Sanjha Morcha

Yet to ascertain if casualties in J&K due to sniper attack, says Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat

Yet to ascertain if casualties in J&K due to sniper attack, says Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat

NEW DELHI: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday admitted that there were some casualties in the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir recently but stopped short of confirming that they were allegedly caused by sniper attack by terrorists.

”We have had some casualties to our security personnel in J&K. Whether these have been done by alleged snipers or not, we are still studying, ”Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said in the national capital.

”We haven’t yet recovered a sniper weapon,”’he added.

he remarks from General Rawat came days after it was reported that three Army personnel were allegedly killed in sniper attack by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sniper attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists has emerged as a new cause of concern for security agencies in Kashmir Valley after the killing of three personnel since mid-September.

The incident has prompted the law enforcement agencies to re-calibrate their strategy to thwart such strikes by the Pakistan-based terrorist group.

The first such attack took place at Newa in Pulwama on September 18 when a CRPF personnel was injured, according to news agency PTI.

Security officials thought it to be a one-off strike till the recent spate of sniper attacks that claimed the lives of a Sashastra Seema Bal jawan and an Army personnel in Tral, and a CISF jawan in Nowgam.

Based on intelligence inputs, security agencies believe that at least two separate ‘buddy’ groups of the proscribed JeM comprising two terrorists each have entered Kashmir Valley in early September and have entrenched themselves in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district with the help of some overground supporters of the outfit.

These terrorists, according to the officials, have been thoroughly trained by Pakistan’s external snooping agency ISI for carrying out sniper attacks in Kashmir Valley and have been armed with M-4 carbines, used by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

There is a possibility that these weapons may be part of the arms and ammunition captured by the Taliban, with whom the JeM cadre was fighting the allied forces in Afghanistan, security officials said.

However, the officials said that the weapon was also being used by the special forces of the Pakistan Army.

In all the instances of sniper attacks, the terrorists used a nearby hillock to carry out strikes on a security force campus when unsuspecting jawans were using their mobile phones to talk to their family or friends.

The M-4 carbine is mounted with a telescope and the terrorists are using night vision devices to locate their potential targets, the officials said.

The weapon can fire at its target up to 500-600 metres with precision.

The security agencies, including the army, CRPF and Jammu and Kashmir police, have already issued fresh guidelines to their jawans and officers located in camps in the militancy-hit areas.

Maintaining a silence over the change in tactics, the officials said that more combing operations would be carried out around the security camps.

They said that Jaish cadres were likely to carry out more such attacks in the future, but added that some modules had been identified and these cases were likely to be cracked soon.

The security agencies had been observing that while pushing the terrorists into Kashmir Valley from the Line of Control (LoC), the ISI meticulously planned to send in Jaish-e-Mohammed cadre along.

Those terrorists were armed with the best possible arsenal including bullets with steel core with the capability to pierce a static bulletproof bunker used during counter-terrorism operations, the officials said.

The first such incident was noticed on the New Year eve when JeM terrorists had carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora in South Kashmir.

Five personnel of the para-military force were killed in the attack and one of them was hit by a bullet fatally despite using a static bullet-proof shield provided by the Army, officials said.

A thorough inquiry into the attack showed that the bullet fired by the terrorist from the assault AK rifle was of a steel core with the capability of piercing through the static bunkers used by security personnel during encounters with terrorists.

Generally, the AK bullets used in the armoury have a lead core covered with mild steel which cannot penetrate a bulletproof shield but after the December 31, 2017 encounter and subsequent findings, the rules of the proxy-war changed, the officials said.

A detailed analysis of the previous suicide attacks was carried out during which ballistic analysis of the terror attack on district police lines of Pulwama in South Kashmir in last August showed that ‘steel core’ bullets had been used by the terrorists in that encounter with security personnel. Eight security personnel had lost their lives in the terror strike.

The ammunition, according to the officials, is being modified from across the border with the help of Chinese technology of encasing the bullet with a hardened steel core.

All this comes at a time when India is trying hard to convince the United Nations for a ban on the JeM and designating its chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a global terrorist despite its efforts being blocked by China four times in past.


