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    Bridge on Manali-Leh national highway thrown open to traffic

    SHIMLA : In order to ease vehicular movement and strengthen the road connectivity to forward areas along China border, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Saturday threw open a bridge on Manali – Leh national highway.

    HT PHOTO■ Beas Bridge on the Manali-Leh road was inaugurated by Border Roads Organisation ( North-West) additional director general Mohan Lal on Saturday.

    In spite of extreme cold and inclement weather conditions at high altitude area, BRO has completed construction of this bridge on war footing at a cost of ₹600 lakh. MOHAN LAL, Border Roads ( North West) additional director general

    “In spite of extreme cold and inclement weather conditions at high altitude area, BRO has completed construction of this bridge on war footing at a cost of ₹600 lakh,” said Border Roads Organisations ( North-West) additional director general Mohan Lal.

    The bridge has been constructed 33 kilometers ahead of Manali on the highway.

    “The bridge was a part of Manali-Sarchu road which connects the remote district of Lahaul and Spiti. It would now facilitate thousand of Leh bound tourist,” he said.

    Seven more bridges were constructed by the BRO to fasten movement of vehicles on Manali – Leh road.

    “BRO is trying it’s best to get all these bridges completed within next one to two working seasons” Lal said.

    The border roads has already under takenwork to construct double lane as it witnesses heavy traffic movement . BRO also opened Manali Sarchu road that was closed twice due to untimely snowfall. Besides, the organisation also maintains the road across 16350 feet high Baralacha pass and 13050 feet high Rohtang pass. Region experienced unprecedented rains and snow during last week of September when scores of tourist and drivers on Leh bound road were stranded . Himachal government along with Indian air force launched massive operation to evacuate them.

    The nature’s fury caused floods and triggered avalanches. Nearly four thousand tourists and locals stranded on snow covered Manali- Sarchu road and nearby villages.

    Work to reopen the passes and clear the snow from 222km Manali–Sarchu road was undertaken on war footing pace in sub zero temperature.

    BRO had also restored road communication to Leh and rescued tourists and locals stranded on Manali-sarchu road. BRO was raised in 1960 with an aim to build and maintain strategic border roads in north and north-eastern border of the country.

    Son of Mujahideen commander to carry on father’s legacy

    DEHRADUN: Among the 80 foreign gentleman cadets (FGC), who passed out on Saturday from IMA, there was a 24-year-old Afghan soldier, who is eager to carry forward his father’s legacy.

    HT PHOTO■ Raheb Rashid with his father at IMA in Dehradun.Father of Mohammed Raheb Rashid, who was among 49 Afghan gentleman cadets, fought as a Mujahideen commander against Soviet forces during Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

    Raheb said: “I was always determined to join the army after listening the heroic tales of his father and former Mujahideen commander, Mohammed Zarif Rashid, on how he fought the invading Soviet forces with his AK47 and a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) on his soldier.”

    “It was always my father’s dream to see me joining the army and I have grown up while listening to the tales of his valour and courage while fighting the Soviets in our country. I am happy that I have been able to live his dream and don the uniform,” said Raheb who was earlier in National Defence Academy, Pune before joining IMA.

    Remembering the tales that his father used to narrate while he was a kid, he said, “I was always fascinated with the war tales which he used to narrate to me during childhood. I can remember, how he used to get passionate about our Afghanistan while narrating the tales of fighting against Soviet Union forces.

    He wanted me to join the army, because he knows the importance of a country’s sovereignty.” Speaking to HT, he also claimed that one of the major reasons behind him joining the army, “is the fact that serving country is taken as matter of pride in our religion and country”.

    “My father lived that pride while fighting against the enemy for the country. Also, many of his cousins and men were martyred in the war against Soviets.

    He always wanted that there should be someone in his family to take the pride forward after him for which he wanted me to join the army and I proudly did. I am fully determined to fight them.

    They are not Muslims as they are killing innocents in the name of Islam. I will fight them till the last drop of blood in my body,” he said.

    To witness him becoming an army officer, his father Zarif, 63, had come all the way from Kabul to Dehradun along with his (Raheb) two cousin brothers. Zarif said: “I always wanted to see his son become an army officer and serve Afghanistan.”

    5th generation, 4th generation officers carry on family tradition

    DEHRADUN : The passing out parade of autumn term, 2018 in Indian Military Academy (IMA) witnessed the passing out of 347 newly commissioned Indian Army officers.

    VINAY S KUMAR/HT■ (Above) 4th generation Army officer Manveer S Jodha (second from left) with his parents and brother; (Left) 5th generation army officer Gurveer Talwar with his father at IMA in Dehradun on Saturday.However, among them, there were two officers who were proudly carrying their family’s legacy of serving in the army for five and four generations.

