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Friday, 16 December 2011

From Today's Papers - 16 Dec 2011






Remembering 1971 A surrender etched in history

Vijay Mohan/TNS Brigadier Sant Singh (retd) with the portrait of Lt Gen AAK Niazi and his alarm clock which were seized from his office in Dhaka in 1971 after Pakistan troops surrendered. Brigadier Sant Singh (retd) with the portrait of Lt Gen AAK Niazi and his alarm clock which were seized from his office in Dhaka in 1971 after Pakistan troops surrendered. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu  Chandigarh, December 15 War is one of the defining factors that chart the course of history and leaves in its wake some decisive moments that have an everlasting impact on the psyche of the embattled nations as well as individuals who are part of it.  The 1971 Indo-Pak war was no different and its outcome had huge ramifications on the future of South Asia, as a new nation arose from the shattered remnants of a routed army.  The war was fought on the eastern as well as the western front and for the Indian Army there were several momentous occasions, the most notable being presiding over the largest surrender of troops in the history of warfare and detaining the enemy’s top commander in the east, Lt Gen AAK Niazi.  In fact, Lt Gen Niazi and Maj Gen GS Nagra, General Officer Commanding 2 Division and the first Indian general to enter Dacca (now Dhaka), were friends from a different era. They served together at one point of time with the British Indian Army. “The game is up Abdullah. I suggest you give yourself up to me and I will look after you,” was a message sent by Maj Gen Nagra to Niazi from the outskirts of Dacca. Niazi’s response to the message culminated in the surrender of Pakistani troops.  Maj Gen Jamshed Khan, GOC 36 Ad Hoc Division, which was responsible for the defence of Dacca drove over with a white flag. He was stripped off his official flag, weapon and badges of rank, recalled the commander of FJ Force, Brig Sant Singh, who was tasked by Gen Nagra to capture Dacca.  Jamshed’s official staff car was commandeered by the Indian Army and Maj Gen Nagra along with some other officers and troops drove to the Pakistani headquarters on the morning of December 16.  A file photo of Lt Gen Niazi signing the historic Instrument of Surrender with Lt Gen JS Aurora (GOC IN C East) A file photo of Lt Gen Niazi signing the historic Instrument of Surrender with Lt Gen JS Aurora (GOC IN C East)   Pakistani officers were destroying maps and documents. A few minutes later, Niazi, wearing a holstered pistol, came out from an underground bunker to his plush office now occupied by the Indians. He was silent and looked sad and anxious, recalled Brig Sant Singh, who, prior to Independence, had served in the same regiment, which Niazi later commanded.  FJ Force, comprising 13 Guards, 2 Para and 6 Bihar had rapidly advanced along the Mymensingh-Madhupur axis, securing the area and covering around 55 km before reaching Bhuri Ganga on the outskirts of Dacca. “Time was of essence and the fall of Mymensingh was among the decisive points of the war in the east,” said, Brig Sant Singh, who was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra for his actions.  On the western frontier, the Battle of Longewala become the most notable operation, which has been immortalised by the Bollywood film Border. Fought on December 5-6 at the remote border outpost in the Jaisalmer sector, it was one of the first major engagements between India and Pakistan in the west. Touted as one of the biggest routs for Pakistan in this theatre, it goes down in the history of warfare as a classic example of human resolve and motivation in the face of extremely heavy odds, where an infantry company of about just 70 men from 23 Punjab held back an assaulting enemy brigade of over 2,800 troops supported by 65 tanks.  “We were given a choice. To stay put and defend the position or go in for a tactical retreat,” recalls Brig (then Major) KS Chandpuri, who was commanding the company and was later decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra. The first attack by Pakistani troops at night was stalled through anti-tank weapons. Reserve fuel drums kept atop tanks were exploded, throwing enough light for our gunners positioned on high ground, while their own smoke blinded their troops. “Though we were outnumbered and surrounded, Pakistani infantry was unable to advance. We held them till dawn when the IAF came in,” he added. When the operation ended, 22 Pakistani tanks had been destroyed.  Giving an example of another classic close-quarter battle, Maj Gen DD Dwivedi recalled the capture of the Bander Railway Station near Narainganj in the eastern sector. The attack commenced after last light and around mid-night close contact was made with forward bunkers. The leading echelons managed to break the crest and gain a foothold, but suffered heavy casualties in the process.  “Given the typical cliff-hanger situation, scales could have tipped either way. The clock was ticking fast and had the logjam persisted, the defender was sure to gain the upper hand,” he said. “But somehow we did manage to push through and break the stalemate. By wee hours, the defenders’ resistance began to weaken and by early morning Bander had new occupants,” he added. As the troops consolidated their position and got ready for the next assault in the final race to Dacca, fresh orders were received and the operation was called off.


