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Monday, 30 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 30 Jun












Maoist strike leaves 36 jawans missing

Malkangiri (Orissa), June 29
Thirty-six personnel of an elite anti-naxal force were feared drowned when Maoists today struck in a big way opening fire on a launch carrying the security personnel and sinking the vessel in a reservoir here.
The launch was carrying 64 persons, which included one Orissa police constable and two boatmen, when naxals unleashed heavy gunfire from a hilltop in Malkangiri district this morning. Orissa police chief Gopal Nanda said the firing took place near Alampetta village when the elite Greyhound force was sailing to Chirakonda across the Balimela reservoir on the border with Andhra Pradesh for a joint operation against the Maoists.
Preliminary reports, as per survivors, said the Naxals resorted to heavy fire at 9 am after which the launch capsized and many personnel sustaining bullet injuries. While 28 personnel, including a launch helper, could swim ashore, the whereabouts of 36 others were not known even as a search operation was on in the reservoir, Nanda said. According to DIG (operation) Arun Sarangi, 28 personnel swam to the shore, of whom 10 were airlifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment.
“Most of the 28 persons who returned to safety sustained bullet injuries,” he said, adding some others could have swum towards the Andhra Pradesh side adjacent to Orissa. The Centre rushed 125 CRPF personnel who were assisting in rescue operations, sources in the union home ministry said, adding the area was not easily accessible and it needed trekking of several kilometres to reach the spot. — PTI

Army orders 28 weapon-locating radars

New Delhi, June 29
The Army is acquiring 28 highly sophisticated India-made weapon locating radars (WLRs) to track and neutralise hostile artillery fire.The radars are being integrated by the state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), set up in 1954 to meet the specialised electronic needs of the Indian armed forces, but a large number of components will come from the private sector, including some commercially-available off the shelf (COTS) from the international market.
According to a report in the July issue of the India Strategic defence magazine, with the indigenous manufacture of the much-needed radars, there is likely to be no further import of the system from the US arms technology major Raytheon, which has supplied 12 radars to the Indian artillery under a 2002 government-to-government deal for around $200 million.
An advance copy of the India Strategic, made available to IANS, quotes Dr Prahlada, a distinguished scientist and chief controller in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), as saying the Army had approved the radar after several tests in electronic clutter and “high density fire environment”.
It may be noted that the Army had asked for the WLRs in the mid-1980s but the government sanctioned their acquisition only after the 1999 Kargil War in which the Army suffered more than 80 per cent of its casualties due to the Pakistani artillery fire.
The need was felt so urgent that it was in fact the first acquisition from the US under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. Raytheon completed the order last year, and the radars were integrated on Tatra chassis supplied by the public sector BEL Ltd. The weapon locating radar, also known as Gun Locating Radar, helps track hostile fire and directs counter fire within seconds.
Pakistan has had the advantage of US-supplied radars from the mid-1980s, and they were also built by Raytheon, but an earlier model. The version supplied to India has longer range and reach, and the additional capability to destroy some artillery missiles. There was, however, no transfer of technology in the WLR acquired from the US, although Raytheon officials had separately told India Strategic that it was favourable to the idea if there were further orders. — IANS

IAF procuring firearms simulators
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
To improve the weapon handling and marksmanship of its personnel, the IAF is installing a large number of interactive firearms training simulators at major stations across the country. IAF sources said that so far 12 such simulators had already been procured and installed at major IAF stations. Another 15 such simulators were being procured. The IAF would be procuring a total of 50 firearms training simulators in the 11th and 12th Five-Year Plan.
Procurement of these simulators is part of the IAF’s ongoing drive to modernise and upgrade security measures at its installations, many of which are located in sensitive areas prone to terrorism, insurgency and law and order problems. Interactive firearms training simulators are computer based training aids that lay out a security scenario for a trainee on a monitor or TV screen. The trainee has to assess the situation and tackle hostile elements by aiming and firing his specially modified weapon at designated targets appearing on the screen. A laser beam shooting from the weapon instead of a real bullet records his hits or misses.
A large number of Army training centres have already installed computer-based firearms training simulators, which offer a wide range of advantages. IAF officers said that with simulators, training could be carried out without the hassle of availability of field ranges. “Simulators will offer us the flexibility to fix regular training schedules without taking into account the availability of ranges or the weather,” an officer said. “Of course, live firing would not be done away, though trips to ranges would be cut down,” he added.
As part of its modernisation drive, the IAF has procured 26 X-ray baggage inspection systems for scanning the luggage of passengers travelling in service aircraft. In addition, 175 night vision devices have been issued to security units at various air force stations and another 900 are being procured. To improve networking, as many as 900 Motorola communication sets have been procured recently and distributed among IAF establishments.

A British soldier with NATO forces was killed on Sunday in southern Afghanistan, officials said, as 12 policemen and 10 Taliban rebels died in different incidents elsewhere in the war-wracked country. The violence comes as rebels loyal to the ousted Taliban militia have stepped up attacks in recent weeks, turning June into the deadliest month for the 70,000-strong international force based in Afghanistan since 2001.
''An ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) soldier died in an explosion while on a security patrol with an Afghan National Army unit,'' the alliance force said in a statement earlier on Sunday in Kabul. The British defence ministry in London said the soldier was part of a checkpoint team that had gone to investigate reports of a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a civilian aircraft at the airport. The death took to 109 the number of foreign soldiers killed here this year, according to a news agency tally based on reporting. Forty-two of them have died since the start of the month, the news agency count shows.
In a separate incident, about 150 militants stormed a government building in southwestern Farah province early on Sunday, killing four police and losing seven of their own fighters, deputy provincial governor, Mohammad Younus Rasouli told. Five other officers and three rebels were injured in the clashes, which started shortly after Saturday midnight. A district chief was also slightly injured during the battle and a pro-government tribal elder was captured by militants, Rasouli said.

Commando boat sinks in Maoist water war

June 29: Three dozen commandos of a crack anti-Maoist force were feared drowned in an Orissa reservoir today after rebels waiting with rocket launchers sank a boat in their deadliest attack on police this year and the first on water.
Orissa police chief Gopal Chandra Nanda said the boat, returning with over 60 Greyhound personnel of Andhra police and a few Orissa policemen after a combing drive, sank near Alampetta village in Malkangiri district, more than 600km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
Police sources in Orissa said that of the 64 people on board, only 25 “swam to safety”, six of them with bullet injuries, though Andhra police chief S.S.P. Yadav put the number at 28, with 36 missing.
Four seriously wounded jawans have been flown to Visakhapatnam for treatment, said Malkangiri police superintendent S.K. Gajbhiye.
In Andhra, Vikram Singh Mann, the police chief of border district Vizianagaram, said two navy helicopters had been pressed into service to search for the missing commandos. Sources said search teams had found some police caps floating in the Balimela reservoir but not any bodies so far.
Andhra home minister K. Jana Reddy flew to the spot of the attack, the first by Maoists on a police team travelling by boat. Earlier this year in February, a Maoist attack on the police in Nayagarh, Orissa, had killed 14 personnel. An Orissa police officer said today’s attack could be a counter-offensive against the joint operations Andhra and Orissa police have launched in Malkangiri because of the protest week the rebels are observing against a pilot project to develop eight Maoist-affected districts.
On June 20, Malkangiri police had organised a community policing camp, while a police station was opened in another Naxalite stronghold. Andhra police sources said the rebels used two rocket launchers to sink the boat and later fired at the commandos trying to swim ashore.
The sources said about 40 rebels lay in wait on the banks of the reservoir for the commandos, who had taken a different route while returning to Chitrakonda, in Malkangiri, after a three-day operation. The Maoists pounded the boat as soon as it came into view and shot the driver dead. A sub-inspector from Chitrakonda, who had accompanied the combing party, also died, police sources said.
An intelligence official in Andhra said the Maoists had last month formed a militia commission with nearly a hundred trained cadres following major reverses in the past six months. “The Maoists are planning a revival of their activities in Andhra Pradesh and hence the regrouping efforts,” the intelligence official added. Police officers claimed they were ready for any “eventualities” during the anniversary celebrations of the banned CPI (Maoist) next month.


