Thursday, August 16, 2018

72nd Independence Day Celebrated

Defence Minister’s Customary Broadcast to the Armed Forces 

Following is the text of customary broadcast by the Defence Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman to the Armed Forces personnel over All India Radio on the eve of the 72nd Independence Day:

“My dear Jawans,
            I congratulate you and your family members on the auspicious occasion of 72nd Independence Day. My best wishes to the officers and jawans of Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and other Defence establishments, posted in both, peace and conflict areas on the borders and in the remotest corners of the country.

            As we celebrate this festival of freedom, my heart goes out to those brave martyrs of the soil and their families who gave the supreme sacrifice to protect our motherland. We remember them with gratitude and the nation will always remain indebted to them. They set an example to the society through their selfless sacrifice.

            From the Ministry of Defence, our endeavour would be to provide all dues and facilities to our brave soldiers who guard the nation and ensure peace and thus, prosperity to the countrymen. Let me assure you that there shall be no shortcoming in this effort.

            In line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, we have taken the decision to pay the uniform allowance and clarity has been brought in with respect to what is covered within the ambit of the allowance and what clothing items will be provided by the Government. As you are aware, a contract for procurement of nearly 2 lakh Bullet Proof Jackets with best of the class specifications is underway. Similarly, in order to ensure faster decision making, be for the day to day requirements of the troops or the ammunitions, greater powers have been delegated to the Force Headquarters and other lower functionaries. All available funds are being put to optimum utilisation, so that there is no shortage of essential items.             

In a first ever exercise after Independence, the Ministry of Defence in consultation with the Indian Army has decided to reform the Indian Army in a planned manner. The first phase of the reforms involves redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers, JCOs, ORs and civilians. Major reforms include optimisation of Signals establishments, restructuring of repair echelons, redeployment of Ordnance echelons, better utilization of Supply and Transport echelons and Animal Transport units besides closure of Military Farms and Army postal establishments in peace locations. Steps are also being taken towards enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army and improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps. This restructuring is aimed at enhancing the combat capability of the Army in a manner that the officers, JCOs and ORs will be used for improving the operational preparedness.

The Government had taken a historic decision to implement “One Rank, One Pension”, OROP for Defence personnel in November 2015 and had promised to pay arrears in four instalments. I can say that all OROP arrears have been cleared now with over 10,788 crore rupees spent. More than 65.81 lakh defence pensioners have benefited from this.    

The Liberalised Family Pension which was available to army personnel working on Line of Control or International Border along Pakistan border, has now been extended to the personnel working along Line of Actual Control with China as well. This Liberalised Family Pension covers accidental death or injury sustained during natural calamities and provides for 100% of last reckonable emoluments.

The Government has enhanced the monetary allowances for the Gallantry Award winners. The enhancement is both for the recipients of post-independence as well as pre-independence Gallantry Awards. An online portal dedicated to the gallantry award winners since Independence, has also been launched.

Also, to recognise and honour the gallantry of our soldiers, the National War Memorial is under construction near India Gate at New Delhi. It will be inaugurated soon.                                                                                                          

Conceding to the request of our Ministry, orders have been issued by the Department of Public Enterprises for recruitment of disabled Ex-Servicemen and the dependents of Servicemen killed in action in Group C and D posts in Public Sector Enterprises by giving them relaxed standards in selection. A Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with the Confederation of Indian Industry and FICCI to provide employment to Ex-Servicemen.                                     

In order to provide quality health care to all of you, a new Radio Frequency Identification enabled ECHS Smart Card project has been launched for better authentication and medical facilities. Earlier, there was only one Artificial Limb Centre at Pune but now, the facility is available at 53 ECHS empanelled Centres in different locations for its beneficiaries. The country now has an elaborate network of ECHS covering 374 out of 716 districts of the country. 

The government is also committed to provide houses to the Army personnel and their widows on ‘‘No Profit, No Loss” basis. The Army Welfare Housing Organisation has completed 96 projects and handed over 29,891 houses to soldiers and families so far and will continue to do so.

