Sanjha Morcha

Army celebrates 72nd Infantry Day

Army celebrates 72nd Infantry Day

Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh pays tributes to martyrs in Udhampur. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 27

The Army on Saturday celebrated 72nd Infantry Day in Srinagar.

The celebrations began with a solemn wreath-laying ceremony, in which Lt Gen AK Bhatt, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Chinar Corps, and all ranks paid tributes to the martyrs at the Badami Bagh Cantonment, an Army statement said.

Paying homage to the sacrifices of valiant soldiers, the GOC said the real tribute to the martyrs would be to remain committed to the cause for which they had laid down their lives.

He also urged the troops to continue to work with dedication and steadfast approach.

“We are celebrating Infantry Day at a place which has a historic significance. It is here that the Indian Army began its campaign to evict Pakistani invaders and succeeded in doing so with glory. We are all grateful to our valiant martyrs, heroes and soldiers,” he said.

 


Indian Army on diet

THE INDIAN ARMED forces is bulging and greying.

That is partially owing to what it first thought would make the services attractive to young talent. Following repeated representations by the armed forces, the Union government substantially raised salaries and perks of its personnel through multiple pay commissions and the recent One Rank, One Pension policy. This, however, has led to a problem of plenty, as even officers who have been superseded during promotion are not leaving the force. Earlier though, such officers would opt for early retirement rather than work under junior officers. According to the Army headquarters, the number of officers who took premature retirement after being superseded every year came down to 170 from around 300 in the last two years. Thus, the Army has more senior officers and fewer vacancies.

Also, owing to ballooning salaries and pension bills, the government has no money for modernisation of the defence forces. While the ideal ratio between revenue and capital expenditure in the defence budget should be 60:40, it is 83:17 now. For instance, in this year’s defence budget, the Army’s revenue expenditure (salaries, excluding pensions) was Rs1,28,076 crore, while the capital allocation for modernisation was only Rs26,688 crore.

So, Army chief General Bipin Rawat plans to make the 13 lakh plus Army leaner and meaner by whittling down troops and turning it into a technology-driven force. Four committees, headed by the military secretary and director generals of perspective planning, financial planning and infantry, were formed this April to conduct studies on restructuring the Army headquarters, force reorganisation that includes pruning, cadre review of officers and review of terms and conditions of junior commissioned officers and other ranks. This month, six regional Army commanders along with Rawat met in Delhi and brainstormed on the recommendations of the committees. The recommendations have been sent to the ministry of defence.

Restructuring became a priority in 2016, when defence minister Manohar Parrikar set up a committee under Lt General (retd) D.B. Shekatkar to suggest measures to trim, redeploy and integrate the manpower under the defence ministry to have an “effective military”. Shekatkar was an obvious choice because he, as additional director general of perspective planning, was involved in the 1997 exercise of reducing 50,000 troops. The government accepted 65 of 99 recommendations made by the Shekatkar panel, including redeployment of 57,000 troops to combat formations.

To begin with, the Army plans to cut 50,000 troops in the next two years and another one lakh in five years. Rawat wants to start with an overhaul of the Army headquarters in Delhi. The Directorate General of Military Training, which has nearly 40 officers and hundreds of supporting staff, can easily be merged with the Shimla-based Training Command of the Army, as their functions like training plans for operations, war games and joint training overlap.

The next step would be shutting down its divisional headquarters, comprising about 10,000 officers and men. The committees suggest closing down 25 of 40 plus division headquarters, except those functioning in Jammu and Kashmir and under the mountain strike corps on the eastern border. That would save around 350 officers and several thousand men working under them, who could then be redeployed in operational areas to improve the Army’s teeth-to-tail ratio, an officer explained. Combat troops fighting on the frontlines are the ‘teeth’ of the Army, and the supply or maintenance or support troops are its ‘tail’. Military experts say that against a fighting element of approximately 9 lakh soldiers, there are 4.5 lakh uniformed personnel in the combat support services along with six lakh civilian employees.