DRDO to set up short-range missile unit in Maharashtra

Suresh Dharur Tribune News Service  Hyderabad, December 15 Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), the missile production arm of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will set up a new unit to manufacture short-range missiles for the armed forces.  The new facility will be located at Nandgaon Pet in Amaravati district of Maharashtra. This is the first BDL unit to come up outside Andhra Pradesh.  The BDL has two missile units in AP located at Kanchanbagh in Hyderabad and near Bhanur in Medak district. They are engaged in manufacturing a wide range of missiles including the long-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni, to meet the requirement of the Army, Air Force and the Navy.  According to BDL officials, the mini ratna company under the Defence Ministry plans to produce Very Short Range Air Defence Missiles (VSHORAD) for the armed forces at the new unit in Maharashtra. An area of about 530 acre has been acquired for the missile unit.  Initially, BDL plans to invest Rs 250 crore for the new unit which is expected to generate employment for 1,000 people, Maj Gen Ravi Khetarpal, Chairman and Managing Director of the company, said.  The company was on a rapid expansion mode and was set to achieve its all-time high turnover of Rs 1,000 crore this financial year, he said.  Meanwhile, two more missile-manufacturing units are expected to come up in AP’s Anantapur and Ranga Reddy districts at a combined cost of over Rs 1,400 crore. As part of new industrial policy 2010-15, the state government would facilitate establishment of missile production units and has already allotted 1,100 acre land in both the districts for the purpose.  A Rs 600-crore facility will come up near Bhagayat village in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district over an area of 500 acre.


