Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Air Marshal SBP Sinha Takes Over As Deputy Chief Of Air Staff At Air Headquarters

Air Marshal SBP Sinha takes over as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air Headquarters, today. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned in the fighter stream on 15 June 1980. He has over 3700 hours of flying experience having flown the Hunter, MiG-21, Mirage 2000 and Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. 

A graduate of the Defence Services Staff College(DSSC), Wellington. He is a Cat ‘A’ Flying instructor, Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner and has undergone operational courses in France and the USA. He has held various important Command, Instructional and Staff appointments which include Instructor at the Flying Instructors’ school, Flight Commander of a Mirage 2000 squadron, Chief Flying Instructor of Basic Flying Training School, Air Force Examiner in the Aircrew Examining Board, Commanding Officer of a MiG-21 squadron, Commandant of Electronic Warfare Range, Air Officer Commanding of a premier Su-30MKI base and Team Leader of the AWACS Project Team in Israel. He has also held important Staff Appointments at the Air Headquarters which include, Deputy Director of Operations (Electronic Warfare), Principal Director of Plans, CISR and Acquisitions and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans) at Air Headquarters. He is a recipient of the Ati Vishist Seva Medal and the Vayu Sena Medal. 

Incidentally his brother Air Mshl BBP Sinha is serving as the Director General (Works & Services) at the Air Headquarters New Delhi. 

Western Air Command Station Commanders Conference

A two day Annual Commanders’ Conference of Western Air Command was inaugurated by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha PVSM AVSM VM ADC, Chief of the   Air Staff, on 30 April 2014. Commanders of all the Air Force Stations under HQ WAC are attending the conference. The CAS, on his arrival at Command HQs was received by Air Marshal SS Soman AVSM VM, AOC-in-C, HQ WAC, and was presented a ceremonial Guard of Honour.

In his inaugural address, the CAS emphasized the need for all Commanders to stay abreast of modern developments and emerging technologies, while guiding the IAF’s strategic transformation process.

He later addressed all air warriors of HQ WAC and acknowledged their hard work and professionalism. The Chief underlined the importance of IAF’s vision statement  ‘People First Mission Always’ and urged every air warrior to work with integrity and dedication to achieve organizational goals.

During the conference, the Commanders would focus on operational preparedness and measures to enhance operational capability.

The CAS was accompanied by Mrs Lily Raha, President AFWWA, who was received by Mrs Rashmi Soman, President AFWWA (Regional) at Subroto Park. After a review of the various welfare activities undertaken by units within WAC, she interacted with the Sanginis of WAC.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

For The First Time HAL Chairman's Post To Be Filled By Applicants With 1 Year Service Left

Current Chairman Dr. R. K. Tyagi is due for retirement in January 2015.

He tried for an extension but Defence Minister AK Antony turned it down. 
Tyagi took over as the Chairman of HAL from March 2, 2012. Before joining HAL, he was Chairman cum Managing 
Director at Pawan Hans Helicopter Limited (PHHL) from May 2007 to February 2012.

V.M Chamola-- Director Human Resources 

Since he holds a non-technical appointment, he may not be considered, but he's in the running. Chamola joined HAL in 1996 as Deputy General Manager (Personnel & Administration) at Engine Division, Bangalore Complex.  

He took over as Director (Human Resources) of the Company on 27th July, 2011.He is also holding the additional charge of the post of Managing Director (Accessories Complex), HAL in respect of Hyderabad and Korwa Divisions, since 1st August, 2013.

Dr. A K Mishra -- Director Finance 

Dr Mishra too holds a non-technical appointment so he too might lose out. In June 2007, Dr. Mishra was made Executive Director (Finance) in HAL Accessories Complex.

Lucknow and later joined Corporate Office in 2008.Dr. A. K. Mishra was appointed as Director (Finance) with effect from 28th October, 2011.

T. Suvarna Raju -- Director : Design & Development

Holding a technical appointment, Raju fits the bill but there's a vigilance case against him, pertaining to recruitments, for which an inquiry is on.  May lose out because of this, but never know.

Raju joined HAL on 26th June, 1980. He has contributed to the success of many important projects such as the establishment of repair / overhaul facilities of Jaguar, Mirage, LCA, HAWK, LRUs. Under his leadership the Company has successfully completed Mirage First Major inspection, License production of DARIN-II Jaguar Strike & Trainer aircraft and Jaguar aircraft upgrade. He established facilities for HAWK Mk-132 License manufacture. He is also holding the additional charge of the post of Managing Director (Helicopter Complex), since1st June, 2013.

S. Subrahmanyan -- Managing Director (MiG Complex)

His position is stronger and clearer comparatively, in all respects. 
Known for his contribution in setting up setting up of a manufacturing facility 
for mega projects like Su-30MKI Aircraft.
Subrahmanyan was appointed as Managing Director (MiG Complex) from
1st December, 2012. He is also holding the additional charge of the post of Managing Director 
(Accessories Complex), HAL in respect of Lucknow Division and TAD Kanpur, since 1st August, 2013

For the first time PESB has advertised for the post of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman with one year service left for those applying from inside (the four candidates above, HAL Directors) and those applying from outside with 2 years of service left, unlike before, when it was 3 years for outsiders and 2 years for insiders. This has brought some discomfort to many. Other requirements are that the person should be a technical person-due to which two Directors above are likely to lose out.

Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) has sought applications by end of April 2014. 10-15 applications will be shortlisted by May-June and in July interviews wil be held by PESB and on the day of the interview itself , by evening, the winner's name will be recommended to MoD-for further action, clearance by vigilance and IB etc. The second name in reserve will be kept sealed, to be opened only if something goes wrong with the first. 

Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) N.A.K. Browne Appointed As The Next Ambassador Of India To Norway.

Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, retired Chief of the Air Staff has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Norway, despite his involvement in the tainted Agusta Westland VVIP chopper deal, which he cleared as Deputy Chief 

He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Shopian Martyr Laid To Rest In Chennai

Remains of Maj Mukund Varadarajan,of 44 RR killed in Shopian (J&K),were laid to rest in Chennai,his wife Indu Rebecca  Thomas paid her tributes through a poem.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

R.I.P. Martyrs Honoured

Wreath laying to honour Maj Mukund Vardarajan and Sepoy Vikram Singh in Delhi on 27 Apr 14

Video : PDV Maiden Test

DRDO Claims Success In Maiden PDV Interceptor Missile Test

In a significant milestone achieved in the direction of developing a two layered Ballistic Missile Defence system, DRDO today successfully carried out the maiden PDV mission meeting the mission objectives. PDV mission is for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at about more than 120km altitude.

Both, the PDV interceptor and the two stage target equipped with motors were specially developed for the PDV mission. The target was developed for mimicking a "hostile  Ballistic Missile approaching from more than 2000 km away" was launched at 0907 hrs from a Ship in the Bay of Bengal.

In an automated operation,  radar based detection and tracking system detected and tracked the enemy's ballistic missile.  The  computer network with the help of data received from Radars predicted the Trajectory of the incoming Ballistic Missile.  PDV that was  kept fully ready, took-off once the  Computer system gave the necessary command for lift-off.

The Interceptor guided by high accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS) supported by a Redundant Micro Navigation System moved towards the estimated point of the interception. Once Missile crossed atmosphere, the Heat Shield ejected and the IR Seeker dome opened to look at the Target location as designated by the Mission Computer.  With the help of Inertial Guidance   and IR Seeker the Missile moved for interception. 

All  events were monitored in real-time by the Telemetry/Range Stations, at various other locations. The mission was completed and the interception parameters were achieved.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Air Force Version Of Akash Missiles Test Fired

Two Akash missiles from the production lot of the Air Force version of Akash missile system were test fired in two separated tests in modes on Saturday the 26th April 2014, successfully intercepting the fast moving incoming and receding maneuvering targets respectively, towed by Lakshya pilot less target aircraft. The complete Akash missile system including target system were operated by Indian Air Force personnel exploiting the overall capabilities of system in different envelops. Two Squadrons of Akash missile system developed by DRDO have been already inducted in to IAF and the system is in continuous production and induction. Senior IAF dignitaries alongwith Shri S Som, Director DRDL, Shri S Ravind, Director LRDE, Shri MVKV Prasad, Director ITR witnessed the firing from Chandipur. Shri Avinash Chander Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri has congratulated all the teams from DRDO, Production agencies, Industry Partners and Indian Air Force for the excellent coordinated demonstrations.
Project Director, Shri G Chandramouli stated that all the stated mission objectives have been met and the missile system has performed as expected. It is a notable achievement that the entire equipment of sophisticated radars, control centers, launchers & ground support systems for Indian Air Force have been realized and produced in less than two years indicating the integrated capability of DRDO, DDP, Inspection agency MSQAA and Indian Industry. A path has been created for continuous production of sophisticated surface to air missile systems in the country through this programme. He sincerely thanked all the engineers/scientists/technicians who worked for this remarkable challenge set by the services and could demonstrate the performance of the system on production variants too.
 IAF placed had order for Eight Squadrons of Akash missile system. Later Indian Army placed an order for Two Regiments of Akash missile system. The total production orders placed by Services (IAF and Indian Army) for Akash missile system approximately amounts to Rs 23,000 Cr. Already missile system worth Rs 3500 Cr were delivered to the Services. In addition, 3D-Central acquisition radar (3D-CARs) which is an offshoot from Akash missile system also is in continuous production and induction to all the three Services.

Akash is a mobile multi-directional, multi-target point / area defence system which can simultaneously engage several air targets in a fully autonomous mode of operation.  The hardware and software integration of various weapon system elements permits automated management of air defence functions such as programmable surveillance, target detection, target acquisition, tracking, identification, threat evaluation, prioritization, assignment and engagement.  All the Radars, Command control centers, launchers are integrated to achieve these functionalities. The system is designed to enable integration with other air defence command and control networks through secure communication links. The system is also provided with advanced ECCM features at various levels. The weapon system is cost effective relative to equivalent systems in the global market.
The system is modular and mobile with all its components including launchers either wheeled truck or trailer mounted. Good lateral acceleration capability of missile till intercept provides high maneuverability and capability against high performance air targets, such as tactical strike aircraft, bombers, high altitude reconnaissance airplanes and armed helicopters. Equipped with multi-function phased array radar with tracking utilizing the modern electronic technology, the system has significant resistance to many kinds of active and passive jamming. All air defence functions such as classification, threat evaluation, prioritization and missile launch are automated, by virtue of usage of state of the art computation platforms and softwares.  The system is configurable to adapt to future requirement.

The system is under production at Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore for Eight squadrons for Indian Air Force. Two Regiments of Army version are under production at Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad for Indian Army.  Missiles and missile related equipments are produced by BDL. Radars and radar related equipments for both (IAF and IA) orders are produced by BEL. 
Thirteen (13) DRDO labs, Nineteen (19) Public Sector Units (PSUs), Five Ordnance Factories (OFs) and more than 200 small, medium, and few large scale private industries have actively participated during the development and production of Akash weapon system.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Army Commanders Conference

The bi-annual Army Commanders’ Conference commenced on 21 April 2014, in New Delhi, to deliberate on major operational, human resources and logistic issues affecting the Army. The conference was addressed by the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Shri AK Antony. In his speech, after being introduced to the Army Commanders, the RM emphasised upon National Security and Capability Development, reiterating that Capacity building is a continuous process that must proceed apace and unabated. He also highlighted some key issues and challenges, both external and internal that could have an impact on the Nation’s security calculus in the near future. Speaking on Internal Security, he acknowledged that improvement in the security situation in J&K was due to the synergy between the Army, other Security Forces & support of the local people. He exhorted the troops to strive tirelessly to uphold peace & security in J&K, while emphasising the need to ensure that human rights are upheld in letter He reiterated that in the North East region the Army has played a pivotal role in bringing about an improvement in the security situation. 