Bangladesh bemoans Manekshaw, a personal elegy


Kazi Mohoshin Al Abbas

Dhaka

Sun, 29 Jun 2008:

It was 1971, the year of liberation war of Bangladesh, which was started from the late hours of 25th March of 1971 and ended on December 16th of the same year. As of my memory, I had seen an influx of quarter size posters photographed with Bangababdhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, (father of the nation, who was detained inakistan), Indira Gandhi (the then prime minister of India), General MAG Osmani (Commander in Chief of Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh) and General Sam Manekshaw (Chief of the Indian Army and the joint India-Bangladesh command).
This poster was such popular that it was collected by boys to older, poor to affluent, unlettered to scholars; in fact this poster was collected by the mass of Bangladesh.
As of my personal concern, in 1971, I was a student of five grades in primary school. I had the ability to understand the cruelty of war, pain of death and sting of destruction. But as a minor, no one inspired me to join in front fight, which is a personal pain for me till today. Anyway the above said poster was the symbol of victory to me and possibly to all against the invader Pakistani Army. As a matter of recognition and honour general Manekshaw was being ranked as Field Marshal after the war 71.
Today, after nearly four decades, when I informed that Field Marshal Manekshaw passed away, feeling was that we have lost a kind neighbour, a good friend, a well wisher and a blind supporter.
The death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was deeply condoled in Bangladesh. Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said in a message to his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, “The people and the government of Bangladesh will always recall with warm gratitude his signal contribution to our War of Liberation and his association with a glorious epoch in the history of Bangladesh’s evolution.” Army Chief of staff General Moeen U. Ahmed said in his condolence message: Manekshaw’s successful leadership as the chief of the allied force in the Liberation War in 1971 had helped Bangladesh achieve a quick victory in the war.
The death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was also widely condoled in Dhaka by numbers of political parties, social organisations, freedom fighters, professionals and intellectuals. In many separate messages they recall the contribution of the depart soul to the rapid emergence of Bangladesh in the globe.
It should be recall that under his command, in 1971 invader Pakistani army was bound to final surrender with 92000 solider in Dhaka and that was the end of the liberation war of Bangladesh.

When all concerned were engaged in condolence, personally I was in nostalgia of a heavily coloured poster, which was a symbol of victory for a school boy of grade five. WORDS ARE FEW WHEN THE HEART IS FULLOF SORROW.


Sunday, 29 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 29 Jun













'Sam Bahadur' was a Soldier's General

By Vishnu Makhijani

New Delhi
His handlebar moustache and his ramrod stiff gait gave Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw a commanding presence on the battlefield, but to the troops that served under him he was their beloved "Sam Bahadur", a soldier's general who put their well- being before his own.
Manekshaw, 94, who died in a military hospital in Wellington in Tamil Nadu early Friday after battling a series of age-related illnesses, will be best remembered for the decisive campaign he crafted during the 1971 India-Pakistan war that saw the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation after the surrender of over 90,000 Pakistani troops in what was then the eastern wing of the country.
That campaign was the defining moment of his tenure as the Indian Army chief 1969-73 and led to his elevation as India's first field marshal, a largely ceremonial post but which ensured he maintained close links with the 1.1 million-strong force till the very end.
Ever the one to speak his mind out on matters military, Manekshaw, a highly decorated officer who was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during the Burma campaign of the Second World War, often found himself in a minority of one - but firmly stood his ground.
Three instances stand out vividly.
The first was when he famously refused to address then prime minister Indira Gandhi as "Madam", saying the sobriquet was reserved for occupants of a "certain kind of house".
"I shall stick to prime minister", he maintained.
The second was during the 1971 war when he had signboards reading "Hands in your pockets, You are entering Pakistani territory, Indian girls are prettier" erected at various spots as Indian troops advanced along the western frontier. Manekshaw was panned as being sexist and accused of insulting Indian womanhood but he stood his ground.
"It's the best way of telling the troops to behave and to concentrate on the job at hand," he contended.
The third happened at the very end of his career, days after he had retired from the army.
A young reporter from a tabloid, at the fag end of an interview, asked a seemingly innocuous question: "What would have happened had you opted for Pakistan at the time of independence (in 1947)?"
With a twinkle in his eye, Manekshaw replied: "I guess Pakistan would have won (the 1971 war)."
All hell broke loose when this was reproduced in print and there were demands he be stripped of his field marshal's rank but he stood his ground.
"The question was asked in jest, the reply was in jest and I never dreamed it would get into print. Now that it has, I do not deny saying so," Manekshaw maintained. Anyone else in his place would have taken the "I've been misquoted route" - and this is what differentiated Sam Bahadur from the others.
Twenty-five years ago, at the golden jubilee passing out parade of the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun, a newly commissioned second lieutenant picked up the courage to ask Manekshaw: "Sir, where do you get the strength of your character from?"
"From my school, son," he replied indulgently, but there was a deeper meaning to that because he is known to have told at least one close confidante that it was his years at Nainital's Sherwood College more than anything else that prepared him for his future life
Born in Amritsar on April 3, Manekshaw belonged to the first batch of 40 cadets to be selected for the Indian Military Academy and was commissioned into the 12 Frontier Force Rifles (later the Gurkha Rifles) on Feb 4, 1934. During the first Burma campaign, he took part in several actions against the Japanese and was wounded on one occasion but continued to lead his company with courage and tenacity, an action for which he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry.
A graduate of London's Imperial Defence College, Manekshaw served in a series of senior positions during his career. After commanding a division in Jammu and Kashmir for a short duration, he took over command of a corps on the eastern frontier in November 1962. He thereafter headed the Eastern Command before being appointed the army chief on June 8, 1969. He retired on January 15, 1973.

Siachen, Sir Creek issues ‘doable’: Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 28
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi has claimed that India and Pakistan were close to resolving the Siachen issue, adding that finding a solution to the Sir Creek issue was also possible.
At a reception hosted in his honour last evening by Pakistan high commissioner to India Shahid Malik, he said, the two countries must hold result-oriented and meaningful dialogue. The environment was conducive for progress on outstanding issues and the two countries should grab the opportunity, failing which both would be losers. ”It is possible to resolve Siachen and Sir Creek issues…it is doable,” said the Pakistani minister, who had to cut short his three-day visit to India and return home in view of the death of his mother-in-law.
Giving examples of the Eruopean Union and ASEAN, he underlined that the two countries needed to build on commonalities to tap the huge potential that had remained unexploited for 60 years. All political players and the people in both countries were supporting the peace process. This was the right environment to move forward. Observing that the governments of the two countries should translate this environment into practical steps, he said, “If we fail to grab this opportunity, we will be losers.”
Qureshi, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and held official-level talks with external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee earlier yesterday, said Pakistan had a strong desire to move forward and wanted result-oriented and meaningful dialogue with India. He favoured liberalisation of the visa regime and promotion of trade, saying these measures could benefit people of both countries. He said the two nations should cooperate in energy sector in view of rising oil prices and in this regard pressed for early implementation of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project.n Qureshi also emphasised the need for peace and stability in South Asia for economic and social development of the region.