Last year, we launched a special digital campaign to celebrate Armed Forces Flag Day and to encourage the public to contribute generously towards the welfare of Disabled Ex-Servicemen, War Widows and Children of Martyrs. As a result of these efforts, 73.82 crore rupees collected under the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund and the same has been distributed to 30,344 beneficiaries till July 2018 for their identified personal needs. 

Moreover, a large number of philanthropic organisations and individuals have been making contributions to the bank account opened for the welfare of the bereaved families of Battle Casualties, named Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund. More than 1.85 lakh contributions amounting to nearly 31 crore rupees have been received and grants have been released to 301 families of battle casualties so far.    

With these words, I once again extend my heartiest greetings to all of you and your near and dear ones on the 72nd Independence Day. The country looks at you with great pride and you must keep on guarding the border-lines with all the might and be always prepared to reply to any aggression by the forces inimical to the nation. Let us give our very best in the service of Mother India!

Independence Day Celebrations -2018 at Red Fort
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will unfurl the National Flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort, tomorrow to celebrate the 72nd Independence Day. After unfurling the Tricolour, Shri Narendra Modi will address the nation.

On arrival at Lahori Gate of Red Fort, the Prime Minister will be received by the Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre and Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra.

The Defence Secretary will introduce the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, Lt. General Asit Mistry to the Prime Minister. The GoC Delhi Area will then conduct the Prime Minister to the Saluting Base where a combined Inter-Services and Police Guard will present the general salute to the Prime Minister. Thereafter, Shri Narendra Modi will inspect the Guard of Honour.

The Guard of Honour contingent for the Prime Minister will consist of one officer and 24 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police. The Guard of Honour will be positioned directly in front of the National Flag across the moat below the ramparts.

This year, the Navy being the Coordinating Service, the Guard of Honour will be commanded by Commander PR Jagan Mohan of the Indian Navy. The Army Contingent in the Prime Minister’s Guard will be commanded by Major Suraj Pal, the Navy contingent by Lt Cdr MYV Tejas, while Sqn Ldr Praveen Narayan will lead the Air Force contingent and the Delhi Police contingent by ACP Shri Jagdev Singh Yadav. 

The Army contingent for the Prime Minister's Guard is drawn from the elite Fifth Battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles. The battalion was initially raised in January 1942 at Dharamshala by Lt Col JLF 'O' Ferral and was later demobilized in December 1946. It was re-raised on January 01, 1965 at Solan (Himachal Pradesh) by Lt Col Govind Sharma and served in erstwhile NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh) in its first assignment.

The battalion proved its mettle during ‘Operation Cactus Lily’ in East Pakistan in 1971 when led by its dynamic Commanding Officer Lt Colonel C Venugopal, the unit carried out five consecutive attacks on Santoshpur, Uthali, Darsana, Kushtia and Hardinge Bridge. During the campaign the unit was awarded with three Mahavir Chakras and two Vir Chakras. The unit was honoured with the Battle Honour DARSANA and the Theatre Honour EAST PAKISTAN for its outstanding performance.
The battalion also participated in ‘Operation Pawan’ in Sri Lanka in 1989 where it was awarded with two Vir Chakras and six Sena Medals for the gallant actions of its soldiers.

The battalion, during its deployment in ‘Operation Rakshak’ in Panzgam, Jammu & Kashmir from 1997-1999 neutralized 36 hardcore terrorists and recovered huge caches of arms and ammunitions. 17 Gallantry Awards including, one Shaurya Chakra and eight Sena Medals were conferred to the Unit for its achievements. The unit was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Unit Citation.

The battalion also had a prestigious opportunity to serve in United Nation Mission in Sudan. During its tenure in Sudan from March 2008 to May 2009, the unit participated in numerous humanitarian missions and was awarded with Force Commander's Unit Citation for its exemplary performance. During ‘Operation Rhino’ in Assam, the battalion neutralized 15 hardcore militants and recovered large quantities of arms & ammunitions. The unit was awarded with the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Eastern Command) Unit Citation for its exemplary performance.

The unit also represented Indian Army at the prestigious Army Cambrian Patrol Championship held in United Kingdom in 2007 and won Gold Medal.

The battalion is presently performing the honourable duty of Ceremonial Army Guard to the President of India.