Lt General Vinod Bhatia, former director general, military operation, who was part of the Shekatkar Committee, said the need to rightsize the Armed forces is to meet the imperatives of raising cyber and space commands and to cater to the growth of army aviation, electronic warfare and unmanned aerial vehicle units, which are the future of the Army.

The Military Engineering Service (MES), with more than 80,000 personnel, is another white elephant. Seventy per cent of its Rs14,000 crore budget is spent on salaries. The MES, said officials, can be easily reduced to one-third of its strength by outsourcing the maintenance services to cantonments and military stations in peaceful areas. Likewise, the corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME), the third largest force in the Army after the infantry and artillery, can be brought down to 30,000 from around 42,000 personnel. Vehicle repair and servicing can be outsourced to the manufacturers, who now have service stations in most border areas. Only the maintenance of specialist vehicles should be given to the EME. The Army Service Corps, which provides ration to soldiers, too, needs to close its butcheries and resort to procurement through trade. Also, those in the Corps of Signals can be redeployed to fight cyber and electronic warfare.

Also, the military secretary, who is conducting cadre review of officers, will suggest measures to reduce the intake of permanent cadre and to enhance the recruitment of short service commissioned officers. “We should induct more short service recruits (say five years), as it will not only reduce pension bills, but also make the armed forces young and stronger,” said Lt General Mohinder Puri, former deputy chief of Army.

Lt Gen Bhatia, on the other hand, talked about synergy in armed forces. “Indian military is among the least ‘joint’ major militaries in the world, and can optimise resources especially by in-house reforms enabling joint intelligence, planning, training, communications, logistics and force development prior to structured joint operations,” he said. A proposal for creation of two joint theatre commands—western theatre command for Pakistan and an eastern one for China—is under consideration with the government.

India is not the only nation in attempting to prune its armed forces. In 2012, the United Kingdom announced to cut the strength of its army to 82,000 combatants by the end of this decade. Similarly, China is planning to reduce three lakh of its 23 lakh army personnel by 2020. The Russian army has done away with large-size divisional headquarters, and the US had announced a reduction of 80,000 troops by 2017.

But, downsizing an army is not an easy exercise. China took three years to deliberate before the reforms were made public. In India, with elections round the corner, the government will have to be cautious. States like Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, from where the armed forces get maximum recruits, would be annoyed. The Congress has already criticised the move. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Instead of creating the promised two crore jobs per year, the Modi government is hell bent on destroying more jobs.” Shekatkar, however, said that giving jobs was not the real task of the Army. Major (retd) Ved Prakash, chairman of the ex-servicemen cell of the Congress, said the government should spell out its plan—whether the move is only to enhance combat strength of our armed forces or it intends to retrench people.

BJP spokesperson on economic affairs Gopal Krishna Agarwal, however, said it was the Army’s decision, and not the government’s, to downsize the troops. “We are trying to expedite the modernisation of defence forces,” he said. “To my knowledge, several pending proposals for defence procurement have been cleared by the government.”


Can’t fight next war like last one, says army chief Gen Bipin Rawat

Army chief General Bipin Rawat said a mammoth drill is being undertaken to change the complexion and direction of the 1.2 million- strong force and transform it into a deadlier fighting machine fully prepared for future.

Indian army,Indian army chief,General Bipin Rawat

“Let me be clear that we cannot fight the next war like we fought our last,” said General Bipin Rawat in an exclusive interview, explaining the significance of the biggest exercise in independent India’s history to restructure the army and why it tops his priorities as army chief.

The mammoth drill, based on four comprehensive studies led by the army’s topmost generals, will change the complexion and direction of the 1.2 million- strong force and transform it into a deadlier fighting machine fully prepared for future wars, Rawat added.

So what’s on the menu?

The army chief said the implementation of the four studies in their totality would reduce troops (by about 100,000), allow the army to tap technological advances in warfare, create integrated brigades that can be mission-deployed swiftly, cut down the size of the army headquarters, improve the army’s tooth-to-tail ratio and enhance career prospects. “We have to change as the nature of warfare is changing. New structures have to be created incorporating modern technology. That’s the way forward. These changes, reforms, will not happen overnight, but they will happen,” said General Rawat, in his first public comments on the restructuring drive.