Indo-US security co-operation stymied by Indian reservations

* South Asia expert advises Washington to enhance military-to-military ties with India
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: India will only co-operate on security issues with the United States when it feels that there is a significant threat to its security interests, according to a South Asia expert.
In testimony before the House committee of foreign affairs, Walter Andersen of the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies pointed out that India’s reluctance to sign a logistics support agreement with the United States, allowing the refuelling of aircraft and ships in each other’s ports, arose out of concerns that this would undermine its policy of not allowing foreign troops on its soil. Andersen also urged for the signing of a memorandum of understanding on co-operative naval operations to safeguard the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean and critical choke points such as the Straits of Malacca and the Hormuz.
Interaction: Washington was also advised to enhance the scope and depth of military-to-military interaction by increasing the budget for Indian officers to participate in international military education and training (IMET), increase the level joint army exercises to the brigade level and encourage co-development projects that allow the US and Indian defence industry to collaborate in the development stages of specific Indian weapons programmes.
Andersen also suggested that Washington should support India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to acknowledge India’s growing importance as an economic and military power on the world stage. He told the committee that India should be encouraged to remove restrictions on American investment, a prime example being the restriction on investment in the multi-brand retail trade where American firms are competitive. He argued that this would help reduce inefficiencies within India’s own distribution system, which is a significant drag on the country’s economy. He pointed out that there are also similar restrictions on insurance and financial services that stand in the way of investment from the US. Indian regulations make it similarly difficult for collaborative relationships between US and Indian educational institutions.

Indian military presence for SAARC Summit

President Mahinda Rajapakse has given approval for a heavy Indian military presence in Sri Lanka during the SAARC Summit from July 27 to August 3. The Presidential approval was granted following a request made by India in view of the tense security situation in the country. The formal request to have Indian troops, helicopter gun ships, bullet proof vehicles and related security arrangements was made by the three member Indian delegation that visited Sri Lanka on June 20.
The government it is learned had also agreed to allow the Indian navy to patrol and carry out surveillance in Sri Lankan territorial waters during the summit to ensure there are no terrorist attacks from the sea. The Indian delegation comprising National Security Advisor, M.K. Narayanan, Defence Secretary Sri Vijay Singh and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon made the formal request at their meeting with President Rajapakse on Saturday, June 21. It is learned the government was requested to permit the entry of a large contingent of specially trained Indian security forces personnel into Colombo a week before the summit. These elite personnel are to take under their control the venue of the summit and the hotel the Indian delegation would be staying in.
The Indian Prime Minister and his officials along with his security personnel are to be transported in bulletproof vehicles and trucks that will be brought down to Colombo from India. Another special Indian helicopter and attack aircraft are also to be brought down for the Indian Prime Minister. India, informed sources said, also wants to set up special radars in Colombo as well. During the period of the summit, the skies in Colombo are to be taken under the control of a special Indian air force team in order to prevent any possible LTTE air attack, it is learned. The Indian navy is to patrol with fast attack craft the seas around the Colombo city during the summit. The Sunday Leader learns India has informed the government they do not want to leave anything to chance especially because of the presence of other heads of state from Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan where any untoward incident will be blamed on India.
President Rajapakse on Wednesday informed the cabinet of ministers that India had made a request for special security arrangements and that he had given the greenlight. It is learned the details of the security arrangements will be worked out by the Indian authorities with their Sri Lankan counterparts.
Informed sources said Pakistan has so far not made any specific request to bring their own security contingent and helicopters to provide security for their delegation.

Secrets behind the secret Indian visit

  • Foreign Ministry bypassed as top Indian officials hold talks in Colombo with President and others
  • Concern over security situation and doubts as to who will come from India for SAARC summit

By a Special Correspondent
The reverberations from the visit to Sri Lanka by India’s three top most bureaucrats – National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh – continue in the echelons of power in Colombo.
This week, it took none other than President Mahinda Rajapaksa to repudiate ill-informed reports that India wanted the ongoing military offensive against Tiger guerrillas stopped. Some even speculated that India was doing so because troops were on the outskirts of Mullativu and were poised to seize control of Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran’s lair.
One official account, momentarily in the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) web site even spoke of the Indian Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, coming to Colombo. However, the well known fact is quite different. He did not come.