After inspecting the Guard of Honour, the Prime Minister will proceed to the ramparts of the Red Fort where he will be greeted by the Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre, the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and the Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa. The GoC Delhi area will conduct the Prime Minister to the dais to unfurl the National Flag.

The unfurling of the tri-colour will synchronize with the 21 Gun Salute fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 2281 Field Battery (Ceremonial). The ceremonial battery will be commanded by Lt. Col C Sandeep and the Gun Position Officer will be Regiment Havildar Major Kolate Rajesh Shripati.

The National Flag Guard comprising 32 men and one officer each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police will present the Rashtriya Salute at the time of unfurling of the National Flag by the Prime Minister. Commander Vaibhav N Janbandhu from the Indian Navy will be in command of this Inter-Services Guard and Police Guard. The Naval Contingent for the National Flag Guard will be commanded by Lt Cdr Prashant Parbakr, the Army contingent by Major Ashwin Shah, the Air Force contingent by Sqn Ldr Vivek Mohan and the Delhi Police contingent by Addl DCP Shri Rajendra Prasad Meena. 

The Naval Band will play the National Anthem when the National Guard presents the ‘Rashtriya Salute’ while unfurling the National Flag by the Prime Minister. All Service personnel in uniform will stand and salute. The Band will be commanded by Chief Petty Officer Musician, VP Singh”.
Two Naval Officers, Lt GA Reddy and Lt AG Nikhil will be positioned on either side of the saluting dais for the Prime Minister for ADC duties. Lt Sarthak Nischal will assist the Prime Minister in unfurling the National Flag. 

The Army Contingent for the National Flag Guard is drawn from the 11th Battalion of the Rajputana Rifles.

The battalion was raised by Lt Col RisaI Singh (later retd as Maj Gen) on October 01, 1964 at Delhi Cantt with a fixed class composition of Rajput and Jat. 

With the motto of ‘Veer Bhogya Vasundhara’ which means ‘The Brave shall inherit the Earth’, the battalion has participated in all major operations of the Indian Army viz lndo-Pak War 1971 , ‘Operation Orchid’, ‘Operation Pawan (Sri Lanka)’, ‘Operation Rakshak-1 (Punjab)’, ‘Operation Rakshak (J&K)’, ‘Operation Meghdoot’, ‘Operation Vijay’, ‘Operation Parakaram’, ‘Operation Falcon’, ‘Operation Rhino’, UNMIS (Sudan). It is a highly decorated battalion with recipients of one Ashok Chakra, one Kirti Chakra, six Shaurya Chakras, one Bar to Shaurya Chakra, four Vir Chakras, 28 Sena Medals, one Vishisht Seva Medal and number of commendation cards by military commanders.

The battalion has also been awarded with Chief of Army Staff Unit Citation for outstanding performance in ‘Operation Rakshak (J&K)’ in 1994 and again in 1999 for ‘Operation Meghdoot’ and ‘Operation Vijay’. They are also the proud recipient of J&K Governor's Citation in 1994, recipient of Force Commander's citation in United Nation Mission in Sudan in 2011 and recipient of Northern Army Commander's citation in 1994 and 2018.

The Turtok sub sector in Jammu and Kashmir was renamed as Sub Sect Haneef after the gallant action of Capt Haneefuddin of the battalion who made the supreme sacrifice on the icy heights of Ladakh region during 'Operation Vijay' and was posthumously awarded with Vir Chakra. The war cry of the unit is ‘RAJARAM CHANDRAKI JAI’.

After unfurling the National Flag, the Prime Minister will address the Nation. After the Prime Minister's address, school children and NCC Cadets will sing the National Anthem.

Seven hundred cadets of the National Cadet Corps drawn from 16 schools of the Delhi Directorate comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force wings are participating in the flag hoisting ceremony this year. The cadets will take part in the singing of patriotic songs and the National Anthem along with the school children. 3,500 girls from 36 schools of Directorate of Education, Government of Delhi will sing the National Anthem and 5,000 boys from 72 schools will witness the event. On this occasion, these school children will display the formation of ‘भारत’(Bharat).

