Sanjha Morcha

Indian-origin Major in UK returns honour in protest

Indian-origin Major in UK returns honour in protest
Major (Retd) Narindar Saroop has been protesting alleged misuse of honours system by former UK PM David Cameron

London, August 30

A former Indian-origin soldier-turned-politician in the UK has returned his Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) to protest what he feels is the misuse of the honours system by former PM David Cameron.Major (Retd) Narindar Saroop, who was born in India and went on to serve in the British Indian Army before moving to the UK, was awarded the CBE in 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)The 87-year-old has the distinction of being the very first South Asian-origin Conservative party candidate to contest a general election back in 1979. However, the Tory party member and former London councillor now feels Cameron had shown “demeaning contempt” for the honours system by recommending less deserving people as part of his so-called resignation list, when he left Downing Street following Britain’s vote in favour of Brexit on June 23.“Cameron’s list, in my view, included a lot of people who were undeserving of what they were given. Prime Ministers like Harold Wilson and James Callaghan gave honours to their advisers, but many were very hard-working individuals. But in Cameron’s list, some of the names were only there a couple of years,” Saroop told a newspaper today. — PTI

India, US to discuss jet engine technology

India, US to discuss jet engine technology
Manohar Parrikar’s three-day visit to US begins today

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 28

Apart from expected inking of the India-US agreement on sharing “military logistics”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar shall discuss jet-engine technology development with the US during his three-day (August 29-31) visit commencing tomorrow.The Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG) comprising officials of the two countries has already concluded its terms of reference for cooperation in this area. The matter will be discussed when Parrikar meets his US counterpart Ashton Carter in the US.The Indian side is hopeful that a formal agreement on logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) will be signed. In April, the two countries had announced in New Delhi the decision to conclude LEMOA. LEMOA is the new name for the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), which the two countries have been discussing for over a decade.What has been okayed is a re-jigged version of the LSA, a cast-in-iron framework, which the US was keen on getting India to sign. India asked the US to make it India-specific and not the standard LSA draft, which the US has with its allies like the UK.New Delhi reserves the discretion to withdraw in case it feels the US had gone to war with a country that India sees as a friend.The two countries have agreed upon the text for the agreement and this will, however, not entail “positioning of the US troops on Indian soil”. LEMOA will cover four aspects — training, exercises, port calls and the humanitarian assistance. It will be facilitator as earlier matters of refuelling and repair were considered on case-to-case basis.In case of jet-engine technology, the US told India in December last year that it had changed its policy on gas turbine engine technology transfer, allowing technology to be shared with Indian companies.The move, if it comes through, will change the way India makes engines for its warships and fighter jets. Gas turbine engines are largely used in big warships for the Navy and have a big market.Forty-seven naval ships are under construction and each needs at least two such engines — costing millions of dollars.






Pakistan PM Sharif appoints 22 MPs as special envoys to ‘fight Kashmir cause’

NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday appointed 22 parliamentarians as special envoys “for fighting the Kashmir cause in different parts of the world”.

“I am standing behind these special envoys to ensure their toil for highlighting the Kashmir cause resonates across the world so that I can shake the collective conscience of the international community during my address at the UN this September,” Sharif said in a statement.

The move marks an escalation in Pakistan’s ongoing row with India over the unrest in Kashmir following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.

Sharif said Pakistan will remind the United Nations of its long-held promise of “right selfdetermination for the Kashmiri people” and would make it clear to India that it was them that had approached the inter-governmental organisation several decades ago on Kashmir dispute, but are not fulfilling its promise.

“Generation after generation of Kashmiris have seen only broken pledges and ruthless oppression,” the prime minister added in his statement. Sharif added, “The Kashmir dispute is the most persistent failure of the United Nations; the UN must establish its relevance. We cannot relent from the Kashmir cause by any stretch of imagination.”

The parliamentarians who have been nominated to lobby for the Kashmir cause in various countries include Ejazul Haq, the son of former military strongman Ziaul Haq. The prime minister also nominated Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads his faction of the Jamat-ulem Islam (JUI) party, a right wing party.

His remarks came on the 50th day of violent protests in Kashmir. India has accused Pakistan of inciting violence in Kashmir and supporting cross-border terrorism.