Hard fought gains frittered away

It was India’s finest hour, with a brilliant politico-military campaign resulting in the birth of Bangladesh. India, however, failed to either evict Pakistan from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, or to get it to accept the Cease-fire Line as the international boundary Gurmeet Kanwal  On December 16, 1971, over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers led by Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi, surrendered before Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of India's Eastern Command, at the Dacca (now Dhaka) race course and the new nation of Bangladesh was born. A day later, the guns fell silent after India's unilateral offer of a cease fire was accepted by Pakistan's military ruler General Yahya Khan.  The story had begun about a year earlier. In elections held in 1970, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of the Awami League, had won 167 of 169 seats in East Pakistan and a simple majority in the lower house of Pakistan's parliament. Though he had lawfully earned the right to form the government, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People's Party, refused to accept defeat. As the deadlock lingered on, there were widespread protests in East Pakistan and General Yahya Khan gave orders to the Pakistani army to crush dissent. On the night of March 25, 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested and the Pakistani army began a large-scale, brutal crackdown.  Under Lt Gen Tikka Khan, known as the "Butcher of Bengal", the Pakistani army unleashed horrific atrocities on the innocent Bengalis. Thousands of them were killed in cold blood. Many more were tortured over several months; many hapless women were raped and molested. Intellectuals and minority Hindus were particularly singled out. The genocide led to a mass exodus and about 10 million refugees straggled across the border into neighbouring Indian states. Despite India's own difficulties, they were accommodated in refugee camps and were provided with food and shelter.  Prime Minister Indira Gandhi condemned the arrest of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the atrocities in East Pakistan. She asked the Indian Armed Forces to prepare for war as India's security was being undermined by the massive influx of refugees. General S.H.F.J. Manekshaw (later Field Marshal) told the Prime Minister that the Army needed some time to prepare for what would be a war on both the eastern and the western fronts. The monsoon was but a few months away, the Himalayan passes on India's border with Tibet would remain open till mid-November and the Chinese could intervene. It was sound military advice as the troops needed for offensive operations in East Pakistan could be pulled out from the Chinese border only after the passes closed. The Prime Minister accepted the advice given to her. This was the highpoint of civil-military synergy in independent India.  Bengali troops in East Pakistan soon revolted and deserted in large numbers to join the Mukti Bahini, a guerrilla force that began to conduct covert operations against Pakistani forces. India provided political, diplomatic and moral support to the Mukti Bahini. While the Armed Forces began their preparations for war, Indira Gandhi launched a diplomatic campaign to create awareness about the situation in East Pakistan. She toured major world capitals, to appeal to the international community to intercede with the government of Pakistan to put an end to the continuing atrocities and to provide humanitarian assistance to India to look after the refugees, but did not receive anything other than sympathy.  On December 3, 1971, Yahya Khan launched pre-emptive air strikes against 11 forward Indian air bases and India and Pakistan were once again at war. India responded with multi-pronged offensive operations into East Pakistan. On December 6, 1971, India accorded formal recognition to the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told Parliament, "The people of Bangladesh battling for their very existence and the people of India fighting to defeat aggression now find themselves partisans in the same cause."

he grand strategy in the war was to fight a holding action on the western front and to liberate Dacca from Pakistan's tyrannical rule. The Indian Army, with support from the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force and hand-in-hand with the Mukti Bahini, made rapid progress. Pakistani strong points based on towns and other built up areas were bypassed by the leading columns and left for follow-on troops to clear while the spearheads advanced rapidly towards Dacca.  Within a week, it became clear to all perceptive observers that Dacca would soon fall. Maj Gen Rao Farman Ali, Military Adviser to the Governor of East Pakistan, expressed the administration's willingness to surrender and on December 16, 1971, Maj Gen (later Lt Gen) J.F.R. Jacob, Chief of Staff, Eastern Command, flew into Dacca to negotiate the terms of surrender. Later that day, Lt Gen Aurora accepted one of military history's greatest surrenders. Announcing the surrender in Parliament, Indira Gandhi said, "Dacca is now a free capital of a free country… We hail the people of Bangladesh in their hour of triumph. All nations who value the human spirit will recognize it as a significant milestone in man's quest for liberty."  The victory in Bangladesh was the result of a systematically planned and brilliantly executed politico-military campaign. Indira Gandhi proved herself to be a resolute leader who refused to buckle under the pressure of the US fleet led by the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise that sailed into the Bay of Bengal during the war. By signing a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union before the war, she ensured that the Chinese were kept at bay. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw emerged as a charismatic military leader who succeeded in forging rare unity among the three services so that the full potential of Indian combat power was exploited in an optimal and synergised manner.  It was truly India's finest hour. Forty years later, it can be truthfully said that it was a just war and that the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers, sailors and airmen were not in vain. However, some of the hard-fought gains were frittered away in the Shimla Agreement signed on July 2, 1972. In its zeal to appear magnanimous in victory, the Government of India failed to either get the Pakistan Army to vacate Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, or to get Bhutto to accept the Cease-fire Line as the international boundary in exchange for 90,000 prisoners of war.


