Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

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

Postby Cosmo_R » 03 Oct 2013 03:33

RajitO wrote:....also consider Pakistan's usual strategic suicide, i.e. if one wants to have a balanced analysis and discussion.


I'm all for 'assisted suicide'.

As tsarkar has observed, there is a pattern here. 2,500 years of being a doormat is enough.

Talk yes. Fight yes. As Hillary Clinton said "talk/fight/talk/fight". You win the argument on the ground. The PMO (all of it) is dangerous in its delusion.

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

Postby ramana » 03 Oct 2013 05:56

negi wrote:Brigadier Mahalingam should write more often.

General VK Singh’s case: It is time the country stood up to truth



I wish is he used officials for civilians and officers for military. But overall a good accoun tof the turpitude iafflicting the elected govt.

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

Postby Yayavar » 03 Oct 2013 05:59

^^Thanks for the link. Good article and makes very good points. The Govt is totally nanga.
Interesting that ToIlet has started publishing better stuff nowadays.

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

Postby chetak » 03 Oct 2013 07:17

ramana wrote:
negi wrote:Brigadier Mahalingam should write more often.

General VK Singh’s case: It is time the country stood up to truth



I wish is he used officials for civilians and officers for military. But overall a good accoun tof the turpitude iafflicting the elected govt.


Is it any wonder that some "editors" are living in 50 crore houses??

Army is the new punching bag

Some well-entrenched vested interests are out to destroy the institutional integrity of the Army. Unfortunately, it appears that sections of the UPA Government are in collusion with these elements, The attacks on VK Singh are an indication of that

A major controversy has broken out over a leaked report in The Indian Express which, quoting a secret Army finding, has said that the former Army chief, General VK Singh, had set up the Technical Support Division — a secret intelligence unit — and misused funds to try and topple the Omar Abdullah Government in Jammu & Kashmir. The report also claimed that he had used the money to try and change the line of succession in the Army’s top brass.

This has led to a political slugfest between the Congress and BJP, with the latter questioning the timing of the report and alleging that the General was being ‘hounded’ for sharing the platform with its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a recent rally of ex-servicemen in Haryana. The Congress has strongly refuted the charge and Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari went rhetoric: “Nothing can be more baseless and laughable than this allegation. The UPA Government never engages in politics on the sensitive issue of security... In such sensitive matters, the Government has a responsibility to discharge its duty, which it will do with full responsibility.”

The report was prepared by Director-General (Military Operations), Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, as part of a Board of Officers inquiry formed by Army Chief General Bikram Singh to review the functioning of the top-secret unit set up during the tenure of his predecessor. The report, submitted to the Union Ministry of Defence in March this year, is learnt to have recommended a CBI probe. Being a ‘top secret’ document, this report has no business to be in the public domain.

Gen VK Singh sees a ‘nexus between arms dealers and those behind the leaking of the report’. He has dubbed the allegations against him ‘laughable and most absurd’, particularly the ‘attempt to topple’ the Jammu & Kashmir regime. He went on to say: “The reports on the whole issue are motivated and there are a number of reasons behind them, including my sharing the dais with BJP leader Narendra Modi. After the Government decided to close the issue by sending it to the National Security Adviser, it was leaked by a Joint Secretary of the Defence Ministry, who has since moved out from there.” Incidentally, this Joint Secretary has worked very closely with the Defence Secretary-turned-CAG.

This was followed by television and Press interviews and stories going into great details on the working of the TSD. Little has anyone realised that the TSD is a covert operation agency, activities of which are directly related to the safety of the soldiers fighting on the borders, retribution on the enemy and the security of the citizens. By its very nature, the TSD operation was ‘top secret’. In that event, even the existence of the TSD should never have been publicised.

Further, if there is exposure of the actual working of the top-secret unit, leaking information about it could be seditious, regardless of whether the information is true or false. Even the knowledge of the existence of the TSD can help the nation’s enemies and subvert the interests of the country.

Assuming there was some irregularity in the functioning of the TSD, it should have been discussed and resolved within. Putting it out in the open and making it an object of derisive public debate severely compromises and demoralises the Armed Forces. This also makes India a laughing stock in the world’s eyes. Those who have leaked the report and their collaborators are guilty of treason, and the consequences could be serious.

Such treason was indulged in not just because Gen Singh was seen sharing the dais with Narendra Modi. There was something more sinister — diverting media and public attention from the scandalous decision directing the Nuclear Power Corporation of India to buy 6x1000 MW reactors costing Rs 90,000 crore for the Mithivirdi (Gujarat) Nuclear Power Project from US multinational Westinghouse Electric Company, by waiving a key provision of India’s civil nuclear liability law that would hold the US company liable in the event of an accident caused by faulty or defective equipment. This could expose the Indian public to death and destruction without adequate compensation at hand.

On September 18, television news channel Times Now got hold of the ‘strictly confidential’ note for the Cabinet Committee on Security, written by Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, proposing that though the viability/technical analysis of the project has not been done, ‘agreement-to-buy’ should be signed, by skirting the Atomic Energy Commission. This was prior to Prime Minister’s meeting with the US President on September 27. Doing so would open up the floodgate of imported nuclear deals running up to several lakh crore rupees from the US, France and Russia ,without any supplier liability. Dollar kickbacks could be mind-boggling!

On September 19, The Hindu newspaper carried the story on its front page and Times Now went live with the ‘breaking news’ on the humongous scandal and betrayal. By the following day, it would have gone viral, ripping apart India’s ‘nuclear prostration’. Nuclear kleptocrats panicked, because this could expose the non-starting of Russia’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant, reportedly built with sub-standard materials due to the absence of a clause on supplier liability in the agreement.

So, early September 20 morning, the defence-nuclear combine struck, with a national daily publishing the concocted story: “Unit set up by VK Singh used secret funds to try and topple J&K govt, block Bikram Singh: Army probe”. Cleverly orchestrated by spin doctors, this nonsense went viral, blocking out the truth behind the ‘nuclear prostration’.

Be that as it may, it looks as if some well-entrenched vested interests are out to destroy the institutional integrity of the Army and sections of the Government appear to be in collusion with these element. The way the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister have totally ignored the letter written by now-retired Admiral L Ramdas — one of the country’s eminent Navy chiefs — on June 19, 2012, which raises serious military and national security issues seeking a high-level inquiry and remedial action, we cannot expect much action.

The letter includes allegations of bribes offered to serving Army officers; corruption in the purchase of defence equipment — namely the Tatra truck deal and direct threat from the CMD of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, himself under the CBI scanner, to the then Army chief who exposed the corruption; leakage of a ‘top secret’ letter from the Army chief to the Prime Minister regarding defence unpreparedness; perpetuating an obnoxious line of succession in the Army; suggestion that the Army chief was spying on the Defence Minister’s office — and worst of all, accusing him of plotting a coup to over-throw the Government of India!

(The writer is a former IAS officer, a former Army officer and now an activist)


member_23455
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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 03 Oct 2013 08:01

tsarkar wrote:
RajitO wrote:Apart from "loss of face" faced by many posters on BR and certain news anchors, try and analyze what the Pakis will gain from this latest incident....
1) Get their soldiers picked off one by one in yet another operational defeat for Pak army.
2) Strengthen the Indian army's case for no withdrawal of AFSPA, or from Siachen, so another strategic own goal by Pak army.
...while India's inability to preempt tactical surprise ala Kargil is indeed a concern, also consider Pakistan's usual strategic suicide, i.e. if one wants to have a balanced analysis and discussion.


While you may want to have a balanced discussions in the peaceful environs of wherever you are, warfare seeks to disrupt the balance of power, dispositions, strategic advantages, etc.

Pakistani strategy since 1965 has been “creep & consolidate” whenever they perceive lack of strong central leadership in India will prevent a counter-response.

In 1965, they perceived Lalbahadur Shastri to be weak. Similar today. Its not a local operations, but something well planned in Rawalpindi.

And it works. They still occupy some Kargil peaks. What Brigadier Arun Aul did was capture some adjacent peaks overlooking their supply lines.

Long term goal is to wear the Indians out to accept the status quo, thus legitimizing “creep & consolidate”.

Here is a previous incident http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl1918/19180220.htm

This has been the strategy of Islamic conquest of India since AD 1000, whenever India lacked strong central leadership, and Pakistan's considers its national duty to continue that strategy. The strategy that Pakistan is following is a very well known strategy called as Lebensraum ("living space")

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensraum

Adolf Hitler described: "We are overpopulated and cannot feed ourselves from our own resources". The policy of Lebensraum implicitly assumed the superiority of Germans as members of an Aryan master race who by virtue of their superiority had the right to displace people deemed to be part of inferior races. As such peoples deemed to be part of inferior races living within territory selected to be Lebensraum, were subject to expulsion or destruction


Consider the parallel with Pakistan today. The Pakistanis are overpopulated without any meaningful economic means. They consider themselves an Islamic martial race. Hence Lebensraum is perfectly justified for them.