The Raksha Mantri emphasised that rapid growth and dependence on information and communication networks had positioned the cyber world and space as the new domains of fighting a war. Ensuring foolproof cyber security for our information infrastructure therefore would be a critical requirement. On the modernisation front, which was the biggest challenge faced by the three services, he stated that the solution lay in building a robust and responsive defence industrial base with public-private synergy and cooperation of our Armed Forces, as well as all other organisations. He also emphasised that one of the topmost priorities of the Government had been the welfare of Ex-Servicemen. ‘One Rank One Pension’ scheme had been approved and implementation process is underway. Similarly, other welfare projects like ECHS have registered a phenomenal growth since 2003, making quality health care accessible to most Ex-Servicemen, pensioners and their dependents.

Air Chief Visits Central Air Command

On 21 Apr 14, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha PVSM AVSM VM ADC Chief of the Air Staff and Mrs Lily Raha, President Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) were in Allahabad on an official visit at Headquarters Central Air Command. Air Chief Marshal Raha earlier had tenure in Allahabad in the capacity of Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief and it was a privilege for HQ CAC to host him as CAS. The CAS and President AFWWA arrived by service aircraft and were received by Air Marshal J Chauhan PVSM AVSM VSM ADC Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, CAC and Mrs. Harminder Chauhan, President AFWWA (Regional) along with the key personnel at Bamrauli Airport. The CAS reviewed a ceremonial ‘Guard  of Honour’ presented by the air warriors. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chinese Delegation Visits India

Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, Deputy Chief of General Staff (Operations), PLA China arrived in New Delhi on 22 April 2014 along with an eight member delegation for a two day visit. The visit is in response to an invitation extended by the Government of India. 

The official talks with the Chinese Delegation were held today in South Block. The two sides exchanged views on various issues of mutual interest such as maintenance of peace and tranquility along Line of Actual Control and enhancing mutual cooperation and understanding between the armies of India and China. Measures for implementation of existing Bilateral Agreements were also discussed. 

The meeting was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere. Both sides agreed on the need to enhance bilateral military engagements. The Chinese side have confirmed their participation in the Fourth India China Joint Training Exercise scheduled to be held in November 2014 in India. The PLA Delegation also called on the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh and the Defence Secretary. 

India and China attach great importance to high level military exchanges. 2014 has also been declared as “Year of Friendly Exchanges”. It may be recalled that in February this year, the PLA Delegation led by Lieutenant General Wang Guanzhong, Deputy Chief of General Staff had come to India for Annual Def Dialogue and the Indian Defence Minister had visited China in July 2013. The Chinese side have also confirmed the visit of their Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan to India later this year. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Defence Ministry Denies Announcement Of New Army Chief's Name

An agency report last evening, saying that the Ministry of Defence had recommended the name of the Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag to the Prime Minister’s Office for appointment as the next COAS, is totally baseless and is hereby denied. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Naval Chief Without Command Experience

IAF & Monster India Join Hands To Create Jobs For Retired Air Warriors

Monster India (www., one of the leading online career and recruitment solutions provider and Indian Air Force Placement Cell (IAFPC) collaborated today to provide a platform to assist the retired and shortly retiring Air warriors – Commissioned Officers and Warranted Officer/Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO),  who seek a suitable second career opportunity in the civil world.

“Indian Air Force Placement Cell is dedicated to provide possibilities and opportunities for Air warriors to showcase their aptitude in other fields after a prestigious career with the Indian Air Force. Our alliance with Monster India will definitely prove to be one of the most significant benefits to all retired/ shortly retiring Air warriors for seeking career opportunities. Monster India is one of the most credible experts in the career and recruitment solutions industry. We are hopeful that our association with them will help retiring Air warriors find the most suitable opportunity to share their expertise and add value to various organisations. We wish them the best of luck in their new career path after retiring from an illustrious phase of serving the Indian Air Force” said Air Marshal HB Rajaram AVSM VSM, Air Officer-in-charge Administration.

Pleased at the signing of this initiative, Sanjay Modi, Managing Director, (India/Middle-East/South East Asia) said, “It is an honor and privilege to be associated with the Indian Air Force.” He added “Monster India is working towards tapping the segment of retired and senior professionals across various industries and professions to provide them a direct platform to be visible amongst the right people in corporate India and share their resumes for the most relevant job openings. ‘Career after Career’ section on Monster will indeed provide Air warriors the most suitable opportunities in corporate India. We at Monster India are thankful to IAFPC for selecting us as their ‘Preferred Recruitment Partner’ and we are confident that this joint move is the beginning of a rewarding relationship between the Indian Air Force and Monster India which will certainly fructify into more avenues to partner in future.” 

A MoU between the two was signed at the Directorate of Air Veterans (DAV) in Subroto park. Speaking on the occasion, the Principal Director DAV, Air Commodore AK Patra VSM said that owing to the steep pyramidical structure of the defence forces there is a continuous supply of a large number of skilled, trained, disciplined and self motivated  ex-servicemen. The platform will enable matching the aspiration of the job seekers with that of the industry requirement. The customised services extended by Monsterindia will fulfil their aspirations and help make  a smooth transition to second career post retirement from the IAF. The DAV website is maintained by the ICICI group.