Now, retired Army jawans can join paramilitary forces

Tribune News Service  New Delhi, December 15 Jawans who retire from the armed forces will have the option of joining paramilitary forces such as the CRPF and BSF among others. The Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to fill 10 per cent of Group ‘B’ posts - up to the level of inspector - in the Central paramilitary forces from ex-servicemen, Defence Minister AK Antony informed the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence today.  Antony told the MPs about opportunities for jawans who retire in their 30s. The move to absorb them in paramilitary forces will allow optimum use of their talent and skills besides reducing the pension bill of the government.  It will be like a lateral entry into the paramilitary forces. For long, it has been the opinion of the government that jawans retiring from the forces can be easily used there.  Antony said that efforts were now being made to persuade public sector undertakings and the private sector to tap this reservoir of talented and disciplined ex-servicemen.  The MPs also wanted to know the status of ‘one rank, one pension’. Other suggestions were that the government should take urgent steps to build a suitable national memorial for martyrs in the national capital and inclusion of MPs in the zila sainik board meetings.  Antony said the issue of setting up of a war memorial in the capital was a long pending one and hoped that the issue may be settled in the near future.  Referring to the issue of ‘one rank, one pension’, Antony said the issue was not a ‘closed chapter’, but it has to be approached in a phased manner.  Antony assured the MPs that the government was taking measures for the all-round welfare of ex-servicemen. He said the health of ex-servicemen and their dependents was a prime concern with the government.  Giving details of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) which has been operating since April 2003, Antony said that presently, the scheme caters to 38 lakh beneficiaries including 12 lakh ex-servicemen and over 26 lakh dependents. During 2010-11, a total of 89 lakh patients attended the polyclinics


Britain's Armed Forces face a new enemy

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, was doing no more than stating Government policy this week when he said that the single biggest strategic risk facing the country today is economic rather than military. “No country can defend itself if bankrupt,” he said in his annual review of defence policy at the Royal United Services Institute.  Britain is still one of only three significant Nato members, out of 28, who spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. Nevertheless, the country is facing volatile times in austere circumstances. We need to think strategically, he maintained, and reform the Armed Forces even while they are extensively stretched. It’s a challenge akin to rebuilding the ship while still at sea.  To those who lament recent defence cuts as somehow lacking in strategy, the Government’s answer is therefore simple. Britain’s grand strategy – as immediate and overwhelming as anything in 1940 – is to maintain the country’s triple-A credit rating in the international markets. Without that, no credible defence strategy would be affordable.  As the country’s top military officer, Sir David is duty-bound to set out the Government’s grand strategic case in this way. But he also has to deal with the consequences of it. He has to speak military logic to the politicians, and political logic to the military. He does not interpret his role, and nor should he, as the champion of the military in a public battle with Downing Street for resources. Grandstanding against the Government is not his job, and certainly not Sir David’s style. But what he said was also the tip of a nasty iceberg that he and others can see drifting ever closer to the ship of state.  The tip of the iceberg, it has to be said, is not all bad. Britain remains a significant military player; the fourth largest military spender, behind the US, China and Japan, and ahead of France and Russia. If the first division of real military power only includes the United States, Britain stands in the top half of the second division that presently consists of Russia, China, France and India. And though Britain and France will drift towards the foot of that division over the coming decade, they will not be quickly relegated from it, if only because there is such a yawning gap to the third division below.