All four studies have reached the army chief’s desk in his South Block office and the first, Reorganisation of the Army Headquarters, will be sent to the defence ministry for approval soon and the restructuring could kick off early next year. The remaining three — Reorganisation and Rightsizing of the Indian Army, Cadre Review of Officers and Review of Terms of Engagement of Rank and File — will come up for government approval by the middle of 2019, Rawat said. The studies are being validated.

The army chief said he discussed the studies comprehensively with his seniormost commanders at the recently-concluded Army Commanders’ Conference and that everybody is on the same page.

He said a proposal in one of the studies to abolish the rank of brigadier to smoothen career progression did not find favour within the force; the one-star rank would stay, he added. “We are trying to figure out a formula that allows the brigadier’s rank to stay and still leaves room for improved career progression,” he said.

One of the proposals being considered is to promote colonels directly to the rank of major general and those approved for the two-star rank would first be assigned to command integrated brigades as brigadiers before they go on to command divisions as major generals.

“You can call these integrated brigades lighter divisions or heavier brigades,” he said.

The army could cut over one lakh troops over the next three to five years and some of them could be assigned new roles in domains such as cyber, information and psychological warfare, said Rawat.

“It will result in saving money that can be used for upgrading capabilities. A jawan costs the army Rs 6-8 lakh a year, compared to an officer who earns Rs 20-22 lakh annually. Simply put, cutting down four or five officers will help save a crore,” Rawat said.

“And if the army is saving that money, it should come back to it for taking up modernisation projects. We have limited resources. I will call it rightsizing the army to strengthen its capabilities,” Rawat said.

The troop reduction is likely to be achieved through restructuring different parts of the army, including directorates at the army HQs, logistics units, communications establishments, repair facilities and other administrative and support wings. The restructuring of the army seeks to streamline the procurement process too.

“That’s part of the army headquarters restructuring. And it is a very important facet of the restructuring that we are talking about. We are creating structures at the top levels that will help provide the right equipment to the right troops,” Rawat said.

“For example, if the army wants to buy rocket launchers (RL). It is basically an infantry weapon. That means the infantry should get top-of-the line RLs. But if an engineers’ unit wants RLs, that’s primarily for illumination and not for direct strike. So they can also be given a good RL but the infantry deserves the best because of the job it does. The same goes for assault rifles and other weapons,” he said.

Former army chief General Deepak Kapoor (retd) said several western armies had restructured their forces keeping emerging battlefield scenarios in mind and the Indian Army should also explore if such models could prove useful.

“Modern armies are doing away with large-sized formations as future wars will be fought differently. We are talking about space-age weapons, precision targeting, battlefield transparency and other critical dimensions of warfare. So we need to examine restructuring issues in detail,” said Kapoor, who was at the army’s helm during 2007-10.

Lieutenant General AB Shivane (retd), who was heading the army’s mechanised forces directorate until last December, said the restructuring exercise was a positive and relevant development but there are some caveats.

“There has to be absolute clarity about the outcomes, which have to be discernible and benchmarked with time. It must also relate to the overall national security strategy framework. And rightsizing must have a tri-service flavour,” said Shivane, who was involved in a study on rightsizing and rebalancing of the army in 2014-15.

The army’s restructuring was kicked off on a small scale last year.

In August 2017, the government announced that 57,000 soldiers would be redeployed in combat roles to sharpen the force’s fighting edge. This was done following the recommendations made by the Shekatkar committee on enhancing the army’s combat potential and trimming its revenue expenditure.

The committee also listed out measures to bring down the budget for meeting day-to-day expenses and making more money available for weapons and equipment.

The restructuring of the army headquarters will see the role of the Director General of Military Training being given to the Shimla-based Army Training Command and Director General of Rashtriya Rifles being moved to Jammu and Kashmir under the Udhampur-based Northern Command.