Admiral Robin Dhowan Takes Charge Of Indian Navy As Its 22nd Chief

Admiral RK Dhowan PVSM, AVSM, YSM Assumes Command of the Indian Navy 

Admiral RK Dhowan took over as the 22nd Chief of Naval Staff of Independent India today. He is the 20th Indian officer to assume command of the Indian Navy. 

On assuming command, Admiral Dhowan paid tribute to the country’s martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate and inspected an impressive ‘Guard of Honour’ at the lawns of South Block. 

In his maiden message to the Navy, he said that it is indeed a singular honour and proud privilege for him to take over the helm of one of the finest navies in the world. Admiral Dhowan indicated his priorities as the new Naval Chief wherein he stated that “for the Navy to fulfil its mandate as a maritime security provider to the nation, attention would need to be paid at all levels to ensure that there were no gaps in our security preparedness”. He emphasised that “the Navy remains strong, combat-worthy and focussed on its mandated role by optimising the employment of the newly acquired capabilities while promoting safety consciousness in the Navy”. 

The Admiral said, “We need to pull on the oars together and keep a hand on the tiller to ensure that the Navy is steered on a steady course striving towards excellence with the aim to run an efficient, taut and happy Navy”. 

Admiral RK Dhowan is a specialist in Navigation and Direction. In his long and distinguished service spanning nearly 40 years, he has served in a multitude of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. Admiral Dhowan’s Sea Commands include commands of guided missile corvette INS Khukri, guided missile destroyers INS Ranjit and INS Delhi. 

After his elevation to Flag rank, the Admiral served in the Integrated Headquarters as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy and Plans) and thereafter commanded the Eastern Fleet as Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet. He has also served as the Chief of Staff at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command. The Admiral also has the distinction of commanding the prestigious ‘National Defence Academy’, his alma mater, as the Commandant before serving as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. He took over as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff in Aug 11 and served in that capacity till his elevation to the Chief of the Naval Staff. 

Admiral Dhowan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College and Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, USA. He was also the Naval Adviser in the Indian High Commission at London from 2002 to 2005. 

He is married to Mrs Minu Dhowan and the couple have a daughter and two sons. 

INS Shivalik Wins 'Oscars Of The Fleet' - Trophies In The Best Ship, Best Gunnery & Best Surface-To-Air Missile Categories, Of The Year

As INS Shivalik nears her fourth anniversary on Apr 29th (was commissioned in 2010), she won the Best Ship of the year, along with Best Gunnery and Surface-to-air missile. She was scheduled to participate in the Chinese PLAN International Fleet Review,at the eastern Chinese port of Qingdao on April 23-24 in connection with People's Liberation Army Navy's 65th founding anniversary. This event has been cancelled due to the missing plane MH370 

Captain Satish Uniyal accepted the trophy for the ship. 

These awards are judged on the consistent performance throughout the year. These are announced at Command level, but decided by the Fleet (as they watch and monitor the entire year). About 14 trophies are announced in as many categories.

Its also considered the Oscars of the Fleet.

Vice Admiral Robin Dhowan Appointed India's Chief of Naval Staff...Govt Overlooks Seniority !!

The Government has appointed Admiral RK Dhowan PVSM AVSM YSM ADC as the Chief of the Naval Staff.
Admiral RK Dhowan was commissioned in the Navy on 01 Jan 1975. He is a Navigation and Direction specialist who has served with distinction in an array of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments through his exemplary career spanning 40 years. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College and Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, USA.
He has commanded frontline warships INS Khukri, INS Ranjit, INS Delhi and served as Chief Staff Officer (Operations) Headquarters Western Naval Command. He has also served as Indian Naval Adviser at the High Commission of India, London. He has commanded the Eastern Fleet as Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet and served as Chief of Staff at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam. He also has the distinction of commanding the prestigious ‘National Defence Academy’, his alma mater as the Commandant.
The important staff appointments held by the Admiral at Naval Headquarters are Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Policy and plans), Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Vice Chief of Naval Staff.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Army Cautions MoD On Merit VS Seniority In Selecting Naval Chief, As Succession Battle Ends , Fearing New Precedence Leading To Court Battles In Army !!

The Indian Govt is all set to appoint Vice Admiral Robin Dhowan, the officiating Chief of Naval staff as the new Naval chief. There will be one supercession, that of Vice Adm Shekhar Sinha. The Army has written to the MoD, about its fears of setting a precedence of merit versus seniority, which could spark off court battles, in the parallel sister service.

The Army and Navy seemed to have turned into battlefields of ambition and lust for power. Senior Generals and Admirals in the Army and Navy appear busy calculating who reaches the top. While Admiral D K Joshi’s resignation indicated that the Navy was sailing on choppy waters, the Army is turning into a hostile terrain as the inner conflict for the top post in the wake of General Bikram Singh’s retirement in August intensifies.

According to sources, trouble for Admiral D K Joshi,who is seen as outspoken and honest, didn’t begin with the sinking of INS Sindhurakashak submarine in Mumbai on August 14, but problems began for him much earlier, and his exit was not entirely about the accidents, but much more.

The jittery relationship between the service and MoD, got its final hammer on November 23, 2013 ,when Defence Minister A K Antony rapped the Navy for “frittering away nation’s assets” at an in-camera naval commanders conference.

Joshi was upset that Antony’s comments in a closed-door meet was made public through a Ministry press release and he vehemently defended the Navy on its safety record at the December 3, 2013 annual press conference, after which began a series of reports on as many as 13 incidents, which created an impression that the Navy was careless in its operations.

Joshi had argued with Antony on the day he resigned that even insignificant operational incidents like a boat hitting the jetty while being berthed were “blown out of proportion”. 

