Happy New Year – 2017

2016.. Phew!!!


What a year it has been.
Full of surprises and unforeseen events.
BREXIT for UK from Europe, Trump win in USA and of course, demonetisation of our own.
Notwithstanding, I thank God Almighty for making our year peaceful, comfortable, lovely and meaningful.
Thank you God for small mercies.
Thank you all my friends, my relatives, my loved ones for making things easy for me.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year – 2017.
May you all enjoy with your family and loved ones great year ahead with good health and great time.

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Hypocrite

Sharing courtesy the author.

By SANDIPAN SHARMA

Meet the person of the year 2016: The quintessential Indian hypocrite.

You would have met him everywhere. In queues outside ATMs, banks and multiplexes, chanting slogans, waging WHATSAPPjihad, supporting boycott calls on Twitter, railing against his own countrymen and bleeding from his desktop for soldiers on the border.

His principle: Preach in public exactly the opposite of what you practise in private.

His dharma: Hate in others what you want to hide about yourself.

The year belonged to him.

He screamed, shouted, outraged, and pointed one finger at others, forgetting the direction of the other four. But as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."

India has always been an amusing bundle of contradictions, a lexicon of oxymorons. We worship at the altar of female goddesses, but have a skewed sex ratio. We boast ofSANSKARS and lofty ideals but practice CASTEISM, demand dowry and have a maniacal obsession with male children.

We are the land of KAMASUTRA, KHAJURAHO and have the highest growth rate of population, but we also have PAHLAJ NIHALANI who fears moral regression of the vulnerable masses if James Bond kisses for half-a-minute on the screen. We are a country that sings BHAJANS of MEERA and KABIR but ends up revering RADHEY and ASARAM as ‘MAA’ and ‘BAPU’.

We are a country, which, in true Oscar Wilde fashion, is so clever that it doesn’t mean a single word it says.

But, sometimes a country’s polity and society combine to create circumstances and debates that expose our deeper contradictions, expose bigger hypocrisies. And gave us many shades of the quintessential Indian hypocrite.

This year we had the KAALA DHAN warrior. He rejoiced when Prime Minister NARENDRA MODI outlawed notes of higher denomination. In a delirium of patriotism, moral propriety and SCHADENFREUDE, he announced the end of black money and the corrupt — everyone apart from, of course, himself.

But, by next morning the KAALA DHAN warrior rushed to launder unaccounted cash, adjust accounts, put every bit of outlawed currency into bank accounts, announcing at the end of the day, "YAAR, APNA TO ADJUST HO GAYA."

He called it a surgical strike on the corrupt, rich and powerful and then bathed in the flowing Ganga of connivance and corruption with co-hypocrites — the broker, the banker, holder of JAN DHAN accounts, presumably the people hit most byKAALA DHAN.

Nothing captured the prevailing hypocrisy more than the constant changes in deposit and withdrawal rules to counter his propensity to circumvent laws that were hailed in public —BHARAT MATA KI JAI — and violated in private.

We had the holier-than-thou fanatic. By day he slammed fanatics of ”that religion" for not allowing a cricketer’s wife to wear a gown. He mocked the utter lack of freedom in that religion, the tyranny of those opposing their religious and moral codes on others. By night he railed at a celebrity couple’s choice of name for their new-born, opposed a woman’s freedom to choose her husband, a person’s choice of food, a producer’s choice of the actor he wanted to cast in his film.

His ideological rival, behaved in an identical fashion. He defended a mother’s right to call her son TAIMUR, but not a woman’s right to protest Triple TALAQ or wear a gown, proving hypocrites of the world have just one religion — hate.

We had the pious GAU BHAKT. He declared cow as his mother, advocated lynching of men for eating beef, skinning carcasses, but blithely went past bovines looking for food in heaps of garbage lying on roads of ‘SWACHH BHARAT’, ignored hundreds dying in cow shelters.

He was the bleeding heart patriot who blasted others for complaining of hardships when soldiers were dying on the border but encouraged his children to look for the best overseas job, leaving the vacancies in the Army for the neighbour’s son to fill. He shed Twitter tears when soldiers died in natural disasters in SIACHEN but laughed when people died in queues outside banks due to a man-made disaster or at JANTAR MANTAR while demanding one-rank-one pension.

He was the angry DESH BHAKT who danced to RAHAT FATEH ALI KHAN’S songs, sang out aloud Honey Singh’s "G@#*D MEIN DAM HAI TO BAND KARWA LO” at parties but protested GHULAM ALI’S GHAZAL concerts. He gloated when India beat Pakistan in hockey but felt outraged at the thought of cricketers and KABADDI players taking on their cross-border rivals. He lamented when one state government spent a few hundred crore on ad campaigns but puffed his chest in pride when another government announced it would put RS.3,600 crore in the Arabian Sea to showcase a warrior in a state with high rates of farmer suicides and history of droughts.

Finally, he was the social media jihadist who advocated bans on apps of online retailers endorsed by AAMIR KHAN but rushed to its stores every time a sale was announced. He was the Twitter activist who sought a ban on Chinese items but queued up for flash sales of mobiles made in China, paid for them through PAYTM. He was the intolerant troll who wanted films to be boycotted, actors to be punished but bought tickets first-day-first-show, tamely surrendering CRORES in the DANGAL of box office, putting their money where their mouth wasn’t.