Let’s talk terror, PoK, Jaishankar tells Pak

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25

As the India-Pakistan “war of letters” continues, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar has shot off another letter to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Choudhary.Sources in the government confirm that in the letter, Jaishankar has made it clear to Pakistan that the India-Pakistan talks should focus on terror emanating from Pakistan to India and to the region.The letter is India’s response to Choudhary’s August 19 invitation to Jaishankar, asking him to travel to Islamabad and discuss the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said the letter was handed over by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to Choudhary yesterday in Islamabad.Sources said the Foreign Secretary, in the letter, has pressed upon Islamabad once again for the need to move out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Sources add that India has upped the ante this time with the Foreign Secretary raising the issue of terror emanating from Pakistani soil and targeting not just India but also the region. It is learnt that the decision on whether Jaishankar would travel to Pakistan at the end of the month would be determined once Pakistan responds to the latest letter.India-Pakistan relations show no signs of improvement with Kashmir having emerged as the main issue. The dialogue process has been in a state of suspension since the January Pathankot attacks and the recent exchange of letters between the two Foreign Secretaries is an effort to create ground for talks.

Visit to Islamabad may depend on Pak reply

  • The letter is India’s response to Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Choudhary’s August 19 invitation to S Jaishankar, asking him to travel to Islamabad and discuss the situation in J&K
  • It is learnt that the decision on if Jaishankar would travel to Pakistan at the end of the month will be determined once Pakistan responds to the letter


Search for missing AN-32 aircraft continues

Search for missing AN-32 aircraft continues
The plane with 29 persons on board went missing shortly after taking off from Chennai for Port Blair on July 22. Reuters file photo

New Delhi, August 22

A month since it went off radar en route Port Blair, the search for the missing AN-32 aircraft of Indian Air Force continues without any concrete evidence about the fate of the aircraft.

Meanwhile, as Geological Survey of India ship Samudra Ratnakar found some leads at a depth of around 3,000 meters, officials said it was not clear if it was the debris of the aircraft.

“The ship has tracked some echoes from the seabed but it will be a long process to verify if there is any debris belonging to the AN-32,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee told IANS.

According to the Geological Survey of India, the Samudra Ratnakar, which was part of the search operation, had detected some linear pieces.

A GSI official said the objects, around 200 to 300 nautical miles from Chennai, could even be rocks on the sea bed.

Indian Navy Spokesperson Captain D.K. Sharma said: “The search for AN-32 is in progress in right earnest.”  Sharma added that there were no concrete leads.

A month on, the search is being carried on with two Indian Navy and one Coast Guard ship for scanning the surface of the sea.

National Institute of Ocean Technology’s vessel, Sagar Nidhi, and Samudra Ratnakar are carrying on the sub-surface search, while aerial survey is being carried out by surveillance aircraft P8I, transport aircraft C130J Super Hercules and Coast Guard’s Dorniers.

The plane with 29 people on board went missing shortly after taking off from Chennai for Port Blair on July 22.

The recorded transcript of air traffic radar showed the last pick up of the aircraft was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai when it took a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.

A flotilla of Naval and Coast Guard ships and aircraft were deployed on the search operations hours after the aircraft went off radar.

Data from Indian satellites was scanned and help was also sought from other countries to locate the missing aircraft.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a detailed statement made in parliament, also clarified that the aircraft, an upgraded version of IAF’s workhorse, had “adequate lifetime” and had undergone just one overhaul. — IANS

Ashok Chakra for Havildar Hangpan Dada

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14

President Pranab Mukherjee today approved 82 gallantry awards for armed forces personnel and members of the paramilitary forces. These included one Ashok Chakra, 14 Shaurya Chakras, 63 Sena Medals (Gallantry), two Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) and two Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).Havildar Hangpan Dada of Assam Regiment, who killed four intruding terrorists before laying down his life at a height of 13,000 feet in the harsh Himalayan terrain of North Kashmir on May 26, was awarded the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)Eight Army men from the Northern Command got the Shaurya Chakra, the third highest award for gallantry during peacetime. Five of them got this award posthumously, a Ministry of Defence statement said.Hangpan Dada laid down his life as he led a charge on hiding terrorists in Naugam (Jammu and Kashmir), resulting in neutralisation of four. Taking the enemy head-on, Dada killed two of them on the spot and the third one after a hand-to-hand scuffle as they slid down the hill towards the LoC. A fourth terrorist was also killed by him.Lt Col EK Niranjan, who lost his life during the Pathankot airbase attack, was among those awarded the Shaurya Chakra. He was attached to the National Security Guard and was part of their bomb-disposal squad.Captain Pawan Kumar and  Captain Tushar Mahajan of 9 Para Special Forces, who lost their lives during the Pampore attack, were awarded gallantry medals.