J&K governor approves foreclosure of contract with Reliance, orders probe

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday approved foreclosure of the contract with Reliance General Insurance Company (RGIC) for implementing the Group Mediclaim Health Insurance Policy for the employees and pensioners in the state.

The matter has also been referred to the newly constituted Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for investigations.

Former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had on Thursday demanded a probe after allegations of fraud into allotment of group mediclaim policy — for state government employees to RGIC — prompted Malik to scrap the scheme.

“The Hon @jandkgovernor now needs to order an inquiry headed by the chief secretary to establish who was behind the allotment of the insurance contract. The sums of money involved are too big for this to have been a straight-forward mistake,” Abdullah had tweeted.

Malik’s administration had on September 20 formally rolled out the scheme for employees, pensioners and accredited journalists in the state. This came into effect from October 1.

Earlier, Malik had told reporters that the contract was“almost terminated” after he found that the allotment was “full of frauds” and that the formal decision “will come in writing in two days”. In a statement on Saturday, the state government spokesman said ever since sanction was accorded to the implementation of the insurance scheme, doubts have been expressed in various quarters, including a cross-section of the society and the media, about the credibility of the process.

“This has cast a shadow on the entire process followed in finalising the scheme,” he said.

He said as the governor’s administration is mandated to provide good, transparent, fair and employee-friendly governance, it was felt that it would be difficult to go ahead with the implementation of the scheme.

The matter has been referred to the ACB for examining the entire process to see whether it was conducted in a transparent and fair manner, the spokesman added.

“Keeping in view the importance of the matter, the government has directed the ACB director to personally look into the matter rather than entrusting it to someone else,” he said, adding, an action would then be taken on the ACB findings.

But Reliance Insurance chief communication officer said: “Whatever we are hearing, it is all through the media and there is no official communication with us from the Jammu and Kashmir government.”

Principal secretary (finance) Navin K Choudhary had earlier said the policy was tied up with M/S Reliance General Insurance Company Limited on annual premium of ₹8,777 and ₹22,229 (for employees and pensioners respectively).


Stone-pelters in J&K overground workers of terror groups: Rawat

NEW DELHI : Stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir are overground workers of terror groups and should be dealt with sternly, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday, a day after a 22-year-old jawan was killed in stone pelting in Kashmir.

Sending a tough message to Pakistan, General Rawat said if Islamabad continues to support cross-border terrorism, then the Indian Army can resort to “other actions” too.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event to mark the Infantry Day, the Army Chief, also asked Pakistan to desist from aiding and abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, asserting that the Indian State was “strong enough” to ensure that the border state remains a part of India and no one can take it away by force or any other means.

On the death of jawan Rajendra Singh in stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district, General Rawat reiterated his earlier stand that the stone-pelters are nothing but over ground workers of terror outfits. “I still say the same… If they (stone-pelters) can kill people with such acts, are they not becoming like terrorists.”

The 22-year-old Singh jawan died at a hospital in Srinagar Friday on after he sustained head injuries during stone-pelting by a group of youths on Thursday.

“I want to tell them (stonepelters) that no one will benefit from stone-pelting,” said the Army Chief, adding tough action should be taken against the stone-pelters. He said the Army has got an FIR lodged in the case.

‘PAK RESORTING TO PROXY WAR’

Talking about Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, General Rawat suggested that the neighbouring country was resorting to a “proxy war” to avenge its defeat at the hands of India in the 1971 war when Bangladesh was liberated.

The aim of Pakistan, he said, is to keep the Indian Army “embroiled in this proxy war that they have lost.” “But, let me assure you, Indian Army and the Indian State is strong enough to ensure that Jammu and Kashmir remain part of India… No one else can take it away by force or by any other means, because legally, legitimately J-K is integral part of India,” he said.

Asked about the cross-border infiltration, he said Pakistan would be wise to know that by indulging in such activities, harm is coming to Pakistan only.

“We are capable of finishing any infiltrators who reach our side. But, if Pakistan continues to support infiltration, we can use other kind of action too,” Rawat said. He said Pakistan was continuing to fuel disturbances in Jammu and Kashmir, fully knowing that they will never succeed.