Gallantry medals to Naval Personnel on The Independence Day 2018



A very severe cyclonic storm Ockhi struck southern coast of India in end Nov/ early Dec 17 causing massive devastation and claiming lives of at least 218 people. On 01 Dec 17, Captain P Rajkumar (03228-K) was the Captain of naval helicopter Sea King 528 and the officer and his crew flew sorties from Trivandrum throughout the day for search and rescue operations. While braving the fury of nature and undertaking rescue missions, the officer rescued four survivors from the rough seas during the day.

Whilst disembarking the survivors at Trivandrum at about 1830 hrs, one of them reported sighting one fisherman, adrift at sea. It was post sunset and the crew was at the limit of their fatigue, having flown throughout the day. Also, the aircraft had flown continuously with two hot re-fuelling and no Turn Round Servicing, and there was considerable risk involved in undertaking a fresh mission. However, with no regard to his safety, Capt Rajkumar took a tough call and decided to fly the life threatening mission on the stormy night of cyclone to save the solitary survivor in the raging sea. His risk was considerably enhanced by the fact that, neither the aircraft nor the crew was equipped with any Night Vision Devices.

Flying against all odds he reached the area 30 nautical miles into rough seas on a pitch dark night, and descended his helicopter to as low as 200 feet to search for the survivor. About 25 minutes into search, the survivor was sighted clutching onto a capsized boat. With his vast experience and superior piloting skills, the officer brought the enormous aircraft into a hover at 25 feet over the raging sea, in a pitch dark night, heavy swell, nil visibility and with no night vision aids. A slight error could crash the aircraft and its crew into the raging seas. Several attempts were made to position the rescue strop over the survivor; however the survivor continued to cling onto the capsized boat making no attempts to leave the lifeline in his hand. At this juncture he took a very bold decision viz to lower a diver into the water by night, in order to assist the survivor in wearing the strop. Had this daring action gone wrong, it would have resulted in losing two lives instead of one. Having dispatched the diver, the officer now maintained an extremely difficult manual hover for almost 30 minutes unmindful of his own safety, with the aircraft being subjected to extreme weather conditions. Anything could have gone wrong at this stage, as both the men and machinery were operating at their extreme limits.

The bold decision and daring act of the officer enabled saving a human life in extreme conditions and was possible only because of the sheer determination, courage and decision making abilities of the officer. For the undeterred commitment to save human life in the most trying conditions accompanied by courage, fortitude and display of valour in the face of danger, the officer is recommended for the award of Shaurya Chakra.


 Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi volunteered for Indian Navy’s expedition, Navika Sagar Parikrama – an all woman circumnavigation of the globe under sails on INSV TARINI. This expedition was unique as it was the maiden attempt by an all women naval officers crew to sail around the globe in a yacht, covering a distance of nearly 22,300 nautical miles (41,255 Km). Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi was nominated as skipper of the vessel and therefore her responsibility had increased manifold. Prior to setting sail on their global mission, the officer trained hard and mapped Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Oceans under sail, as part of their training for the arduous expedition. The officer had a minimum of 20,000 nautical miles of sailing experience to qualify for the challenge. Since, this was the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew, it highlighted women empowerment to the rest of the world and has set an example for other Indian women to emulate.

The expedition commenced on 10 Sep 17 from Goa and was completed on  21 May 18 at Goa. Thus, the officer, as a participant of the expedition spent more than spent more than 06 month (194 days) at sea and nearly 08 months away from home port. Such prolonged duration at sea in inhospitable conditions requires courage, determination and a never-say-die attitude. Also, the officer sailed through a number of oceans and seas, some of which are known to be constantly perilous because of prevailing rough weather and sea conditions. The entire voyage was completed using sails, regularly negotiating 10m waves and over 100 Kmph winds with the temperatures varying between 4 to 40 degree Celsius as the vessel traversed through different parts of the world. The officer was often over 4000 to 5000 Km from the nearest land and beyond the range of any meaningful rescue operation in the event of an emergency. In such trying circumstances, it is the skipper who is single handedly responsible for safety of the ship and crew, and Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi, as skipper, displayed courage, high professional acumen and motivational skills of high order to ensure successful culmination of the expedition. 