Transform As Per Modern Necessities Or Perish: Army Chief To Defence Forces

Addressing the ‘Defence attaches conclave’ in Delhi, the Army Chief said, “Our Defence force is in the phase of transformation.

Transform As Per Modern Necessities Or Perish: Army Chief To Defence Forces

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday underlined that either the armed forces transform itself as per modern necessities or else they perish.

Addressing the ‘Defence attaches conclave’ in Delhi, the Army Chief said, “Our Defence force is in the phase of transformation. We are imbibing modern technology to be integrated with a weapon system and equipment to enable our armed forces to be prepared for the future. We also do appreciate that in these modern days, either you transform or you perish. And, transformation can only happen through co-operation”.

General Rawat continued to say that India is currently engaged in wide-ranging collaborations with countries like Brazil and Chile on the western edge and Vietnam on the eastern edge, adding that the countries have shown a keen interest in sharing technology with the Indian Defence forces.

“Large number of weapon system needs to be upgraded. We put all this out in the open domain. India has been the largest importer of weapons systems and equipment. Time has come for us to enhance in-house manufacturing capabilities. India is currently engaged in wide-ranging collaborations with countries like Brazil and Chile on the western edge and Vietnam on the eastern edge, adding that the countries have shown a keen interest in sharing technology with us. We are proud to announce about the Defence Corridor that will soon begin to take shape,” he added.

On being asked to react on youth being trained in Pakistan, General Rawat said that people need to pay more attention while the youth need to be more alert because they are being used as cannon fodder.

The Army Chief stated that terrorists who have attacked soldiers who were alone, unarmed and were spending time with their families are basically frustrated and they are under pressure to prove their existence.

“When you start targeting people who are alone, unarmed and spending time with their families, (it) is a sign of frustration. There is frustration setting in, the terrorists are under pressure, they have to prove that they also exist, that is why they are doing this,” he told the media after the conclusion of the event.

General Rawat said there was no evidence of sniper rifles being used in Jammu and Kashmir.

He added, “We have had some casualties to our security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. Whether these have been done by snipers or not, we are still studying. We have not yet recovered a sniper weapon.”