No, 2016, didn’t belong to NARENDRA MODI, ARVIND KEJRIWAL, RAHUL GANDHI, URJIT PATEL, nor AAMIR KHAN OR SALMAN KHAN. It belonged to the quintessential hypocrite who amused and entertained us throughout the year, proving right Somerset Maugham who famously said, "It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments; it is a whole-time job."

Congratulations, all of us gave it one full year.

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SERVE WITH HONOUR

A Letter written by a retired officer (Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran), 17 Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment ) addressing the passing out officers from Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai on 10 Seo 2016.

Dear Officers,

On 10 September this year, 249 of you (217 Gentlemen Cadets and 32 Lady Cadets) stepped over the “Antim Pag”, slow marching to the soulful Auld Lang Syne. At the majestic Parmeshwaran Parade Ground, you were accorded a unique privilege. You passed out of OTA Chennai, commissioned into the Indian Army as officers under the benign gaze of your Supreme Commander, the President of India. Addressing you, the Supreme Commander said, “A billion hopes rest on your young and brave shoulders”. Truer words have not been uttered.

You have been through Indian Army training. That’s just hell by another name. Give yourselves a pat on the back. You are a survivor.

As an old soldier, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. I hope these will find a corner in your hearts.

1. Your first loyalty is to India and its constitution. Mother India chooses its bravest daughters and sons to guard her honor. You have walked on fire to get those stars on your shoulders. Many a time during training, you may have wanted to quit. You did not. You are made of different molecules.

2. Your unit/ regiment is your family. You will live and die for India but you will live and die with your unit. This bond is unbreakable, even in death. You will be remembered for eternity.

3. Spend time with your troops. Get to know them. This is the brotherhood of Olive Green. You are their leader. If you are worthy, they will march with you to the very gates of hell. Remember the legend of martyr Lance Naik Hanumanthappa? Sometimes, it is possible for mortals to challenge the gods. Many of those mortals wear OG.

4. Train, learn and read. That is the only way to succeed in the Indian Army. All of you, without exception, should be scholar warriors. Read military history, read the future of warfare and read just about anything that you can get your hands on. Absorb knowledge. It will stand you in good stead.

5. Till the time you are a lieutenant, except breach of integrity, all sins are forgiven. Take advantage of this unwritten rule. Make mistakes but don’t stop learning. You have carte blanche.

6. When things go wrong, step forward and take responsibility. When things go right, step back and let your team take the credit.

7. The religion of your troops is your religion. If you are a Malyalee and posted into the Sikh Regiment, you will go to the Gurudwara. If you are a Muslim and your troops are Hindu, you will worship at a temple. And if you are a Hindu and your troops are Christian, you will kneel in church. If you see a Sikh in a mosque with a Quran, this is the Indian Army.

8. Your background is immaterial. Rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim, this caste or that, the Indian Army just does not care. We are in the business of killing the enemies of the state and protecting the nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Only merit counts. If there are any considerations other than merit, it will mean compromising on national security and that is something the Indian Army will NEVER do.

9. The uniform that you wear comes with the blessings of a billion Indians. You are trusted because the Indian Army is trusted. This trust cannot be broken, irrespective of consequence. Do whatever needs to be done to maintain this trust because this trust is sacred. A covenant with India is a covenant with God.

10. You will have more privileges than the soldiers you command. But when orders are given to flush out terrorists from a house in Kashmir, remember you will be the first one to smash through that door. You will make the first kill. Or take the first bullet on your chest. You will never give orders to attack. You will always say “FOLLOW ME”. That is the officer’s creed. This is your article of faith.

11. It is important that you understand that we are not only a powerful army. We are also a moral army. We are not strong because we have weapons. We are strong because we are right.

I wish you the very best and I hope you have an exciting and fulfilling life.

Go forth and Serve With Honour.

Major Gaurav Arya (Veteran)
17 Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment
Indian Army

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Military Betrayal, Civilian Isolation — Steve Rose’s Blog

Many people think PTSD is the root of all mental health problems among veterans. This oversimplification is often reinforced by behaviors considered abnormal. One veteran I spoke with claimed to have stopped a dangerous driver, thrown him out of the car, and “gave him a life lesson.” Most people would accuse the veteran of needing anger management […]

via Military Betrayal, Civilian Isolation — Steve Rose’s Blog

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Kargil Conflict and Pakistan Air Force

MILITARY HISTORY…….HOW THE INDIAN AIR FORCE AND INDIAN ARMY SYNERGY DESTROYED PAK’S EVIL DESIGNS DURING KARGIL OPERATION IN 1999 FROM THE PENS OF PAK AIR FORCE OFFICER

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AN INTERESTING READ : KARGIL 1999 – FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BORDER

(Written by a Pakistani Air Force OfficerM KAISER TUFAIL)

 

Pakistani writings on Kargil conflict have been few; those that did come out were largely irrelevant and in a few cases, were clearly sponsored. The role of the PAF has been discussed off and on, but mostly disparagingly, particularly in some uninformed quarters. Here is an airman’s perspective, focusing on the IAF’s air operations and the PAF’s position.

Operational Planning in the PAF

Since an important portion of this write-up pertains to the PAF’s appreciation of the situation and the decision-making loop during the Kargil conflict, we will start with a brief primer on PAF’s hierarchy and how operational matters are handled at the Air Headquarters.