“Legitimately, legally and by all rights, J and K is part of India. Pakistan somehow has been trying to annex this part of the country, more so after they lost East Pakistan with liberation of Bangladesh,” he said.

The Army Chief said despite the passage of so many years, Pakistan still has a desire to succeed in that.

“And, with liberation of Bangladesh they decided to create a similar situation in Kashmir… Has Pakistan succeeded? They have not. And, Pakistan is fully aware they cannot succeed in Jammu and Kashmir, but they still hope they can succeed. It is just

 

 


Bhandari Ram – A gallant Dogra from Bilaspur

His name figures next only to that of Lance Naik Lala Ram, the first recipient of Victoria Cross

Bhandari Ram - A gallant Dogra from Bilaspur

Col Dilbag Dabas (Retd)

The state of Himachal has two very unique distinctions to its credit —  the first Param Vir Chakra awardee of independent India Major Somnath Sharma was from the state; and the first pair from the same battalion, earning for themselves the highest gallantry award in the same war, was composed of Capt Vikram Batra (referred to as Sher Shah by the enemy in the intercepted messages of Pakistan army) and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar, both Himachalis.

And, if the state-wise list of gallantry awards is any indicator, Himachal Pradesh with a population of just about 1.5 per cent of the Indian total is way ahead than other states in demonstrating valour by its soldiers.

In the roll of honour of the Himachali bravehearts, the name of Bhandari Ram figures next only to that of Lance Naik Lala Ram, the first recipient of the Victoria Cross, nurtured by the Himachali soil.

Bhandari Ram was born on July 24, 1919, in Serva Geharwin village in the then Bilaspur state, now Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. For Himachali Dogras, soldiering is not just another profession, but a calling. At 22, Bhandari enlisted in 16th Battalion of 10th Baluch Regiment with a class composition of two third of Baluchi Musalmans from North West Frontier and one third Dogra Brahmins from the present day Himachal.

During the third Arakan offensive by the allied troops in Burma campaign in World War-II, 16th Baluch under command 51 Indian Brigade was tasked to clear the route into north-western Arakan through the Mayu hills. As a prelude to the accomplishment of the task, a number of small operations and raids were carried out to soften up the Japanese defenses before launching attack by a larger force. In one such operation, for his cool courage, strong determination and utmost devotion to duty, Sepoy Bhandari Ram was awarded the Victoria Cross.

After independence, the 10th Baluch Regiment was allotted to Pakistan and Sepoy Bhandari Ram and his colleagues were absorbed in the newly raised 8th Battalion of Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army.

Sepoy Bhandari Ram, the battle hardened Dogra of World War-II fame displayed his tenacity three years later during the first India-Pakistan war in 1947-48, wherein he fought against his former Baluch colleagues in Jammu and Kashmir and did not let them succeed in their evil designs of annexing the Indian territory.

Bhandari Ram retired from service as Honorary Captain in 1969 after a distinguished military career spanning almost three decades, having participated in Burma Campaign (1944) and in three wars i.e. 1947-48 India-Pak, 1962 Sino-India, and 1965 Indo-Pak war. Hony Capt Bhandari Ram, VC, an ardent admirer of Lal Bahadur Shastri, passionately believed in the creed of the two noblest professions, namely the Jawan and the Kisan, almost in equal measure and did farming until ill-health prevented him from working in fields.

On May 19, 2002, this gallant Dogra breathed his last in his native village. His mortal remains were cremated with full military honours in the presence of many high-ranking serving and retired defence officers and a representative of the British High Commission.