Sadly, citizens or posters like you or ShauryaT do not learn from history.

The following words are clichéd, but still hold good, that Freedom is not free, and eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.


Thank you for invoking 1965, Hitler etc., all in your counterpoints.

a) How is that relevant to the specific situation being discussed?

b) If indeed, this is all part of a larger grander design why hasn't the belligerent and the "victim" both learned their lesson or achieved their goals - if one of the parties is such a schmuck then the other would have met its objectives...no?

I can see not sticking to the "woe is me" narrative has quite a few people upset. :)

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby krishnan » 03 Oct 2013 09:02

INDIAN ARMY
72 Virgin Dating Service

# Express Delivery
:rotfl:

https://www.facebook.com/ApniArmy

Prem Kumar
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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Prem Kumar » 05 Oct 2013 08:09

I am not sure if this was posted/analyzed on BRF before. The following was a blog post by Brig V. Mahalingam in June this year. It was taken down within a day by TOI. Some intrepid soul on Twitter @ajayrdave had made a copy & created a Scribd document with it. Attaching the link to Scribd below. Its titled Army Bashing: A new found journalistic ethic

http://www.scribd.com/doc/172735912/In-Search-of-Propriety-Army-Bashing-a-New-Found-Journalistic-Ethic-By-v-Mahalingam-s-Blog-The-Times-of-India

The hyperlinks in the article dont work. But Google them. One of the hatchet jobs is by Josy Joseph in TOI & Mahalingam rips him a new one. Unfortunately Mahalingam's blog is hosted in TOI. Small wonder that they took it down. Mahalingam wrote a piece defending VKS a few days ago

Please read and spread widely on Social Media

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

Postby Philip » 06 Oct 2013 07:04

The Great Betrayal

Special Sunday Express (Ind.Express) cover feature on the VKS controversy and its disastrous fallout.
Sad tale of how one of the most effective assets of the IA has been shut down due to the internecine politicking within the IA and MOD.

http://newindianexpress.com/magazine/Th ... 820459.ece

By Yatish Yadav and N C Bipindra
Last Updated: 05th October 2013

“Spying is a secret business and not a pleasant one. No matter what someone has done, you have to protect him or her from outsiders. You can deal as harshly as you think fit with him or her inside the organisation. But to the outside world he or she must remain untouchable and, better yet, unaccountable and unknown” ─ Meir Amit, former Mossad chief.

Omerta is not just a word out of Mario Puzo. It is a pact of silence that exists within the exclusive club of men and women who wage war for their country in the shadows—the brotherhood of the intelligence community. It was cleaved apart last week when the long-standing political war between controversial former army chief General V K Singh and a section of the Army establishment in connivance with the government erupted again. The casualty was the Technical Support Division (TSD), one of India’s most clandestine and effective intelligence units, disbanded in July 2013 after General Bikram Singh took over as army chief in May 2012. Military Intelligence (MI) sources say that under severe interrogation to implicate General V K Singh in “anti-national operations,” some of its best officers who earned their stripes in Kashmir have become psychological wrecks. Their cover blown, facing hostile enquiry boards and fearing for the safety of their families, the former agents have written to Defence Minister A K Antony to provide them security. An excerpt from a letter by an officer’s wife notes that “For reasons best known to him probably because of his secretive nature of job he refuses to divulge organisational issues with me but has on numerous occasions in the last two months expressed death wish and suicidal thoughts due to organisational stress. He once did say that all this media hype has unnecessarily exposed him as a field operator. Therefore, he strongly believes that there is a chance of a threat to his life and to the life of his sources/informers who operate within inimical/terrorist organisations.” The Army’s response was to institute a court of enquiry against her to investigate the allegations. Ironically, she has not been summoned even once in spite of two sittings nor is she being discharged of the inquiry.



SPIES FEARED BY PAKISTAN

No doubt, the TSD woes would make Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) pop the champagne. The TSD’s job was counter-intelligence, covert-ops and surveillance that brought significant reverses to ISI. In the deceptive battlefield of Kashmir disguised by the serenity of ageless lakes and stately chinar trees, TSD’s secret soldiers have protected India’s interests. Army sources say it carried out retaliatory strikes deep within Pakistan reminding old timers in the spy business of the heady eighties when the ISI chief of the time was forced to call for an unprecedented secret palaver with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief to discuss how hostilities could be scaled back. General Deepak Kapoor initiated the founding of TSD in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to counter Pakistan terror groups. It had operational sanction of the Defence Minister, the National Security Advisor and top ministry officials. However, in July 2012, citing a spike in slush fund spending— from `49 crore in 2011-12 to `67 crore in 2010-11—the then Defence Secretary Sashikanth Sharma and current Army chief, General Bikram Singh asked the Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia to probe TSD’s activities and file a confidential report. Sharma became the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in June 2013. In March 2013, copies of the handwritten report went to Sharma, the Vice chief, Director MI(FD) and the Joint Secretary (MoD). Coincidentally, the leaks began. However, the report had been submitted to the Ministry of Defence in March 2013, while the TSD itself had been disbanded in July 2013. “Why is the government not lodging an FIR under the Official Secrets Act?” asks a disillusioned former TSD operative.



THE MEDIA WEAPON

Army officers wonder whom the “leaks” benefit and what trouble lies ahead in Kashmir. “All gains made to ensure goodwill among the local population have been frittered away by one foolish act of some good-for-nothing officials in the government and Army,” rued a serving MI officer. He is doubtful if any of the allegations against General Singh would stick. Usually all intelligence exposes worldwide have been by whistleblowers, but with TSD, the government itself, helped by top echelons of the Army was responsible, says the officer. V K Singh’s enemies used a formidable weapon, the media. In July 2012, two months after his successor General Bikram Singh— whose antipathy towards the TSD is well known in military circles partly due to his belief that it conducted operations against him in the Valley—had taken over, Bhatia was asked to investigate “a sudden and unusual surge” in MI’s secret funds following a news report. By mid-2012 itself, it had become obvious that the TSD’s glory days were nearing an end. MI sources say the media was used to implicate the intelligence unit in the alleged bugging of Antony’s office in February 2012. Sharma asked Intelligence Bureau (IB) to launch a probe. The very fact that the civilian intelligence agency was roped in to inquire into an alleged covert army operation revealed which way the wind was blowing. Sections of the media kept the fusillade going against V K Singh. Reports alleged that he exploited TSD as “a personal Army” and gave J&K Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir `1.19 crore to “topple” the Omar Abdullah government in January 2012. It also reported that `2.38 crore was given to an NGO to file a petition against General Bikram Singh, then Eastern Army Commander in a decade-old fake encounter case to prevent him from becoming Army chief. Both Mir and the NGO have denied reports. The irony that went unnoticed was that even if true, an intelligence unit would not conduct an operation against a state government without political approval. Strangely, the leak on the funds happened immediately after the General shared a stage with Narendra Modi in Haryana. As the Intelligence community watched in despair, the establishment pressed the attack further. The beleaguered general was forced to explain that the funding was for Sadbhavna (harmony).



SABOTAGING SECURITY

This was literally handing Kashmir politicians a big stick to beat the army with. As demands from Central and state ministers for a CBI probe grew louder, the anti-Singh lobby burst another media bombshell, saying the TSD had carried out nine covert operations abroad. The political slugfest now took an anti-national turn. For the first time in the history of Indian military intelligence, covert operations were being revealed. This threatened to embarrass India diplomatically, compromise foreign assets, and invite reprisals. Belatedly realising the implications, the government stepped in, but not before causing irreparable damage to gains India had made in Kashmir over the years. Jayadeva Ranade, former additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, says such leaks would compromise operations, as opponents would launch countermeasures to neutralise Indian assets cultivated over a period of time. “Intelligence units are considered our last resort for national security. If you continue hampering their effectiveness, you will realise they have lost their utility,” Ranade says. Retired Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch supports Ranade’s argument. He should know. Katoch is a former Special Forces officer. India’s Special Forces are tasked with carrying out specialist, and sometimes, clandestine operations behind enemy lines and also within Indian territory to destroy enemy assets, movable and immovable. “General V K Singh has been forced to respond in public. These issues deal with national security,” he says.



ESTABLISHMENT SUBVERSION

The present Army chief General Bikram Singh maintained a stoic silence, though it was his action of ordering a probe against TSD that stirred the Pandora’s box. A serving MI officer noted that the “leaks” would pose serious problems for the Army and the Indian government in J&K, as any politician or NGO talking pro-India would be branded as ones “who have sold themselves to the Indian Army”. He said it also posed a serious threat to democracy in the state, as the “leaks” questioned the 2011 elections to rural local bodies in the state as being influenced by the TSD. “If the (Bhatia) report had indicted General V K Singh or any other officer relating to TSD, the proper course would be to go for disciplinary proceedings. Or else the government ought to come clean,” says retired Brigadier V Mahalingam. “Instead, the government, or one of its senior officers chose to leak the whole or a part of the report to tarnish the General’s image.” A senior intelligence officer feels “the phase when intelligence agencies used to topple and build governments is long gone.”



