Sanjha Morcha

Navyman held guilty of rape, quantum tomorrow Zoom

24-YR-OLD VICTIM HAD BEEN IMPREGNATED, ATTENDS HEARING WITH 10-MONTH-OLD BOY IN HER ARMS

CHANDIGARH : Nearly two years after a 24-year-old woman was raped and impregnated on the pretext of marriage, a local court held a 25-year-old Indian Navy naik guilty on Tuesday.

Breathing a sigh of relief, the woman — who was in court with her baby, now 10-month old — said she has finally got justice.

Additional district and sessions judge Poonam R Joshi will pronounce the quantum of sentence on Thursday.

Vijender Singh, 25, of Himachal Pradesh posted in Visakhapatnam, was arrested in September 2017 on the complaint of a woman who alleged he forcibly had sexual intercourse with her in a hotel in Sector 45, Chandigarh, in July that year.

This happened twice, according to the FIR, following which the woman found she was pregnant. Despite the woman urging him to marry her, he didn’t agree and instead bullied and pressurised her to abort the foetus. His family too told the woman to undergo abortion in lieu of compensation, it was alleged.

Two-and-a-half-month pregnant, she filed a complaint with Chandigarh Police on September 24, 2017, which led to Vijender’s arrest. He was booked under Sections 376 (rape) and 420 (breach of trust and cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

WOMAN VICTIMISED, ABANDONED BY KIN Abandoned by her parents after her pregnancy came to light, the young mother from a small hilly town said the past two years had been rather tedious for her.

Once a data-entry operator with a firm in Chandigarh, she said she not only lost her job but also support of her own family. After initially staying at the Nari Niketan, she moved to and has been residing at a shelter in Sector 43 as its management was willing to take the responsibility of both the mother and child.

The DNA matching conducted by the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, had established Vijender’s paternity.

Even as the defence counsel argued that the two had been in a relationship and the act was consensual, court found Vijender guilty of rape.

“Ab kehta hai baccha chahiye, pehle kehta tha shadi nahi karoonga chahe jail rehna pade (Now, he says he wants the child. Earlier, he used to say he won’t marry me even if he has to stay in jail),” said the woman, adding that he was keen on marrying another woman instead of her.

Sharing how the baby — who was fast asleep when the verdict was announced and was now awake and clinging to his mother — resembled his father, the woman said she would never hand him over to Vijender.


Pathankot attack: Commander likely to get show-cause notice

NEWDELHI: The commander of the Pathankot airbase when it was attacked by militants in 2016, Air Commodore JS Dhamoon, is likely to be issued a show-cause notice asking him to explain why he shouldn’t face action for the strike that happened on his watch, and his plea for an early retirement has been turned down, two senior officials from the defence ministry said on condition of anonymity.

“The show cause notice prepared by the Indian Air Force is pending approval of the Ministry of Defence,” a third senior defence ministry official said, asking not to be named.

Heavily armed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants sneaked into the airbase on the

intervening night of January 1 and 2, 2016, killing six soldiers and an officer, and pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of an armed conflict.

The Pathankot airbase is a frontline fighter base of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The militants managed to breach the security despite a clear warning about a possible attack sounded at least 12 hours before the terror operation. Counter-terror operations

lasted for nearly three days. Though the NSG and a detachment of the Indian Army were moved soon after the alert was issued, a court of inquiry into the incident revealed several lapses. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman was given a special briefing on the findings of the court of inquiry by IAF recently, according to one of the officials cited above


Marching to patriotic beat

Marching to patriotic beat

  • The Beating Retreat ceremony, held at the sports stadium of the University of Jammu on Tuesday, marked the grand finale of this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
  • The event was witnessed by Governor Satya Pal Malik; Haji Inayat Ali, chairman, Legislative Council; Dilbag Singh, DGP; senior civil, police, Army and CAPF officers, and other dignitaries.
  • Scintillating pipe drum and brass bands of the Army, BSF and J&K Police, on the slow and quick march, played enchanting tunes and received applause.
  • Malik gave away prizes to various brass band pipes and drum contingents for their outstanding display.
  • He also presented awards to Lord Shiva Day Boarding School Ghou, (Girls), Manhasan, Government SRML Higher Secondary School (Boys), Jammu, for the best march-past; and Sainik School Manasbal (Boys) for the best band contingent.
  • The spectacular fireworks added colour to the ceremony. The function concluded with patriotic song ‘sare jahan se achha’ and National Anthem.