Naval officers have said that "there was a pattern emerging, with pulls and pressures at work,” and “there were games being played, with everything becoming obvious with each passing day,”.

What actually bothered the succession line inside the Navy was Joshi suggesting in his resignation letter that Vice Chief Admiral R K Dhowan be made the Interim Chief till a regular Admiral was appointed to the top job. 

But Dhowan having no Command experience, is what was made to be against him declaring him unfit for the post as he was not the senior-most Vice Admiral and had no “command” experience at any of the three Naval Commands at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi.

The senior-most officer is Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, and going by the seniority principle, Sinha qualifies to be the next Chief after Joshi’s resignation. But to scuttle that possibility, questions have now been raised on his moral responsibility, since nearly 12 of the accidents took place under his Command.

The Scenario in the Army:

Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh retires in August this year and present , and Vice Chief Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag is tipped to be the next chief, as per seniority.

There have been reports leading to efforts to fix responsibility on Suhag for an intelligence raid in the Northeastern region under him, as the 3 Corps Commander in Dimapur, with reports of a cold-blooded extra-judicial killing in Nagaland by the intelligence unit personnel.

General Bikram Singh, on assuming office as Chief in June 2012, revoked the ban, accepting Suhag’s explanation to an earlier notice issued to him.

Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag was promoted with retrospective effect from June 1, 2012, to take charge as Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander.

If Suhag fails to make it to the Chief's post , then Southern Army Commander Lt Gen Ashok Singh, whose son Dr Anirudh is married to General V K Singh’s daughter Yogja, would succeed General Bikram Singh as Chief. .

He is the second senior-most Lieutenant General, of the Indian army.

But Lt Gen Ashok Singh, too has a chink in his armour, as he was in charge of 1 Corps as its commander in Mathura and the armoured units under his command rolled from Hissar towards Delhi in mid-January 2012, when General V K Singh had gone to the Supreme Court against the Central Government for getting his birth date restored in service records as 1951 instead of 1950.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Strategic Forces Command Successfully Conducts Maiden Night Test Of Ballistic Agni-1

India tonight successfully conducted maiden night test of its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile with strike range of 700 km from a test range off Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Strategic Forces Command.

The surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at 2310 hours from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from Odisha.

The sophisticated missile was test-fired by the specially formed Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army as part of a user trial, ITR Director M V K V Prasad said. 

It was for the first time that Agni-1 missile was launched during night. The SFC of the Army decided to conduct the test during night keeping in mind its requirement and need for preparedness to meet any eventuality, DRDO spokesman said. 

The night trial of the missile had to be postponed twice earlier February 18 and 19 last. 

The DRDO-developed medium-range ballistic missile from the production lot was launched as part of a regular training exercise by the armed forces, sources said. 

The Agni-I missile has a specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision, he said. 

Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long, Agni-I, which can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army. 

Agni-I was developed by advanced systems laboratory, the premier missile development laboratory of the DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad. 

The last trial of the sophisticated Agni-I missile was successfully carried out by the SFC on November 8, 2013 from the same base.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Eastern Air Command Commanders Conference Commences

A two days Annual Commanders’ Conference of Eastern Air Command was inaugurated by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff, on 10 April 2014. Commanders of all the Air Force Stations under HQ EAC are attending the conference. 

The CAS and Mrs Lily Raha, President AFWWA, were received by Air Marshal RK Jolly, AOC-in-C, HQ EAC and Mrs Meenakshi Jolly, President AFWWA (Regional) at Shillong ALG. On arrival at Command HQ the CAS was given a Guard of Honour. 

In his inaugural address, the CAS acknowledged the hard work and professionalism of the air warriors deployed in the EAC. He emphasized the need for all the air warriors to be fully involved in the process of IAF’s modernisation towards full spectrum strategic force. He urged everyone to keep abreast with the modern developments and technologies for smooth transition and better absorption of modern equipment. He brought out the vital role of the NE region and gave an insight into future infrastructure development plans under EAC. 

The Chief underlined the importance of IAF’s vision statement ‘People First Mission Always’ and urged upon every air warrior to work with fully loyalty and integrity towards achieving the organizational goals and personal aspirations in times to come. 

The CAS lauded the work done by HQ EAC and all stations and was very happy to give away trophies to some of the units for their note worthy performance. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Indian Naval Commanders Conference Postponed Due To Non-Announcement Of Chief Of Naval Staff

The Indian Navy is without a Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). Since Feb 26, 2014, there's just been an acting CNS (Vice Adm Robin Dhowan). No one knew it would take so long for the Govt to announce the new person. The first casualty is the Commanders conference, which was to take place, but it has been postponed as the Navy is headless. Till the service gets a new Chief, the Commanders conference wont take place, said a senior naval officer. Formations have got it in writing.

This commanders conference takes place twice a year, where the commanders, PSOs, senior brass, gets together to deliberate on matters of operations, administrative, promotions, policies etc. 

This means naval promotion boards also on hold. 

Indian Air Force commanders conference took pace on 2-3 Apr and Army commanders conference is due on Apr 22-24.

Indian Army Conducts Successful Test Firing Of Supersonic Brahmos Cruise Missile In Pokharan

Indian Army today successfully test fired an advanced version of 290 km range supersonic cruise missile BrahMos as part of a user trial at Pokhran test range in Rajasthan.

The missile was launched by a mobile autonomous launcher deployed in full configuration with mobile command post at the ranges.

“The launch was successful and the missile hit the designated target,” Defence Spokesperson Col S D Goswami said.

Senior Army officials witnessed the launch and congratulated the operational team for its successful launch.


Army Commanders Conference To Focus On Procurements Of Small Arms, 7th Pay Commission, Among Other Things

Indian army cmmanders conference from April 22-24, 2014, will discuss about procurements, primary among them being small arms-like machine guns, rifles and LMGs, besides procurement of artillery etc.