POLITICAL CIRCUS

It is not just India’s military intelligence that is being jeopardised by the politics of reprisal. India’s intelligence community has for long been functioning under the shadow of partisan politics. On a scorching June morning, as the dapper Director of the Intelligence Bureau (DIB) Asif Ibrahim, was being driven to meet Shiv Shankar Menon, his mind was clouded over the future of his beloved agency. The CBI investigation into the Ishrat Jahan encounter had identified IB agents by name, a precedent that could jeopardise intelligence gathering and lives of operatives who have penetrated terror cells. The investigation and subsequent leaks exposed the blueprint of a highly covert IB terror operation involving payments to assets, logistics to moles and running interrogations in safe houses. It caused a political firestorm. The BJP accused the government of dragging the IB into the public domain to “fix” Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Several former chiefs raised concerns over the government’s move. Furious, the IB requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene, threatening to stop producing actionable intelligence for persecuting its operative. As more details of the encounter hit the headlines, IB officers snapped all communication channels, bringing India’s security apparatus to a grinding halt. “It was a symbolic protest to remind the government that officers risking their lives to generate actionable intelligence cannot be crucified to exploit political interests,” an IB source says. The Ishrat case was the first instance in its history when intelligence dispatches were halted in protest against political plots. Earlier, in Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s time, the agency was asked to go slow on busting ISI espionage rings operating under diplomatic cover. On November 30, 1988, the IB, from a five star hotel, picked up senior ISI officer Brigadier Abbasi in New Delhi—doubling as a military attaché—as he was meeting his Indian contact. The government sharply rapped IB’s knuckles, asking it to restrict anti-Pak ops to just identifying and informing the Centre about ISI activities instead of arresting and interrogating Pak spies. A senior intelligence officer said the use of Intelligence agencies by the political establishment is nothing new, but dragging an officer through the mud as in the Ishrat Jahan encounter was very dangerous trend. “Since the early 1990s, the IB has penetrated several modules in Fatehjung and Murgikhana across the border and thwarted ISI’s terror attempts. But details of such operations are not talked about nor officers involved hounded. There are many things we do which are strictly not part of our duty to ensure that all information is properly elicited,” he adds.



COMPROMISING INTELLIGENCE

Former RAW officer R K Yadav says it is mostly middle level officers who cultivate sources to generate sensitive intelligence by risking their lives, particularly in a hostile country like Pakistan. He warns the government and VK Singh to be careful. “If they are exposed, intelligence gathering will be completely grounded. They are the foot soldiers, always willing to go beyond known territory to protect the nation’s security. It is no secret that the government is ploughing money into J&K and other insurgency-hit states but not as payoffs to ministers to topple governments but to cultivate assets. Although, no assets were exposed in the VK Singh controversy, it was an embarrassment to officers serving in the conflict zone,” Yadav adds.

Political masters have historically compromised Indian intelligence. In 1978, during a brief phone conversation with Pakistan ruler General Zia-ul-Haq, Indian prime minister Morarji Desai inadvertently mentioned that India was aware of Pakistan’s nuclear programme. The ruthless General immediately ordered RAW assets in Pakistan to be found and neutralised. Subsequently, Indian agents were eliminated as their helpless handlers watched. Yadav says whatever intelligence network was left in Pakistan after Zia’s bloody cleanup was further destroyed by I K Gujral when he was PM in 1997-98. “Gujral had a serious allergy to RAW and the first thing he did was to suspend all offensive ops within Pakistan. Even the IB was asked to go slow on Pakistani agents operating in India. In approximately 11 months, he systematically erased the organisation’s footprints in Pakistan to promote his peace doctrine,” Yadav reveals.

Interestingly, only few months after Gujral’s decision to suspend RAW’s Pak operation, the agency prevented a Pak-sponsored attack on his convoy in Jalandhar. A top secret A-category input from the RAW station in London had warned about five militants travelling to India to attack the prime minister’s convoy. Surveillance was mounted after their flight touched down at Delhi. A team of Indian intelligence agents apprehended the terrorists after they picked up their weapons from a pre-decided location in Punjab. Meanwhile, unhindered by any political influence, ISI continued to exploit the vacuum created by Indian politicians.

It successfully cultivated a strong network of agents in India and Nepal by targeting religious institutions. In a startling disclosure, a former IB officer confirmed that the ISI has infiltrated several institutions in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He says an ISI agent was apprehended by the IB and Delhi Police in 1994 from UP but since he was politically connected, the PMO intervened; within few hours of his arrest, the politician’s followers attacked the police station where he was held and managed to rescue the Pakistani agent and his Indian contact. The same year when India’s Pakistan Counter Intelligence Unit was close to busting a module of ISI-trained operatives in West Bengal and Bihar, its officers were accused of harassing the minority community and ordered to stand down.



BETRAYAL AND CONSEQUENCES

The long arm of politics has damaged Indian intelligence operations abroad in some cases. A RAW officer who served during the P V Narasimha Rao regime recalls an incident of a colleague posted with the Indian Embassy in Tehran who was picked up by agents of VEVAK, the Iranian intelligence service despite having diplomatic immunity.

He was gathering intelligence on Kashmiri militants living at the religious centre at Qom, near Tehran. India chose not to take up the issue with Iran. The government woke up three days later, when RAW agents and their families threatened to stop work. Within hours of diplomatic efforts, the officer was released from a clandestine Iranian facility where third degree methods were used on him to garner information about RAW operations both in Tehran and the Middle East. He was also interrogated about the RAW setup in India. It was a serious setback to Indian intel operations in Iran; all secret missions were suspended. The officer was quietly transferred to New Delhi.

Sources say after the incident, most RAW officers in the Middle East and the Gulf region were transferred and all assets dismantled. “This was the reason we had no clue that the 1993 Mumbai bombers fleeing to the Gulf after the attacks. All our assets had been by then neutralised by the political establishment,” sources add.

However, the officer categorically says the Ishrat Jahan case and L’Affaire VK Singh may have embarrassed India’s intelligence agencies, but would not stop intelligence gathering operations. “In J&K and North-east, all intelligence activity is focused on insurgency, not on political parties. When we have an objective to achieve, there are so many ways to do it. There is always plan B, C, D ready, in case plan A backfires,” he elaborates.

But as the dirt flies and political conspiracies put national security in peril, the best-laid plans of India’s secret agents threaten to go awry.


Singh can neither deny nor explain

By Amar Bhushan

Published: 06th October 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 05th October 2013 06:07 PM

These days former Army chief General V K Singh is in the news, mostly for wrong reasons. The furor over his reactive comments on reports appearing on funding of Kashmiri politicians is not only misplaced but unnecessary. Quickly joining chorus, serving and retired Chiefs pulled up Singh for spilling the beans and even denied having made such payments. Their denials, of course, had no ears. You don’t join issues no one will buy. Prudence demands that you should have stayed away from stealing the limelight instead of speaking half-truths.

Not surprisingly, the suspected politicians vehemently refuted the allegations. The National Conference even moved a privilege motion in Kashmir, wanting Singh to be summoned to explain his accusations. One also heard commentators decrying the tendency of newspapers to release secret documents to earn wider readership, ignoring the damage caused to national security. But, is it not the job of a newspaper to fish for information, however sensitive that may be, and share that with readers? The paper has done nothing out of the ordinary. Singh’s kneejerk reaction is also understandable. What else would you expect him to do? He can neither deny the obvious nor explain it for reasons of long-term impact on fighting against terror and bringing normalcy in Kashmir by softening a section of the populace.

In the cacophony of accusations and counter-accusations, the real issue remains in hiding. If you want to prevent recurrence of a spat of this kind, plug the leak in the PMO, Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces rather than blame the paper or the General. There is plenty of information for a whistleblower working within the system to ferret out but for heavens’ sake, spare sensitive operational details from leaking. The last thing that you should not do is look for scapegoats. A leader or an institution that refuses to self-introspect and seal its faultlines is bound to embarrass the nation.

How is it that nothing comes out from the IB and RAW about numerous operations involving huge financial transactions? It is obvious that their mechanism of funding is extremely discreet and inaccessible to information seekers. Neither of these outfits can afford the luxury of salacious debates over operations nor allow the payment sheet to float around in the hands of unscrupulous babus and ambitious officers. Even a hint of disclosure can cause irreparable damage to the safety of operational modules and virtually put an end to their efforts to bring them alive once again for years to come.

Extending financial support to political regimes, opposition and influential groups is something that is routinely done by all intelligence agencies world over. Agencies routinely pay outfits that they perceive, would fight terrorists, create friendly interest groups and neutralise hostile elements. But you do this in utmost secrecy lest sources get exposed and eliminated, their political careers ruined forever and your own efforts to build conditions for securing your strategic interests derailed. There is actually an unsigned contract between the agency and its network of agents that is neither shown to onlookers nor left for posterity to agitate about. The fact that Singh and the paper had to talk about something that should have remained buried deep brings out the holders of relevant documents in very poor light. They come out as irresponsible and unreliable record keepers.