The policy-making elements at Air Headquarters consist of four-tiers of staff officers. The top-most tier is made up of the Deputy Chiefs of Air Staff (DCAS) who are the Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of their respective branches and are nominally headed by the Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS). They (along with Air Officers Commanding, the senior representatives from field formations) are members of the Air Board, PAF’s ‘corporate’ decision-making body which is chaired by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS). The next tier is made up of Assistant Chiefs of Air Staff (ACAS) who head various sub-branches and, along with the third-tier Directors, assist the PSOs in policy-making; they are not on the Air Board, but can be called for hearings and presentations in the Board meetings, as required. A fourth tier of Deputy Directors does most of the sundry staff work in this policy-making hierarchy.

The Operations & Plans branch is the key player in any war, conflict or contingency and is responsible for threat assessment and formulation of a suitable response. During peace-time, war plans are drawn up by the Plans sub-branch and are then war-gamed in operational exercises run by the sister Operations sub-branch. Operational training is accordingly restructured and administered by the latter, based on the lessons of various exercises. This essentially is the gist of PAF’s operational preparedness methodology, the efficiency of which is amply reflected in its readiness and telling response in various wars and skirmishes in the past.

In early 1999, Air Chief Marshal Parvaiz Mehdi Qureshi was at the helm of the PAF. An officer with an imposing personality, he had won the Sword of Honour at the Academy. During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, as a young Flight Lieutenant, he was on a close support mission in erstwhile East Pakistan when his Sabre was shot down and he was taken POW. He determinedly resumed his fighter pilot’s career after repatriation and rose to command PAF’s premier Sargodha Base. He was later appointed as the AOC, Southern Air Command, an appointment that affords considerable interaction amongst the three services, especially in operational exercises. He also held the vitally important post of DCAS (Ops) as well as the VCAS before taking over as CAS.

The post of DCAS (Ops) was held by the late Air Marshal Zahid Anis. A well-qualified fighter pilot, he had a distinguished career in the PAF, having held some of the most sought-after appointments. These included command of No 38 Tactical Wing (F-16s), the elite Combat Commanders’ School and PAF Base, Sargodha. He was the AOC, Southern Air Command before his appointment as the head of the Operations branch at the Air Headquarters. He had done his Air War Course at the PAF’s Air War College, another War Course at the French War College as well as the prestigious Defence Studies course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in UK.

The ACAS (Ops) was Air Cdre Abid Rao, who had recently completed command of PAF Base, Mianwali. He had earlier done his War Course from the French War College.

The ACAS (Plans) was the late Air Cdre Saleem Nawaz, a brilliant officer who had made his mark at the Staff College at Bracknell, UK and during the War Course at the National Defence College, Islamabad.

There is no gainsaying the fact that PAF’s hierarchy was highly qualified and that each one of the players in the Operations branch had the requisite command and staff experience. The two top men had also fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, albeit as junior officers.

First Rumblings

As Director of Operations (in the rank of Gp Capt), my first opportunity to interact with the Army’s Director of Military Operations (DMO) was over a phone call, some time in March 1999. Brig Nadeem Ahmed called with great courtesy and requested some information that he needed for a paper exercise, as he told me. He wanted to know when had the PAF last carried out a deployment at Skardu, how many aircraft were deployed, etc. Rather impressed with the Army’s interest in PAF matters, I passed on the requisite details. The next day, Brig Nadeem called again, but this time his questions were more probing and he wanted some classified information including fuel storage capacity at Skardu, fighter sortie-generation capacity, radar coverage, etc. He insisted that he was preparing a briefing and wanted to get his facts and figures right, in front of his bosses. We got on a secure line and I passed on the required information. Although he made it sound like routine contingency planning, I sensed that something unusual was brewing. In the event, I thought it prudent to inform the DCAS (Ops). Just to be sure, he checked up with his counterpart, the Director General Military Operations (DGMO), Maj Gen Tauqir Zia, who said the same thing as his DMO and, assured that it was just part of routine contingency planning

Not withstanding the DGMO’s assurance, a cautious Air Marshal Zahid decided to check things for himself and despatched Gp Capt Tariq Ashraf, Officer Commanding of No 33 Wing at PAF Base, Kamra, to look things over at Skardu and make a report. Within a few days, Gp Capt Tariq (who was also the designated war-time commander of Skardu Base) had completed his visit, which included his own periodic war-readiness inspection. While he made a detailed report to the DCAS (Ops), he let me in on the Army’s mobilisation and other preparations that he had seen in Skardu. His analysis was that ‘something big is imminent.’ Helicopter flying activity was feverishly high as Army Aviation’s Mi-17s were busy moving artillery guns and ammunition to the mountain tops. Troops in battle gear were to be seen all over the city. Interestingly, Messes were abuzz with war chatter amongst young officers. In retrospect, one wonders how Indian intelligence agencies failed to read any such signs, many weeks before the operation unfolded.

After hearing Gp Capt Tariq’s report, Air Marshal Zahid again got in touch with Maj Gen Tauqir and, in a roundabout way, told him that if the Army’s ongoing ‘review of contingency plans’ required the PAF to be factored in, an Operations & Plans team would be available for discussion. Nothing was heard from the GHQ till 12 May, when Air Marshal Zahid was told to send a team for a briefing at HQ 10 Corps with regard to the ‘Kashmir Contingency’.