These small arms to be procured are to the tune of 14 lakh in numbers.

Other topics this time are 7 Central Pay Commission, which was announced last year by the Govt.  Armed forces have been pitching for a separate pay commission or atleast a greater say and participation in the existing structure.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

IAF's Leh-Based 114 Helicopter Unit - 'Siachen Pioneers' Celebrates Golden Jubilee

114 Helicopter Unit, also known as the “Siachen Pioneers”, celebrated its Golden Jubilee at Leh yesterday. Senior Indian Air Force officers from Air Headquarters, Western Air Command & Ex & retired Siachen Pioneers and Army officers from local formations attended the two days long celebrations, which included visit to the Unit operations area, interaction with Unit personnel, visit to the Unit Museum, a traditional get-together with the Air Warriors of the Unit and a gala evening at the Officers’ Mess.

The occasion was marked by the maiden visit of 114 HU Commodore Commandant, Air Commodore PK Sharma VM. Also present on the occasion was the previous Commodore Commandant AVM M Bahadur VM (Retd). He has a distinction of being part of the crew of the first ever helicopter landing in the Siachen Glacier, in a Chetak helicopter, on 20 September 1978. This was a feat that paved way for the Indian Army making its stronghold on Siachen glacier. The Commanding Officer Wing Commander B S Sherawat, VM handed over the Commodore Commandant’s Flag to Air Commodore PK Sharma VM.

114 HU has been engaged in service of “Operation Meghdoot” for over three decades now. It routinely involves landing at the highest helipads in the world, in Siachen glacier & flying the helicopters to the edge of its flight envelope over a very treacherous terrain marked by uncertain weather. For its courageous deeds, the Unit has earned 62 Gallantry/ Presidential awards that include 04 Vir Chakra, 07 Shaurya Chakra, 27 VayuSena Medal (Gallantry), 12 VayuSena Medal, 05 YudhSeva Medal, 03 VishishtSeva Medal & 04 Mention-in-Despatches.

During its 50 years of outstanding service to the nation, 114 HU has been awarded the President’s Standard in 1996, Unit Citation by the Chief of Air Staff in 2004 and a place in the Limca Book for World Records for the highest helicopter landing at a density altitude of 25,140 feet. Besides this, the Unit is famous worldwide for its daring rescues of mountaineers & trekkers from across the globe year after year. In fact, the Unit motto “We do the difficult as a routine, the impossible (may) take a bit longer” is a true reflection of its hardy reputation & commitment. The Commanding Officer paid rich tribute to the Unit martyrs who laid down their lives in the line of duty “they brought us glory & we should maintain the highest professional standards all the time, this would be the most fitting tribute to the Unit martyrs”.he said during the function on 05 Apr 2014. Air Marshal B S Dhanoa YSM VM, SASO, WAC, was the chief guest for the function; he inaugurated the new officers’ mess at Air force Station, Leh yesterday. The Golden Jubilee celebration of 114 HU is the first event to be held in the new Officers Mess Complex.

The Siachen Pioneers have a special connect with the people of the Ladakh region. They regularly undertake flights in support of the local population who live in the remote regions. A very touching tribute was paid to 114 HU of the Lingshet Area Foundation Hostel, who presented a series of colourful & graceful folk dances on the occasion. The Warden of the hostel, Mr Gyshay Labzang described it as an opportunity to thank the brave pilots & air warriors of 114 HU who are their lifeline in the remote of Zanskar valley to which the children belong.

A recent initiative by AOC Leh, Air Cmde Rajesh Isser AVSM VM and the Leh administration, specially the CEC, Mr Rigzin Spalbar has ensured that the students & teachers are airlifted in IAF helicopter to reach their schools at Leh and back home, in the IAF helicopter. Earlier, the ‘Chaddar’ trek over the frozen Zanskar river was the only and a dangerous way for children, teachers of the area to reach Leh. People of the area consider this initiative to be a “godsend” said a student at the Choglamsar hostel.

As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations a seminar on High Altitude Operations is planned in May-June, at Delhi, to encapsulate the rich experience of the Unit and share the same with other operators of the IAF. Seminar would also be an opportunity to many ex Siachen Pioneers, who could not join the celebrations at Leh for various reasons.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Indian Air Force Inducts Air Warriors

547 Air Warriors were inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) at a Combined Passing Out Parade today at Air Force Station, Tambaram. The Air Warriors went through rigorous and intensive training at the two premier institutes of the base, namely Mechanical Training Institute and Workshop Training Institute, before passing out. Air Commodore Pawan Mullick Command Non-Technical Training Officer Headquarter Training Command reviewed the parade.

 While addressing the newly inducted ‘Air Warriors’, the Reviewing Officer complimented them on their immaculate turn out and impressive drill movements. He further added that Air Warriors must strive for professional excellence. He also brought out that, with the induction of state of the art equipment and weapon system,  IAF is witnessing major changes in operational philosophy and the IAF today is on the path of transforming itself into a strategic force of great caliber. He urged the air warriors to make sustained efforts towards continuous enhancement of their knowledge by keeping themselves abreast of the changes. He also advised the trainees to maintain exemplary conduct at all times, in keeping with the ethos of the service. The parade culminated with an impressive display of Continuity Drill, Pipe Band, Aerobics and Yoga.

Earlier the Air Commodore Pawan Mullick was received by Air Commodore Rippon Gupta, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Tambaram.

The parade was followed by presentation of awards and trophies to the meritorious trainees. The passing out trainees were administered Oath/Affirmation on this auspicious day of their joining the Air Force fraternity.

The ‘Best All-rounder Trophy’ was awarded to LAC Sarabjeet Singh Prop Fitter of Mechanical Training Institute and LAC Mangal Singh Mech Fitter of Workshop  Training Institute.