    One of the two officers was Gurvir Singh Talwar, who was the fifth generation army officer from his family. Hailing from Panchkula in Haryana, Gurvir’s father KS Talwar is serving as a Colonel in the army.

    His great-great-grandfather Subedar Major Sardar Bahadur Honorary Captain Diwan Singh served in the British Indian Army in Turkey during first world war (WW1) while his greatgrandfather Colonel Waryam Singh served in the British Indian Army during second world war (WW2) in Myanmar.

    Taking forward the legacy, his grandfather Maj Gen HS Talwar served in the Indian Army during 1962 Indo-Sino war in which he was held as prisoner of war by the Chinese army only to be later released.

    Gurvir, who has been commissioned into army’s Gorkha Rifles regiment, is also the winner or silver medal for gentleman cadet (GC) standing second in the order of merit.

    Speaking on the decision of joining the army, he said: ‘”Serving in the army runs in his family’s blood.” “Knowing that elders of four previous generations of my family were and are proudly associated with the army, I always wanted to serve in the army. There was no other career option in my mind but the olive green uniform,” he said.

    He pursued his education from Rashtriya Indian Military College, National Defence Academy and then got inducted in the IMA for the one year training course before being commissioned as officer in the Indian Army.

    His father Col KS Talwar while speaking to HT on his family’s legacy of serving in army proudly said, “Donning the olive green uniform runs in the DNA of our family which now runs in my son Gurvir. I am proud of him.”

    Newly commissioned officer Lieutenant Manvir Singh Jodha, from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, also shares a glorious story similar to Gurvir except the fact that he is a proud fourth generation army officer. Manvir’s great-grandfather Lt Col Aman Singh Jodha, served during WW1 in Haifa. His grandfather also served in the British Indian Army during WW2 while his father Brigadier Mahendra Singh Jodha is at present serving in the Indian Army. His elder brother KV Jodha is also a serving in the Army as captain with Gorkha Rifles.

    Aman, who has been commissioned as lieutenant in Engineers Core, said he always wanted to serve in the army. “The inspiration to join army was in my family. The Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in Delhi to commemorate the sacrifices of Indian soldiers in the battle of Haifa in WW1 comprises name of my great-grandfather Aman Singh Jodha,” he said.

    427 cadets pass out from IMA

    JUBILANT 51 cadets are from Haryana, 15 from Himachal Pradesh, 14 from Punjab and 12 from J&K

    DEHRADUN: Four hundred and twenty seven gentleman cadets (GC) including 347 Indians and 80 from seven friendly countries passed out from Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Chetwode Drill Square on Saturday.

    VINAY SANTOSH KUMAR/HT PHOTO■ Newly passed out officers relish their commissioning in Indian Army on the Passing Out Parade at IMA in Dehradun on Saturday.


    The parade was reviewed by vice chief of army staff (VCOAS), Lt Gen Devraj Anbu.

    Among the Indian GCs, 306 were from 143rd Regular Course while remaining 41 were from 126th Technical Graduate Course. One hundred and thirty nine GCs of the 306 had come to IMA for training from National Defence Academy, Pune.

    This year 53 cadets were from Uttar Pradesh followed by 51 from Haryana, 36 from Bihar, 26 from Uttarakhand, 25 from Delhi, 20 from Maharashtra , 15 from Himachal Pradesh, 14 from Punjab, 12 from Jammu and Kashmir, 10 from Madhya Pradesh and eight from West Bengal.

    The sword of honour and gold medal were conferred to GC Arjun Thakur from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh.The 80 foreign gentlemen cadets who passed out of the academy represented seven nations — Afghan stan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Vietnam with maximum from Afghanistan (49), followed by 15 from Bhutan and five each from Maldives and Tajikistan.

    After reviewing the parade, Lt Gen Anbu congratulated the GCs on successful completion of the course.Addressing the GCs who got commissioned in the Army, he asked them to “serve the men and women under them with dedication and leadership qualities imbibed during their training at IMA.” Speaking on the question of putting the army’s women officers in combat role, he said, “The army is taking gradual steps in that regard. Several aspects are to be considered before deploying the women officers at the difficult terrains.”

    Quizzed on the politicising of the surgical strikes, he said, “The army is always ready to give a befitting reply to any misadventure.” After conclusion of the parade, a pipping ceremony was held at Somnath stadium of the IMA.

    Mohali cadet bags bronze in IMA passing-out parade

    Mohali cadet bags bronze in IMA passing-out parade

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, December 8

    Senior under officer Gurvansh Singh Gosal was awarded a bronze for standing third in the overall order of merit of the Indian Military Academy’s 135th course that passed out today.

    He is an alumnus of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute (AFPI), Mohali, and had earlier stood first in the All-India merit list for entrance to the NDA.

    Gurvansh has won three other medals for being first in tactics, academics and also in service subjects. He has been commissioned into the 4 Sikh Battalion of the Battle of Saragarhi fame.