(The writer is a veteran Gunner, 6 Field Regiment)


Battle account of his valour

The battle account of his valour recorded in the War Diary of his battalion and corroborated by the book ‘For Valour’ written by British historian Bryan Perrett reads: “On November 22, 1944, during an attack on a strongly held Japanese position in Mayu hills in Burma, Sepoy Bhandari Ram was with the leading section of his platoon. When the leading elements were within 50 yards of the objective, they were pinned down by accurate fire from a light machine gun, in which Bhandari got a burst of fire on his left shoulder and was also wounded in his leg. Bhandari did not give up and in full view of the enemy and under menacing fire kept crawling up to the machine gun bunker. Even the enemy’s grenade splinters and bullets did not deter him from his resolve to silence the machine gun. In spite of the grave danger he faced, he crawled up to within five yards of the bunker and lobbed a grenade killing the crew of two gunners. He then crawled back to his section and joined the successful dash on to the objective. As a true soldier, and a Dogra at that, he got his wounds dressed only after the objective was finally captured. The gallant action of Sepoy Bhandari Ram was a desperate individual effort to overcome enemy opposition at a crucial moment in the battle – a moment which nearly cost him his life”.


Demand for Ahirwal regiment in Army gains momentum

Demand for Ahirwal regiment in Army gains momentum

Ravinder Saini

The demand for the creation of an Ahir regiment in the Indian Army has become a hot issue in the Ahirwal region of Haryana comprising Rewari, Mahendragarh and Gurugram districts. Leaders of various political parties and representatives of social organisations are raising the issue to mount pressure on the Central Government to accede to the demand of the Ahir community.

Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Rao Inderjit Singh has written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, urging her to consider the demand positively. Chiranjeev Rao, national secretary of the Youth Congress, is carrying out a signature campaign in various states to give an impetus to the issue. Besides, the Akhil Bharatiya Yadav Sewak Samaj (ABYSS), a social outfit, has already orgainsed a padyatra from Gaud-Balaha in Mahendragarh to Jantar-Mantar in Delhi in support of the issue.

Members of the Ahir community had organised a protest in Rewari city recently and submitted a memorandum, addressed to the President of India, to the Deputy Commissioner, seeking the creation of an Ahir or Ahirwal regiment in the Indian Army.

Political observers say the issue has become politically significant as people have started asking parties to include it in their election manifestoes. The ABYSS has given the slogan “Vote vahi paayega jo Ahir regiment ko laayega” to strengthen its ongoing campaign.

“No doubt, the demand for an Ahir regiment will be a rallying point in the coming Lok Sabha elections, as people are coming together in its favour. Ahirs and people of Ahirwal had played a leading role in the mutiny of 1857 and also revolted against the British in Singapore in 1939-40. Around 19,600 and 39,000 soldiers belonging to the Ahirwal region took part in World War-I and World War-II, respectively,” says Ishwar Yadav, a social activist.

He says almost all regional regiments existing today had contributed a lesser number of soldiers to the two world wars than the Ahirwal region. Besides, people from Ahirwal had also made valuable contributions to all other battles fought before and after Independence, he claims.

“Right from World War-I the Ahirwal area had been considered a nursery of soldiers. A large number of soldiers and officers from the region are still serving on various ranks in the Indian Army. I understand that post-Independence the Central Government decided not to raise any regiment on caste lines but the ban should not be extended to regiments named after areas,” says Rao Inderjit in a letter sent to the Defence Minister.

Rao says a regiment may be raised in the name of the Ahirwal region of Haryana as has been done in the case of Rajputana Rifles, and Assam Rifles that have troops belonging to all castes from their regions. The new Ahirwal regiment can also cater to all castes from this region, he adds.

Chiranjeev Rao says his signature campaign got a marvelous response in various parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana. A large number of people participated wholeheartedly in the campaign for an Ahir regiment. “The campaign will now be run in Gurugram, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in the coming days. Since the issue also strikes an emotional chord with people of the Ahirwal region, it has the potential of becoming the deciding factor in the elections,” he adds.

Satish Khola, vice-president of the ABYSS, says that besides organizing a padyatra, they had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and all MPs in support of the demand.

“When several regiments have already been formed on regional and caste lines, then why an Ahir regiment can’t be raised? People will raise the issue with political parties in the forthcoming elections,” says Khola.