Vijay Singh M. K. Narayanan Shiv Shankar Menon

In the absence of photo opportunities, media statements or even “inspired leaks” in the state media, little wonder wild speculation was not only rife but also reached ridiculous heights. More details of what went on behind the scenes are now emerging. They not only take the mask off the secret mission and its purpose but also provide an insight into new developments.
It was Thursday (June 18) when India’s High Commissioner Alok Prasad informed the Presidential Secretariat that a high-level Indian delegation was arriving the next day and wanted to have consultations. Their priority was a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They also sought a meeting with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa MP and Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga. This trio had travelled to New Delhi last year for talks with the three top bureaucrats in India.
Mr. Prasad was keen to ensure the visit remained confidential with no publicity given to it. Thus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which conducts the country’s foreign relations, was completely unaware. It was told officially through a diplomatic note by the Indian High Commission only on Friday afternoon. By that time, the three-member delegation had already arrived in Sri Lanka in an Indian Air Force jet. That diplomatic note was a mere formality. The Ministry of Defence, using its own prerogative, had given the clearance earlier for the arrival of the special Indian Air Force flight. There was no question of the Foreign Ministry making a recommendation.
If that was bad enough, even Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama, who had returned from New Delhi only days earlier, was bypassed both in the preparation as well as the meeting phase. Whilst in New Delhi, some media reports quoted Bogollagama as saying India should keep away from meddling in Sri Lanka’s affairs. The Foreign Ministry later denied those reports though much to its chagrin some Indian officials privately insisted he said so. A witty official at the Ministry remarked that in keeping Mr Bogollagama out of the loop, the Indian team had in fact kept away from meddling in his (Minister’s) affairs.
Yet, Bogollagama had learnt from the grapevine about the impending arrival of the Indian team. On Thursday (June 19) he had raised the matter with President Rajapaksa. He received a terse answer. “Meywa api balagannang…..Oyagolla anith deval balaaganna…” (We will look after this. You all look after other things). Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona was not on hand either. He was in Ukraine on a tour arranged by Udayanga Weeratunga, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Russia. He was due only that weekend.
When the Indian delegation arrived in Colombo, there was no Foreign Ministry official, not even from their Protocol Division, to receive them. Mr. Bogollagama was otherwise busy. At the BMICH he was chairing a conference of some 200 State officials where arrangements for the forthcoming SAARC summit in Colombo were being discussed. The telephones of at least three Foreign Ministry officials taking part in the conference rang. One of them found it was the media asking him, somewhat jocularly, “why is this sudden Indian landing?”
Another foreign Ministry official who was talking to a caller (identity not known) was heard to remark, “What discussion on SAARC arrangements. The Indians will get things changed the way they want. So this meeting should have been held after they got back to New Delhi.” On the other hand, one of the important meetings related to the SAARC summit, the one by the Steering Committee could not be held that week as its Chairman, Foreign Secretary Kohona was touring Ukraine.
Here are some of the more significant matters discussed by the Indian delegation: POLITICAL PROPOSALS TO END THE ETHNIC CONFLICT: The Indian team expressed the view that the All Party Representative (APRC) Committee is moving far too slowly. They had referred to recent remarks made by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva that the APRC was a waste of time. Reference had also been made to Mr. Bogollagama’s remarks urging India not to delve in Sri Lankan affairs. The visiting delegation had drawn reference to the statement issued by their Government soon after the interim report of the APRC was released in January, this year. India declared those proposals as a “welcome first step” and urged the Government to move ahead with forward thinking proposals. They also sought Government views on the much touted “southern consensus” amidst fears that priority may be shifting to “divisive politics.” Talks also revolved on the non implementation of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
The Indian delegation had discreetly advised the Government to allow the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) into the APRC only after their weapons were decommissioned. ECONOMIC ISSUES: Matters arising out of Petroleum Resources Minister, A.H.M. Fowzie’s threat to take over all Lanka-India Oil Corporation (LIOC) fuel outlets were raised. The delegation wanted to make sure Indian companies were not made scapegoats in crisis involving energy or food matters. They feared this would force a different turn on bilateral relations. There had also been discreet exchange of views on the economic involvements coming from China, Iran and Malaysia.
DEFENCE PROCUREMENTS: The delegation had inquired about Sri Lanka’s continuing procurements from Pakistan and China. They also inquired whether such matters were also being pursued with Iran. Due to the sensitivities in India, the delegation had expressed the view that Sri Lanka should strengthen defence co-operation with India. This would have to include delivering on other fronts, both political and economic. The Sri Lanka side had asked India for some “defensive” equipment promised earlier CURITY SITUATION: The delegation ascertained whether the intensifying military campaign against Tiger guerrillas is resulting in retaliatory strikes and security lapses. They also inquired about the difficulties in making the rest of Sri Lanka (besides the troubled North) safe. They were to express serious concern over the flow of Sri Lankan refugees to India. Another aspect was the hardships caused to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka including those in the plantation sector due to stringent security operations throughout the country. They were suffering many hardships.
The delegation wanted to be briefed on the military campaign against Tiger guerrillas. This was done at the Ministry of Defence by both the Commander of the Army, Lt. General Sarath Fonseka and Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda. SAARC SUMMIT IN COLOMBO: The delegation noted that there have been either attacks or discovery of weapons, bombs or improvised explosive devices in every potential SAARC venue identified earlier like Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. After Colombo was identified as the venue, there have been explosions in and around the City. Though Mount Lavinia had been earmarked for the summit retreat for heads of state attending the SAARC, there had been attacks in that vicinity.
The team urged the Government to provide proper environment and security for the SAARC summit. They said this was essential since India is concerned of any possible lapses. This is not only for their delegation but also for others such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal. This was particularly out of concern that an Indian connection would certainly be concocted in the event any unfortunate incident were to occur.
The Indian delegation wanted the Government of Sri Lanka to be very mindful of New Delhi’s sensitivities. This is taking into consideration what has been going on in the past, particularly since January this year. If this situation continued, they had explained the difficulties they would encounter in getting the “highest level” Indian delegation to attend the SAARC summit. They want an improvement in the ground situation. Among the factors highlighted by them:
• The ongoing military campaign in the north and resultant threats elsewhere.
• The security situation in the south.
• The absence of a “southern consensus” through the APRC.
• Feared accusations against India over political and economic issues. References to statements by Ministers Rohita Bogollagama, Nimal Siripala de Silva and A.H.M. Fowzie and whether the trend would intensify.
• Unhealthy relations with the international Community over human rights and a growing list of other issues.
However, in some official quarters in Colombo questions are being asked whether the Indian Government wants to hold on to the SAARC chairmanship. It will pass on to Sri Lanka only after the summit in Colombo in late July.
Visits by foreign dignitaries to Sri Lanka have always been followed with photo opportunities and news releases extolling the actions of the Sri Lanka Government. However, it was different this time.
One high ranking official who did not wish to be identified said Sri Lanka was not comfortable with the sudden visit of the Indian team. He said the mood that would reflect “we told the fellows off” was absent. He said there have been questions that propped up at brainstorming sessions. “Do we do some temporary thing to over ride the gathering clouds until we hold SAARC – which we can use for our future promotional endeavours? – or, “do we figure out a way to constructively engage our big neighbour for the long haul?” He said the “storming” still continues. So does the uncertainty.

When destiny played its part
Maj Gen E D'Souza (retd) | June 27, 2008 | 14:39 IST

Was Sam Manekshaw destined to be elevated to the highest rank in the army in the world, that of a Field Marshal? It would appear so in this case because Sam Manekshaw, when a student, had set his eyes on following in the footsteps of his father, Dr Hormusji Framjee Manekshaw, and one of his elder brothers, the late Air Vice Marshal Manekshaw of the Air Force Medical Corps, into the medical profession. And this is where destiny stepped in.

Sam Manekshaw's father had settled in Amritsar. Sam was sent to the well-known Sherwood College, Nainital, in the beautiful Kumaon Hills, Jim Corbett country, as a boarder. He did well in the Senior Cambridge Examination and had no difficulty in obtaining a seat in the Hindu Sabha College, Amritsar, to do his inter science examination in biology and chemistry, a prerequisite to qualifying for a seat in a medical college. He did well in this examination and had hoped to be sent to England, in the footsteps of his two older brothers. But his father Dr Manekshaw thought that Sam, who was then just 16, was too young to be exposed to the flesh pots of England. And this is where destiny took over.
While glancing through a newspaper, Sam saw an advertisement issued by the government, calling for eligible young Indian gentlemen to apply for the first ever course at the newly established Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun. The first course was to commence in 1930. Of the 1200 young Indians who applied, Sam Manekshaw was one of the 16 to quality, which was quite an achievement.

The soldier who created a nation

He had set his sights on asking for a good infantry regiment, and in making his choice he was influenced by a Major Moore, one of his instructors, who belonged to the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, to join that regiment which carried with it the tag Frontier Force (FF), flaunted with much pride by those Indian and Cavalry Regiments entitled to use it.
When World War II ended, Sam was selected to fly with 35 Sikh Troops of his regiment as part of General Gracey's force to Indo-China and was the first to land at Saigon to implement the task of disarming 60,000 Japanese troops, including a Japanese general. He took this unusual role in his stride.
His exceptionally gifted qualities, both professional and personal, were soon recognized when he became the first ever Indian officer to become the Director General of Military Operations in Army HQ at a period when India's future was being shaped. Perhaps what influenced the powers that be in making this appointment were his ability to grasp the geo-political and military situation prevailing, and his uncanny ability to translate and apply them to India's military problems.

Images: Beloved Sam Bahadur

The next step in his steady rise in the Army hierarchy was the predicted move from Mhow to do the year-long course at the Imperial Defence College, London. This was strictly by stringent selection and senior officers deputed for this course were obviously headed for greater things. Brigadier Manekshaw returned from this course having earned the symbol idc, which he added to his psc earned at the Staff College, Quetta.
On his return to India he was posted on promotion to take over 26 Infantry Division responsible for the security of the Jammu-Pakistan border. But he did not stay here for long. Having successfully done the course at the IDC, predictably, he was moved to the then most important training institution of military training, the prestigious Defence Service Staff College, Wellington, nestling in the Nilgiri Hills or the Blue Mountain.
He was moved to the East in November 1962, to take over 4th Corps at Tezpur in the rank of Lieutenant General. This was a sensitive command after the recent Chinese incursions and much rethinking was demanded.
After a stint of a year, an experience he treasured, he was moved once again, but on this occasion to the North to take over the prestigious Western Command, headquartered in Shimla. But he did not stay here long. With trouble brewing in the East, he was moved to Calcutta to take over the very sensitive Eastern Command facing two major powers, China and Pakistan.