What amazes is the noise raised over misuse of funds and suspicion of misappropriation. In operations of this nature, you have to trust the disburser and take his words as the gospel truth. If he provides the bills or vouchers which many officers do, you should be pleased. Your belief in him has to be hundred per cent. And, if you have even an iota of suspicion or lack of confidence, do not place the funds in his hands. You cannot have it both ways.

The writer is a former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing.
.


Blunders galore

By Vijay Oberoi

Published: 06th October 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 05th October 2013 06:07 PM

General V K Singh, the erstwhile chief of the Indian Army, is back in the news for the wrong reasons. What started as a ‘political’ issue has gathered momentum and is now becoming a security issue, which is harming the nation. A slanderous and largely speculative leak by the UPA and its minions was the start of this unfortunate episode. It has now developed a momentum of its own, which is doing incalculable harm, not only to the dramatis personae involved in this episode, but to the security of the nation and the image of the country. A great pity indeed, as such blunders by the government cost the nation dear. They also affect the image of the ruling party adversely.

Although I am an apolitical person, I am not ignorant of the shenanigans political personalities and parties in our country resort to. My interest is neither in parties nor personalities but in my country, which seems to be irrelevant to the political class! With this clarification made, let me shift gear and share my perceptions relating to this sorry episode, by first placing the main issues in their correct perspective.

The persons charged with the ruling party’s campaign in the run-up to the General Election, were so rattled by the grand success of the veterans’ rally at Rewari that they decided on immediate retaliation. Unfortunately, the method they chose of leaking so-called ‘hot’ news to a supportive newspaper was the one that had not worked over a year back. In their hurry, they ignored that not only the newspaper but also the minions of the government who had initiated that particular operation last year to discredit V K Singh had failed miserably.

On this occasion, they picked up an enquiry that had been conducted by the army in respect of a small unit of the Military Intelligence that had allegedly been misused during the tenure of Singh. The enquiry had been finalised early this year; had been seen by various functionaries of the government; the unit had been disbanded; and the case had been closed, with no wrongdoings coming to light. Despite this, the ‘wise’ campaign managers of the ruling party chose this case to discredit Singh, thinking that this would help them control the damage inflicted by the Opposition’s ‘success’ in making inroads in a so-far untapped segment of voters, viz the veterans and serving personnel of the military. The events that followed are too well known to bear repeating, but I do want to dilate on the security aspects of this unfortunate episode.

Intelligence operations, whether by the military or other agencies, have two cardinal principles. The first is complete secrecy about planning and conduct, as well as the intended targets. The second and more important is the methodology adopted. Let me state unequivocally that cash inducements have been and will continue to be a method all intelligence gathering agencies, of all countries, employ. So, those who are pretending to be ‘holier than thou’ should pipe down lest additional details get revealed!

Counter-intelligence agencies of our adversary countries and other entities are constantly on the lookout for any information that will give them an inkling of such operations, so that they can take action to counter them and launch their own operations. Agencies of third countries also want to know about such operations, for using at an appropriate time in future, either to curry favours with the adversary countries or employ similar methods by their own operatives against countries inimical to them.

The government and party functionaries, who have spilled the beans by roping in a willing, albeit discredited newspaper and leaking classified information that they thought would help them in their party’s campaign, have jeopardised many important aspects of intelligence operations that both the military and other agencies of the nation conduct. Singh, having been bombarded with all kinds of allegations, had his back to the wall. He was therefore forced to respond. This was a natural reaction, especially as the allegations were very serious and were meant to tarnish his character. In the bargain, he too came out with some aspects that were best not made public. Unlike the party functionaries and the bureaucrats holding important offices in the Central government, who have little or no knowledge of strategies and tactics that professional outfits employ, the General, being a highly professional person, fully ‘au fait’ with security matters, should have been discreet while defending himself.

The Military Intelligence unit that apparently was the cause celebre’ of this entire episode had provided extremely valuable information to the security forces that had enabled them to take timely action against a number of Jehadi groups. Its disbandment for electoral and personal reasons of some inimical dignitaries has created a big void and given a setback to the workings of our intelligence organisations. This vilification campaign needs to stop forthwith, before more damage is caused to our intelligence efforts and the nation’s security.

The political parties should also learn that using foul means of this type, wherein the office of the chief of the army is attempted to be sullied, has highly negative connotations for the nation as well as the army. Our apolitical military must not be made a football for the politicos to play their games, in a bid to boost electoral prospects. The military and its hierarchy, past or present, must be left alone. They have always served the nation with loyalty and are now probably the only organisation left in the country that is holding it from going down the abyss!

The writer retired as the Vice Chief of the army.



Legal cover for intelligence units long overdue

Author: Arun Bhagat
Last Updated: Oct 5, 2013

Wikileaks and new information about the blanket and widespread snooping by NSA of cyber mail of millions have raised serious concerns about privacy of individuals. New programmes like Tempora and Prism enable the GCHQ of the UK and NSA of the US to access underground cables and intercept petabytes of information. More important, the capability to store this information has been developed now. Experts calculate that now all books, manuscripts, journals in the British Library can be transferred to computers within minutes. In the UK, a demand is being made to review existing legislation on oversight in the light of the new technology which has greatly enlarged capacities of snooping, affecting the citizen’s right to privacy. Changes in Intelligence Services Act of 1994 which provide for Parliamentary oversight of intelligence services have been suggested.

Unlike advanced countries, intelligence services in India continue to function on the basis of executive orders, which in the case of the Intelligence Bureau was issued by the British in the 19th century. No government has seen it fit to give serious thought and consideration to give a legal basis to our agencies and an oversight mechanism. A private members’ Bill was presented in Lok Sabha last year for Parliamentary oversight and a writ has been filed in the Supreme Court by an NGO seeking the court’s intervention, which is pending.

The situation exposes the gross anomaly of all employees of intelligence agencies in the country functioning without legal backing. Whatever they do has no legal sanction whereas the older established democracies have given their intelligence employees the right to carry out surveillance, intercept all communication after obtaining proper sanctions in each specific case and carry out such tasks as are necessitated by the requirements of their work. The need for legal sanction is necessary and will give the departments much needed functional freedom. Presently they suffer a serious handicap. Firstly, a law will need to be passed defining the role, objectives and responsibility of each intelligence organisation. The structure and hierarchy have been laid out in legislation made by other countries. The oversight mechanism can either be enacted in this piece of legislation itself or be covered by a separate Act. In the UK, the intelligence services have been formed under the Intelligence Services Act and oversight is regulated by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. While the former was enacted in 1994, the latter was passed in 2000. In the US, the Senate has a permanent committee overseeing intelligence matters which also makes recommendations on appointments in CIA, the external intelligence wing. Till 9/11, the US had no department for internal intelligence. Now a department of Homeland Security looks after that.

Every state in the country has its own intelligence setup in the form of CID Special Branch. All those who work in the CID(SB) are policemen and are covered by the Police Act. They are required to gather intelligence about social and labour unrest, agitations of farmers, traders, students, government employees. A whole range of other issues, including communal situation, insurgent groups, terrorism, is covered as well. The CID is also provided with funds. In the past the funds were meagre; there has been substantial increase of late. A mechanism to monitor their utilisation is also called for. The first step has to be taken at the Central level. Legislation to give legal cover to our intelligence services is overdue. To become a strong democracy in which citizens’ rights are sacrosanct and workings of executive transparent, a parliamentary oversight of intelligence is imperative.

The writer is a former chief of the Intelligence Bureau.


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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby VinodTK » 11 Oct 2013 06:09

Concerned over Army 'setbacks', govt wants lapses investigated
Alarmed by the successive high-impact attacks on the Army in Jammu and Kashmir, the government, it is learnt, has strongly conveyed its concerns to the Army top brass over security lapses leading to these incidents and asked for a detailed investigation into this aspect in ongoing inquiries.

Top sources said that initial reports on the August 5 Poonch attack in which five Indian soldiers were killed, and last month's incident in Samba in which militants entered the officer's mess of an armoured regiment and killed the second-in-command, have indicated lapses and this has got the highest levels of government quite upset.

In fact, there is discomfiture even over the just concluded operations in the Keran sector. The fact that a large group of militants, be it infiltrators or terrorists waiting to attack an Army patrol, had gained access to the Indian side of the Line of Control has by itself generated considerable concern.

The tall claims to the media in the initial days of the gun battle, sources said, have also not gone down well.

While the defence ministry will take a closer look at the Keran episode now that the Army has finally called off operations, the Samba incident remains a major issue with the government as it came just a couple of days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York.

Even though the Army has ordered a court of inquiry, the defence ministry has specifically asked the military top brass to account for the lapses and take action against those responsible.