Sanctity of the Military Ranks Beyond Equivalence By Narender Kumar

Former President of the United States, Mr Barack Obama once saw police officers in Ferguson armed with military grade weapons. He asked the Homeland security who authorised these weapons to the police. As a result, he, as the President of United States, issued an executive order in 2015 prohibiting the transfer of a host of equipment, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms over the “militarization” of the police. He was aware of the significance to maintain sanctity of military status as highest in the state. It is blasphemous to compare soldiers with another profession because the soldiers earn the glory for the nation by spilling their own blood. Soldiers in battle never seek a written order to lay down their lives in the line of duty.
Sanctity of military ranks and placing them above all services is not a creation of rank conscious Indian military but a convention that has become a law across all nations. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself recognized that power of Pontius Pilate “which has been given from above” (Jn. 19:11): the power of the sword, to kill and to defend a state from its enemies rests with the soldiers. The legislation, government, judiciary and the farmers can function if the state is defended by powerful armies. That is why the profession of arms was considered the most valued profession by almost every scripture- Gita, Bible and Quran; and a soldier was placed at highest pedestal in a state and society.
Not many people know that the military ranks have been sanctified by tens of names of martyrs and hundreds of nameless martyrs. These ranks have not been picked up at random but from those who laid down their lives in defending their respective nations. Idea was that every time you address a solider by his rank you actually honour the martyr by remembering him. The respect given to the profession of arms was such that no one could become a king or shepherd of a church without serving in the military.  The importance of serving in the military was so significant that those who refused to serve in the military could never become part of the body of the Church and member of the court of the king. Thus the profession of the arms was and will continue to remain above all other professions in spite of the fact that there has been constant conspiracy to erode it. Even today the British Crown Prince is required to serve in the military.
A court official no matter how high he was not given the power to kill but it was and is vested with the soldiers. In the battlefield a soldier could kill, injure or even spare the life of an enemy and the authority rests with the soldier to decide as per his conscience. All other government functionaries can be prosecuted for killing another human. Supremacy in status was accorded to military personnel not only in Hindu scriptures but across all religions, faith and empires from Europe to Asia.
In the recent past a debate has been raging about the status of the soldiers and their leaders. One has to be completely out of sync to believe that a bureaucrat or file pusher can be equated with the soldier. How can a support staff be superior to the one whom they are supposed to be supporting? It means that the support staff in an operation theatre is even more important than the surgeon who conducts the operations over the patients. Try and tell the surgeon that henceforth he would follow the command of the man who is responsible to maintain the operation theatre and its cleanliness. Will the surgeon take orders from the support staff to conduct surgery? It is completely absurd to even imagine that sectorial or support staff as equal or even superior to the military whom they are employed to support.
What makes a soldier sacrifice his life in the line of duty? It is sense of honour and dignity of being the elite and chosen one. Why the two professions cannot be compared is because a civilian can work at leisurely pace without any irreversible loss to the self and the nation. But if a warrior does things at a leisurely pace he will not only lose his life but will also lose honour of the nation and the loss could be irreversible. Churchill had said that the military must not suffer fools or those who are incapable of understanding the art of war. Patton said while addressing the political leadership, either lead me or get out of my way to let me do things as per my ability. Civilian control is not bureaucratic control and military must resist to become subordinate to bureaucracy. It would be great disservice to the nation if the military allows itself to become subordinate to bureaucracy. If the military starts behaving like the bureaucracy, the first casualty will be warrior ethos of ‘sweat together to bleed together’ and second will be the moral contract to ‘train together to fight together”. A General must have courage to say no to the unjust orders especially that affect morale, national interest and erode the elitism among the soldiers.
There is a need to look at the larger picture. There seems to be a systematic approach to keep military engaged in fighting with the system so that it is unable to focus on maintenance of morale and its ability to prepare to fight future wars. If a Chief and his DGMO are fighting bureaucracy to protect the rank and status of soldiers, who do you think will plan for military operations at a juncture when the Indian Army was almost forced to go to war over border standoff with China? The Indian Army does not need Doklam to go to war. There is Doklam happening every day in the form of status of the forces, unresolved pay anomalies of 7 CPC, NFU, OROP and modernisation of the army. Chanakya had said, to defeat a big army fight it from within and you need no enemy to defeat biggest of the armies. Imagine the impact of the equation and reduction of the status of armed forces with the support and secretarial  staff on the officers and men? So far every officer and soldier is told there is no one equal to you in status and that’s why you are chosen to lead your men unto death.
The President of India is the Supreme Commander and a soldier serves with the pleasure of the presidential decree. No other services enjoys such a status but the question is whether the Supreme Commander should continue to remain silent over the issues that are ultimately eroding the morale and operational edge of the armed forces or use his executive powers to thwart any attempt to dilute the status of the armed forces vis a vis civilian counterparts and secretarial  staff. In fact if the rank and the status of the military is reduced, it is an insult to the office of Supreme Commander under whom the armed forces are supposed to function and warrant of precedence is issued.
Political leadership should judge whose interest it will serve if the morale of the military is eroded by creating internal dissensions. Thus it is time to identify those who are acting as enemy to fight from within the system against the last pillar of the state. Current and future governments have to decide whether they want an Army that is capable of winning future and current wars or an army that is weakened by constant attack on its stature? The current trajectory appears to be going in a direction that may create insubordination in the services headquarters because it will put military officers subordinate to support and secretarial  staff. But if the government wants to use the lowering of states of armed forces officers to group B to deflect the ire of the court against the denial of the NFU and declare Armed Forces as group B services than there cannot be greater misfortune where a government will engage and fight against its own armed forces.
No matter what happens to the overall debate, one thing is sure that the military is conscious of its rank not because it gives them status but because the rank carries the names of known and unknown martyrs. System and bureaucracy may attempt to insult the martyrs but the men who carry their ranks can’t afford to insult those who laid down their lives to protect the honour of the nation. I had written in an earlier article that the significance of salutation and what it means to a soldier when he salutes his superior, it means “sir I am ready to carry out your command” and an officer returns the salute by acknowledging that “I will lead you till last breath”. That is why an old soldier never saluted a civilian irrespective of his position because a civilian cannot lead a soldier to war and he is in no way equal to the profession of arms. If the services chiefs accept willful erosion of status of military vis a vis support and sectorial staff, they will not only do injustice to past, present and future generation of soldiers but will also insult martyrs. Soldiers do not fight for cash awards but take and give lives for the flag and colour of the ribbon. One may recall that first thing soldiers did on reaching Tiger Hill was not to wash their wounds and count their martyrs but raised the Tri Colour under the barrage of enemy artillery fire. That is why soldiers cannot be compared to any other profession because they seek glory under the shadow of the swords.