Manekshaw's Kashmir mission

Lieutenant General Manekshaw faced numerous critical situations not only in NEFA, Nagaland and Mizoram, but in West Bengal and Calcutta, with firmness and personal courage. He would face howling mobs baying for blood. His very presence � armed with only his cane and in his inimitable side cap, he would move around nonchalantly � had the desired help.
In 1969, General PP Kumaramangalam's tenure as Chief of the Army Staff was coming to an end and the government was faced with the problem of selecting a new Chief. The race was between two distinguished infantry Generals, both with good records of service and both Army Commanders, Lieutenant General Sam Manekshaw and the very impressive Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh, a contemporary and an IMA product as well, the GOC-in-C Western Army. Whereas General Manekshaw had a better all-round record in command, staff and instructional appointments, General Harbaksh Singh had field experience as a Brigade Commander in the Uri sector and had led the Western Command successfully during the 1965 War against Pakistan; the choice facing the government was a delicate and narrow one.
Sam Bahadur

Both were commanding 'operational' Army Commands, both were war experienced, Sam Manekshaw earlier in his service but Harbaksh Singh later, and both were decorated. The latter had powerful connections, belonging as he did to the Patiala royal family. The prime minister was Indira Gandhi and the defence minister was Sardar Swaran Singh. There was a delay in announcing the choice, which meant that there must have been a debate. Eventually, at 1315 hours on that fateful day news seeped through the grapevine that Lieutenant General Sam Hormusji Framjee Manekshaw was to be the next Chief of the Army Staff. For his supporters the tense period of waiting had ended. Yet again destiny had intervened. Had the choice been otherwise, would India have had a Field Marshal? And a Parsi at that!

Excerpted from Enduring Legacy, Parsis of the 20th Century, Volume II � The Professions, Pages 492, 494, 497, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505 and 506. Editor: Nawaz B Mody

Image: File photograph of Field Marshal SHF Manekshaw, who passed away early on Friday morning, with Army Chief N C Vij at a parade in Delhi Cantontment in October 2004.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

From Today's Papers -28 Jun




































How he and his men won those wars

NEW DELHI: ‘Sam’ Maneskhaw backed his men through and through. And, his self-belief rubbed on to his men. He would back officers even if some of them developed a fondness for the bottle that made them anathema in the eyes of some of his more punctilious colleagues. ‘Sam’ felt that the indiscretions of youth could be overlooked if the officer was courageous and a brilliant tactician, one whom soldiers would follow unquestioningly. Thus, when the 1971 war came about, the General had around him officers who were not afraid to speak out their mind but when ordered to do so, would fulfil their missions with the dedication of evangelists. Like Major General Ian Cordozo who cut off his leg without anaesthesia after gangrene had set in during the battle at Sylhet in Bangladesh. Manekshaw conveyed to his Eastern Command chief Lt. Gen. J.F.R. Jacob, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s wish to move quickly into East Pakistan in 1971. On being asked by General Jacob to wait till the end of monsoons, ‘Sam’ accepted his commander’s advice and did not budge when requested by the political leadership to launch operations immediately. Asked by Indira Gandhi whether “he was ready [for the war],” Sam replied, “Sweety, I am always ready.” But he stood solidly by the assessment of his field commanders, who felt that a military campaign which began in summer would not be concluded successfully because of the monsoon. This lead to the famous four words from Jagjivan Ram, then Defence Minister: Sam, ab maan bhi jao (Sam, please do agree). Manekshaw was proved right. By the time war was declared, the army had over eight lakh men, about 300 fighter planes, 1,500 tanks and 3,000 artillery pieces. The Pakistan Army had less than half that number of men, fighter jets, tanks and artillery pieces. ‘Sam’ had mentored many of the officers serving under him. Pakistani military historian Shuja Nawaz recalls that the war gaming models by an Indian officer about Pakistan’s likely offensive in Jammu during the 1965 war were so accurate. It was as if he had read the Pakistan commander’s mind. The Indian army officer later revealed that he had developed these ideas while serving under a certain Brigadier Manekshaw in an infantry school. The sterling display by the army in 1971 under Manekshaw could not have happened without a combination of factors. Having noted Foreign Minister Swaran Singh’s advice to not venture into the war without an influential international friend, Indira Gandhi signed the 20-year friendship treaty with the Soviet Union which instantly increased the availability of weapons. Foreign journalists expelled from East Pakistan were smuggled back by India to write on the Mukti Bahini’s successes and the Pakistan Army’s excesses. This put Pakistan on the backfoot as far as the liberal international opinion was concerned. The 1971 war saw several instances of jointsmanship among the armed forces. Naval jets accompanied IAF fighters to pound Chittagong. The navy made innovative use of high-speed short distance missile boats by towing them towards the Pakistan coast at night and launching a lightning attack on ships in the Karachi port from the southern side even as IAF fighters appeared from the eastern side. Indeed this thread of all the three forces chipping in their might made the 1971 war a delight to execute for its Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals. While Manekshaw was adamant about delaying the military campaign till the monsoon had receded, he was flexible on many occasions. A firm believer in the Clausewetzian theory of that war is continuation of politics by other means, Manekshaw accepted the creation of a joint military command in which the head of the Mukti Bahini (a retired colonel) was given the title of a general and made the East Pakistan’s counterpart of Eastern Command chief Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh. This was essentially a political arrangement and Manekshaw saw sense in accepting this gesture aimed at respecting Bangladesh’s status as an independent nation and its sensibilities. And as result, the Indian Army’s Eastern Command received a steady flow of priceless intelligence about the Pakistan Army. And then there was Manekshaw’s attitude of not pulling rank if the advice was sensible. The Eastern Command wanted Dhaka as the final objective but the East Pakistan capital was missing from Manekshaw’s battle plans. An intense debate ensued at Fort William in Calcutta, the army’s Eastern Command headquarters, and battle plans were modified to include the capture of Dhaka as a key objective of the attack on East Pakistan. No debate of this kind was conducted at the Pakistan Army’s central headquarters in Rawalpindi, rues Shuja Nawaz. All these combined to give a decisive victory for the Indian armed forces and helped create a nation that gave the lie to the two-nation theory.

1971 — His greatest triumph: surrender by Bangla forces
How Yahya ‘exchanged’ Bangladesh for a bike

New Delhi, June 27
Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw had sold a James motorcycle to his junior Yahya Khan for which he never got the money.

But years later, Sam Bhahdur, as he was popularly called, claimed that “Yahya, who rose to become the President of Pakistan, made up for it by giving me the whole of East Pakistan!”

Hormazd Sorabjee of Autocar India had interviewed the Field Marshal at his home in Coonoor, near Ooty, Nilgiris.

Sam, who loved bikes and cars, had this interesting anecdote for Sorabjee: He had bought a James motorcycle from a British Officer for Rs 1,600 in 1947. Just two days before the Partition, his good friend Major Yahya Khan, who went on to become the President of Pakistan, begged Manekshaw to sell him the bike. “What will I use?” asked Manekshaw. To which Yahya replied, “Sir, you will get everything in India, we will get nothing in Pakistan”.

Manekshaw agreed to sell the bike for Rs 1,000 and said, “Okay, Yahya take it!” Yahya looked at his superior and said, “Sir, I haven't got a thousand. I will send it to you”. Manekshaw was never paid the Rs 1,000 but said, “Yahya made up for it by giving me the whole of East Pakistan!”

Sorabjee, who had interviewed Manekshaw on his “Sunbeam Repear” car had mentioned the Yahya Khan tale in his article. — UNI

Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw
One of the ‘pioneers’ of IMA
S. M. A. Kazmi
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, June 27
Sam Manekshaw was amongst the first 40 cadets who joined the academy and were known as the “pioneers”.

The IMA was set up on October 1, 1932. With Brig L.P. Collins as its first commandant, the first course had on its roll Manekshaw, who after passing out from Sherwood College, Nainital, joined the IMA.