Statue Of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw Unveiled On His Birth Centenary

03 Apr 2014, marks the birth centenary of Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, MC, one of the most illustrious Generals of the Indian Army.  Popularly called, ‘Sam Bahadur,’ he was the epitome of soldiering and visionary military leadership.  He was a key architect of our glorious military victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War,which led to the birth of Bangladesh.  

To honour the legendary General and inspiring leader, his ‘Statue’ was unveiled and a Book titled, ‘Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw – The Man and His Times’ was released on 03 Apr 2014, at the Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt. The proceedings began with a welcome address by Lt Gen Rameshwar Yadav, Director General of Infantry. Addressing the august gathering he gave a brief expose on the career highlights of the Late Field Marshal which spanned more than four decades of active military service. The event was attended by Mrs Maja Daruwalla, daughter of the legendary leader, accompanied by her husband.

Gen Bikram Singh, the Chief of the Army Staff, unveiled the Field Marshal’s Statue and released the Book on his life and times. The Chief of the Army Staff also addressed a large audience which comprised of a number of retired Army Chiefs, senior serving officers and veterans as also siblings and close relatives of the Field Marshal. Dwelling upon the numerous examples of soldierly traits and visionary leadership skills which the Field Marshal epitomised, Gen Bikram Singh called upon the serving officers, especially from the younger generations, to draw inspiration from Field Marshal Manekshaw and commit themselves to seeking professional excellence, in service of the Nation.

As part of the ongoing centenary celebrations a number of events were organised at Ooty & Coonor, the place where he chose to spend his final days. A 14 km Marathon was organised from Ooty to Wellington today morning. A statue of Field Marshal Manekshaw was also unveiled at Wellington. In addition, a prayer meeting and wreath laying was organised at the Parsi-Zoroastrian Cemetery at Ooty.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sam Bahadur, The Indefatigable Field Marshal And His Tryst With Death

Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw remains one of the most enigmatic personas of our times.

Popularly known as Sam Bahadur -- a name purportedly uttered by a Gorkha soldier after failing to recall his tongue-twister Parsi name, literally means - Sam, the fearless; and remains his most easily remembered name till date.

Sam cheated death on a few occasions, both in a battlefield and away from it. He, however, lived on to be nonagenarian. Sam wanted to be a doctor much like his military-doctor father but ended being a field marshal.

As a young Captain, while posted in Burma and fighting a war with the Japanese in 1942, he was critically wounded with as many as nine bullets lodged in his body. While battling for life, his valiant Sikh orderly Sepoy Sher Singh came to his rescue and saved him from certain death.

The valiant Sikh soldiers of his platoon had proclaimed: “Captain Manekshaw is the crown of our head and has to be rescued at any cost”. Sam's orderly, Sher Singh, carried him on his back a good distance to the medical aid post where the army doctors were forced to treat him on priority.

Sam Manekshaw was decorated with a Military Cross (MC) for his exemplary courage during this period as it was feared he might die. MC, it may be known, was not awarded posthumously until 1979. Sam not only survived the ordeal but lived on to be 94.

Sam would eventually leave all his admirers on June 27, 2008, peacefully in his sleep in his Conoor home - Stavka - in the Nilgiris hills, surrounded by family members and well-wishers.

Towards the latter years of his life, Sam Manekshaw, who otherwise enjoyed robust health despite his grave injuries early in life, needed medical help to overcome some respiratory problems that began surfacing.

That was when an army doctor, Colonel BNBM Prasad, a pulmonary specialist, who is now a senior General himself, was assigned to attend to the field marshal.

The two would eventually share a bond beyond the usual doctor-patient relationship that lasted till the end, and curiously enough even beyond his death.
            Gen Prasad who was until recently Commandant, Eastern Command Hospital at Kolkata was with the field marshal until his passing away. He offers rare insight of the gritty Sam, the fearless, even moments before passing away.

Sam Manekshaw would often relate many tales from his life to his doctor as they spent considerable time together during recuperation. He often spoke fondly of his darling wife Silloo, who preceded him on February 13, 2001, after a brief illness.

He would also speak of his doting daughters Sherry and Maja, son-in-laws Dinky Batliwala and Dhun Daruwalla, and grandchildren who also called him 'Sam' lovingly.

Above all, the field marshal's favourite talk would invariably revolve around his dear Gorkha soldiers who were more than just a family to him. Such was his endearment with them that the household and the pristine elegance at Stavka are preserved as Sam would have loved it by the trusted Gorkha families residing at his quarters.

Dr. Prasad easily reminisces 1971, the year when he was a student at Mysore Medical College as a period charged with patriotic fervor. India had defeated Pakistan decisively and a new country Bangladesh was created. Gen SHFJ Manekshaw, then Army Chief, was the toast of the nation.

"Many like me were motivated during our formative years to join the armed forces instead of seeking a lucrative career elsewhere," alluding to the enigmatic Sam Bahadur aura.

"Though I joined army as a doctor in 1977, I got the first opportunity to see him in person and listen to him in early nineties during the passing out parade at Indian Military Academy in Dehradun when he was invited to address the young officers," states Prasad.

He would eventually be appointed personal physician to the field marshal.

It would, however, take Col Prasad a whole decade more before meeting up his all-time hero. The year was 2003, when the field marshal first visited Army Hospital (Research and Referral) in New Delhi for his respiratory ailment.

"What impressed me the most on my first personal meeting with him was his magnetic charm. He was a star attraction as he slowly walked in the corridors of the hospital. People in the vicinity used to look at him with bated breath and admire silently despite his age and ill health," recalls Gen Prasad.