At about 2000h on 14 Jan 18, as INSV Tarini negotiated the treacherous waters off the Cape Horn, often dubbed ‘the graveyard of ships’ owing to the dangerous seas conditions in the Pacific Ocean, she was overtaken by a cold front with winds gusting upto 130 Kmph. The turbulent weather caused large 10 meter high waves to come crashing down onto the boat thereby de-capacitating the crew. At this juncture the skipper deftly steered the boat keeping it safe by applying the best navigation and seamanship practices suited to the prevailing circumstances and sea conditions. The storm lasted for one whole day and the boat was maneuvered with exceptional daring and courage to remain afloat. The officer worked undauntedly to save the boat, thus avoiding a situation that could have required the launch of an international rescue effort. 

Successful completion of circumnavigation voyage over 194 days at sea is a testimony of the raw courage, endurance and professionalism displayed by the officer and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Navy. Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi (43077-A) is therefore strongly recommended for the award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).



Lt Cdr Kunal Saini, a Marine Commando (MARCO), was posted at Naval Detachment in J&K since 28 Jul 17. On the night of 06 - 07 Jan 18 the officer was deployed along with his team for night water surveillance. On receiving a tip off regarding presence of a suspected terrorist in a secluded place located on the fringes of Wular Lake near Bakshibal, Buniyar, the immediately swung into action and headed towards the location indicated using his assault craft. Intelligence indicated that the suspected site was being utilized by terrorists as a hideout/ place for storage of arms/ammunition. On reaching the location, the suspected building was cordoned by MARCOs so as to cut all escape routes. The officer carried out quick appreciation of the situation and formulated a plan to search the suspected building. Without losing any precious time, the officer led a MARCOs squad and carried out room intervention of the building. The swift/ sudden intervention by MARCOs took the suspect by surprise. When suspect was challenged to surrender, he pulled out his pistol and aimed towards the MARCOs. In a daring move, the officer without caring for his personal safety, immediately engaged him in unarmed combat, overpowered him and pinned him down. Thorough search of the suspect revealed that he was carrying Chinese hand grenades also which could have inflicted multiple casualties to the team, had the surprise was lost/ he was not overpowered in time by the officer. The exemplary display of gallant act, courage and unwavering leadership by the officer led to apprehension of the most wanted OGW of LeT and recovery of War like stores. This is in keeping with the highest traditions of the service and therefore the officer is recommended for the award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).



Lieutenant Commander Anil Raina (05821 B) was deployed as the Team Leader of Naval Marine Commandos at Wular Lake in Op Rakshak. On 07 Jan 18, the officer displayed a high level of professional competence, daring and personal example, when he successfully planned and led an operation that resulted in apprehension of two hardcore Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists and an Over Ground Worker (OGW). The officer meticulously planned the ambush operation in a semi urban setting to execute the mission without any collateral damage in a populated civilian area. He positioned himself and his team members in an area offering a clear field of view of the planned ambush site, despite the dangers of receiving hostile fire at close quarters. On sighting the two terrorists, the officer kept his calm and decided to physically apprehend them so as to avoid any civilian casualty. On being suddenly confronted at close quarters, the two militants and one OGW attempted a quick escape. Realising this, the officer displayed exemplary courage and with total disregard to personnel safety charged on one of the terrorist, who was on the verge of lobbing a grenade and quickly overpowered him whilst also signalling his other teammates to apprehend the other terrorist before they could open fire on them. This gallant act of the Officer resulted in apprehension of both the hard-core terrorists and an OGW without any casualty to self or civilian population in the vicinity. The capture of terrorists and OGW alive enabled apprehension of additional nine OGWs of hardcore terrorist organization thereby delivering a severe blow to their activities in the area. For this act of stupendous courage in the face of enemy, display of sound leadership in the face of adversity, concern for safety of his men and civilian population, which is in keeping with the highest tradition of the Service, Lieutenant Commander Anil Raina is strongly recommended for award of “Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry)”.