Sub Nand Kishore – A ‘Veer’ Ahir from Rewari

Was awarded Vir Chakra for bravery and sacrifice in the 1965 war with Pak

Sub Nand Kishore - A ‘Veer’ Ahir from Rewari

Subedar Nand Kishore

Col Dilbag Dabas (Retd)

Nand Kishore, son of Tirkha Ram Yadav, was born at Dhawana village in present day Rewari district, which is part of the Ahirwal region. In the 1962 war with China two real brothers from Dhawana village, Sepoy Singh Ram, and his two years’ younger Sepoy Ram Kumar from 13 Kumaon, died fighting side by side in the battle of Rezang La. The elder was awarded Vir Chakra for his bravery.

Nand Kishore could not have formal education since there was no school nearby in the area. Whatever he learnt was in 4th Battalion of Kumaon Regiment in which he was enrolled on July 1, 1939.  Since there is no designated Ahir Regiment in the Indian Army, the Ahirs are mainly absorbed in Kumaon Infantry Regiment, besides logistics and combat support arms. At present, the overall strength of Kumaon Regiment comprises almost 30 per cent of Ahirs from all over India but mainly from north and central India, including  Bihar.

Considering his hard work, camaraderie and grit, Nand Kishore was awarded Junior Commission in the rank of Jemadar in 1961. Two years later, he was promoted to the rank of Subedar (Sub) and was given the command of 3rd platoon of ‘A’ Company in the battalion. As platoon commander, Sub Nand Kishore took Sepoy Tara Chand of his village as his ‘Sahayak’. During the 1965 war with Pakistan, by the end of September, the fighting ended in Poonch and Rajouri sectors but Pakistan-trained guerillas were still active along the ceasefire line in J&K. In some areas, they had entrenched themselves and the Army had to undertake extensive mopping-up operations.

In one such operation, 4 Kumaon was tasked with re-capturing Ring Contour, which overlooked and dominated the main bridge on the Kishanganga river. It was during the second assault and a fierce fight by ‘A’ Company of 4  Kumaon that the objective was captured, a fight in which Subedar Nand Kishore displayed the finest example of camaraderie and raw courage; a fight in which he was martyred but not before his platoon hoisted the National Flag on the majestic Ring Contour. For his conspicuous act of bravery, Sub Nand Kishore Yadav was deservedly awarded the coveted Vir Chakra. The battle account of his gallant act is recorded in the War Diary of 4 Kumaon.

To some, the impulsive reaction of Sub Nand Kishore might appear reckless, but a veteran who has been in the line of fire in the face of the enemy knows how high the emotions run, what camaraderie is all about, mission is all that matters and no price is high enough to pay for its accomplishment. Some people are like that. 

As a befitting tribute to the fallen junior leader, ‘A’ company of 4th Kumaon Battalion is referred to as ‘Nand Kishore Company’.

(The writer is a veteran Gunner, 6 Field Regiment)


The summary of gallant act in War Diary of 4 Kumaon reads…

On October 11, 1965, Sub Nand Kishore as Platoon Commander led the attack on Ring Contour. As the platoon reached the assaulting distance, it was pinned down by heavy automatic gunfire from the enemy in which Sub Nand Kishore was seriously injured and five of his men, including Tara Chand, his ‘Sahayak’, lay dead. Under the cover of own artillery and mortar fire, the dead and the wounded were evacuated to the Medical Aid Post around 300 yards in the rear. After regaining consciousness, the first thing he asked “Target capture hua”? He was answered in the negative. And then he asked “Aur Tara Chand”? He was told that Tara Chand is dead. Sub Nand Kishore thought for a while, borrowed a pistol from a signaler and without asking the medical officer, hastily limped back to the remaining personnel of his platoon on the front line, mumbling words like “Badla, dhava, kabza” (revenge, assault, capture) as he moved ahead. With heightened emotions and utmost fury, he rallied his men for the final assault. Seeing that a Browning machine gun was holding the assault, and assuming that the same gun killed his men, including his ‘Sahayak’, he called forward a rocket launcher. Despite a wounded shoulder, he fired two rockets and blasted the enemy’s machine gun and then joined the dash to the objective. Frightened by the fury of the assaulting Kumaonis, the enemy fled. But before the success signal was fired, a burst of indiscriminate firing by the fleeing enemy hit Sub Nand Kishore on the chest and he died instantly.