Commendation for NSG dog ‘Rocket’

  • NSG dog “Rocket”, who burnt its paws while scouring for terrorists in a burning billet during the Pathankot IAF base attack, has been awarded the Chief of Army Staff commendation for courage and obedience to command. The two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois is a soldier of the K9 unit based at Manesar. PTI

Identity, lost and found Col DS Cheema (Retd)

I RECALL the days when, as a young man, I was carefree. Today, I see those days as the wheel of fate that turned for me.My first posting, in 1963, was to a field unit in the East. The long journey from Secunderabad to NEFA, first by train and then by road, was not eventful, as most of the time I was concerned about the safety of my personal weapon, a Sten gun, which was an essential inventory of an Army officer posted in the East then. My unit had two young officers like me and was commanded by a Major. Except for the Officer Commanding (OC), who had his basha near the Officer’s Mess at the foot of a hillock, the rest of us were put up on the hilltop. Young officers consider their first posting as a two-year ‘honeymoon’ which they try to make the best of. One evening, a friend was waiting for me in my basha so we could go for an exciting outing we had planned days earlier. After some aborted attempts to tie the turban, I, abetted by my friend, was convinced that the only way I could leave on time for any engagement was to change my head-gear permanently and start wearing the jungle hat. The next morning, the OC did not recognise me at the breakfast table and when he learnt from others about the change of my identity, he asked me in a stern voice to report immediately to him in his office. In the Army, any change in identity is possible only after taking prior permission from the higher authorities. Furious, the OC ordered me to get back to the original me as early as possible, failing which disciplinary action would be initiated against me. There was no way I could obey his order, and so, after a few days, I was handed a confidential envelope containing a show-cause notice. Though it scared me, I did not understand the gravity of the situation and wrote back, well before the deadline, to be forgiven for the mistake committed. Two days passed off peacefully, during which the OC did not interact with me, except nodding in response to formal greetings. However, the very next day, I learnt that I would be marched to the Commander (a Lt Col) for necessary action. It came as a bolt from the blue. In those days, the gap between a barsati Captain (which I was) and a Lt Col was very wide. After interviewing me, the Commander thought it a fit case to be forwarded to the higher authorities, in this case, the Corps HQ.When I reached the Corps HQ on the fateful day, I felt as if everyone there had come to know of my misconduct and were looking at me with contemptuous amusement. I was marched to a Brigadier who barked a few unprintable, harmless abuses and dismissed me in just a minute or so. I later learnt that immediately after dealing with me, he called the Lt Col who was waiting in the next room and admonished him for not being able to handle the problem at his level. I felt happy to know that the Commander had received more dressing down than me! I applied for a new identity card and the matter was settled once for all. A few years later, I regained my identity due to another interesting turn of events.

No underwater locator in AN-32, search still on

New Delhi, August 1

The missing AN-32 aircraft, which had flown multiple times over the Bay of Bengal carrying military personnel and equipment, did not have an underwater locator system, making it difficult for the rescuers to pinpoint the position of the plane that went down over the sea with 29 persons on board on July 22. In fact, none of the upgraded AN32 aircraft, the main workhorse of the military, has an underwater locator, unlike the modern transport planes such as C130J or C17.This means the search and rescue team has no idea where the plane is. The search, which entered the 11th day today, is being carried taking into account the last contact point of the aircraft before it disappeared. “We are using sonars of submarine, ships and other naval assets to locate the aircraft. There is no signal available to track the missing aircraft,” a defence source said, adding the search would continue.The missing aircraft came with two Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)—a stationary ARTEX C406-1 ELT manufactured by ACR Electronics/Artex Products, the US, and a French-made portable KANNAD 406AS ELT manufactured by Orolia. In emergency, the pilot has to activate the ELT beacon manually. The integrated ELT gets activated when the impact is about 2.3 G or 4.5 feet per second.However, ELT would not get activated automatically since radio waves are not transmitted in water. “There is no signal from ELT under water for this reason,” IAF sources said.Trials were already on to procure underwater ELTs for the aircraft and, as an emergency measure, effort is to have some kind of an underwater ELT on any aircraft that flies over water.Also, the AN-32 aircraft does not have the Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast. This system relies on navigational satellites to automatically transmit an aircraft’s journey in real time and it can be switched on and off based on operational needs.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said as per the standard operating procedures started at 1230 hours, one hour after the scheduled arrival at Port Blair and nearly three-and-a-half hours after the plane went out of ground radar cover area. It was only at 1225 hours that Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre, Chennai, reported that an IAF AN-32 (AF-330) was not in contact. The weather at the time when the plane went missing was overcast with multi-layered clouds and embedded convection. — PTI