Air Cdre Abid Rao, Air Cdre Saleem Nawaz and myself were directed by the DCAS (Ops) to attend a briefing on the ‘latest situation in Kashmir’ at HQ 10 Corps. We were welcomed by the Chief of Staff (COS) of the Corps, who led us to the briefing room. Shortly thereafter, the Corps Commander, Lt Gen Mahmood Ahmed entered, cutting an impressive figure clad in a bush-coat and his trademark camouflage scarf. After exchanging pleasantries, the COS started with the map orientation briefing. Thereafter, Lt Gen Mahmood took over and broke the news that a limited operation had started two days earlier. It was nothing more than a ‘protective manoeuvre’, he explained, and was meant to foreclose any further mischief by the enemy, who had been a nuisance in the Neelum Valley, specially on the road on our side of the Line of Control (LOC). He then elaborated that a few vacant Indian posts had been occupied on peaks across the LOC, overlooking the Dras-Kargil Road. These would, in effect, serve the purpose of Airborne Observation Posts (AOP) meant for directing artillery fire with accuracy. Artillery firepower would be provided by a couple of field guns that had been heli-lifted to the heights, piecemeal, and re-assembled over the previous few months when the Indians had been off-guard during the winter extremes. The target was a vulnerable section of Dras-Kargil Road, whose blocking would virtually cut off the crucial life-line which carried the bulk of supplies needed for daily consumption as well as annual winter-stocking in Leh-Siachen Sector. He was very hopeful that this stratagem could choke off the Indians in the vital sector for up to a month, after which the monsoons would prevent vehicular movement (due to landslides) and, also suspend all airlift by the IAF. “Come October, we shall walk in to Siachen – to mop up the dead bodies of hundreds of Indians left hungry, out in the cold,” he succinctly summed up what appeared to be a new dimension to the Siachen dispute. It also seemed to serve, at least for the time being, the secondary aim of alleviating Indian military pressure on Pakistani lines of communications in the Neelum Valley that the Corps Commander had alluded to in his opening remarks. (The oft-heard strategic aim of ‘providing a fillip to the insurgency in Kashmir’ was never mentioned.)

When Lt Gen Mahmood asked for questions at the end of the rather crisp and to-the-point briefing, Air Cdre Saleem Nawaz opened up by inquiring about the type of air support that might be needed for the operation. Lt Gen Mahmood assured us that air support was not envisaged and that his forces could take care of enemy aircraft, if they intervened. “I have Stingers on every peak,” he announced. Air Cdre Saleem tried to point out the limited envelope of these types of missiles and said that nothing stopped the IAF from attacking the posts and artillery pieces from high altitude. To this, Lt Gen Mahmood’s reply was that his troops were well camouflaged and concealed and, that IAF pilots would not be able to pick out the posts from the air. As the discussion became more animated, I asked the Corps Commander if he was sure the Indians would not use their artillery to vacate our incursion, given the criticality of the situation from their standpoint. He replied that the Dras-Kargil stretch did not allow for positioning of the hundreds of guns that would be required, due to lack of depth; in any case, it would be suicidal for the Indians to denude artillery firepower from any other sector as defensive balance had to be maintained. He gave the example of the Kathua-Jammu Sector where the Indians had a compulsion to keep the bulk of their modern Bofors guns due to the vital road link’s vulnerability to our offensive elements.

It seemed from the Corps Commander’s smug appreciation of the situation that the Indians had been tightly straitjacketed in Dras-Kargil Sector and had no option but to submit to our operational design. More significantly, an alternate action like a strategic riposte by the Indians in another sector had been rendered out of question, given the nuclear environment. Whether resort to an exterior manoeuvre (diplomatic offensive) by the beleaguered Indians had crossed the planners’ minds, it was not discernable in the Corps Commander’s elucidation.

Perhaps it was the incredulousness of the whole thing that led Air Cdre Abid Rao to famously quip, “After this operation, it’s going to be either a Court Martial or Martial Law!” as we walked out of the briefing room.

Back at the Air Headquarters, we briefed the DCAS(Ops) about what had transpired at the 10 Corps briefing. His surprise at the developments, as well as his concern about the possibility of events spiralling out of control, could not remain concealed behind his otherwise unflappable demeanour. We all were also piqued at being left out of the Army’s planning, though we were given to believe that it was a ‘limited tactical action’ in which the PAF would not be required – an issue that none of us agreed with. Presented with a fait accompli, we decided not to lose any more time and, while the DCAS (Ops) went to brief the CAS about the situation, we set about gearing up for a hectic routine. The operations room was quickly updated with the latest large-scale maps and air recce photos of the area; communications links with concerned agencies were also revamped in a short time. Deployment orders were issued and, within the next 48 hours, the bulk of combat elements were in-situ at their war locations.

IAF – By Fits & Starts

The IAF deployments in Kashmir, for what came to be known as ‘Operation Safedsagar’, commenced on 15 May with the bulk of operational assets positioned by 18 May. 150 combat aircraft were deployed as follows:

>> Srinagar – 34 (MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-27)

>> Awantipur – 28 (MiG-21, MiG-29, Jaguar)

>> Udhampur – 12 (MiG-21)

>> Pathankot – 30 (MiG-21, MiG-23)

>> Adampur – 46 (Mir-2000, MiG-29, Jaguar)

One-third of the aircraft were modern, ‘high-threat’ fighters equipped with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missiles. During the preparatory stage, air defence alert status (5 minutes to scramble from ground) was maintained while Mirage-2000s and Jaguars carried out photo-reconnaissance along the Line of Control (LOC) and aging Canberras carried out electronic intelligence (ELINT) to ferret out locations of PAF air defence sensors. Last minute honing of strafing and rocketing skills was carried out by pilots at an air-to-ground firing range near Leh.