None the less, Sir David also knows that to stay in the game at all, military forces have to be credible and able to be used in different situations at short notice. Forces that look impressive on paper, or forces that take years to mobilise, are no use to Britain in the 21st century, and no one would bet on a period of idleness for the military in the near future.  So in the present climate, military chiefs have got to balance the risks of their trade in a different way. Last year’s defence review took 7.5 per cent out of the defence budget and committed the MoD to eliminating its famous “black hole” of unfunded future commitments that was, in reality, about £27 billion net. This summer, the Government put 0.4 per cent back into the defence budget as a whole to guarantee forward equipment programmes, but now the autumn statement extends existing defence cuts from 2015 out to 2017 and it would be foolish to rule out even further tightening before we get to 2017.  For Sir David, the new balance of risks is relatively clear. Britain aims to keep as many military capabilities as possible intact and “rebalanced” by 2020. By that time we plan to have a smaller Army of only 82,000, but a bigger, usable Reserve; a small force of new US jets to serve with the Eurofighter Typhoon; an effective strike aircraft carrier; refurbished nuclear forces; next generation electronic assets – the new battle winners – and a reformed MoD to manage it all.  But to get there, Sir David will have to save considerable amounts of money by holding some of his present force elements at lower readiness, relying on allies and partners to do other things, and accepting that in many areas a “good enough” level of technology will suffice, as long as the expertise of military personnel who operate it can be kept at its present high level.  Sir David’s problem is not so much balancing the risks in a military sense; all good commanders can do that. It’s the politico-military balances that are hardest to strike; when predictable casualties send politicians running for cover, or when changes in a battle plan send the media into gloomy prognoses of defeat. There is no pain-free use of the military instrument – even in Libya this year. Not all battles can be won, even in victorious campaigns. And some campaigns, where victory is simply impossible, may still be worth fighting.  What Sir David is saying about the rest of the planning iceberg is that British defence will get worse before it gets better, and that if the politicians want to keep reaching for the military lever, they will have to be braced for the political and human costs of doing so. Libya was a relatively easy military campaign, but it was still a politically close run thing once it became clear that the operation would last more than a fortnight.  More to the immediate point, he knows that the crisis in the euro area has become life or death to his chances of getting his defence forces to 2020, even in the sort of shape envisaged by the 2010 defence review. The Government’s reaction to domestic recession has been austerity in public spending, accompanied by growth strategies targeted on particular sectors. If the Government reacts in the same way to any new recession, defence would likely suffer further austerity and is very unlikely to be an area for targeted growth. All that was implicit in Sir David’s speech.  What he didn’t mention was that part of the iceberg that really worries the planners; perhaps for the good reason that it’s too early to press the panic button, or maybe for the bad reason that the prospects are just too awful to talk about in public. However the euro crisis plays out next year, we may see the return of real insecurity to the European continent itself.  The crisis has been technocratic so far; next year it will become political. If the euro is saved, it will be by a greater fiscal integration between the prosperous north European countries. If it is not, there will be chaos across southern Europe. Either way, we are witnessing a rapid and fundamental political shift from a continent that was long stabilised along an east/west axis, to one that will be defined by its north/south differences.  Some economic and political basket cases in the south will find themselves dealing with an acrimonious and introverted group of more prosperous northern countries trying to re-fashion some version of the grand integration project. Uncontrolled migration pressures will increase; organised crime will flourish on the imbalances between north and south, there will be less to prevent insecurity in the Balkans getting worse, or to prevent a Vladimir Putin under pressure from testing where Nato’s “red lines” really are. It will be a good year for populist parties everywhere who will freely allocate the blame for the chaos they see around them.  This is not the prelude to some cataclysmic European war. But it is probably the beginning of a new surge of human insecurity in and around the backyard we have come to see as nicely secure. And the United States is in no mood to bail the Europeans out of a mess they think we have made for ourselves. If insecurity returns to our continent over the next couple of years, Sir David will really have his work cut out finding the forces to deal with its effects, and 2020 will seem a long way away.