Defence college study group calls on Malik

Jammu, January 29

A group of faculty and course members from the National Defence College led by tour coordinator Banita Devi Naorem called on Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhawan here on Tuesday.

The group of officers from armed forces and civil services who are on study trip to J&K comprised Brig Satish Dahiya, Air Cdre S Dutta, Brig V Parida, Col Sani Ahmed (Nigerian Army), Brig Sanjeev Kumar, Col Myo Htut Win (Myanmar), Col Brett Paul Chaloner (Australian Army), Brig Yogesh Chaudhary, Brig V S Sekhon, Ponugumatla Ramjee, Cdre Subir Mukherjee, Captain MD Hasan Tarique Mondal (Bangladesh Army) and Brig Ajay Kumar.

During an interaction, the Governor shared his perspective about the Kashmir issue and initiatives taken by his administration in meeting the aspirations of people about investment, environment, tourism potential, education scenario and ongoing developmental programmes in the state. — TNS


War, biggest troop movement, a nuke test during his tenure

War, biggest troop movement, a nuke test during his tenure

Ex-Defence Minister George Fernandes inside the cockpit of an MiG-21 after completing a sortie, at Ambala Air Force Station. PTI

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29

During his tenure as the Defence Minister, the late George Fernandes presided over Kargil war, oversaw one of the biggest post World War-II movement of troops and scientists working under his ministry conducted the second nuclear test at Pokhran in May 1999. He nudged the forces into modernising for the 21st century.

Fernandes, who passed away today, had two tenures—March 1998 to March 2001 and October 2001 to May 2004—as Defence Minister during the six-year (1998-2004) NDA regime led by BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

At the beginning of his tenure, the nuclear test happened and India ended up with sanctions imposed by the US and faced an angry Japan—both ironically are quite close to India now.

During the Kargil war in 1999, Fernandes refused to accept the theory of intelligence failure and ordered the forces to throw out the Pakistani troops; India attained a moral victory. In New Delhi, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) rolled out one of biggest compensation packages for soldiers martyred in the war. Then came the biggest change as the MoD okayed addition of more troops in eastern Ladakh—Kargil is part of the Army’s Leh-based 14 Corps that was raised after the war.

In the aftermath of the attack on Parliament in December 2001, Indian forces launched ‘Operation Parakram’, the biggest movement of troops after World War-II (1939-45). The 10-month-long deployment that saw nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan in an eyeball-to-eyeball scenario yielded some important military lessons.

From this was born the concept called ‘cold start’ that envisages the military to be ready to go to war at a short notice. The purchase of 126 MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) jets initiated during his tenure and so was the Scorpene submarine deal. It was in 1999 that the MoD okayed the artillery modernisation plan and the submarine action plan—both are being fructified now with the induction of new artillery guns and submarines.

Old timers remember that Fernandes had “earned” the sobriquet of a “Soldiers Minister”. Once during his more than 16 visits to Siachen, he ordered that mail be delivered to troops once a week, and not fortnightly.

In 2003 when the media was unkind to him over frequent MiG-21 crashes and dubbed the aircraft as a “flying coffin”, Fernandes undertook a sortie on the backseat of the jet to drive home the point these were safe.

 


A watchtower on the high seas by Pravin Sawhney Pravin Sawhney

A watchtower on the high seas

PRIORITIES: The focus of the A&N Command has to shift from defence to deterrence to safeguard India’s strategic interests in Southeast Asia.