Cyclone Ockhi lashed Kerala by nightfall on 30 Nov 17, stranding hundreds of fishermen at sea. V K VermaLA (FD) was the free diver of the first helicopter to reach rescue area in extreme weather conditions, torrential rain and poor visibility. Immediately upon arriving, the crew sighted a capsized boat being tossed around mercilessly in high waves with eight fishermen clinging onto a rope. With shifting winds, and sea spray, the aircraft at hover was being battered. Despite trying conditions, Verma braved the 4 metre high swell to rescue six survivors. While rescuing the seventh fisherman, three fingers of his left hand got entangled in the steel wire winch cable. Despite the bleeding hand, exposed flesh and suspected broken fingers, Verma insisted that he be sent down once again to rescue the remaining fisherman. Fighting excruciating pain and showing superhuman grit and courage, Verma rescued the last survivor also to safety.

V K Verma, LA (FD) in the face of life threatening danger during a Severe Cyclonic Storm, rescued the lives of eight fishermen. For the remarkable courage and determination he displayed under adverse conditions, V K Verma LA (FD) 219814-B is recommended for award of Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry).

Gallantry and Other Decorations for Coast Guard Personnel

On the occasion of Independence Day 2018 the President of India has awarded one President's Tatrakshak Medal (PTM) (Distinguished Service), five Tatrakshak Medal (TM) (Gallantry) and two Tatrakshak Medal (TM) (Meritorious Service) to the following Indian Coast Guard personnel for their act of conspicuous gallantry and distinguished/ meritorious service. The detailed list of the awardees are as follows:-

(a)        President's Tatrakshak Medal (Distinguished Service)
(i)         IG Rakesh Pal, TM (0225-L)
(b)       Tatrakshak Medal (Gallantry)
(i)         DIG Venurajan Anbarasan (0321-D)
(ii)        Comdt(JG) Touthang Ngamlien (0693-X)
(iii)       Dy Comdt Alexander Pradeep(0961-J)
(iv)       Amit Sanchan Kanojiya, U/Adh(QA), 04466-Z
(v)        Neeraj Kumar, Nvk(QA), 13218-S
(c)        Tatrakshak Medal (Meritorious Service)
(i)         DIG Sanatan Jena (0289-E)
(ii)        Khetra Dolai, P/Adh(QA), 02297-W

These awards are being given to the personnel of Indian Coast Guard on Republic Day and Independence Day every year, since 26 Jan 1990 onwards.

President Confers Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Group Captain Abhishek Sharma Flying (Pilot)

On 08 Jul 17, Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhishek Sharma  was authorised to fly an Instrument Flying sortie as captain from rear seat in a MiG-29 trainer aircraft along with Flight Lieutenant Arjun Anthony Rebello. On engaging the autopilot level mode, the aircraft viciously rolled to the right and became inverted. With great difficulty the pilots disengaged level mode and brought the aircraft to normal upright flight. Excessive control pressure in both longitudinal and lateral channel was experienced. Wg Cdr A Sharma continued to fly the aircraft with great difficulty as excessive forces were required in both roll and pitch to maintain controlled flight. Secondary controls such as trimmers were also not functioning. The emergency was extremely dangerous wherein the aircraft was barely controllable. The captain had the option to take a decision to abandon aircraft by ejecting from it. Abandoning the aircraft could have resulted in loss of an aircraft. It could have also resulted in serious collateral damage on ground to citizens and property. Despite the difficult and critical in flight situation, he decided to carry out a landing. Throughout the recovery, the aircraft displayed oscillations with excessive stick forces to the right which he had to control using both hands to apply extreme force. The approach was precarious with severe problems in alignment and maintenance of flight path. By his act of exceptional courage, he recovered the aircraft safely from a situation which could have otherwise resulted in loss of a valuable asset of the IAF. After landing both ailerons were found at max deflection and control stick was almost to fully right position, which were a testimony to the seriousness of the aircraft emergency.