    Brijesh Pal Singh and Balpartap Singh, two other alumni of the AFPI, were also commissioned today.

    Pakistan troops target forward posts along LoC in Rajouri

    Pakistan troops target forward posts along LoC in Rajouri

    The Pakistani troops targeted Indian posts at about 9 am. File photo

    Jammu, December 8

    Pakistani troops on Saturday opened fire at forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, a defence spokesman said.

    The Pakistani troops targeted Indian posts at about 9 am, prompting strong and effective retaliation from the Indian Army, the spokesman said.

    No casualty has been reported in the firing which was still continuing when the reports last came in. The latest violation comes two days after a BSF jawan was killed and another injured in Pakistani firing in the same sector on Thursday.

    Pakistani troops also suffered several casualties in the retaliatory action following the killing of the BSF jawan, officials said. PTI


    Ex-servicemen vow to oppose BJP nominees

    Tribune News Service

    Rohtak, December 8

    Former defence officials associated with the Haryana Ex-Services League (HESL), a body of ex-servicemen, have decided to work for the defeat of the BJP nominees in the mayoral and municipal elections across the state.

    This was stated by Col RS Malik (retd), a former president of the league, who was accompanied by Col KS Sansanwal (retd), Col RS Budhwar (retd), Col Jai Singh Kadian (retd), Capt Shamsher Singh Malik (retd) and Sub RK Ahlawat (retd), while addressing a news conference here today.

    The former defence officers supported the candidature of Dr Jagmati Sangwan, the CPM’s mayoral nominee for Rohtak.

    Col Malik alleged that the state government had hijacked the League and some functionaries government were interfering in its affairs.

    The former HESL president maintained that the BJP regime at the Centre had made the surgical strikes a political tool, whereas it was a routine military exercise and no government had ever tried to seek credit or political mileage for it.

    He alleged multifarious irregularities in the functioning of the League under the government-appointed administrator and an advisory committee constituted by him.

    Jat samiti to campaign against BJP in Hisar

    The All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti will oppose the BJP candidates in the municipal corporation polls in five towns of Haryana. The samiti spokesperson Rambhagat Malik said at a meeting in Hansi town of the district that they would start campaign among electorate to vote against the BJP candidates in the MC polls. He said the state government had backstabbed the Jat community on the issue of reservation.

    Surgical strikes successful tactical op: Gen Ranbir

    Surgical strikes successful tactical op: Gen Ranbir

    Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Northern Command Chief, with students during the Old Boys’ Association Meet at Sainik School in Kapurthala on Saturday. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

    Jalandhar, December 8

    The 2016 surgical strikes were a successful tactical operation which conveyed a clear message to Pakistan to stop any misadventure along the LoC, Army’s Northern Command Chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh told mediapersons here on the sidelines of his visit to Kapurthala Sainik School, his alma mater, on Saturday.

    His comments came a day after Lt Gen DS Hooda (retd), who was associated with the operation, said it was natural to have initial euphoria over the success, but the constant hype around the surgical strikes was unwarranted.

    Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said all actions by the Army along the LoC were carried out in an extremely professional manner to meet the national aspirations and achieve military objectives.

    However, he said, “As far as politicisation of the surgical strikes is concerned, I would not like to comment. That is in political domain.”

    On whether the country could carry out surgical strikes again to counter the spate of recent infiltrations, he said there were many other options to check infiltration of terrorists. Surgical strike was only one of the options.

    On possible attempts to revive militancy in Punjab, Lt Gen Singh said Pakistan was trying to extend the “arc of terrorism” beyond Kashmir and the Army was taking measures to arrest the spread. — TNS


    ‘Future wars will be won on information superiority’

    Chandigarh, December 8

    While information warfare has assumed a central space in the spectrum of conflict, involving military as well as civilian establishments, India remains dependent on foreign countries for its information warfare requirements.

    Stating this while moderating a session on ‘Information Warfare — The New Face of War’ at the Military Literature Festival here today, former Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi stressed the need for indigenous equipment to counter the danger of subversion through electronic means. Today every piece of equipment has an electronic component that can be targeted.

    Stating that artificial intelligence and robotics will increasingly influence lives, Lt Gen Oberoi said information warfare was not just about gadgetry but also about what military people did in battle or what civilians did or didn’t do in their day to day lives. Just like air superiority was the dominating factor in war, electronic or information superiority will be the winnable factor in the next war, he added.

    Lt Gen RS Panwar, former Commandant, Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, said we needed to come up with the requisite doctrines and structures to conduct information warfare. Besides skill development of personnel, we needed to develop capabilities in tune with what was happening in the world, he said.

    Lt Gen SP Kochar, former Signal Officer-in-Chief, said information warfare should be embedded with other operations of war.