The academy, which started from erstwhile Railway Staff College here with an extensive campus, also had Smith Dun and Mohammad Musa along with Manekshaw who all rose to become Army chiefs of their respective countries namely Burma, Pakistan and India.

Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode, after whom the main building of the academy was named, formally inaugurated the IMA on December 10, 1932.

Interestingly, even before the first course passed out, Lord Willingdon, the then Viceroy of India, presented colours to the academy.

Under Officer Smith Dun commanded the parade held on the occasion and later also commanded the passing out parade.

As per academy records, Manekshaw as a gentleman cadet had his share of trials and tribulations, rewards and punishments.

He was commissioned into 4/12 Frontier Force as Second Lieutenant after he passed out in December 1934.

Manekshaw visited the academy many times as Army chief in 1969 and then as a reviewing officer of the passing out parade in 2002. He visited the academy for the last time in 2006 to inaugurate a war memorial.

Manekshaw become a legendary military leader imbibing the credo of his academy given by Field Marshal Chetwode in his inaugural address: “The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command come next. Your own ease, comfort and safety come last always and every time.”


Manekshaw laid to rest

Udhagamandalam (TN), June 27
Iconic former Army chief Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was given the final salute in a state funeral and laid to rest with full military honours. As a 17-gun salute boomed, the body of Manekshaw (94) was buried in a Parsi graveyard adjacent to the place where his wife lay buried after the last rites was performed as per the Zoroastrian customs.

His wife Silloo died seven years back. The celebrated master strategist and the architect of India’s victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh was given a state funeral in an acknowledgement of his services to the country in his military career spanning four decades. Union minister of state for defence Pallam Raju placed a wreath on behalf of the Prime Minister, Central Government and also public of India.

The body of ‘Sam Bahadur’ as he was affectionately called was kept at the Madras Regiment Centre parade grounds, Wellington, for about three hours from 11.15 am to enable the public to pay homage to the departed General. The body was then placed inside a closed coffin in an open flower-bedecked military truck and brought to the graveyard, 21 km from Wellington. ` Manekshaw’s end came at 12.30 am at a Wellington hospital, where he was battling a lung disease for several days bringing to an end an era.

The Public and media were not allowed inside the graveyard, while the last rites were being performed as Manekshaw’s family members wanted the ceremony to be a private affair. Manekshaw’s death was condoled by President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Chief ministers, Governors and former service chiefs. — PTI


Top Govt., military brass miss Field Marshal Manekshaw's funeral
ANI
New Delhi, June 27 (ANI): The death of India's first Field Marshal, Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, should have prompted top leaders of the government and the armed forces to make a beeline for Wellington to attend his funeral, but on Friday, no one of note was present.Most chose to send messag of condolence to the bereaved family of one India's most popular and decorated soldiers despite them being in the country.
While President Pratibha Devisingh Patil was in Indore on an official tour, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Defence Minister A.K.Athony were in New Delhi, but chose to send messages of condolence.The Government decided to send Minister of State for Defence M.Pallam Raju to represent it at the funeral.From the side of the armed forces, the incumbent Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, is in Russia on an official visit. The army deputed the Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Milan Naidu to represent it. Air Chief Marshal Fali Major deputed his Vice-Chief R.K. Jolly to represent the Indian Air Force at the funeral, while a rear admiral of the Southern Naval Command is representing the Navy Field Marshal Manekshaw died at the Military Hospital in Wellington early on Friday at the age of 94. He was the country's eighth Chief of Army Staff and had a distinguished career in the armed forces for nearly four decades.
His moment of glory came when synchronised the Indian armed forces into a tellingly effective war machine to defeat Pakistan in the War of 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh. In recognition of his services to the nation, he was made a Field Marshal by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi just 15 days before his superannuation as army chief. (ANI)

His spirit lives on in Amritsar
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 27
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who was born on April 3, 1914, was the last Amritsar-born Parsi. Tehmi Bhandari, a Parsi woman who was Manekshaw’s childhood friend, had died on August 26, 2006, at the age of 101.

It was visionary Maharaja Ranjit Singh who was instrumental in bringing members of various communities such as Parsis and Marwaris to settle in Amritsar during his rule. Amritsar-born Parsis, whose unflinching courage, dogged determination and the zeal to excel earned them laurels in various fields, were known for their enterprise and Manekshaw’s family was no exception. However, with the passage of time, many Parsis facing serious demographic problems migrated to other places.

Field Marshal Manekshaw was born in Amritsar in 1914 at the house of Dr H.F.S. Maneckshaw. Sam Manekshaw, who had made Delhi his home, did his FA (second year) from Hindu Sabha College (Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was also the alumnus of the college). As per the official records, he joined the college on March 3, 1934, and left the institution in January 1935 to join the IMA. Earlier, he had completed his schooling from the local PBN School.

The city hosted a memorable reception when the Field Marshal visited the historic Ram Bagh here after scripting a histories win in the 1971 war. He also visited the “Sur Babu & Co” at Katra Ahluwalia, the chemist shop once owned by his father, who was a doctor. Nobody sits on the chair in the chemist shop where Dr Manekshaw used to sit before it was gifted to his assistant manager. The owner of the shop, recalled that Dr Manekshaw was a “man of word,” and disposed of his palatial bungalow on the Mall for Rs 1 lakh. Though Baiji (wife of Dr Manekshaw) got annoyed following the deal, Dr Manekshaw told her that he had already given his word. Not surprisingly, Dr Manekshaw’s son, Field Marshal Manekshaw, has had a special affection for the city.

Once, late G.R. Sethi, a veteran journalist from Amritsar, went to the Army headquarters for a courtesy call without appointment. The staff of the Army Chief refused to entertain him. But on seeing the visiting card of the journalist from Amritsar, the Field Marshal immediately came out of the room and accorded him a warm welcome.

Bahadur Sam
A billion people salute their hero

AS a soldier’s soldier and the nation’s archetypal war hero, Sam “Bahadur” Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was the very stuff of which military legends are made. Whether taking Japanese bullets in his stomach during World War II, or marshalling his forces for the triumph of 1971 against Pakistan, Sam exemplified the best of military virtues — the ability to see the strategic big picture without missing the devil in the detail; to display courage and determination under fire; to stand by every single man under one’s command; to work hard and party hard; and to deploy reserves of wit, humour and even school-boy braggadocio, to serve where a bullet would not.

These virtues were on display right from the very beginning, when the Amritsar-born Parsi joined the very first batch of the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun. A great soldier always finds himself in the thick of action, and in Burma, it was his bravery against Japanese forces that saw his superior pinning his own Military Cross ribbon on him in the battlefield. He joined the Frontier Force Regiment, and declined Jinnah’s invitation to be a part of the Pakistani armed forces at the time of Partition. He oversaw the defence of Jammu and Kashmir against the tribal raiders in 1947-1948. Apart from commanding divisions and corps in J&K and the Northeast, he was commandant of the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, the Nilgiris, a place which he made his home. As the Eastern Command chief, he handled the insurgency in Nagaland.

As Chief of Staff during the East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) crisis, he famously resisted attempts to rush the Army into military action, instead taking time to get his men and material exactly where he wanted them, primed and ready for a decisive success. The 1971 victory catapulted him to iconic status which sat lightly on his shoulders. He set the highest standards of excellence in service to the nation and he was a source of inspiration, not for just armed forces personnel but for men and women in general. Good bye Sam, we’ll cherish your legacy of gallantry and military sagacity, and your old-world virtues of courtesy, chivalry and charm. A billion hearts salute you.



Charming, Sam could call a spade a spade
- He led a happy team and believed in the motto: work hard and play hard

A tribute to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who died on Thursday night. He was 94. Manekshaw was accorded a state funeral on Friday in Tamil Nadu.