On top of the list of lapses was the ease with which militants could enter the unit, the lack of a quick response which meant the militants could get into the officer's mess unhindered and the larger absence of coordination with the local police that could have alerted all military formations about the attack on the Hira Nagar police station by the same militants more than an hour before they reached the 16 Cavalry location.
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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby jagga » 11 Oct 2013 14:42

Scuffle in Sikh Light Infantry unit leaves two injured
Officers and soldiers of the Sikh Light Infantry clashed in Meerut today, leaving two officers including the second-in-command of the unit injured. The incident took place in the 10 Sikh Light Infantry regiment during an inter-company boxing match there, sources said here.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby prahaar » 11 Oct 2013 16:12

Please correct me if the following perception is incorrect: until about 80s 90s, Lt.Col were usually the battalion commanders and Majors at second in command. Nowadays in many news reports, it is mentioned that a Col. is commanding the regiment and 2IC is a Lt.Col. Has there been some change in the hierarchy ranks of the army recently or is it just a case specific situation for a given unit?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Sanku » 11 Oct 2013 16:58

^^^

My understanding is that two things have happened

1) Promotions are faster (w.r.t. service tenure)
2) The pyramid has been made less steep (more positions at each rank)

This has also meant some "dilution of rank", i.e. the role that was done by a junior rank, is being done by a senior rank, although by and large, the exp level etc of individual is same. This has provided greater upward mobility for officers though, and higher pay bands at same service age levels than before.

There are also some issues however w.r.t. protocol equality with civvies in IAS etc, but thats a different battle in a sense (though linked)

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby nachiket » 11 Oct 2013 22:56

^^Is this also a consequence of the Officer shortage? Though to a layman it would seem an officer shortage would have the opposite result - junior officers doing the job previously done by more senior ones.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby anjan » 12 Oct 2013 01:34

prahaar wrote:Please correct me if the following perception is incorrect: until about 80s 90s, Lt.Col were usually the battalion commanders and Majors at second in command. Nowadays in many news reports, it is mentioned that a Col. is commanding the regiment and 2IC is a Lt.Col. Has there been some change in the hierarchy ranks of the army recently or is it just a case specific situation for a given unit?
Offrs of Col. rank have been COs for a very long time now. Since atleast the late 80s. Lt Cols also command though. I know quite a few who become Col. after they assumed command. Atleast in the Infantry. Not sure how other arms work.

In general there has been a gradual upward movement of ranks. In a large part it's to do with the self aggrandizing done by the IAS/IPS. Those organizations really take the "every man a field marshall" dictum to heart. The time equivalents of reaching ranks and time scale ranks, rank equivalence manipulations are mind boggling. So you have a situation where they all end up as time scale Lt Gen. equivalents. Some blame needs to go to Generals too busy protecting their behinds to worry about the men under their command.

So the armed forces play a lagging game of catchup which reflects in the command structure. It's an absurd race though and I suspect the IAS/IPS will ultimately create one of those Idi-Amin ish ranks for themselves - Grand Super Excellent Great babu or something.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_22906 » 12 Oct 2013 23:02

^^
Same is the case for Arty, Armd, Sappers... Earlier, the CO was a Lt. Col and was later changed to Col... IIRC, sometime in mid-80s

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chetak » 13 Oct 2013 06:30

Pakistan: From sleaze to brazen

BY RSN SINGH

Was the attack in Keran Sector initiated by Pakistan to garner international attention on Kashmir during the recent UN General Assembly meeting? Was the Indian Army compelled to call this attack an infiltration attempt so as not to derail talks between Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif? Is the Indian Army’s operational freedom being circumscribed for diplomatic and political reasons?

Any Commander, who suggests a time frame which goes beyond a day in defeating infiltration by 30-40 infiltrators would otherwise be ridiculed and chastised for being preposterous and irresolute in any professional forum. Fundamentally, what has evoked this incredulity amongst military professionals is that the operations against infiltrators on the LoC in Keran sector are now into the 14th day.

If just 30-40 infiltrators can tie-down the Indian Army for two weeks then it puts a big question-mark on the nation’s resolve to secure India and certainly shrivels the confidence of the citizens.

Attack, not infiltration

There is absolutely no doubt that the Indian Army will restore the situation at whatever cost. The concern, however, is the untruth being bandied about the nature of attack by Pakistan. In his interaction with the media, the Army Chief said that there was prior intelligence about the infiltration bid and appropriate actions have been taken. It is therefore intriguing that why have the operations taken so long. Infiltration once detected is defeated as the infiltrators will preserve themselves for another opportune time or day.

On the very first day, i.e. 23 September 2013 of the so-called infiltration attempt, it was reported that 12 infiltrators had been killed. Their dead bodies have so far not been recovered. About a week later, this author received message from a very reliable source that Pakistani militants/army had occupied two villages. Having served in that area, I treated this message as exaggerated and with the contempt it deserved. I also elicited the views of some retired Generals, who at various times were operationally responsible in that sector. They too dismissed it outright rather in the tenor of rebuke.

A few days later, sans the capture of ‘two villages’ bit, the information seemed to be partially right, as the situation had not abated. The Corps Commander addressed the media to assuage apprehensions regarding any loss of territory to the enemy. He did admit that the fight was on and the situation would be overcome. This was on the 12th day following the ‘infiltration attempt’!

It became very obvious that the so-called infiltrators had entrenched themselves. It was also revealed that they were being provided covering fire. The very fact that these infiltrators have taken defensive positions and continue to fight betrays the involvement of Pakistan Army. No infiltrating body of irregulars or regulars can sustain for so long without a logistics supply line. Infiltrators are generally lightly equipped, and at best carry small arms, limited ammunition and grenades. Thus they pose small challenge, even if in their foolhardiness they decide to fight a defensive battle on the ground of their choosing. As per conventional wisdom in the army, such operations against a platoon size force should not take more than few hours. Reports of reinforcements and use of Special Forces further debunk the infiltration theory.

All indicators and reports therefore conclusively prove that the enemy action in the Keran Sector was not an infiltration bid, but a calibrated and selective attack by Pakistan, probably to bolster Pakistan’s Kashmir agenda at the UN.

Operations: Hostage to diplomacy

The enormity of the situation began to unravel only when the Prime Minister was on his way back from New York. It is impossible that the Prime Minister was not apprised of it while he was in the US. Significantly, his delegation also comprised the National Security Advisor, Shiv Shankar Menon.

The attack in the Keran Sector from across the LoC was in coordination with the attack on the armoured unit in Samba, in close proximity to the International Border. While the latter terrorist attack was widely publicized, the attack across the LoC was down-played as infiltration attempt. Talks with Nawaz Sharif took primacy above the security of the country. Was it on the volition of the Prime Minister or was he prodded by other international quarters? The same question continues to exercise the feelings of the Indians regarding the outrageous position of India vis-à-vis Balochistan at Sharm-el-Sheikh in 2009. This sell out was at a time when the Indian blood spilled in 26/11 had not even dried. In one stroke, the Prime Minister had made India into a perpetrator of terror rather than its victim.

The series of terrorist attacks across India emanating from Pakistan should have incrementally led to ‘zero tolerance’. Instead, the entire government machinery presided over by the Prime Minister has been engaged to inure Indians to treat terror as ‘routine’. It has done this by politicizing terror. Resolute and patriotic officials in states are being hunted through some unsavory and notorious central agencies. Some unabashed leaders close to the establishment labelled 26/11 as an act of so-called ‘Hindu Terror’. This very year in April, there were blasts in Boston in the US in which three persons were killed. In the same period, there were blasts in near the BJP office in Bengaluru, 16 persons including 8 policemen were injured. Leaders of the establishment tried their best to give the Bengaluru blast a political colour. The Prime Minister conveyed his deep felt condolence to President Obama on the Boston blast, but the casualties in Bengaluru in his consideration did not deserve such gesture. One did not expect such abominable politics from a selected prime minister. The perpetrators of Bengaluru blast have been finally identified and belong to the Islamic Liberation Force.

26\11: The tipping point

In the Pakistani establishment, prior to 26\11, there was some trepidation of possible retaliation by India to terrorist attacks emanating from its soil. There is a perceptible attitudinal and behavioral change now. Personal experience and interactions with the large number of security personnel in the army, the police and the intelligence agencies, unambiguously substantiate that the tipping point was 26\11 beyond which Pakistan began to view Indian security establishment with disdain. The disdain and nonchalance is apparent on the borders, in the aftermath of terrorist strikes, as well as television debates. The sneer and brazenness of Pakistani participants in such debates conducted after every terrorist attack is unmistakable and borders on slur.

One Pakistani retired Admiral invariably mocks at the Indian participants by saying that If India is convinced about Pakistan’s involvement in terrorist attacks, why it does not do something. He could not be more correct. He is also unapologetic in suggesting that if India is convinced about state sponsored terrorism from Pakistan, it should severe all relations. Where does the retired Admiral, also a former diplomat draw his confidence from. His confidence probably flows out from his conviction that there is the US factor which is decisive in deciding the broad contours of India –Pak relations. It is also intriguing as to how the Indian television channels seek out these participants in Pakistan. Are they brought as a part of some fixed match to dilute India’s resolve in fighting terrorism?