Operations by IAF started in earnest on 26 May, a full 16 days after commencement of Pakistani infiltration across the LOC. The salient feature of this initial phase was strafing and rocketing of the intruders’ positions by MiG-21, MiG-23BN and MiG-27. All operations (except air defence) came to a sudden standstill on 28 May, after two IAF fighters and a helicopter were lost – a MiG-21 and a Mi-17 to Pak Army surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), while a MiG-27 went down due to engine trouble caused by gun gas ingestion during high altitude strafing. (Incidentally, the pilot of the MiG-27 Flt Lt Nachiketa, who ejected and was apprehended, had a tête-à-tête with this author during an interesting ‘interrogation’ session.)

The results achieved by the IAF in the first two days were dismal. Serious restraints seem to have been imposed on the freedom of action of IAF fighters in what was basically a search-and-destroy mission. Lt Gen Mahmood’s rant about a ‘Stinger on every peak’ seemed true. It was obvious that the IAF had under-estimated the SAM threat. The mood in Pak Army circles was that of undiluted elation, and the PAF was expected to sit it out while sharing the khakis’ glee.

The IAF immediately went into a reappraisal mode and came out with GPS-assisted high altitude bombing by MiG-21, MiG-23BN and MiG-27 as a makeshift solution. In the meantime, quick modification on the Mirage-2000 for day/night laser bombing kits (Litening pods) was initiated with the help of Israelis. Conventional bombing that started incessantly after a two-day operational hiatus, was aimed at harassment and denial of respite to the infiltrators, with consequent adverse effects on morale. The results of this part of the campaign were largely insignificant, mainly because the target coordinates were not known accurately; the nature of the terrain too, precluded precision. A few cases of fratricide by IAF led it to be even more cautious.

By 16 June, IAF was able to open up the laser-guided bombing campaign with the help of Jaguars and Mirage-2000. Daily photo-recce along the LOC by Jaguars escorted by Mirage-2000s, which had continued from the beginning of operations, proved crucial to both the aerial bombing campaign as well as the Indian artillery, helping the latter in accurately shelling Pakistani positions in the Dras-Kargil and Gultari Sectors. While the photo-recce missions typically did not involve deliberate border violations, there were a total of 37 ‘technical violations’ (which emanate as a consequence of kinks and bends in the geographical boundaries). Typically, these averaged to a depth of five nautical miles, except on one occasion when the IAF fighters apparently cocked-a-snoot at the PAF and came in 13 miles deep.

The Mirage-2000s scored at least five successful laser-guided bomb hits on forward dumping sites and posts. During the last days of operations which ended on 12 July, it was clear that delivery accuracy had improved considerably. Even though night bombing accuracy was suspect, round-the-clock attacks had made retention of posts untenable for Pakistani infiltrators. Photo-recce of Pakistani artillery gun positions also made them vulnerable to Indian artillery.

The IAF flew a total of 550 strike missions against infiltrator positions including bunkers and supply depots. The coordinates of these locations were mostly picked up from about 150 reconnaissance and communications intelligence missions. In addition, 500 missions were flown for air defence and for escorting strike and recce missions.

While the Indians had been surprised by the infiltration in Kargil, the IAF mobilised and reacted rapidly as the Indian Army took time to position itself. Later, when the Indian Army had entrenched itself, the IAF supplemented and filled in where the artillery could not be positioned in force. Clearly, Army-Air joint operations had a synergistic effect in evicting the intruders.

PAF in a Bind

From the very beginning of Kargil operations, PAF was entrapped by a circumstantial absurdity: it was faced with the ludicrous predicament of having to provide air support to infiltrators already disowned by the Pakistan Army leadership! In any case, it took some effort to impress on the latter that crossing the LOC by fighters laden with bombs was not, by any stretch of imagination, akin to lobbing a few artillery shells to settle scores. There was no doubt in the minds of PAF Air Staff that the first cross-border attack (whether across LOC or the international border) would invite an immediate response from the IAF, possibly in the shape of a retaliatory strike against the home base of the intruding fighters, thus starting the first round. PAF’s intervention meant all-out war: this unmistakable conclusion was conveyed to the Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif, by the Air Chief in no equivocal terms.

Short of starting an all-out war, PAF looked at some saner options that could put some wind in the sails after doldrums had been hit. Air Marshal Najib Akhtar, the Air Officer Commanding of Air Defence Command was co-opted by the Air Staff to sift the possibilities. Audacious and innovative in equal parts, Air Marshal Najib had an excellent knowledge about our own and the enemy’s Air Defence Ground Environment (ADGE). He had conceived and overseen the unprecedented heli-lift of a low-looking radar to a 12,000-ft mountain top on the forbidding, snow-clad Deosai Plateau. The highly risky operation became possible with the help of some courageous flying by Army Aviation pilots. With good low level radar cover now available up to the LOC, Air Marshal Najib along with the Air Staff focused on fighter sweep (a mission flown to destroy patrolling enemy fighters) as a possible option.