These youngsters from Chennai leave well-paid corporate offers for Indian Army

Akshay Patil; Lokesh Pant | Sunish P Surendran
Akshay Patil; Lokesh Pant | Sunish P Surendran

CHENNAI: Jobs in the corporate sector may be lucrative but youngsters are slowly getting more attracted to the Indian army, leaving lucrative employment in law, engineering and even research.

Akshay Patil, a junior scientist in Defence Research Development Organisation, opted for the Olive Green, rather than a career in India’s premier defence research lab.

Kannan S

Nurturing a dream to join the Army as an officer, Patil, the first commissioned officer from Jalai village in Jalgaon in Maharastra, is content with the job. “Even Abdul Kalam tried to get into the army; he failed and I succeeded,” he says with a smile.

Although this is a short service commission, the former scientist who specialised in armament research had made up his mind to opt for a permanent commission

Orisi Lavasiga Nasove

Even Hyderabad based Nikita could have landed in a lucrative job in the corporate sector. The girl from a humble family lived on scholarships alone after seeing her parents struggle.

“I lessened the burden of my dad and got into Chaitanya Bharati Institute of Technology through scholarship,” says Nikita. She had numerous offers but the charm of the armed forces motivated her to apply for the Officers Training Academy.


“My dream is to take care of my father as I saw him struggle throughout his life. I don’t want to get married. I want to care for my parents,” she says, eagerly awaiting the September 10 Passing out Parade, which her parents would attend.

For S Kannan, who did engineering from Rajalakshmi Engineering College in Chennai, joining the army was a career with a difference. “I had three job offers but I want something different in life,” reasons Kannan, a resident of Ponamallee. According to him awareness on careers in the defence is very low in Tamil Nadu.

This time there have been more cadets from Tamil Nadu unlike the past year. Earlier, there were only six to seven cadets but this year there are 13, said an officer with OTA.

Lokesh Pant, who had completed law from Christ University, Bangalore, and a runner-up in Moot Court competition in St Thomas University in Miami, Florida, United States, preferred the army as he wanted to use his professional skills to serve the nation.

First Fiji officer to graduate from OTA in Chennai

Orisi Lavasiga Nasove will become the first Fiji officer to graduate from the Officers Training Academy on September 10 during the Passing Out Parade. Fiji, which was relying on United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, has started looking to India after the Commonwealth nations keeping it off, following the coup in 2010. Once the elections were held, the sanctions were lifted and the island nation has been sending budding officers to India for training. Nasove, who was selected by the Fiji military for military training, is among the first generation of army officers undergoing training in India. After graduation from the OTA, the son of a farmer would join the Fiji military as 2nd lieutinant.

Orisi Lavasiga Nasove will become the first Fiji officer to graduate from the Officers Training Academy on September 10 during the Passing Out Parade. Fiji, which was relying on United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, has started looking to India after the Commonwealth nations keeping it off, following the coup in 2010. Once the elections were held, the sanctions were lifted and the island nation has been sending budding officers to India for training. Nasove, who was selected by the Fiji military for military training, is among the first generation of army officers undergoing training in India. After graduation from the OTA, the

son of a farmer would join the Fiji military as 2nd lieutinant.

Ex-servicemen to get pension information on SMS, says official


TARN TARAN: All ex-servicemen will get to know about their pensionary benefits through SMS soon. Controller general of defence accounts (CGDA), New Delhi, SK Kohli, said this on Saturday during a pension camp here. The system is being launched in order to prevent inconveniences the pensioners. The beneficiaries will have to submit Aadhaar Card and mobile phone numbers.

On ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) issue, he said arrears will be paid soon. He said the department was merging entire pension record lying in banks with its own record so that the benefits could be provided to the pensioners directly. Apart from this, a website has also been created on which each of the beneficiaries will have an online account, he said.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Kanwaldeep Singh, Rajbir Singh Rana, Major General Vijay Pingle and Amarbir Chahal.