Pakistan’s journey from trepidation to disdain becomes increasingly pronounced with the arrival of 2014, the year of drawdown of American forces from Afghanistan and China’s strategic territorial embrace of Pakistan by way of economic corridor. India did not gain for its unstinted support to the US in fight against terrorism. Even when US led coalition was at the climax of ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’, India’s parliament was attacked leading to ‘Operation Parakaram’. Even as the hunt for Osama bin Laden was on, Hafiz Saeed unfolded 26/11, all with the key collusion of David Headley, the CIA operative. Our inaction rather strategic paralysis after 26/11 has rendered the country weak and vulnerable to Pakistan and other neighbours. The paralysis inflicted by China by incursion in the DBO sector has only compounded the vulnerability. Consequently Indian influence in the region is rapidly shrinking.

Undermining security apparatus

Mysteriously, the Indian establishment has not only willfully conceded much diplomatic space to Pakistan but also consciously undermined the security apparatus after 26/11. Most security agencies have been targeted. The IB, the ATS and the police of some states, the Army and the Air Force have never been targeted the manner in which it is being done now. Elements in IB and the Army have been put under the scanner for carrying out counter-terror dutifully. Individuals serving in the IB and Military Intelligence are being hounded so as to drive fear among other security officials. In effect, a deleterious message has been conveyed that intelligence personnel should not infiltrate into terrorist organizations and terrorists should not be killed. Terrorists’ network are not to be busted and the complicity of certain mainstream politicians is not to be unraveled and that is why the inquiry on Technical Support Division, the continued incarceration of Col Purohit and harassment of the senior IB officer Rajendra Kumar. It is therefore not at all surprising that terrorists have escaped or made to escape from Mumbai Court and Khandwa Jail in Madhya Pradesh. That these escapes coincide with Home Minister’s communication to give preferential treatment to members of one community under investigation for acts of terror, could be purely incidental!

There appears to be some vested interests or inimical forces orchestrating the ascendance of Pakistan and downgrading of India. Never in the history of India have so many leaks of top secret documents of vital security concerns taken place. In the US and many other democracies, one such leak can claim the head of the President or the Prime Minister. The exultation of the politicians in the ruling dispensation over such leaks smacks of connivance. The Prime Minister may be reminded that the man (James Reston) to whom Henry Kissinger leaked White House secrets had remarked “the ship of state is the only known vessel that leaks from the top” (read Blights of the General by R Prasanan in The Week, October 6, 2013).

The US factor

Without the notion of ascendency, Nawaz Shariff could not have been brazen enough to allegedly make the ‘dehati aurat’ remark. This remark also signifies the servant-master relationship between India and US in the Pakistani perception.

Readers must reflect on the time trajectory since which Pakistan’s audacity and brazenness, diplomatically and militarily, has been on the rise. They must also reflect on the US factor, a factor which Pakistan strategically is more adept in dealing with. For India ,the US presence in Af-Pak region has never been a restraining factor on state sponsored terrorism by Pakistan. Pakistan’s brazenness was in fact discernible after forging of US-India strategic partnership, especially after the initiation of Operation Enduring Freedom. This partnership hardly bothered Pakistan. On the contrary Pakistan was convinced about its geo-strategic indispensability for the US and was thus assured that it could ratchet terror against India with impunity under the shadow of US presence. The Indo-US strategic partnership necessitated re-configuring of operational parameters of India’s intelligence and security agencies to cater to the US geopolitical exigencies in the region. A ‘Zero Terror’ Indian policy against Pakistan does not serve US interests because of its imperatives in Afghanistan.

Significantly, this Indo-US strategic partnership in defence, security and nuclear spheres engendered a major shift in India’s pattern of sourcing arms. The sheer magnitude of arms market running into hundreds of billion dollars allures predators which begin to manipulate institutions in the buyer country. It is this shift in sourcing that the terminology ‘succession plan’, a sure invitation to attempted subversion, came into vogue in the Indian Army. It is probably this shift that is responsible for the ignominy of the former Air Chief in VVIP Helicopter deal while the other major recipients continue to be politically blackmailed into silence and for future indulgence.

The much touted convergence of geo-strategic and geo-economics interest between India and US has brought no benefit to India. Rather American geopolitical interests in the region have restricted Indian options in dealing with Pakistan sponsored terrorism. The politicization and debilitation of the Indian security agencies appears to be devised by external powers through their agents within.

Conclusion

The Pakistani dispensation is only too aware of the US geopolitical script in the region and its own perceived indispensability. It has John Kerry’s and China to fall back upon. Pakistan knows that the current Indian dispensation is too beholden to the US and too mindful of China to retaliate to attacks terrorist or otherwise in any substantial manner. It is this knowledge that makes Pakistan court Hafiz Saeed and his likes brazenly and lavishly. It is this knowledge that makes them disdainful and dismissive of India’s military prowess.

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger for Canary Trap)

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby SBajwa » 14 Oct 2013 21:19

A question !! What is the smallest independent unit of Indian army?

Is it a company (120 men) led by Colonel.
Is it a Battalion (900 men) led by Maj Gen.?

Independent means they march 100% independent (with food, water, ammunition, petrol, oil, etc).

and what is the teeth/tail ratio of such independent unit?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby pushkar.bhat » 15 Oct 2013 00:00

SBajwa wrote:A question !! What is the smallest independent unit of Indian army?

Is it a company (120 men) led by Colonel.
Is it a Battalion (900 men) led by Maj Gen.?

Independent means they march 100% independent (with food, water, ammunition, petrol, oil, etc).

and what is the teeth/tail ratio of such independent unit?


In the Indian army a captain would typically command a company and a battalion is usually commanded by a Lt Col. Just my 2 cents...

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby nachiket » 15 Oct 2013 00:12

pushkar.bhat wrote:In the Indian army a captain would typically command a company

Shouldn't that be a Major?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby SBajwa » 15 Oct 2013 01:06

Here is what wikipedia says


Division: Each Division is headed by General Officer Commanding (GOC) in the rank of Major General. It usually consists of 15,000 combat troops and 8,000 support elements. Currently, the Indian Army has 37[76] Divisions including; 4 RAPID (Re-organised Army Plains Infantry Divisions) Action Divisions, 18 Infantry Divisions, 10 Mountain Divisions, 3 Armoured Divisions and 2 Artillery Divisions. Each Division composes of several Brigades.

Brigade: A Brigade generally consists of around 3,000 combat troops with supporting elements. An Infantry Brigade usually has 3 Infantry Battalions along with various Support Arms & Services. It is headed by a Brigadier, equivalent to a Brigadier General in some armies. In addition to the Brigades in various Army Divisions, the Indian Army also has 5 Independent Armoured Brigades, 15 Independent Artillery Brigades, 7 Independent Infantry Brigades, 1 Independent Parachute Brigade,3 Independent Air Defence Brigades, 2 Independent Air Defence Groups and 4 Independent Engineer Brigades. These Independent Brigades operate directly under the Corps Commander (GOC Corps).

Battalion: A Battalion is commanded by a Colonel and is the Infantry's main fighting unit. It consists of more than 900 combat personnel.

Company: Headed by the Major or Captain, a company comprises 120 soldiers.

Platoon: An intermediate between a company and section, a platoon is headed by a Captain or Lieutenant, or depending on the availability of commissioned officers, even a junior commissioned officer (Subedar). It has a total strength of about 32 troops.

Section: Smallest military outfit with a strength of 10 personnel. Commanded by a non-commissioned officer of the rank of Havildar or Sergeant.
----------------------

So a division of 15000 soldiers commanded by Maj General has five brigades (five brigadiers), 16-17 Colonels, 125 Majors, 470 Captains/Lieutenants. i.e. about 700 commissioned soldiers.

Question is which is the smallest independent unit?

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby pushkar.bhat » 15 Oct 2013 07:14

A company is capable of independent and sustained deployment SBajwa.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Sanku » 15 Oct 2013 19:42

nachiket wrote:^^Is this also a consequence of the Officer shortage? Though to a layman it would seem an officer shortage would have the opposite result - junior officers doing the job previously done by more senior ones.


I think not, as anjan pointed out, this was primarily done to make sure that forces officers were had "some thing" compared to civvy services as their position was weakened through the skulduggery by babus through many pay commissions.

This was a "underhand" way of rewarding officers, since the most logical course, viz upgrade the top levels to parity with civilian counterparts and pull up the structure similarly, in pay, promotion and privileges was not done.

If the "right" thing was done, salary levels at each rank would be higher, and each rank would do more. So the jobs done by Major's would be done by captains drawing a far higher pay, and also younger captains (as you said, the officer shortage would mean that)

However since the right thing can not be done, this round a bout way is implemented.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby sum » 16 Oct 2013 09:48

X-post:
sum wrote:Bad bad news ( if accurate):
Desi Bofors bursts during trials

India's desi Bofors dream has taken a slight knock. The barrel of the indigenously-developed version of the original Swedish155mm Bofors howitzer, which proved its worth by wreaking havoc against Pakistani intruders during the 1999 Kargil conflict, burst during trials in the Pokhran range in Rajasthan.