To prevent the mission from being seen as an escalatory step in the already charged atmosphere, PAF had to lure Indian fighters into its own territory, ie Azad Kashmir or the Northern Areas. That done, a number of issues had to be tackled. What if the enemy aircraft were hit in our territory but fell across, providing a pretext to India as a doubly aggrieved party? What if one of our own aircraft fell, no matter if the exchange was one-to-one (or better)? Finally, even if we were able to pull off a surprise, would it not be a one-off incident, with the IAF becoming wiser in quick time? The over-arching consideration was the BVR missile capability of IAF fighters which impinged unfavourably on the mission success probability. The conclusion was that a replication of the famous four-Vampire rout of 1st September 1965 by two Sabres might not be possible. The idea of a fighter sweep thus fizzled out as quickly as it came up for discussion.

While the PAF looked at some offensive options, it had a more pressing defensive issue at hand. The IAF’s minor border violations during recce missions were not of grave consequence in so far as no bombing had taken place in our territory; however, the fact that these missions helped the enemy refine its air and artillery targeting, was, to say the least, disconcerting. There were constant reports of our troops on the LOC disturbed to see, or hear, IAF fighters operating with apparent impunity. The GHQ took the matter up with the AHQ and it was resolved that Combat Air Patrols (CAPs) would be flown by the F-16s operating out of Minhas (Kamra) and Sargodha. This arrangement resulted in less on-station time but was safer than operating out of vulnerable Skardu, which had inadequate early warning in the mountainous terrain; its status as a turn-around facility was, however, considered acceptable for its location. A flight of F-7s was, nonetheless, deployed primarily for point defence of the important garrison town of Skardu as well as the air base.

F-16 CAPs could not have been flown all day long as spares support was limited under the prevailing US sanctions. Random CAPs were resorted to, with a noticeable drop in border violations only as long as the F-16s were on station. There were a few cases of F-16s and Mirage-2000s locking their adversaries with the on-board radars but caution usually prevailed and no close encounters took place. After one week of CAPs, the F-16 maintenance personnel indicated that war reserve spares were being eaten into and that the activity had to be ‘rationalised’, a euphemism for discontinuing it altogether. That an impending war occupied the Air Staff’s minds was evident in the decision by the DCAS (Ops) for F-16 CAPs to be discontinued, unless IAF activity became unbearably provocative or threatening.

Those not aware of the gravity of the F-16 operability problem under sanctions have complained of the PAF’s lack of cooperation. Suffice it to say that if the PAF had been included in the initial planning, this anomaly (along with many others) would have emerged as a mitigating factor against the Kargil adventure. It is another matter that the Army high command did not envisage operations ever coming to such a pass. Now, it was almost as if the PAF was to blame for the Kargil venture spiralling out of control.

It also must be noted too that other than F-16s, the PAF did not have a capable enough fighter for patrolling, as the minimum requirement in this scenario was an on-board airborne intercept radar, exceptional agility and sufficient staying power. F-7s had reasonably good manoeuvrability but lacked an intercept radar as well as endurance, while the ground attack Mirage-III/5s and A-5s were sitting ducks for the air combat mission.

In sum, the PAF found it expedient not to worry too much about minor border violations and instead, conserve resources for the larger conflagration that was looming. All the same, it gave the enemy no pretext for retaliation in the face of any provocation, though this latter stance irked some quarters in the Army that were desperate to ‘equal the match’. Might it strike to some that PAF’s restraint in warding off a major conflagration may have been its paramount contribution to the Kargil conflict?

Aftermath

It has emerged that the principal protagonists of the Kargil adventure were General Pervez Musharraf: Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Mahmood Ahmed: Commander 10 Corps and, Maj Gen Javed Hasan: Commander Force Command Northern Areas. The trio, in previous ranks and appointments, had been associated with planning during paper exercises on how to wrest control of lost territory in Siachen. The Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen Aziz Khan, and the DGMO, Maj Gen Tauqir Zia were less than enthusiastic about the plan, but went along anyway. The plan was not acceptable to the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to whom the options had been put up for review more than once. She was well-versed in international affairs and, all too intelligent to be taken in by the chicanery. It fell to the wisdom of her successor, Mr Nawaz Sharif, to approve the Army trio’s self-serving presentation.

In an effort to keep the plan secret, which was thought to be the key to its successful initiation, the Army trio took no one into confidence, neither its own operational commanders nor the heads of the other services. This, regrettably, resulted in a closed-loop thought process which engendered a string of oversights and failures:

Failure to grasp the wider military and diplomatic ramifications of a limited tactical operation that had the potential of creating major strategic effects.

Failure to correctly visualise the response of a powerful enemy to what was, in effect, a major blow in a disputed sector.

Failure to spell out the specific aim to field commanders, who acted on their own to needlessly capture territory and expand the scope of the operation to unmanageable levels.

Failure to appreciate the inability of the Army officers to evaluate the capabilities and limitations of an Air Force.

Failure to coordinate contingency plans at the tri-services level.

The flaws in the Kargil Plan that led to these failures were almost palpable and, could not have escaped even a layman’s attention during a cursory examination. The question arises as to why all the planners got blinded to the obvious? Could it be that some of the sub-ordinates had the sight but not the nerve in the face of a powerful superior? In hierarchical organisations, there is precious little room for dissent, but in autocratic ones like the military, it takes more than a spine to disagree, for there are very few commanders who are large enough to allow such liberties. It is out of fear of annoying the superior – which also carries with it manifold penalties and loss of promotion and perks – that the majority decide to go along with the wind.