For this act of exceptional courage in recovering a stricken aircraft and displaying very high standards of professionalism, Wing Commander (Now Group Captain) Abhishek Sharma is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
President Confers Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Squadron Leader Vernon Desmond Keane Flying (Pilot)

On 16 Nov 17, Squadron Leader VD Keane was authorised to lead a 4 Vs 2 air combat mission. During route out towards the sector, "Engine 2 Reheat Zone Fire Warning Light” came ON. He took prompt and correct emergency actions and decided to switch off the engine to contain the spread of fire. Thereafter, he astutely assessed his position, aircraft configuration and wind conditions and decided to head for opposite runway for fastest recovery. A single engine recovery on a Jaguar aircraft is known to be critical and challenging for landing. Showing presence of mind in a dangerous situation, he took correct cockpit actions including jettisoning fuel towards single engine recovery. While positioning for a landing, the "Fire Warning" also came on for the second engine. Already on a single engine, which was now on fire too, he was faced with the prospect of landing with a grave aircraft emergency or taking a decision of abandoning the aircraft by ejection. Showing great presence of mind and fearlessness, he decided to go in for a landing, fully knowing the dangers to his life. He landed the aircraft safely and carried an emergency exit after stopping the aircraft. Post flight inspection revealed prominent signs of fire on keel surface of both engines.

Sqn Ldr VD Keane, despite being a young fighter pilot with limited experience was under immense pressure to handle a grave aircraft emergency of both engines on fire. He showed exceptional courage, resolve and excellent professionalism in carrying out a safe and expeditious recovery of the aircraft in a dynamic situation. Any delay or incorrect action in the critical stage of flying could have aggravated the situation rapidly and resulted in loss of the Jaguar aircraft. Further, had the aircraft been abandoned it could have led to extensive collateral damage on the ground to civilians and property.

For this act of exceptional courage in handling a grave aircraft emergency, Squadron Leader Vernon Desmond Keane is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).

President Confers Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) to Sergeant Shashidhar P Prasad Indian Air Force (Garud) 

Sergeant Shashidhar P Prasad Indian Air Force (Garud) was deployed in Op Rakshak.  On receipt of specific intelligence at 1600 h on 10 Oct 17, about presence of terrorists hiding in a house, an operation was launched jointly by Garud team and Army Units in Boon Mohalla of village Rakh Hajin, district Bandipora in Jammu & Kashmir. Garud team was assigned the responsibility to establish innermost cordon around the target house to prevent escape of terrorists. Sgt Shashidhar demonstrated exceptional situational awareness and team work in establishing a cordon that blocked the likely escape route of terrorists. At 0440 h on 11 Oct 17, with the intention to break the cordon and escape, six to seven terrorists came out of the house firing Under Barrel Grenade Launcher, throwing hand grenades and firing bullets indiscriminately on the cordon laid by Garud team. Having sensed the intentions of fleeing terrorists, Sgt Shashidhar demonstrated indomitable courage and high degree of expertise in weapon skills by exercising effective and accurate fire on the terrorists thereby, resulting in shooting down of two category 'A' terrorists. Sgt Shashidhar disregarded his personal safety, exhibited admirable team work and ensured speedy evacuation of the injured men in the intensely fought close quarter battle.

For this act of exceptional courage, Sgt Shashidhar P Prasad is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
ENC is ‘Combat Ready, Professional, Happy & Well Knit Command’ – Vice Adm Karambir Singh

On the occasion of 72nd Independence Day, a Ceremonial Parade was held at the Eastern Naval Command today, 15 August 2018. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh PVSM, AVSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command took the salute and inspected a 50 men Armed Guard. He reviewed the platoons of naval personnel drawn from various ships and establishments and Defence Security Corps indoors at the Command Gymnasium owing to inclement weather. Vice Admiral MS Pawar, Chief of Staff, ENC, was the Conducting Officer of the Parade which was attended by all Flag Officers, Commanding Officers of various ships and establishments at Visakhapatnam and a number of service personnel, their families and veterans. The parade concluded with singing of the National Anthem by all present.

The Commander-in-Chief conveyed good wishes and greetings to all personnel on parade and to their families on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day. He complemented the men on Parade for their immaculate turn-out and outstanding drill. Speaking on the occasion, Vice Admiral Karambhir Singh reiterated the need to remember the sacrifices of our martyrs who fought for our freedom and those who laid down their lives in service of the motherland. He also emphasized that as primary custodians of maritime security, we need to do our utmost in providing a favorable maritime environment for the country’s economic growth prosperity and well being.  He reminded everyone present that with the changing security dynamics and the Government’s Act East Policy, the proverbial Centre of Gravity in the maritime domain  had shifted towards the eastern seaboard.  It is therefore the responsibility of everyone in ENC to be prepared to face challenges from traditional to non-traditional asymmetric threats.

