhaga, the issues coming out regarding rapidly declining morale within the forces is indeed disturbing. And I found myself questioning then the validity of arguments I had made for setting up Fenix and whether they were still rendered valid under the new data coming in. Was I writing pure fantasy now? With no shed of realism compared to ground realities in the forces?

In any case, the whole thing shook my confidence quite badly. And I am still recovering. But will continue to write today onward.


Vivek Sir All of the great navies or armies had their share of fiascos. Brits had their new TFTA sub stranded on beach with black smoke. Yankees were toying with live nuclear bombs. Oil is dumped in ditches during Military exercises (to complete the quota) in western Europe. Have seen Army geeks wondering around with live GPS ( you stand on the road and you see the cars moving on your GPS) to impress girls. So do not block yourself . Things will go wrong if you deal with complex systems. Bakistanese have nothing to worry about interplanetary navigation because they do not have anything there. We want to modernize our armed forces then we will have hicups every now and then and we will learn from there

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby rsingh » 04 Mar 2014 21:20

vivek_ahuja wrote:
Rahul M wrote:very interesting perspective vivek. if you don't mind how have the sales been ?


It has been pretty decent so far. About 1,800 copies have been sold worldwide. Primary readership has been in the US, Followed by UK and then India in distant third.

To give you an example, only about 150-200 copies have been sold in India. About 1,300 copies in the US and about 300 copies in UK.

Majority of the readers outside of the BRF crowd has been Americans. Most of the recent reviews on amazon are also from non-Indian readers.

Overall book rating is at 4.6 out of 5 stars over 63 reviews thus far.


Non from Brusselabad? Lahul- wila-quwat. Amazone ........ here I come.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby sattili » 04 Mar 2014 22:04

vivek_ahuja wrote:It has been pretty decent so far. About 1,800 copies have been sold worldwide. Primary readership has been in the US, Followed by UK and then India in distant third.

To give you an example, only about 150-200 copies have been sold in India. About 1,300 copies in the US and about 300 copies in UK.

Majority of the readers outside of the BRF crowd has been Americans. Most of the recent reviews on amazon are also from non-Indian readers.

Overall book rating is at 4.6 out of 5 stars over 63 reviews thus far.

I bought my copy on Amazon by paying in $, would that be counted for US or for India? I am sure there will be few who have ordered from Amazon US. It took just 5 days for me to receive the book in India, that's quite fast.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Rahul M » 04 Mar 2014 22:24

thx vivek, more power to you !

one reason sale in India has been low is that it's not available from flipkart. that's the default choice for most readers.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Yashu » 04 Mar 2014 23:41

I purchaced your book from amazon last week
will post my comments soon on amazon.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 05 Mar 2014 09:41

Image

BANGALORE
21ST MARCH + 1905 HRS


“What the hell do you mean they are empty?”
Malhotra turned away from the speaker on the table and looked at his officers standing around him. He then picked up one of the satellite image pairs and compared them yet again. But that didn’t help him much, so he continued: “I don’t know what to tell you sir. But these camps are empty as far as I can tell. These images don’t lie. The camps were active up until two days ago when we threatened the Pakistanis with strikes. Now there isn’t a soul in them. All buildings look abandoned as far as we can tell.”

He heard Air-Chief-Marshal Bhosale’s heavy breath on the other end of the line. He also heard some background chatter. Probably some of Bhosale’s operations officers offering suggestions…
Not that there is much to do…Malhotra thought as he viewed the images in his hands yet again. One had been taken by a RISAT bird five days ago; the other an hour ago. Other images taken in between these two had confirmed the steady removal of personal from all of the Pakistani operated terror camps inside occupied Kashmir. The enemy had scampered. And it wasn’t hard to guess who had tipped them off.

“This is a problem.” Bhosale said for the record. Malhotra nodded at his end. “Indeed, sir.”

“The babus of South Block have created this cluster-fu(k situation. We told those ba$tards not to reveal our plans to Rawalpindi. What the hell did they think was going to happen?!”
Malhotra looked away from the speaker and eyed the men in his presence, wondering why the big boss had let his emotion get the better of him in front of all the men. If anything, it was an indicator of how bad things were in Delhi with the current government. And the chief was after all, only human. In any other circumstance, his emotions would be excusable. But not here. Not when morale was already sinking within the men they commanded…

“Options?” Bhosale said testily. Malhotra heard some of the other senior operations officers on the other side talking about rolling back the scale of the strikes or some such thing. Malhotra was already zoned out in his own thoughts as he reviewed the images as though hoping to find some viable solutions.

One thing was quite clear: the strikes would go ahead as planned. The Prime Minister and his politically leaning Defense Minister had set that in stone as the only means to survive in office. And followed that up with gross incompetence to ensure that the current plans were effectively castrated. If the current operations went ahead as planned, they would strike nothing but mud buildings and empty training grounds. The target individuals had dissipated like water into the rocks.

Or had they? Malhotra realized as he jerked forward in his seat and began scouring through the imagery laid out on the table until he found what he was looking for. Then he looked at the images and smiled.

Of course!
The answer had been available in front of them all along.

It had all to do with terrain topology and weather conditions, the latter of which was at its worst at this time of the year. Pakistan occupied Kashmir was mostly steep mountains and barren high altitude ridges for the most part. These locations were unsuited for habitation in the winter months. Such as now. But there were locations inside the valleys where the altitude was lower and more habitable. Relatively speaking, of course. And if there was one thing that these so-called mujahedeen liked more than anything else, it was creature comforts. In every war since 1947, Pakistan had attempted to use these 'holy warriors' as the tip of their sword for the battles in Kashmir. And in almost all cases it had the same net result: the Pashtuns were more interested in pillaging and rape than in tactics and strategy. There was a reason why the terror camps were also located in the valleys and vegetated parts of the Himalayas north of the line of control.