In a country where democratic traditions have never been deep-rooted, it is no big exposé to point out that the military is steeped in an authoritarian, rather than a consensual approach. To my mind, there is an urgent need to inculcate a more liberal culture that accommodates different points of view – a more lateral approach, so to speak. Disagreement during planning should be systemically tolerated and, not taken as a personal affront. Unfortunately, many in higher ranks seem to think that rank alone confers wisdom and, anyone displaying signs of intelligence at an earlier stage is, somehow, an alien in their ‘star-spangled’ universe.

Kargil, I suspect, like the ‘65 and ‘71 Wars, was a case of not having enough dissenters (‘devil’s advocates’, if you will) during planning, because everyone wanted to agree with the boss. That single reason, I think, was the root cause of most of the failures that were apparent right from the beginning. If this point is understood well, remedial measures towards tolerance and liberalism can follow as a matter of course. Such an organisational milieu, based on honest appraisal and fearless appeal, would be conducive to sound and sensible planning. It would also go a long way in precluding Kargil-like disasters.

Tailpiece

Come change-

over time of the Chief of Air Staff in 2001, President Musharraf struck at PAF’s top leadership in what can only be described as implacable action: he passed over all five Air Marshals and appointed the sixth-in-line who was practically an Air Vice Marshal till a few weeks before. While disregarding of seniority in the appointment of service chiefs has historically been endemic in the country, the practice has been seen as breeding nepotism and partiality, besides leaving a trail of conjecture and gossip in the ranks. Given Air Chief Marshal Mehdi’s rather straight-faced and forthright dealings with General Musharraf, particularly during Kargil conflict, there is good reason to believe that the latter decided to appoint a not-very-senior Air Chief whom he could order around like one of his Corps Commanders. (As it turned out, Air Chief Marshal Mus’haf was as solid as his predecessor and gave no quarter when it came to PAF’s interests.) Whatever the reason of bypassing seniority, it was unfortunate that PAF’s precious corporate experience was thrown out so crassly and several careers destroyed. Lives and honour lost in Kargil is another matter.

© M KAISER TUFAIL

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The Morning : Spinning Head

The morning after the night before

One wakes up groggy and unsure.

What exactly happened the night before?

Why do I have lipstick on my forehead?

Why is there this dull smell of stale smoke in my bedroom?

When I don’t even smoke?

… and how come there is this stale smoke?

Lingering in the room.

When I don’t even have an ashtray in my home?

Why -why is……???

And then the images take shape.

The events slowly creep into a stirring consciousness.

I smile mischievously………..

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I’m 70 and I’m Tired

(This should be required reading for every man, woman, and child in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.)

By Robert A. Hall

I’m 70 Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a 6-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.

I’m tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I’m tired … of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives, and daughters for their family "honor," of Muslims rioting over some slight offense, of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t "believers," of Muslims burning schools for girls, of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery," of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls, all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Sharia law tells them to.

I’m tired … of being told that, out of "tolerance for other cultures," we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America and Canada, while no American nor Canadian group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue, or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance. 

I’m tired … of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off?

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers, and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes, or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination, or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, I’m am tired ... but I’m also glad to be 70, because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my grandchildren.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

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Why Pakistan Is Objecting To India’s Geospatial Information Regulation Bill

By

Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd)


SNAPSHOT

Pakistan is objecting to the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill, which will render illegal for anyone in India and any Indian abroad to misrepresent India’s territory.

Pakistan perceives Jammu & Kashmir as disputed and therefore wants that international maps should not represent the entire territory of J&K as a part of India.

Please read the full article here……………

http://swarajyamag.com/world/why-is-pakistan-objecting-to-indias-geospatial-information-regulation-bill 

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Choppergate of UPA

From:-

Maj Gen Gagandeep Bakshi

The AUGUSTA WESTLAND IS ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE HELICOPTERS IN THE WORLD. EVEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA found even one  UNAFFORDABLE. But the Indian Govt wanted it badly and they wanted 12 !- in 5 years flat( we are still waiting for a replacement gun for the Bofors after 30 years) they wrapped up this deal and pushed it through. Trials were done not in Ladakh and Rajasthan but in Italy.
What has escaped NOTICE alltogather is that when our Air force was running desperately SHORT OF FIGHTER JETS for combat our political and bureaucratic focus was entirely on The VVIP helicopter- that happened to be the most expensive in the world. The Milano court papers state that Senora Gandhi wanted it badly as she just did not want to ride in an MI-8/17 which we ride into battle( it was cattle class). The point is how was  inter se prioritisation done  between Combat fighter jets which are the BACKBONE of any Air Force and luxury helicopters-( we have been doing very well without them please).We still dont have the LCA or the Rafale, the MIG -21s are falling out of the skies, the Mig-27 and jaguars will be retired soon.Yet we have 3 unwanted Augusta helicopters and a massive 31 million euro bribe scandal. No bureaucrat, no politician has ever been punished. They simply punish the armed forces by blanket bans. that is why 30 years after Bofors we are still looking for a medium Gun without which no army can fight and win wars. May God help us!

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A case of Penis Envy?

Here is a Freudian explanation for the eternal conflict between the babu and the fauji, which seems to get worse day by day or rather CPC by CPC – to the detriment of national security.

If there are any kings in a democracy, it is our bureaucrats. Hope the essence of this article below also reaches the balanced, patriotic elements in our bureaucracy.

A case of Penis Envy?