Vice Admiral Karambhir Singh highlighted ENC’s increasing engagement with friendly foreign navies towards strengthening our capabilities and interoperability. He also commended all personnel manning and supporting the ships for smooth transition to Mission Based Deployments aimed at maximizing time at sea with well defined outcomes in our areas of interest.  Underscoring the need to ensure that the ships, submarines and aircraft remained combat ready at all times, he emphasised professional excellence by the personnel manning the platforms with rigorous on-job training and adherence to laid down Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).  He called upon all personnel of ENC to pull together and make a happy team honouring the core values of Naval Service – Duty, Honour & Courage and contribute to nation building.  He emphasised the importance of nurturing the time tested Divisional System.

In a parallel event at the “Victory at Sea” War Memorial on the Beach Road  Vice Admiral SR Sarma, AVSM, VSM Director General Naval Projects, Visakhapatnam placed a floral wreath and paid tributes to Martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice in defence of the Nation. A two minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the Martyrs.
Independence Day Parade Held at SNC

Southern Naval Command (SNC) celebrated the 72nd Independence Day of the Nation with a Ceremonial Parade reviewed by Vice Admiral AK Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief.  The Admiral had earlier laid a wreath in memory of the martyrs, who had laid down their life in the service of the nation, at the War memorial.

Later, while addressing the parade he extended his greetings of the day to all personnel of SNC and highlighted the importance of the independence which was achieved after a lot of sacrifices made by our predecessors and by staying united. He also highlighted the tremendous advances made by our country in becoming the third largest economy in the world which is because of the security provided by the armed forces. He also urged one and all to be prepared to make the supreme cacrifice to guarantee this freedom for our nation. He futher congratulated all the members of the SNC fraternity for the sterling performance in recent months be it OCKHI, or the on-going “Operation Madad” or “Operation Khoj” for the search of the missing crew of ‘Oceanic’.

16 Platoons including four Armed Platoons attended the Parade. The President’s Colours which were presented to the Southern Naval Command were also paraded accompanied by a 50 men Guard of Honour. The Parade was commanded by Commander P Ratheesh. Rear Admiral R J Nadkarni, Chief of Staff, SNC conducted the parade. Southern Naval Command band was in attendance.

Independence Day Parade at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala

In commemoration of the 72nd Independence day of India, a wreath laying ceremony and parade was held at the Indian Naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala on 15 August 2018. The Parade was reviewed by Vice Admiral RB Pandit, AVSM, Commandant, INA.

A Ceremonial Guard, comprising 50 armed cadets, 20 armed platoons and 06 unarmed platoons of cadets constitued the parade. Smartly dressed in their whites, the cadets on parade offered visible and tangible manifestation of a resurgent India. The parade was commanded by Midshipman Vikrant Nagpal.

The civilian fraternity and families of INA witnessed the parade. In his address, the Commandant, greeted the attendees on the auspicious occasion and acknowledged the toil, hardwork and sacrifices made by our forebears to get us freedom and to take our country on path of progress. He urged all to emulate their hardwork and contribution towards nation building. He also acknowledged the efforts of the team from station Ezhimala in ongoing flood relief where 72 lives have been saved and over 300 people have been provided medical aid in the most trying circumstances with little or no regard to their own well being. The Commandant, Deputy Commandant, Principal and Station Commander also laid floral wreaths at the War Memorial of INA, in homage to the martyrs of Independent India.

FOC-in-C (South) Calls on the Governor and the Chief Minister of Kerala

Vice Admiral A K Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command called on Shri P Sathasivam, the Hon’ble Governor and Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala. The C-in-C apprised them of the ongoing OpMadad being undertaken by SNC in flood relief and rescue operations. He also discussed areas of mutual concern including coastal security. The Hon’ble Governor and Chief Minister commended the contribution made by the Indian Navy in the ongoing relief and rescue operations. The C-in-C also visited the KSDM State Coordination Centre at the secretariat to review the situation

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