Pravin Sawhney
Strategic affairs expert

The 800-km Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) archipelago, comprising 572 islands of which 37 are inhabited, was recently in news. With visits by the PM, Defence Minister and the Navy Chief; Rs 5,650 crore promised over 10 years for military plans; and  the commissioning of the Naval Air Station, Shibpur in north Andaman as INS Kohassa, with promise to extend the 3,000-ft airstrip to 10,000 ft for dual-use: combat and heavy-airlift, and commercial aircraft, the Indian media declared that the maritime outpost (which overlooks the Malacca Strait) would act as India’s pivot (military fulcrum) to counter China’s strategic moves in the Indian Ocean Region.

China was not impressed. The only time the Chinese media had closely watched and commented was on the November 2017 five-day ‘Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Exercise’ (DANX), conceptualised, planned and executed by the 2001-raised and Port Blair-headquartered tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC). DANX saw fighter operations, amphibious landings, and Special Forces operations. However, three notable issues of the impressive joint operations were: most assets were pooled in from different commands; it was a rehearsed performance with no operational surprises; and importantly, it was defensive, meant to protect the island chain.

Moreover, the ANC lacks capability to defend A&N. It is tasked to defend the A&N chain, and to watch the Indian Ocean North, 10 and six degree channels. With growing People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) capabilities and maritime footprints, the A&N — in the absence of desired infrastructure, assets and command profile — is India’s maritime Achilles’ heel. With naval reinforcements on the mainland being 1,200 km away, there is enough scope for PLAN to do the 1999 Kargil-type operation or worse; especially when China is in talks with Thailand to build the Kra canal as part of its One Road (maritime silk route), which would open into the Andaman sea, 600 km from Port Blair. Given this, four serious limitations would place A&N into perspective.

One, A&N lacks connectivity and effective communications, made worse by the fact that a naval flotilla at 12-knot speed takes four days to cover a distance from Deglipur/Shibpur in north Andaman to Port Blair. In March 2011, BSNL, which was awarded to lay 2,164-km submarine cables (optical fibre cable connecting mainland with nine A&N islands), bid further and a Chinese company, as the lowest bidder, won the contract. The whole project has since been frozen. While offshore patrol vessels (the biggest ships held by ANC) can plug their master radar into the dedicated naval satellite Rukmini for voice, data and video communications, they remain vulnerable to China’s cyber challenge to outer space. Since all space-based assets depend on Electro Magnetic Spectrum (EMS) as the sole medium of transport, and as satellite EMS frequency cannot be changed after launch, satellite remains susceptible to cyber attacks.Two, the total power supply within A&N is by diesel generators, with no transmission cables coming from the mainland. In Port Blair (most populated city), these generators are in clusters and hence a lucrative target. Pakistan’s Shaheen 3 missile has a 2,750-km range, meant to cover A&N. What if a PLAN cruise missile or Shaheen 3 were to target the diesel cluster to plunge Port Blair into darkness? Nothing less than a unit of the Russian S-400 air defence system would plug this vulnerability.

Three, Port Blair lacks a civilian and defence equipment maintenance ecosystem. All civilian building material comes by ships. It is not unusual for cargo ships to wait up to two days outside the harbour before they find space to squeeze in. Similarly, without a credible defence ecosystem, permanent placement of specialised naval assets like submarines and destroyers with large drafts needed for offensive action is not doable.

And, importantly, the ANC profile is skewed and unassertive. It is under the dysfunctional Chiefs of Staff Committee (comprising three chiefs), and reports to the chief of the Integrated Defence Headquarters for its management and budgetary needs. In 2016, when the Modi government elevated the ANC to a strategic-level command, it had indicated that the Commander-in-Chief, A&N (CICAN), post would be held permanently by the Navy (at present, it is by rotation within the three services). This never came in writing.

Either way it does not matter. Until the ANC is not owned and led by the Navy and placed under the National Security Adviser, the services would remain unwilling to part with their assets and resources.