 


FATF dissatisfied over Pak’s efforts to combat terror financing: Report

FATF dissatisfied over Pak’s efforts to combat terror financing: Report

In June, Pakistan had made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies. File photo

Islamabad, October 20

Expressing dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s efforts to combat terror financing, a delegation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has asked the country to take robust steps to strengthen its legal framework if it wants to avoid being blacklisted by the anti-money laundering watchdog, according to a media report on Saturday.

Currently placed on the FATF’s ‘grey list’, Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the Paris-based watchdog, a measure that officials here fear could further hurt its economy.

A nine-member team of the FATF’s Asia-Pacific Group (APG), which visited Pakistan from October 8 to October 19 to review the progress made by it on an action plan agreed in June to address global concerns, has finalised a report with 40 recommendations for de-listing Islamabad from its ‘grey list’ from September 2019.

However, the APG delegation has expre­ss­ed dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s progress to comply with international best practices against money laundering and counter-terror financing, the Dawn reported.

Quoting sources, it said the APG delegation, which shared its final findings with the authorities, has highlighted shortcomings on anti-money laundering front, control and monitoring of non-profit organisations and counter-terror financing mechanism as various institutions suffered poor interface of information sharing and action to combat these deficiencies.

Even in areas where legal framework was robust, the APG found the implementation as too weak, the report said.

Highlighting deficiencies in law, regulations and mechanisms and weaknesses of various institutions, the delegation said with this pace, Pakistan was unlikely to get out of the grey list.

The authorities, according to sources, were told in clear terms that Pakistan would have to make robust and significant progress from now onwards and before the next on-site review in March-April if it want to move out of the grey list or else would fall into the blacklist having serious consequences.

Officials of the ministries of interior, finance, foreign affairs and law besides the State Bank of Pakistan, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the National Counter-Terrorism Authority, the FIA, the Federal Board of Revenue, the National Accountability Bureau, the Anti-Narcotics Force, the FMU, the Central Directorate of National Savings and provincial counter-terrorism departments attended the briefings and explanations.

The APG would submit its draft report to the Pakistani authorities by November 19. The country was asked to submit its response to the findings within 15 days after the receipt of the report on the basis of which the APG would submit its interim report to the FATF in Paris.

The APG delegation will visit Pakistan again in March-April next year for another ‘on-site mutual evaluation’ whose report will be made public in July 2019.

The delegation also informed Finance Minister Asad Umar that the relevant agencies during their interactions with the APG were either ill-prepared or ill-informed or were unwilling to share information.

The visiting team included Ian Collins of the United Kingdom’s Scotland Yard, James Prussing of the United States Department of the Treasury, Ashraf Abdullah of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Maldives, Bobby Wahyu Hernawan of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, Gong Jingyan of the Peoples Bank of China and Mustafa Necmeddin Oztop of the Turkish Ministry of Justice.

The three members of the APG secretariat include Executive Secretary Gor­don Hook, Deputy Dire­ctors Mohammad Al-Rashdan and Shannon Ruther­ford.

In June, Pakistan had made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF to address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies by implementing a 10-point action plan. The successful implementation of the action plan and its physical verification by the FATF will get Pakistan out of the ‘grey list’ from September 2019.

By January next year, Pakistan will have to identify and assess domestic and international terror financing risks to and from its system to strengthen investigations and improve inter-agency — FIA, SBP, SECP, banks, home and interior departments and associated agencies — coordination, as well as federal and provincial coordination to combat these risks.

The government will also have to complete the profiling of terror groups or suspected terrorists and their financial assets and strengths, besides their members and their family backgrounds, and make them accessible at the inter-agency level.

Besides, Pakistan will also have to complete investigation into the widest range of terror financing activities, including appeals and calls for donations and collection of funds, and their movements and uses. The outcome will have to be published at least twice before sep2019