Superseded Vice-Admiral wants justice or retirement
Finding new Vice-Chief to be Admiral Dhowan’s priority
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 18
New Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan has his priorities clearly laid out. These include boosting morale of the force whose image has taken a beating following a spate of accidents and look for a new deputy-the Vice-Chief.
Admiral Dhowan still holds the charge as the Vice-Chief, a post to which he was appointed in August 2011. He needs to take a call on whether to move one of the three remaining Vice-Admirals into the office or bring in someone from the next in line of succession and groom him.
The position altered after Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha, the senior-most serving Vice-Admiral whom the new Navy Chief superseded, put in his papers last evening.
(A PTI report said upset over being superseded for the post of Navy Chief, Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha has filed a complaint with the Defence Ministry and said if “justice” was not done to him, he would take voluntary retirement.
In his letter to the ministry, he has reportedly complained against being overlooked for appointment to the top post. Sinha has also told the government if “justice” cannot be done to him, he should be given voluntary retirement.)
Admiral Sinha, who is currently the Commander-in-Chief of the Western Command, will have to wait till a new person is identified to take the charge even as his application is put through the process by the Navy.
Of the others senior Vice-Admirals, Eastern Commander Anil Chopra is scheduled to retire in March 2015, Southern Commander Satish Soni in February 2016 and SPS Cheema (who heads the Integrated Command) also around the same time.
Those next in the line of succession include Vice-Admiral Sunil Lanba, Commandant of National Defence College, and his successor as the Eastern Chief of Staff, Admiral Bimal Verma.
With the Chief having identified his priorities, former naval officers re-emphasise that maintenance and training remain the key to ensuring that the platforms, both ageing and new, serve the force to the optimum capacity.
Captain Alok Bansal (retd), who is now with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, said maintenance of ageing fleet would be a challenge for Admiral Dhowan.
“Due to resource crunch in the 1990s, the procurement process was held up and the challenge for the new Chief will be to overcome the bureaucratic delays,” he said.
Commander Ranjit Rai (retd), who was Admiral Dhowan’s boss in the Directorate of Naval Operations in the 1980s, said the new Chief had never headed an operational command, but that would not be any handicap.
Don’t appoint Army Chief before May 16: BJP
Amid reports that the Defence Ministry has initiated the process of appointing Vice-Chief of the Army Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief, the BJP on Friday sounded a word of caution to the government and asked it to avoid taking decisions till elections were over. Present Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh retires on July 31. “On the larger issue of naming the next General and reports about Lokpal appointment, we expect that when we are in the midst of elections, at least till May 16 all these things must be avoided,” said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad. — PTI
Indian Army commanders to meet to discuss Afghanistan
Outgoing army chief General Bikram Singh will take stock of impact drawdown of Allied forces from Afghanistan and possible measures to counter threat arising from that country with his top commanders during Army Commanders Conference, scheduled to begin from next Monday in New Delhi.
Defence minister AK Antony, who has the distinction of being the longest-serving defence minister of the country, will also address the top commanders for the last time in UPA-II government.
According to army, the security as well as intelligence agencies are keeping a close watch on the developments in trouble-torn fragile Afghanistan. And especially after pullout of US led allied forces from there by the end of 2014.
"Various operational and strategic issues will be discussed during the five-day-long conference. Developments in neighbouring countries especially Afghanistan will also be part of the discussion,"said an officer.
Keeping in view of drawdown of US-led forces from Afghanistan in 2014, Indian Army is also providing training to Afghanistan National Army (ANA). According to to army, Army is targeting to train about 1100 Afghan troops by the end of 2014, as compared to 574 personnel training in last year. Though New Delhi has not decided on the request of Afghanistan government to provide them lethal weapons, but they are considering an option send first batch of Indian experts and officers to Afghanistan to give training to ANA in their backyard and their home conditions. Training in their locations and terrain would given them an edge as compared to training here in Indian conditions.
Five day Army Commanders Conference, beginning from April 21, will also discuss security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the issue of incursions by Chinese troops in Indian territory.
The issue of incursion by the Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control is expected to come up for discussion, Army officials said.
The Indian side will also discuss the issues to be raised by the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) during the delegation-level parleys with his Chinese counterpart starting April 23.
The LAC has seen several incidents of face-offs between Indian and Chinese troops and the two sides have signed a border pact recently to avoid the possibility of a flare-up between their troops while carrying out patrolling.
Meanwhile, the meeting is also expected to take up the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the expected rise in infiltration and activities by terrorists in the coming months
BJP will make army training compulsory: VK Singh
Former Indian Army chief General VK Singh (retd) on Wednesday, while lauding the role of jawans belonging to Himachal Pradesh, said that the BJP would make army training in educational institutes compulsory if it came to power.
While talking to Hindustan Times here on Wednesday, he said there was a need to give more representation to the youth brigade of Himachal Pradesh in Indian forces to strengthen their morale.
He talked about the shortage of forces at the officers’ and jawans’ level and said that all vacant posts should be filled up on priority basis. He said that he had sent a proposal to the central government to introduce courses in schools and colleges to prepare youngsters for the Indian forces.
“However, that proposal has been dumped by a section of bureaucracy not interested in the welfare of Indian people and jawans. We will try to make army training compulsory in educational institutions once the BJP comes to power,” said Singh.