Sam Bahadur, as he was fondly called by the rank and file of the Indian Army, was an epitome of “the officer and a gentleman” tradition. For most of us who had the privilege and good fortune to serve under his leadership, he was indeed a role model.

General, later Field Marshal, Sam Manekshaw led our army to its finest victory in 1971. He masterminded the defeat of the Pakistani Army in erstwhile East Pakistan. It was the swiftest and most decisive victory in recent history. And importantly, it resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.

I got to know him in 1957 as a teenager studying in Jammu, when he was the commanding general of the 26 Infantry Division there. He was one of the primary motivating factors in my deciding to join the NDA and serve the nation.

During my early years in the army, he was the army commander in Eastern Command in Calcutta. In 1965-68, we were serving in Nagaland. He had inspired all of us so much that we were ready to do anything to implement his strategy and directions relating to counter-insurgency. We had outstanding successes such as the neutralisation of the entire gang of Naga hostiles led by the self-styled General Mowu Angami.

I realised that Sam Bahadur was not only a great military leader, but he had many other qualities and facets of his personality, such as being lion-hearted, particularly in adversity. He also had an uncanny sense of humour, and seldom lost his cool.

At the highest levels of military leadership, one is required to have the moral courage to call a spade a spade and to render professional advice keeping national interest uppermost. Not only was he gifted with this important quality, but he was also endowed with the ability to put across his views tactfully and effectively.

The manner in which he displayed these attributes in early 1971, when the occasion demanded, during the briefing and discussions regarding the Bangladesh War, is legendary. A lesser person would not have been able to do what Sam Bahadur did.

Sam also lived life fully. He was disarming and friendly. Endowed with social charm and grace, he was extremely popular with the fair sex. He led a happy team and believed in the motto “work hard and play hard”.

He has many admirers and friends in Calcutta because of his stint as GoC-in-C of Eastern Command. He will surely be missed by them all as also by the rest of our countrymen.

I would fail in my responsibility if I do not mention Sam Bahadur’s concern for his men, the gallant soldiers of his Regiment, the 8th Gorkha Rifles, and the Indian Army. He was loved by the men. A true soldier’s General he was.

His passing away is a great loss to the Indian Army and our country, but his legend will live on.


Lust for life, zest for battle - He knew when to say ‘No’

Sam Manekshaw (1914 - 2008 )

New Delhi, June 27: By the time the Great Mule finally kicked him in Wellington last night, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw had transcended the line between legend and myth. It’s been a lark of a trip.

He was a legend when he said “No” to Indira Gandhi and refused to go to war in April 1971 and then, eight months later, delivered modern India’s greatest military victory.

Sam Bahadur has been in and out of the military hospital in Wellington for much of the last five years. He’s been in and out of a coma, prepared to die, never looking forward to it, adept at dodging his Maker with a feint here and a shove there for much of his life.

It surprised him no less than others that he should be able to exhibit such zest, such a lust for life that it should conceal the horrible, calculated working of a military mind.

Four corps of the army he commanded converged on Dhaka from four directions and, aided by the Mukti Bahini, forced the surrender of the Pakistani army and helped create a new nation.

In the most celebrated military photograph showing Pakistan’s Lt General A.A.K. Niazi signing the instrument of surrender on December 16, 1971, the general who crafted the victory is absent.

He was in Delhi, twirling a waxed moustache and guffawing. Did he really tell Indira Gandhi “Sweetie, I told you so?” — we’ll never know now.

We know of course that subsequent generals had not learnt to say “No” when it mattered most, for example, in 2001, when India’s Prime Minister ordered the army to mobilise for a war that was never intended.

Thirty years on from 1971, the generals quietly agreed to march the entire soldiery into a political game, not daring to point out how foolhardy it is to expose military assets when you do not intend going into battle.

Myths have been woven about Manekshaw’s flamboyant personality since the time he was conferred the rank of field marshal in 1973. Myths are necessary to the military in India because real life is boring.

Manekshaw was not prepared for the honours that came his way. You can bet he did not dream of getting a state funeral — like the government has today decided to accord to him “in a rare gesture” — when he died.

For, decades before he was made field marshal, Manekshaw, the first Indian Military Academy cadet to be punished for weekend excess on “liberty”, was prepared to die when he was only 28 years of age.

He took bullets in his body in Burma in 1942 — and lived a decade and more for each of the nine pieces of lead. When the Australian surgeon asked him what had wasted him so, Manekshaw replied: “A bloody mule kicked me.” After that, the doctor was determined. “By Jove,” he said, “you have a sense of humour; I think you are worth saving.”

If leadership sat lightly on the general who exemplified it, it was because the man couldn’t stop having a good laugh at the world, his times and himself, in that order. He waged war, yes — and war is horrible because you kill or get killed or plot to kill and it is macabre and all of that — but Manekshaw almost spotted a sport in it.

If you must be a professional soldier, paid to kill or get killed, it is just as well that you should go about the nasty business with a head swilling in Dimple scotch whisky.

Manekshaw’s nasha has been infectious. He allegedly called Indira Gandhi “sweetie” in 1971 and, a few months back, called septuagenarian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who went to meet him, “a baby”. Kalam had gone to gift him the arrears of salary totalling more than Rs 1 crore, much of which had accrued when politicians were suspicious of the field marshal and he was being victimised for a cavalier attitude towards India’s rulers.

The provocation, apparently, was a newspaper interview in which he said had he chosen to go to Pakistan at the time of Partition, India would not have won the 1971 war. Parliament members of the time (1972) found in that statement an element of disloyalty when, in fact, it was reflecting a professional military mind.

Seeds of suspicion were sown again in 2005 when Gohar Ayub Khan, former Pakistan governor and son of Pakistan’s General Ayub Khan, insinuated that Manekshaw, as an officer of the Directorate of Military Operations in 1948, had leaked plans for the 1965 war.

Gohar Ayub Khan never named Manekshaw but maintained that the officer was still alive and that his wife had a fondness for gardening. Manekshaw’s wife Siloo died in 2001.

Despite the army protestations, few Indian politicians rose up and asked how it was that Pakistan lost the 1965 war despite getting hold of India’s warplan?

Manekshaw, if he was aware of the controversy, never spoke a word about it and, in fact, the Indian Army was even shy of uttering that it was to their field marshal that the Pakistani politician was referring.

Now that Manekshaw is no more, Gohar Ayub’s views should be all the more interesting. But the field marshal has left no one in doubt about what he thought of India’s politicians — though he did tell Indira Gandhi who was afraid he was planning a coup that he was happy running the army without having to shoulder the burden of running the country.

He said: “I wonder whether those of our political masters who have been put in charge of the defence of the country can distinguish a mortar from a motor; a gun from a howitzer; a guerrilla from a gorilla — although a great many of them in the past have resembled the latter.”

Manekshaw refused to take ambassadorships and gubernatorial positions since his retirement. His biggest prize probably came only in April this year, when he was given the news that Bangladesh hosted 10 Indian generals he had commanded in the 1971 war, and finally acknowledged the role of the Indian Army in the creation of that nation.
Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw a.k.a Sam Bahadur R.I.P.