CAG raised objections to flaws in military intelligence contract

The Indian Army paid hundreds of crores for software used to identify enemy troop locations and military assets, even though the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said it was entitled to them for free, documents available with The Hindu reveal.  In its 2001 report, CAG raised objections to Rs. 38-crore contract given to Indian firm Rolta in 1996 for image analysis equipment, which is used by the Directorate of Military Intelligence to scan raw images gathered by satellites and unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicles. It pointed out that the Army paid Rolta for software upgrades as part of a maintenance contract even though it was contractually obliged to provide them.  Earlier this month, The Hindu revealed that the terms of contracts signed post-2008 to Rolta had been controversially manipulated to allow it to cease supplying upgrades for key software — and that the Army was poised to place another Rs. 165-crore contract in spite of the company's failure to meet its past commitments.  Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony ordered an investigation into the contracts, but there is no word on when its findings will become available. Contradictory claims  K. Subramaniam, Director of Audit for Defence Services at CAG, wrote to the Ministry of Defence in April, 2005, stating that it had made contradictory claims about its acquisitions from Rolta. Mr Subramaniam's letter said that the Ministry should not have paid for software upgrades while procuring equipment from Rolta, as it was already contract-bound to provide the latest versions available.  Mr. Subramaniam observed that while the Ministry of Defence “on the one hand stated that updates and upgradation should not be mixed up,” it had made precisely the opposite argument to the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee. He wrote that the Ministry's “explanations contradict each other, as all software updates/upgradation were to be supplied at no extra cost.”  In his letter, Mr. Subramaniam also asked if “any advance technical evaluation was done to determine the new functionalities that will become available after upgradation and the reasonableness of the cost of such upgradation.”  For reasons that are unclear, the Ministry of Defence never responded to these questions. Between 1996 and 2008, the Army awarded 12 contracts worth approximately Rs. 500 crore and maintenance contracts worth more than Rs. 200 crore to Rolta.  The CAG raised objections in 2001 about the purchase of software updates for digital photogrammetry systems back in 1996, in the course of a thorough review of defence acquisitions related to the Kargil war. The Ministry of Defence responded to the objections in 2004. More queries were raised by the Director o Audit, Defence Services about a deal signed with Rolta for image-interpretation equipment and its maintenance, but the Ministry has not responded to them or six years now.


Central police forces to be boosted with ex-servicemen

10 per cent of Group ‘B’ posts in Central paramilitary forces to be filled soon.  Bowing to years of pressure from the armed forces, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has agreed that retired military personnel will make up 10 per cent of the combat strength of all central armed police forces.

According to a defence ministry (MoD) press release on Thursday, Defence Minister A K Antony informed the Parliamentary Consultative Committee for Defence that “The MoHA has agreed to fill 10 per cent of the Group ‘B’ posts in Central Paramilitary Forces from among Ex-Servicemen.” Group ‘B’ consists mainly of combatants.  Antony also stated “efforts are now being made to persuade public sector undertakings and the private sector to tap this invaluable reservoir of talented and disciplined Ex-Servicemen.”  The “Central Paramilitary Forces” that Antony mentions include the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF); the Border Security Force (BSF); the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF); the Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP); the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB); and other smaller forces.  Going by the government’s own definition that was formalised in March 2011, Antony erred in terming these “Central Paramilitary Forces”; the correct term is “Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).” A “paramilitary force” is an armed force that is officered by serving military officers. India’s only “Central Paramilitary Forces” are the Assam Rifles; the Special Frontier Force; and the Coast Guard.  The MoHA’s acceptance of ex-servicemen comes as a double relief for the MoD. The defence services have a growing pension bill (Rs 34,000 crore this fiscal) for soldiers, sailors and airmen who retire as young as 35, after 15 years in uniform, and draw pensions for the rest of their lives. Post-retirement employment with a CAPF would postpone their entitlement of pension. It would also free the MoD of responsibility for rehabilitating them.  The military has pushed this case since 1997-98, when army chief, General VP Malik, suggested that CAPFs re-enlist half of the 50,000 soldiers who retire from the army each year. The army’s suggestion was to reduce colour service — the period for which an individual is recruited into the army — to just seven years. After that the fully trained soldier would join a CAPF. This would make the army younger; and also stiffen the CAPFs’ combat capabilities with trained soldiers.  “This win-win proposal was strongly backed by the 5th and the 6th Pay Commissions; but the MoHA resisted it. The army will welcome the 10 per cent opening given to ex-servicemen. It is a good beginning,” says Brigadier (Retd) Gurmeet Kanwal, who framed the original proposal in 1997-98 and now heads the army’s think tank, Centre for Land Warfare Studies.  The MoHA’s objections are detailed in the 29th report of Parliament’s Standing Comm-ittee on Defence. North Block objected that absorbing soldiers who had served seven years in the military would make the CAPFs older and greyer. The parliamentary committee rebutted that, pointing out that the average soldier is recruited at 19 years and would be just 26 years old after seven years of military service. Since the age limit for recruitment into CAPFs is 26 years, ex-servicemen would qualify even as fully trained soldiers.  The MoHA then protested that soldiers have a proclivity for excessive force, whereas the CAPFs must function with a softer touch. The Standing Committee responded that soldiers, who are extensively employed in counter-insurgency operations in J&K and the northeast, have conclusively demonstrated the restraint that such situations demand. In a sarcastic aside, the Standing Committee noted that CAPF restraint emerges mainly when face-to-face with Naxals and militants.  The biggest sticking point, however, was the seven years of seniority that soldiers would carry, giving them a promotion advantage over direct recruits into the CAPFs. The MoD has agreed that direct inductees’ promotion vacancies and salaries would be suitably protected.  There are more than 7,50,000 personnel in the CAPFs, which have a combined budget of more than Rs 25,000 crore in the current financial year.