The Navy had in 2000 proposed the formation of the Far Eastern Naval Command (FENC) at A&N. This would have changed the mission, mindset and concomitant capability and capacity building. From the defence mission of the FORTRAN (Fortress Andaman and Nicobar was formed in the sixties), it would have changed to deterrence (with in-built offensive capabilities) for FENC to safeguard India’s strategic interests in Southeast Asia. Ironically, when the ANC was created in 2001, the first CINCAN, Vice-Admiral Arun Prakash, had formulated an offensive vision statement which remained on paper.

The then government had refused to see the naval HQ vision. The reason given was that FENC would scare friendly littoral neighbours. Given the heavy commercial traffic through the Malacca Strait, FENC would be viewed as an alliance between India and the US. Now, with China knocking at the ANC door, the government did not consider it wise to do much beyond announcing the ANC as a strategic command.


PUBLIC COMPLAINT.-by Brig. HS Ghuman, SC, Retd.

No PC/FVR/18/09                                                   Dated 09 Oct 2018.

To,

            Parliamentary of India,

            Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Grievances;

            New Delhi, 110001.

PUBLIC COMPLAINT.

ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED IN 5 STATES – NOT LIKELY TO BE FREE & FAIR SINCE FOOLROOF REGISTRATION SYSTEM FOR MILITARY & PARA-MILITARY FORCES AT PLACE OF SERVICE – NOT EVOLVED, WHEN ONLY THOSE LISTED IN ELECTORAL ROLLS HAVE RIGHT TO VOTE.

Sir,

            Ref your No RS.7/1/2006-P&L dated 5 Dec 2006 to Ministry of Personnel & Public Grievances & Pension, Sardar Patel Bhavan, New Delhi & Adjutant General Branch letter No B/25222/AG/PS-2C of 16/17 Nov 2007 & No 34891/EC/MP-8 (I of R)(ADP) of 15 May 2018 with a copy to undersigned.

  1. Only those registered in Electoral Rolls have Right to Vote – Section 62 of RP Act 1951. No ERO nominated for Military Stations till date, amounts to breach of Official Duty in connection with preparation of Electoral Rolls – punishable with imprisonment / fine / both, under Section 32 of RP Act 1950 overlooked by ECI/MoD. CEOs of 62XCBs nominated as EROs, illegally directed not to enumerate Soldiers residing in such Cantonments, amounting to breach of Right to Equality to those who protect sovereignty & integrity of India at any cost.

  1. Election Nodal Officers nominated instead of EROs for Military Stations, overlooking RP Act / Rules. Ignorance, exploited to facilitate Politicians, hence FIRs against Stone Palters withdrawn by CM J&K, not objected by COAS / GOC-in-C responsible to protect interest of innocent Soldiers. However good the Election Law may be; if badly executed, it is no good. AIR 1971 SC 2123; ruled Right to be Registered at place of Service, cannot be taken away, if residing there – case pertaining to Naga Land but Adjutant  General illegally issued SAO 16/S/72 that AFs entitled to be registered at home town, not objected by MoD/ECI, facilitating Politicians, who started getting better wages.

  1. Section 20(7) of RP Act 1950; ‘if in any case a question arises as to where a person is ‘Ordinarily Resident’, at any relevant time, the question shall be determined with reference to all the facts of the case and to such rules as may be made in this behalf by the Centre Govt. in consultation with ECI. RP Act 1950 – the meaning of ‘service qualification’, under Section 20(8) of RP Act 1950 is – being a person who is employed under the Govt. of India, in a post outside India, read in conjunction with sub-sections 20(3) – is deemed to be ‘ordinarily resident’ on any date in the constituency in which, but for his having such ‘service qualification’, he would have been ‘ordinarily resident’ on that date.All Govt. Servants employed in India are deemed to be ‘ordinarily residents’ at their place of posting, without any option of availing the facility of “fictional domicile”, hence wrongly applied to AFs only.