The defence ministry had recently placed an order worth over Rs 1,260-crore for acquisition of 114 of the artillery field guns developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which has used the designs obtained under the transfer of technology (ToT) provisions in the infamous Rs 1,437-crore Bofors contract of 1986, to develop prototypes of the new guns.

"The barrel burst during the Army's user trials in August. The trials have been suspended till the OFB and the DGQA (directorate general of quality assurance) conduct a defect identification inquiry into the incident,'' said a source.

The indigenous gun, which is supposed to plug the huge operational gaps in the Army's long-range, high-volume firepower, had done well in its trials till now after being developed by the OFB, Jabalpur.


:x :x

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby ashish raval » 16 Oct 2013 10:41

^^ quite possibly manufacturing defect. Years of under investments always leads to deterioration of quality manpower and QA engineers to ensure that the work is of highest standard possible.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Sid » 16 Oct 2013 10:50

^^ or it can be a sabotage as well.

Arjun was sabotaged during trials (as per claims by DRDO).

I also know of a incident, source chaiwala, where fuel supply of a ALH was sabotaged leading to delay in its tests. Happened in early 2000.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Pratyush » 16 Oct 2013 12:21

^^^

It would be best, if we reserve our judgement for the bursting of the barrel. As we don't know why that happened. Let an thorough enquiry be made and the lessons be learnt form this event, so that the same is not repeated.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby ramana » 16 Oct 2013 20:17

Sum Thats old hat. The barrel burst due to defective shell. It was reported a few weeks ago.

Even Bofors/unobtanium barrel will burst from a stuck shell. Such a shell needs the fuze to not function.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby sum » 16 Oct 2013 21:50

^^ Ramana-garu,

posted it since it seemed to be a different news than the faukty shell reported few months. Will be very happy if both incidents are the same and its not a barrel problem!

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chetak » 17 Oct 2013 04:09

Samba attack: Armoured unit used 5 tanks, CO tried to run over terrorist

Manu Pubby : New Delhi, Wed Oct 16 2013,

New details emerging from last month's attack on the Samba-based 16 Cavalry by three terrorists indicate that not only was the unit poorly guarded, but it was also unprepared to counter the assault.

The attackers had held the unit hostage for several hours, killing four soldiers, including its second-in-command.

While a major tragedy was averted as the terrorists, who had sneaked in from across the international border, did not stumble across families of officers trapped in the officers' mess that was attacked, the armoured unit — raised for a different kind of war — was neither trained nor equipped to handle the terror attack.

In the melee that ensued, the battalion responded in a manner that many in the military are now questioning: five tanks deployed, high explosive rounds fired into the building, the second-in-command shot while trying to fetch weapons, and even an attempt to run over a fleeing terrorist with a 40-tonne main battle tank.


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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Pratyush » 17 Oct 2013 15:44

^^^

Reading the different accounts of the IA's response to the attack. I am perplexed by the various accounts and reaction to it. By all accounts an army unit in its barracks, during peace time, is not equipped to fight on a moments notice. That too within its own barracks. For a simple reason, that its weapons are in stores.

If the Intel existed that, it may be attacked, it is a different matter. But, nothing suggests that such an intel existed.

When under attack, if the reaction was mis guided or uncoordinated, then that is an issue of SOP or the lack there off, to deal with such an event. In all events, the unit fought back with the weapons in its possession. With the training it had.

I say it did a good job. Especially, when one considers that it was attacked in peace time and in its barracks. Speaks well of its cohesiveness and skills.

WRT, the small matter of trying to run over a terrorist with a tank. I am disappointed that, the unit commander did not succeed. As a crushed by tank faithfool would not be able to entertain his quota of 72.

That act woulds also have acted as a deterrent against such attacks in the future.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Pratyush » 17 Oct 2013 16:00

On a related note, I was traveling over the week end, while visiting a city and driving through the cant area. I was surprised to see that the gates were manned by armed Jawans.

This is not some thing that I had observed in the past.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby nits » 17 Oct 2013 17:29

Pratyush wrote:On a related note, I was traveling over the week end, while visiting a city and driving through the cant area. I was surprised to see that the gates were manned by armed Jawans.

This is not some thing that I had observed in the past.


If and Just if its the same location that i also saw then there it was a Friday and there is a mosque inside that campus and many devotees who come there on Friday and IMHO they were cautious after sambha incident

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby ramana » 17 Oct 2013 23:34

Quoting Manu Pubby

In the melee that ensued, the battalion responded in a manner that many in the military are now questioning: five tanks deployed, high explosive rounds fired into the building, the second-in-command shot while trying to fetch weapons, and even an attempt to run over a fleeing terrorist with a 40-tonne main battle tank.



Unnamed sources always have the luxury of Monday Morning quarter backing.
Are they ready to face the public and write their opinions on how the Armoured Unit was supposed to respond?

Bokwas bande!

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby Atri » 18 Oct 2013 01:58

Wow.. never heard a Hindi Interview by FM Gen. Maneckshaw.. What a man.. What a clarity.. Check out his remarks on "Naalaayak" and "political" generals of 1962 who could not say "no" to JLN.. Gen. Thapar lacked Moral courage.. a slight tinge of tear in the eyes of this great man when speaking on 1962 debacle.


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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby negi » 18 Oct 2013 03:06

deleted.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_22906 » 18 Oct 2013 07:52

Pratyush wrote:^^^

Reading the different accounts of the IA's response to the attack. I am perplexed by the various accounts and reaction to it. By all accounts an army unit in its barracks, during peace time, is not equipped to fight on a moments notice. That too within its own barracks. For a simple reason, that its weapons are in stores.


On the contrary, every unit is expected to have a Quick Reaction Team that are expected to be able to respond on a moment's notice. This is to face eventualities similar to Sambha... Now why didn't they respond is anyone's guess. Going by the way the Armd unit went about it shows that either there was a chain of command issue apart from being caught with their pants down.

As per reports, it took troops of other unit to finally sanitize the area. This by itself shows that the Armd unit was in disarray, especially after the CO and 2IC getting shot

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chetak » 18 Oct 2013 09:10

Ajay Sharma wrote:
Pratyush wrote:^^^

Reading the different accounts of the IA's response to the attack. I am perplexed by the various accounts and reaction to it. By all accounts an army unit in its barracks, during peace time, is not equipped to fight on a moments notice. That too within its own barracks. For a simple reason, that its weapons are in stores.


On the contrary, every unit is expected to have a Quick Reaction Team that are expected to be able to respond on a moment's notice. This is to face eventualities similar to Sambha... Now why didn't they respond is anyone's guess. Going by the way the Armd unit went about it shows that either there was a chain of command issue apart from being caught with their pants down.

As per reports, it took troops of other unit to finally sanitize the area. This by itself shows that the Armd unit was in disarray, especially after the CO and 2IC getting shot


They were very lax. It is certainly not a run of the mill peace time deployment.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby chetak » 18 Oct 2013 09:18

The Army - What's gone wrong?