The former Army General said that though personally he was not in favor of creation of more regiments on regional basis, yet there was a need for the restructuring of the regiments and to “bid good bye to the present system of recruitment in Indian forces”.
“The present system had harmed the cause of many states including Himachal Pradesh,” he added.
The former Army chief said that the reports of military coups by the Indian army as reported in a section of media was not based on facts and was purely on basis of hearsay.
“I had sent my reply and report to the Union government, but without any result. Now I’m planning to file a criminal case against the paper once the election process is over,” he added.
He said that his aim to join the BJP was to end corruption from the Indian polity and provide a viable alternative to the Congress party that had “harmed the cause of India too much”.
“India had suffered much under the Congress rule and this party should be ousted from the Indian polity forever,” said Singh.
Talking about the announcement of ‘one rank, one pension’ by the central government, he said, “The reported announcement was made in haste and without any budget. Rahul Gandhi had done nothing but lied to the people,” added the former general.
He said that the Aam Aadmi party had done no service to the family of Param Vir Chakra winner Vikram Batra by fielding his mother Kamla Kanta Batra in the Lok sabha election from Hamirpur.
“Instead, such families deserve emotional support and respect rather than dragging them into politics,” said Singh.
BJP will make army training compulsory: VK Singh
Apex court in India rejects plea to probe Indian army's involvement in Sri Lanka war
Apr 17, New Delhi: India's Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea for a probe by a Special Investigation Team into the alleged role of the Indian Army in Sri Lanka's war.
A two-judge bench dismissing the plea by Ram Sankar, an advocate and human rights activist said the issue is beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
"There are issues which are absolutely beyond the domain of the court and this is one of them," the bench said.
Sankar filed the petition saying that a probe was necessary since the U.N. Secretary General's expert panel report implicates Indian armed forces for their involvement with the Sri Lankan army in alleged war crimes against Tamil civilians, including persons of Indian origin.
The petitioner has alleged that the Indian government deployed its Army in Sri Lanka without the authority and approval of the President of India and without the sanction of Parliament.
He has claimed that there was no provision in the Indian Constitution for permitting the use of the Indian Army for any purpose in a foreign soil other than for the defence of India.
Indian army's peace keeping force (IPKF) was performing a peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. The IPKF withdrew from Sri Lanka after it suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the Tamil Tiger terrorist organization LTTE.
‘Defence ties between India and Singapore growing steadily’
Singapore, April 18:
Defence relationship between India and Singapore has been growing steadily and it includes the three defence services, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore has said.
“Our defence relationship has been growing steadily,” Indian High Commissioner to Singapore Vijay Thakur Singh had said yesterday pointing out the visits by the Chairmanship of the Staff Committee and Chief of Army in January, Chief of Air Staff’s visit in February, the Director General of Coast Guard and Indian Coast Guard Ship Sagar visits in March to Singapore.
Visit of training squadron
She highlighted the training interaction between the two countries and welcomed the visit of Flag Officer commanding-in-Chief South Naval Command, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, and the first training squadron to Singapore.
“The visit of the training squadron is significant because training is one of the most enduring and the strength of the defence cooperation between India and Singapore,” she said during a reception hosted on board Indian Naval Ship Sujata at Changi Naval Base, which was attended by the officers from Singapore navy and diplomatic guests.
“Our training interaction goes to the early days of establishment of our diplomatic relations which would complete 50 years next year,” Singh said.
She also said that India-Singapore defence cooperation covers defence research and development.
“Visits from Singapore defence services were also regular, and two of them are in the final stages of planning,” she said.
Vice-Admiral Soni and naval ships, INS Gharial, INS Sujata, INS Sudarshini and Indian Coast Guard Ship Varuna are on a goodwill visit to the region.
The First Training Squadron’s next port of call would be Phuket in Thailand and Yangon in Myanmar.
Army Rally Promoting National Integration
At 7.20 Wednesday morning, Brigadier Samir Salunke, Commander of the Military Station, Pangode here, flagged off an expedition which would traverse more than 2,000 kilometres across south India promoting national integration and motivating youngsters to join the Indian Army.
The nine-day Dakshin Maitrey Rally (Multimode South India Adventure cum Perception Management Rally) is being conducted to mark the 50th Raising Day of the 96 Field Regiment.
The rally is being led by Lieutenant Anurag Varma, and consists of one Junior Commissioned Officer and ten soldiers of the regiment. The rally will traverse different parts of the four southern states using the modes of motorcycle, cycle and backwater rafting and culminate at Secunderabad after covering 2,100 km in nine days, a Defence spokesperson said.
The 96 Field Regiment, which is an artillery regiment, has its headquarters in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
‘’Apart from promoting a spirit of adventure, the rally is aimed at promoting national integration and motivating the youth of south India to join the armed forces. It will also be reaching out to the ex-servicemen and next of kin of valiant martyrs to render all possible support,’’ the spokesperson said.
En route, the team will organise road shows and seminars to sensitise rural youth about the role of the Indian Army and career opportunities in the armed forces.
Military Station Deputy Commander Colonel C S Unnithan, 7 Madras Regiment Commanding Officer Col Dushyant Jolly and other officers were present at the flag-off function held at the 19 JAK Regiment Ground.