(The Bureaucracy and the Armed Forces)

The author, Kishore Asthana, (an IIM A aluminus of 1972 batch), as a man any one  would LOVE to interact with.
He just happens to be NCR Mensa head as well…

THE BUREAUCRACY AND THE ARMED FORCES IN INDIA – A CASE OF PENIS ENVY?

Imagine two branches of service in the Government of India. The two branches are different in substance and in the perception of the citizens. One branch has its halo effect and is considered both glamorous and praiseworthy in public perception. The other branch is often pejoratively titled “babudom”.

Now consider the following points:

·        The armed forces have their uniforms and shiny medals. The bureaucrats have none.

·        Generals, Admirals and Air Marshals sport three stars on their vehicles, and sometimes four stars. Even officers of the rank of Brigadier sport a star.

The bureaucrats of similar seniority have to make do with just a red or blue light. Lest you consider this a trivial matter not worthy of the attention of a senior bureaucrat, consider this – when my brother, an Air Commodore, was posted as India’s Air Attache in Washington, he was entitled to put a single star – the US Army’s designated insignia for a brigadier level officer – on his vehicle. This gave him certain parking and other privileges in specified buildings.

His administrative superior – an officer belonging to the Indian Foreign Service – actually urged my brother to remove the star from his car since he, the senior officer, was not entitled to it.

·        The armed forces, with their bemedalled heroes guarding our boundaries, and their fighter pilots, navy commanders etc. garner favourable publicity in the media and are viewed as services with an air of professionalism and macho. They carry an aura of glamour. The bureaucrats, on the other hand, do not have such an image – in fact, they are widely considered to be working in musty offices, surrounded by files and aided by often sloppy staff, who the average citizen encounters in his or her daily life.

If professions could be said to have sexes, the armed forces would definitely be considered masculine and the bureaucrats, their civilian counterpart, feminine.

In saying this I do not mean to slight the feminine aspect. I am just stating the obvious – the aggressive, protective, outgoing principle vis a vis the protected, home-bound civilian bureaucrats.

This dichotomy between the two appears to have affected the bureaucratic wing adversely as far as their attitude towards the defence wing is concerned. The closest we can express this attitude in psychological terms is by saying that ‘The BUREAUCRACY suffers from PENIS-ENVY’.

Sigmund Freud introduced the concept of a little girl’s envy of the penis in his 1908 article "On the Sexual Theories of Children," and developed the idea later in his work “On Narcissism”. Subsequently, his theory has been overtaken by more accurate theories of female sexuality by psychologists such as Eric Ericson ad Jian Paget. It has also been criticised by feminists and others. However, here we are not dealing with the girl child’s psychological development. We are concerned with a similar emotion amongst India’s bureaucrats vis a vis our Armed Forces where this theory does appear to apply rather closely.

The bureaucrats subconsciously appear to wish that they had more glamour in their profession, that they had smart, uniformed assistants and starred vehicles and be-medalled uniforms. Acquiring these appears as difficult as the girl’s covert wish to acquire a penis. However, unlike the girl child, the bureaucrats can do something about it. They may not be able to acquire a penis for themselves, but they leave no occasion to try and castrate the armed forces.

The Sixth pay commission controversy is only one factor in the ongoing struggle for supremacy which the bureuacrats have tried this castration. In pursuance of this effort, the bureaucrats have not permitted even a single representative of the armed forces – India’s largest employer – in the Pay Commission. An indicative incident of the feeling of animosity can be judged by the incident where the military attache in one of our embassies overheard one of the senior-most bureaucrats visiting that country make a pejorative comment is reference to the noise being made by the armed forces about the Sixth Pay Commission award anomalies. The senior bureaucrats comment was that on his return to India, “We will fix the bastards”.

Another indication of this castration is the order of precedence. This is the official order in which dignitaries are seated at formal functions and the ceremonial importance given to each relative to the others. At the time of independence, the senior most general was second in the Order of Precedence. Now the Army Chief is 12th in this list. The Cabinet Secretary is 11th, as is the Attorney General.  At the 23rd position are “Officers of the rank of full General or equivalent rank” on par with Secretaries to the Government, Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities , Secretary, Minorities Commission, Secretary, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes , Members, Minorities Commission , Members, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Members, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and a host of others.

There are many other areas where no opportunity is missed by the bureaucrats to show the armed forces down.

The overt reason one hears for maintaining the supremacy of the bureaucrats over the armed forces is that we should adhere to the principle of  “the civilian control of the army”. However, civilian control does not mean the Chief of India’s Army, who commands 1.3 million officers and soldiers, apart from 1.4 million reserve and territorial army personnel, waiting at the pleasure of the bureaucrats manning the Ministry of Defense. So long as he obeys the orders of a civilian Minister of Defence, it would ensure the principle of civilian control adequately. However, the bureaucrats will never agree to this because this argument will take away one more tool which facilitates the castration mentioned above.

These attempts at castration of the armed forces by the bureaucracy are resulting in the demoralization of our armed forces at all levels. The retired officers speak about this openly and the serving ones in hushed tones. This complex of the bureaucrats needs to be recognized for what it is and, then, needs to be addressed firmly and fairly by the political masters, unless this is done, we will continue devaluing the spear and shield of the country to satisfy the castrative instinct of the bureaucrats. If a further devaluation of the tools of India’s defence happens, we should not be surprised that, when we need a steely response to danger on our borders, we will get a wooden one. Then, paradoxically, the bureaucrats will get one more reason to castrate the armed forces further and the vicious spiral will continue making holes in our national defence shield.

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