By: Karan Kharb | Issue: Net Edition | Date: 17 Oct , 2013

The Indian Army, besides being the world’s third largest, enjoys a unique status of professional excellence. There is no other army in the world that is as battle hardened as the Indian Army that has fought and won in as treacherous terrain and climate as the world’s highest glacial battlefield. Only the Indian troops are shifted across operational theatres as diverse as the sultry forests of the North East, torrid sands of Thar desert, reed infested riverine borderline of Punjab, mountainous J&K and the entire expanse of icy Himalayas from Siachen in north Kashmir to Along in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Besides the LoC/LAC on both fronts – Pakistan and China respectively – being incessantly active, the Indian Army has been fighting terrorists and insurgents to keep the country together.
Each incident raises painful questions. What has gone wrong with the Army that was so adored by public for its high traditions of discipline, chivalry, sacrifice and selfless devotion to the Nation?
Also, the Army’s role in relief operations during natural calamities or other emergencies has been universally lauded all through. All this speaks very high of our officers and men at action level.
Sadly, however, the Indian Army has been in the news for wrong reasons in the recent past. The Chinese Army brazenly intruded 19 km deep into the Indian territory, pitched tents and stayed on for days under the nose of the Indian Army even as the world watched us doing no more than complaining as we did in the post Mumbai 26/11 terror strike by Pakistan. Again, the Chinese Army dared to cross into Arunachal Pradesh and physically wrestled and pushed the Indian troops out of their positions on ground. On the western front too, a repeatedly beaten Pakistan Army dared to intrude, behead and kill Indian troops in two different actions. These incidents have shamed us as a Nation.
With the veneer so damaged, the inner decay showed up damaging the high credentials of India’s military might. Chiefs of Army/Navy/Air Force have been reported/indicted for their unseemly role in scams. A growing number of Major Generals/Lt Generals have been found involved in scams and other acts of unspeakable misdemeanour. The rising number and frequency of such cases can no longer be brushed aside as ‘odd aberrations.’ As if that was not humiliating enough, there has been a spurt in unsavoury incidents involving officers and menat unit levels. In the profession of arms, leaders lead by personal example to inspire and motivate subordinates. The wrong examples have truly but horribly inspired subordinates – at least so it seems. Each incident raises painful questions. What has gone wrong with the Army that was so adored by public for its high traditions of discipline, chivalry, sacrifice and selfless devotion to the Nation? Here are some answers and more questions.
The Officer Shortage
The net shortage of officers in the Army is said to be about 12000 at present. Surprisingly, all the shortage is at the ‘teeth’ level –the units required to fight and perform. There is no shortage at any Headquarters (from Brigade to Army Headquarters) or Establishments reputed for risk-free career advancing ‘graded’ tenures in peace locations. Infantry units – the ubiquitous performing arm of the Indian Army – are managing with 8-10 officers posted against an authorised scale of 21, which obviously means that the workload on officers is more than twice their legitimate share. As a contrast, the higher headquarters not only have their full scale posted but also commandeer and ‘attach’ officers from the already over-stretched units. One should not be surprised if the number of such ‘attached’ officers at the Army Headquarters is over a hundred today.
The youngster these days steps directly into the boots of his boss and flounders like an excited toddler in his father’s shoes flaunting his large acquisition.
Quick-fix Solutions
Conscious of these crucial deficiencies but unable to convince the Government on crucial military needs, the authorities have devised a quick-fix solution to ‘solve’ the problem of ‘officer shortage’ –post young officers on cross-attachment from the Services like ASC, AOC and so on to the infantry units deployed in field. Resultantly, it is common in units to find raw, untrained and unqualified lieutenants/captains officiating as Company Commanders. Often, more than one company/squadron are placed under command of a youngster even before he is mature and qualified enough to lead a platoon effectively in action.
Grooming Institutions demolished
Not too long ago in this very Army, we had systems to groom young officers under the care of seasoned field officers who would assign responsibilities, guide and educate youngsters to occupy their positions in due course. The luxury of having two officers – a company commander and his company officer – is no longer available to the commanding officers of today. The institution of Senior Subaltern also stands demolished. The youngster these days steps directly into the boots of his boss and flounders like an excited toddler in his father’s shoes flaunting his large acquisition. Who would refute the imminent fall in such a situation?
Officer-men Inter-action gone haywire
Overburdened officers always under pressure to meet deadlines in onerous tasking find little time to train, play or entertain with troops on a regular basis. Such a routine distances officers from the men. Being more educated, aware and conscious of his privileges, the modern jawan is quick to find/create alternative channels in such circumstances to seek remedies to his problems directly from the Commanding Officer who, in most cases, readily obliges – often ignoring/overruling recommendations of the subordinate commanders thereby proving the sub-unit commanders ineffective and unnecessary in the eyes of JCOs and men in the unit. Unwittingly, this practice has evolved into a dangerous trend – hunger for cheap popularity –even as objectivity and sincerity is diminishing in today’s Army. Crisis to crisis they move on, compromise and accomplish somehow.
Need to bridge the Cultural Divide
Unlike the Army of yester years, our jawans and their wives are all educated today, most of them having graduate and post-graduate degrees. Call it ‘ego’ if you must, but the modern jawan is imbued with a strong sense of ‘self-respect’. Of course, he is entitled to preserve this core value of his character – a facet that will only make him a better inspired, motivated and committed soldier willing to be led by superior competence. Times have changed and altered societal equations and individual perceptions. No self-respecting soldier would volunteer for menial work in someone else’s home in today’s environments. It is nice that the Army is already taking steps to remedy this ticklish problem by replacing combatants with non-combatant sahayaks.
…there is a need for deeper introspection by officers to review their outlook and be more approachable in off-parade/office hours shedding their officious aura.
Another issue is the disparity in the entitlement of rations. There is no plausible logic to have any variation in this regard especially when officers and men come from the same stock of society and have similar eating habits.
Also, there is a need for deeper introspection by officers to review their outlook and be more approachable in off-parade/office hours shedding their officious aura. Officers wives can help a great deal by readjusting their equations with the equally or more educated wives of other ranks. Any harm if the ‘Mem Sahib’ tag is replaced with ‘Madam’, ‘Didi’ or ‘Mrs…….’?
‘Play-safe’ Attitude and Careerism
Most seniors would not like it; yet I feel this should be Point Number One because this flows straight from the top. Watch any cluster of senior officers at a party, seminar, meeting or even in travel and you will find them discussing nothing other than ACRs, postings, citation for awards, nomination for NDC, HC or their next best obsession– golf, cock-tails, single-malts, sponsored jaunts and sojourns and so on. Serious issues dampen their spirits. Even when they happen to touch upon something serious, they cautiously punctuate their revelation by the cliché clause, “Don’t quote me, but let me tell you……..”.
Two of the most serious problems faced by the Military Secretary’s Branch at the Army Headquarters are inflated ACRs and representations against supersession and postings, the former being the cause of the latter. Going by the prevalent ACR grading trend, it would appear that the Army never had a more competent lot of so many officers in the top bracket of ‘above average’ and outstanding officers. In the same breath, however, every senior officer also whines, “Army no longer attracts the top cream of the Indian youth.”It is not because the ACR initiating/reviewing officers (IOs/ROs) are more generous. In the days of moral degradation, guilt drives the senior to timidly submit to the aspirations of his junior because the latter is either privy to or a direct source/conduit of his senior’s exploits. Sadly, greed and ambitions are the bane of all that is wrong with the Army today.
Within the Army, there is a need to make all selection boards fully transparent allowing officers free access to their personal records, master data sheets and proceedings of the board.
Transparency enhances Credibility
In times of see-though communication technology, it is neither feasible nor desirable to hide every military routine under the cover of ‘military security’. Tons of military knowledge and information guarded by the Indian Army as ‘classified’ – secret and confidential– is openly and freely available on the Internet today. Spreading awareness among the masses about military capabilities, limitations and requirements will only buttress the Army’s case and force the reluctant Netas and Babus, who callously ignore serious issues despite judicial directions from the Armed Forces Tribunal and the Supreme Court, to sit up and take note.
Within the Army, there is a need to make all selection boards fully transparent allowing officers free access to their personal records, master data sheets and proceedings of the board. All information about postings and promotions should also be instantly posted on the MS Branch Intra-Net Website. Notings and recommendations on complaints and representations will be eventually brought within the purview of RTI. Therefore, there is a need to review the traditional military idea of defining and keeping ‘secrets’.
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The unsavoury incidents of officer-jawan duels are not ‘odd cases of indiscipline’; they are ripples on the surface warning us of a bigger storm building up somewhere deeper. It would be, therefore, fallacious to assume that the problem would be solved through a case-to-case approach like standard procedures of Courts of Inquiry and courts martial. The need of the hour is an overhaul of officers’ traditional mind-set so as to adapt themselves to a realistic modern environment that cannot be wished away. Only the last cynical will wait for a Tsunami to wake him up.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby member_23455 » 18 Oct 2013 09:20

Ajay Sharma wrote:
Pratyush wrote:^^^

Reading the different accounts of the IA's response to the attack. I am perplexed by the various accounts and reaction to it. By all accounts an army unit in its barracks, during peace time, is not equipped to fight on a moments notice. That too within its own barracks. For a simple reason, that its weapons are in stores.


On the contrary, every unit is expected to have a Quick Reaction Team that are expected to be able to respond on a moment's notice. This is to face eventualities similar to Sambha... Now why didn't they respond is anyone's guess. Going by the way the Armd unit went about it shows that either there was a chain of command issue apart from being caught with their pants down.

As per reports, it took troops of other unit to finally sanitize the area. This by itself shows that the Armd unit was in disarray, especially after the CO and 2IC getting shot


Whoa! Slow down there...you might want to qualify your remarks that such SOP is applicable only to certain units. Unless your contention is that ASC, AMC, EME units all maintain a QRT.

In the case of 16 Cav being under a different Corps despite being in a high threat level area, is the explanation for not having a QRT--and explains many of the other questions about other units, time taken etc.

Incidentally, if there is a larger frustration with how jehadis are being handled then QRTs are no silver bullet because QRTs by definition arrive later on the scene (else it would be called a Preemptive Reaction Team).

The CI grid is based on a layered defence. Once the outer layers fail, there will be always be hell to pay for the target.

Again, these press reports are based on hearsay, none of these Delhi-based journalists will fight MoD to get access on the ground to do a forensic blow by blow account of how things happened.

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Re: Indian Army: News and Discussions 15 Apr 2012

Postby manjgu » 18 Oct 2013 09:21

i am surprised he said Gen Umrao Singh was a political general !!


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