The image Malhotra held in his hands showed him the consequences of this tendency of the jihadis. It showed Skardu before and after the Pakistanis had revealed the Indian threats to their non-uniformed Islamic soldiers. The camps were deserted. But the soldiers had to go somewhere, right? They certainly weren’t hiding out in the mountains braving the snow. No indeed. Skardu was certainly showing a lot more people this time of the year…

And it is certainly not increased tourism! Malhotra grunted to himself as he put that image down and picked up another set from the table taken over the Deosai region villages. Same as Skardu. Lots of civilian pickup trucks on the move out there. Much more than what the region enjoyed at this time of the year. These guys were spread out over the valley in smaller encampments by the look of it. Pakistani army convoys were also visible in the images and the soldiers in these convoys seemed to ignore these roadside camps as though they didn’t exist…

So much for joint combat against terrorism!
“Sir,” Malhotra said finally. “I have an option that you might like!”
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 05 Mar 2014 09:59, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 05 Mar 2014 09:44

Image

KARWAR NAVAL BASE
INDIAN WEST COAST
22ND MARCH + 0600 HRS


As the first rays of the morning sunlight turned the dark skies to red, the civilians outside the naval base witnessed an eerie sight. As they watched from the roofs of their houses and from the beaches further up and down the coast, they saw only the completely deserted berths of the massive and normally busy Indian Navy base. Normally home to the Navy’s western fleet aircraft carrier groups, the base was almost always hectic.

Not so today.

The more astute of the observers noted that the massive Indian aircraft carrier, the Vikramaditya had quietly lifted anchor during the night. Along with more than a dozen other large combat vessels, it and its carrier air wing had quietly headed off to sea…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 05 Mar 2014 09:45

Image

LEH
LADAKH
22ND MARCH + 0900 HRS


“What’s this?” Pathanya said as he walked outside of the officer’s mess they were using as temporary accommodations. He saw several of his team members removing wooden crates and other olive-green metallic boxes from the back of two military trucks that had rolled into the parking lot, rear first.

“Our gear has been released to us.” Captain Kamidalla noted as he walked past Pathanya carrying one of the large green boxes and into the main lobby of the building. Pathanya followed him in as others began bringing in more of the gear. Kamidalla put the box down on the floor and opened it. He then lifted one of the several rifles in the box and shouldered it. Pathanya picked up another one. He noticed straight away that these were the newly developed Multi-Caliber-Individual-Weapon-System or MICWS rifle. The weapon was fitted with the latest optical sights that SOCOM could provide them. The particular rifle that Pathanya had picked up was fitted with a red-dot sight, but he noticed some of the other boxes were marked according to what they carried: IR scopes, night-vision goggles, ammunition, under-barrel grenade launcher attachments and so on. Kamidalla lofted his rifle and checked the red-dot sight as well as the balance of the weapon. Others in the room began doing the same. The click-clack noise in the room was deafening now.

Pathanya looked around and didn’t feel he had to say anything. These men were not regular soldiers. They were highly trained elite men who were identified as being intelligent as well as physically fit. They knew what they had to do and how to do it. As such, Pathanya’s role as team leader was more unusual than a typical light-infantry unit. His job was only to lay out the plan of action and the next objective. He didn’t have to worry about the smaller details.

Colonel Gephel walked into the room a few seconds later and saw the equipment and weapons laid out over the lobby. He turned to Pathanya with a smile: “What have you done to my dinner room?”

“Apologies, sir. We will clean it up again.” Pathanya offered.
“You won’t have the time,” Gephel replied with a wicked smile.
“When do we leave?” Pathanya asked soberly as the other activity in the room came to a sudden standstill and attention focused on Gephel.

“Tonight. Twelve hours before the gears start to rotate. The trucks outside will take you and your team to the airbase at nineteen hundred hours. Dust off will depend on other elements doing their job so it is likely to vary. But rest assured, boys, you will not be returning to this location once you leave here this evening. So make sure your personal belongings are stowed into those same trucks outside when you leave. Colonel Ansari is already at Ops and I will be joining him soon. I just wanted to wish you all luck and good hunting!” Gephel turned to Pathanya: “Walk with me.”

The two men walked into the courtyard facing the majestic snow-capped Himalayas all around them as the rare sunlight cut through the clouds and illuminated the Leh valley. Gephel soaked the view and then turned to Pathanya: “Make sure your men get a good rest today. Mandatory sleep for everyone. They have a long and freezing night ahead of them. Understood?”
“Understood.”
“Good.” Gephel then turned stiffened his back. “Remember the extremely sensitive nature of this mission. Out beyond those lines,” he gestured to the northern peaks with his arm, “you and your team are going to be isolated and surrounded. This is not Bhutan, Major. At least there you had the sympathetic population on your side and Warlord and his heavy firepower supporting your every move. Out here, expect to get shot from all sides and from everyone who can hold a gun. We all know what happened to Kalia and his men during the Kargil war.”

“I understand, sir.” Pathanya replied. He had already made his peace with his personal life in case things went wrong later that night.
“That said,” Gephel continued, “this is not Kargil. Here we are going on the offensive and rest assured, Colonel Ansari and I will provide all the support we can muster. If all goes well, you will be in and out in two hours.”

“Understood, sir. We will get the job done.”

“You do that, Major! Good hunting.” Gephel shook Pathanya’s hand and then walked off towards his parked Gypsy vehicle. In his wake he left Pathanya in silence, staring at the snow glistening on the peaks to the northwest. As he watched the peaks, wondering what lay behind them for him and his team, a pair of Mig-29s thundered across the valley, breaking his reverie. He watched the aircraft disappear across the ridgeline to the south and walked back into the building.


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