1971 victory over Pak Army was India's finest win   Read more at:

Forty years ago the nation stood tall as the Indian Armed Forces came of age, from fighting tactical battles to perfecting the art of jointmanship and multi-theatre war. The Pakistan Army's surrender on December 16, 1971 was not just a tri-services victory. It was the victory of India's intelligence agencies, diplomacy and the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.  On this historical day Pak army's commander of East Pakistan - Lieutenant General A.A.K. Niazi - surrendered before Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, who was the general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army, at Dhaka Race Course.  Lt Gen Niazi took off his lanyard, badges of rank and pistol and signed the surrender document marking the end of a 13-day blitzkrieg.  The dash to Dhaka was preceded by months of careful military, diplomatic and strategic planning. The three services and the Iron Lady, as the prime minister was called, were in perfect sync.  After the genocide in East Pakistan and with 10 million refugees in India, Indira Gandhi made up her mind to liberate Dhaka. She wanted then army chief, late General Sam Manekshaw, to move in immediately in April, 1971. However the army was not prepared, Manekshaw responded.  The army did not want to get bogged down in marshy land during monsoon. Not having completely recovered after the 1962 China debacle, India wanted to wait for passes in the Himalayas on the China border to close down.  There is a debate whether Dhaka was India's aim or taking sizable chunks of border land for subsequent negotiation. One man who played a crucial role in the victory and in forcing Niazi to surrender - Lt Gen J.F.R. Jacob - insisted the advancing columns bypass all Pakistani garrisons and hit Dhaka.  This Operation was a perfect synergy of army, navy and air force. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had complete air supremacy over the eastern skies. It also destroyed airfields in then East Pakistan to deny either China or the United States an opportunity to even think of landing troops there. Navy not only blockaded Karachi but also denied Pak Navy the use of Bay of Bengal.  The Indian armed forces, which had learnt a major lesson from the 1962 debacle and the 1965 Indo-Pak war, were credited with many firsts in this operation.  Liberation of Bangladesh was carried out by 19 divisions of the Indian Army. The army has never used so many troops in any operation before or even after the 1971 war.  The many firsts also included the biggest airdrop at Tangail, first amphibious assault at Cox Bazaar, first heli-bridge over the Padma River and complete air supremacy on eastern skies.  But this blitzkrieg would never have been possible without the active and in depth role of the Mukti Jodhas of Mukti Bahini.  With just 3,000 soldiers, Indian Army surrounded Dhaka and forced 20,000 heavily armed Pakistan Army troops to surrender. It was because India broke Pakistan's morale with its total supremacy on land, sea and air.  The war had the people of Bangladesh fight shoulder to shoulder with the Indian Army. The war was won because it was a just war meant for the birth of Bangladesh.   Read more at:



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