A salute to Fauji uncle in the ICU


The intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital is one place where the odds are heavily loaded against life. It is a grim place where doctors and the nursing staff fight pitched battles to snatch life from the jaws of death. The usual scene that one associates with the ICU consists of patients looking with hope to their treating doctors, the monotonous beeps of the life sustaining-machines and a sea of anxious family members waiting outside.

Being a psychiatrist, I am frequently called upon to assess and treat patients in the ICU if and when they develop a behavioural problem, ranging from anxiety about the health situation, agitation associated with delirium, to disclosure of death of a near and dear one to an unknowing patient.

A few days ago, I happened to see an elderly delirious patient who was having a longstanding history of alcohol consumption and was suffering from hypertension and diabetes as well. He was a retired army officer. I started my bedside assessment with a customary “Kya haal hai (How are you), uncle?” The patient, whose consciousness was still clouded by delirium and by the drugs injected to control it, opened his eyes with great effort and, to my utter surprise, raised himself from the bed and greeted me with a salute!

The sight of a patient with an oxygen mask on his face and surrounded by a plethora of life-saving equipment saluting the doctor will always remain etched in my memory. I started the treatment to improve his mental status and promised to see him again the following day. I continued to see him for one week and he never failed to greet me with a resounding salute and a smile on his lips.

I happened to visit the ICU for assessing another patient when I noticed that the bed occupied by Fauji uncle (that was the name I had coined for him) was occupied by some other patient. I enquired from the nursing staff and was told that our Fauji uncle had breathed his last a few days ago.

He had given me some valuable lessons in his last days. For one, I now realise that bravery has many hues and it is not limited to the exploits on the battlefield. Brave is the man who can look into the eyes of his illness yet manage a smile. Brave is the man who does not give up his etiquettes even when confronted with a life-threatening situation. Brave is the man who believes in the slimmest ray of hope. I salute the late Fauji uncle for his brave yet dignified fight with the demon of death in the ICU.

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh reviews Valley security

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh reviews Valley security

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh at the Army hospital in Srinagar on Monday.

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 29

Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh on Monday reviewed the security situation in Kashmir.

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh arrived in Srinagar on a two-day Valley visit and reviewed the prevailing security situation in the wake of the recent anti-militancy operations which have led to the elimination of a number of militants.

Accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen AK Bhatt, the Northern Command chief visited the formations and units in central Kashmir and was briefed by the Army officers about the current security situation.

“The Northern Command chief commended the troops for their dedication to duty and high standards of professionalism. The need to be prepared for effectively meeting the emerging security challenges was also reinforced,” an Army statement said.

The Northern Command chief also visited 92 Base Hospital at the Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar and enquired about the health of the injured soldiers. He wished them speedy recovery, the statement said.


Northern Command chiefvisits forward areas, reviews security

Northern Command chiefvisits forward areas, reviews security

Northern Command chief Lt Gen Ranbir Singh visits areas along the LoC in the Kashmir valley on Tuesday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 30

The Northern Command chief, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, on Tuesday visited the forward areas of the Kashmir region to review the prevailing security situation on the Line of Control.