US eyes Indian defence market
Defence Minister AK Antony, while inaugurating the new building complex of the Bangalore-based Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), stressed the need for self reliance in the design, development and manufacture of high precision avionics systems for the Indian Air Force, which is working out a strategy for modernization and augmentation on a massive scale.
Antony has repeatedly expressed his vehement opposition to the blind and wholesale import of defence hardware and advanced technological systems. In fact, he has made it clear that India will clinch a deal for defence hardware and associated technology only as an equal partner. His thesis is that India has technological expertise and an industrial base, resurgent enough to not only absorb and adopt advanced imported technologies, but also to indigenously design and develop state-of-the-art weapons and armaments.
'High technology products need to be futuristic. Our over-dependence on foreign suppliers must reduce. We must develop our own systems indigenously. A tendency to depend on foreign suppliers may land the country and the armed forces in deep trouble in crucial times in the form of import restrictions, technology transfer denials or even undue and unjustifiable delay in the delivery of already contracted systems or components of critical nature" observed Antony. He did not leave anyone in doubt that he was referring to the US.
In fact, the American sanctions and technology embargo that came in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear blasts had affected the developmental schedules of a number of projects of national importance including the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), developed by the Aeronautical Development Laboratory (ADA) and the Saras multi-role light transport aircraft, developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore.
Notwithstanding the growing bonhomie in Indo-US relations, many Indian industrial outfits, research institutions and scientific organizations continue to be under the US Entity List. Not surprisingly then, both in the civilian and defence sectors here, the US is not favored as a dependable and reliable partner for projects of critical nature.
As it is, way back in early 90s the US had coerced an economically emaciated and political unstable Russia into going back on its commitment of transferring the critical cryogenic engine technology to India. Their argument was that the transfer of technology, which is of dual use, constituted a clear-cut violation of the so-called Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Overcoming all the impediments, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has now successfully developed an indigenous cryogenic engine constitution the upper stage of the three-stage GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle).
Similarly, DRDO has not forgotten how the US tried to coerce the Union Government into dropping the development programme of Agni range of surface-to-surface, nuclear capable missiles. Antony notes that "despite technology denials and restrictive export regimes, DRDO has been able to develop strategic systems and advanced missiles".
Against such a backdrop, India's defence establishment is fully aware of the implications of getting defence hardware and advanced armament systems from the US. For the denial of spares and refusal to service the hardware in the event of an embargo would mean a serious setback to the country's defence preparedness. But then, Russia which has supplied India with a vast array of military equipment including combat aircraft and utility helicopters is fast eroding its Indian base. Indeed, the Indian military planners are losing patience with Russia for its failure to stick to the deadline and make available spares on time.
Peeved by the inordinate delay and a hefty price hike in respect of retrofitting the decommissioned aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, naval chief Admiral Suresh Mehta had sometime back questioned the logic of looking at Russia as a reliable and trusted military partner. Similarly, the Russian insistence on a massive increase in the price tag of Su-30 MKI multi-role combat aircraft, which currently constitutes the very backbone of the IAF, has not gone down well with the Indian defence establishment. It is here that the US is trying to step into the Indian defence scenario with robust optimism.
In this context, the statement made by the US defense secretary Robert Gates that military-to-military ties between the two countries would continue to be independent of the controversial Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, assumes significance. Of course, Indian Government's lack of political will to go ahead with the deal has pushed it into a "slow and certain death." Gates was forthright in his assertion, "We ask for no special treatment. We are pleased to have a place on the table. And we believe that in a fair competition, we have a good case to make".
On its part, US defence and aerospace major Boeing estimates a US$10-15 billion defence market in India over the next one decade. "According to industry projections, there will be a need for around 1000 defence aircraft by 2020, while 70 per cent of the requirement will be filled by the existing orders for aircraft like Su-30s" says Deba Mohanty, a defence analyst with the New Delhi-based think tank Observer Research Foundation.
Perhaps the biggest trump card of the American defence hardware and systems is their perceived superiority in terms of performance, efficiency, technology and state-of-the-art electronics and avionics systems in comparison to the Russian defence equipment. The latter's biggest disadvantage lies in avionics and electronics, which form a major component of an aircraft.
Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin, keen on grabbing the mega Indian order for the supply of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft to IAF have offered their most advanced fighter machines to India. The argument of Boeing is that F/A-18E/F Super Hornet that it has offered to India is already in service with the Australian Air Force. Not to be outdone, Lockheed Martin has sweetened its offer of making available F-16 IN Fighter Falcon by hinting at a possible future sale of F-35 JSF of perhaps F-22 combat aircraft if India goes in for F-16.
Boeing which has submitted a proposal for the supply of eight long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft at an estimated cost of US$2-billion is awaiting the nod from defence ministry. The Boeing P-8A multi mission maritime aircraft built around a Boeing-737 aircraft is, however, known to be under its active consideration. In response to Indian request for proposal for 22 attack helicopters, Boeing is offering its AH-64 Apache Longbow.
Meanwhile, US aerospace and defence contractors are awaiting Indian request for proposal for the supply of around 200 light utility helicopters. These helicopters will replace the aging fleet of Cheeta and Chetaks in service with the IAF and the Indian army. Originally, India had planned the acquisition of 300-plus light utility helicopters. But with the Bangalore based aeronautical major HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) coming forward to develop a hundred plus light utility helicopters, the Indian defence ministry decided to go in for the import of around 200 such rotary wing machines. Is there need to shop elsewhere?
Radhakrishna Rao, -INFA

Army gets notice for sacking HIV positive personnel
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Indian Army on a petition that challenges the sacking of personnel who are HIV positive, without the mandatory approval of the army's medical board.
A bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice GS Singhvi issued notices to the central government and the defence ministry on a plea by a HIV positive havildar of the Indian Army's Ordinance Corps, posted at the army's Ordinance Depot in New Delhi.The havildar moved the apex court, challenging his impending ouster from the army on June 30.The bench, however, declining to stall his slated ouster, decided to hear his plea along with a similar plea by another army personnel August 6.Appearing for the havildar, advocate Aagney Sail of the Human Rights Law Network contended before the bench that the army's policy decision taken in April 2007 to oust its HIV positive personnel was a ''retrograde'' one.
Sail contended that his client was being sacked ''on the erroneous assumption that HIV positive persons are inherently incapable of serving in the army''.Sail pointed out that not only do armies of various western countries, including those of the US and Canada, allow HIV positive personnel to serve, but also lets them go to the battlefront. He submitted to the bench a copy of a March 2008 ruling of the South African High Court, which had struck down a government decision against letting HIV positive personnel serve in its army. ''It is the prejudice against the positive status that is the foundation of the notion that HIV positive persons are inherently unable to serve in the army,'' Sail contended.

Army officers graduate

Jamshedpur, June 26: The third defence officers’ batch of the executive management programme at XLRI graduated today at a function held on the B-school campus.

XLRI launched the certificate programme in business management for the defence personnel on January 14, 2007, and 59 officers graduated from the present batch.

The programme for defence officers was launched on the request of central ministry of human resource development, which perceived the need for resettlement of officers.

The batch comprises engineers, doctors and air traffic controllers, mountaineers, naval aviators and submariners with experience ranging from five to 30 years of service.

Professor Pranabesh Ray, the course in-charge, said: “The executive management programme has been designed keeping in mind the needs of the business world with the aspirations of the service officers. This programme has been structured to focus on the theoretical formulation and is designed to augment and adapt the officers’ varied experience to disciplines and functional areas relevant to management of business.”

The programme equipped the students with basic skills of all functional areas of management thereby enabling them to find a second career in the corporate world.

Bhushan Raina, the managing director of the Tinplate Company of India Limited, was the chief guest at the graduation ceremony.

Addressing students he said: “From defence officers to management personnel — it’s a huge transition. All the officers are already efficient managers as in their previous career they always had some uncertainty to deal with.”

Based on their academic excellence Captain Kavita M., Colonel Krishna Dev Singh and Captain Esha were awarded the first, second and third ranks, respectively.

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