"As a doctor serving in the Indian Armed forces for past three decades, I have come across all types of patients. Some of them are very demanding while some are very humble who readily follow my advice without any murmur. The field marshal was an exception."

A gritty fighter till the end.

A year later while staying in a Mumbai hotel, the field marshal developed acute chest infection due to exposure to chill from the air conditioner. He was air dashed to Delhi and was brought to Army Hospital (R&R).

"When I examined him on his arrival, I found him quite sick and weak, barely able to walk.”

Despite his illness he politely declined to sit on a wheel chair and walked all the way to the radiology department for a chest x-ray. He was found to be suffering from a severe chest infection and required immediate hospitalization.

"As he was not inclined for an immediate hospitalization, I took the risk of treating him at his younger daughter’s residence in Delhi after convincing hospital authorities to permit domiciliary care" recalls Gen Prasad.

To his doctor, Sam Manekshaw would recount his father Dr. Hormusji Manekshaw's concern for his health and of the letter his father wrote asking him to give up smoking and drinking with a stern warning “Son, if you drink and smoke any more you will be dead soon.”

Sam joked: “Doctor, had I listened to my father and stopped drinking and smoking as I did initially while I was in the hospital, I would have died long time back.” He would never let his illness come in the way of humouring all those who looked after him.

Both advancing age and weak lungs by now began to progressively decline his health. He wished to spend last part of his life in his favorite house - Stavka - in Connoor.

He was relatively at ease in his own surroundings amidst Gorkha orderlies, pets, garden and local people.

Final days with his doctor

"The last time I saw him was on an emergency visit from Delhi at Military Hospital Wellington, Nilgiris following sudden deterioration of his condition on June 22, 2008."

This time I found a pale self of the ageing field marshal. He was gasping for breath and was bedridden and was barely able to open his eye lids.

"My long experience of dealing such cases, who have chronic lung disease complicated by a deadly broncho-pneumonia which the frail and 94-years old field marshal was suffering from, made me sound alarm bells and alert all concerned expecting an inevitable in next few hours," recalls Gen Prasad.

Given his condition, Dr. Prasad feared that their most illustrious patient would not possibly survive the next 24 hours. Killer pneumonia was getting the better of the gritty warrior.

Grandson Jehan and son-in-law Dhun Daruwala had lost hopes and were praying at his bedside for a miracle. His daughters, Sherry and Maja were on their way from Chennai and Delhi.

All were fervently praying and hoping he held on till their arrival. Defying odds as he did in the past, the wily field marshal held his own against the deadly infection for the next few days till his affectionate daughters were at his side before end came.

When his daughters came, he recognized them and spoke to them for the last time. He timed his death like his famous military operations at his will, and emerged triumphant in both - his life and in death.

Moments before the end, those present around him would witness an amazing happening.

Sam Manekshaw's younger daughter, Maja Daruwala, while trying to control her emotions, spoke about the life and times of her illustrious father to her near comatose father, acknowledging her love for him.

The moment she mentioned the name of her mother Silloo, he responded despite his state. The monitor which showed his oxygen saturation precipitously low and falling, suddenly shot up briefly while his breathing and pulse remained stable.

He passed away during wee hours peacefully on June 27, 2008, while his daughters held his hand and prayed.

He perhaps had the premonition of his death. He told an attending doctor few days before his death pointing at a skin rash on his forearm that he will be dead once the rash disappears. Sure enough the rash disappeared, and so did the iconic legend.

Despite debilitating illness, the field marshal had once asked: “Doctor, why can’t you have a scotch in my name? My sincere apologies that I just can’t give you company for the reasons better known to you.”

A week after he passed away, Col Prasad would have a surprise visitor. The field marshal's grandson, Jehan, dropped by his office in Delhi to deliver a small gift - a bottle of scotch under instructions from his grandfather with the following note: 

"Col Prasad, FM sent his apologies that he could not drink this with you..."

I remember Sam Bahadur On His 100th Birthday

Sam 'Bahadur' Manekshaw - April 3, 1914-June 27, 2008

The photo above was taken on November 16, 1999, when I met Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw for the first time in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. As his maroon Mercedes with five shining stars below the bonnet, screeched onto the road leading to the newly constructed war memorial of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), opposite Khetrapal Auditorium, early morning, we all stood up and I was left agape, partly by the stiff, upright and glowing officer and partly by the car he had alighted from. He had a certain aura about him. He had been invited to inaugurate the war memorial.

I went up to him during the tea break to wish him, when the then Deputy Commandant of IMA, Major General K K Karnik introduced me to him and said, "Here's our young instructor, who teaches the boys." Sam asked me, "What's your age young lady?" Seeing the media persons around him, I went close to him to whisper my age, to which he exclaimed if the boys listened to me or not. I just smiled, when Maj Gen Karnik chipped in saying, "Sir, the boys never miss her class." The Field Marshal, in his usual witty and flirtatious manner said, "I wouldn't either." I made an entry, of the biggest compliment in my life, in my diary, in red.

The same evening during the Dinner Night at the officer's mess of IMA, the Field Marshal went up to a newly wed bride of a young Captain, wearing a huge 'mangalsutra'. After exchanging the initial pleasantries with the ladies, Manekshaw went close to the new bride and saw the ornament closely and said, "Young lady I like your Kamasutra." The Captain's wife was embarrassed, and didn't know how to react.

At a bara-khana in a Gorkha unit, Manekshaw and his wife were invited, where a young, newly commissioned officer was made his wife's LO. At the end of the party, the young officer came up to the couple to ask Mrs Manekshaw her next day's programme and started fumbling 'Sir'...Ma'am'…'Sir'…..when Manekshaw turned to his wife and said, "Darling, take the young officer around and please show him that you don't have balls!!" ----A Garhwal Rifles Colonel posted in Delhi.