Lieutenant General Singh visited the forward posts in the frontier districts of Kupwara and Baramulla and was accompanied by the Chinar Corps General Officer Commanding Lt Gen A K Bhatt.

A defence spokesman said the Northern Command chief, on the second day of his visit to the Kashmir valley, was briefed on the counter-infiltration grid and the operational preparedness of the formations.

“The Northern Command chief was appreciative of the measures and the standard operating procedures instituted by the units and formations to meet the challenges posed by the inimical elements,” the spokesman added.

General Singh also visited High Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg and interacted with the troops undergoing specialised training in snowcraft and winter warfare.

He commended the high standards of training provided by school, the spokesman said.


Capt Amarinder pays homage to WW-I soldiers

Chandigarh: Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday visited the historic World War 1 Helles Memorial at Gallipoli (Turkey) to pay homage to the Commonwealth soldiers, including Indians, who laid down their lives in the Gallipoli campaign.

On the 100th anniversary of the culmination of the World War-I, the Chief Minister also visited the Turkish Memorial in memory of Seyit Ali Váabuk, First World War gunner in the Ottoman Army. He lauded the contribution of the Indian soldiers who were killed and buried in a distant land. The Helles Memorial has the names of Indian soldiers, including Sikhs, killed in the battle. TNS

Army mulls hybrid vehicles for high-altitude areas

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30

After decades of sustained deployment in some of the highest operational areas in the world, the Army is now exploring the feasibility of developing hybrid vehicles for use in high altitude areas to overcome the problems of degraded performance and high attrition that combustion engines face due to extreme cold and rarified air.

Army Design Bureau (ADB), the nodal agency dealing with the project, has flagged the issue for urgent redressal by the industry or research institutes as there is effective means to mitigate the problem as yet. ADB is the repository of all technical know-how for the Army and is the interface between government and private establishments for design, development and innovations.

At present, special grade fuel and oil is being used in high altitude areas, but these are not very effective during peak winters from November to March, often leading to vehicles becoming off-road.

Many areas where the Army is deployed — Ladakh, Kargil, Lahaul and Spiti, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh — experience sub-zero temperatures for several months in a year.

The engine horse power of conventional vehicles drops considerably in high altitude areas due to lack of air density and pressure. Further, due to extreme low temperature fuel and oil freeze or their viscosity increase, thereby affecting flow through the engine hoses or blocking injectors and filters increasing the risk of seizure, according to an Army engineer. Lubrication of engines and other moving parts is also affected, leading to frequent change of parts.

Hybrid vehicles with dual power source can overcome such problems as electric drive achieves greater efficiency in stop and go mission profiles as compared to conventional engines. The regenerative braking resources stores power as electrical energy resulting in greater fuel efficiency and an electric motor can generate instantaneous power for better off road maneuvering, engineers said.

Hybrid vehicles are a relatively new concept in India that is available in some passenger cars, but it is restricted to start and stop functions rather than drive power. The US Army is also said to be developing hybrid vehicles.

Terror charges against Purohit, Pragya

Terror charges against Purohit, Pragya

Sadhvi Pragya

Shiv Kumar

Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 30

A special court on Tuesday framed charges in the 2008 Malegaon blast case against former Military Intelligence officer Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and five others for terror activities, criminal conspiracy and murder, among others.Judge Vinod Padalkar, presiding over the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, said the Abhinav Bharat organisation with which the accused were associated was formed with the objective of carrying out terror attacks. He said a bomb containing RDX was planted on a motorcycle that left six dead and 101 injured.

All the accused have been charged under various sections of the IPC, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Explosives Substance Act. Appearing before the court, the accused said they did not plead guilty.Sadhvi Pragya said the NIA had first given her a clean chit but later framed charges against her. “I am not a member of Abhinav Bharat. I have said in the past also that I am in no way connected with this organisation. This is a kanoon ka khel happening here,” she said, adding that the terror allegations were being levelled against her at the behest of the Congress.

Lt Col Purohit’s lawyers pleaded for deferment of framing of charges as they were set to appeal in the apex court against Bombay High Court’s order refusing to stay the framing of charges.