  1. Amendment Act 2/56 – Section 20(8)(a)&(b) were added – ‘Service Qualification’ was made applicable / extended to those AFs personnel posted abroad, in the light of Section 20(3).  EC a single service commission, applied ‘Service Qualification’ to Soldiers posted in India, amounting to gross misuse of authority, with the intension of illegally neutralizing ‘apolitical vote bank of AFs’ – not objected by RM / COAS suiting convenience of Politicians. Under the Act/Rules, there is no term called “Service Voter’; coined by MoD, to confuse innocent Soldiers – Chapter X of DSR 1960’.

  1. Registration of Electors Rules 1960 – under Rule 7(3) – Statement under Section 20 of RP Act 1950 shall cease to be valid when the person making it ceases to hold declared office or, as the case may be, have a ‘service qualification’.It implies AFs personnel like other Govt. Servants, on posting back to India, cease to have ‘service qualification’ but MoD/ECI continues to apply ‘Service Qualification’ to those posted in India, since no Military Officers is posted to ECI / MoD.

 

  1. Law & Order a State Subject hence, Forces deployed to maintain Law & Order (Naga Land/J&K) supposed to be working for State Govt., hence have a similar right to be registered at their place of service, as applicable to that State Govt. employs upheld under AIR 1971 SC 2123.

  1. Amendment Act 33/64 – Home Ministry recommended Postal Ballot for Para Military Forces, based on the premise; it is permitted to AFs – Section 20 (8) (c) was added – being a member of an Armed Police Force of a State, who is serving outside that State or (d) being a person who is employed under the Govt. of India, in a post outside India, ignoring‘Service Qualification’ is demitted on posting back to India under Rule 7(3) Registration of Rules 1960. Amendment Act 33/64 could not have been passed by the Parliament, if ECI had interpreted Registration Rules 1960 correctly. 

  1. Amendment Act 47/66 – ECI proposed omitting of words when posted abroad from Section 20 (3), with the mischievous intention of covering-up the corrupt practice of applying‘Service qualification’ to those posted in India since 1952, amounting to lack of professional integrity. 

  1. AIR 1971 SC 2123 – Assam Rifles personals & their family members posted at Wokha – Naga Land registered, at place of posting – challenged by the Candidate, who lost elections.  SC ruled ‘the statutory fiction is intended to confer the right to be registered as electors at their home town or village but the fiction cannot take away the right of person possessing service qualification to get registered at a constituency in which they are ordinarily residing though such place happens to be their place of service’.Adjutant General misused authority issued SAO 16/S/72 – AFs can vote only through Postal Ballot, overreaching SC ruling. Military Pension reduced from 70% to 50% compensation for early retirement & Civil Pension increased from 33% to 50% after full service, without fear of electoral loss.

  1. AIR 1984 SC 921 – EC cannot override RP Act / Rules.ECI continues to overlook Rule 7(3) by applying ‘service qualification’ to those posted in India, when it ceases on posting back to India for other services amounting to discrimination not objected by COAS/Adjutant General facilitating Politicians. 

  1. Army Order 15/95 (EC letter of 20 Mar 1995) – EC diluted/changed the Supreme Court ruling that – Soldiers & their Family Members staying with them, can vote at place of posting (instead of they have a right to be registered), if they don’t want to avail the facility of Postal Ballot amounting to overreaching the Supreme Court when ECI is executing agency without powers to frame Rules.

  1. Army Order 15/95 stipulates, AFs can get themselves registered during house-to-house enumeration never conducted by ECI for Military areas, amounting to derelict performance of election duty not objected by Station Commanders. Intensive revision in Punjab in progress except Military Areas not objected by Commanders / Secy. RSB Punjab to facilitate Politicians.

  1. Parliamentary Committee on Grievances – letter of 5 Dec 2006, desired foolproof system of registration for Soldiers be evolved, which requires sensitizing innocent Soldiers about their Constitutional Right to be Registered at their place of posting & the Postal Ballot only when posted abroad, by nominating dedicated EROs – not done amounting to disrespect to the Parliament.

  1. On the contrary – EC under Hand Book – 2008 – debarred EROs to enumerate Armed Forces & family members during intensive / summery revision of rolls, amounting to looking Tokyo talking London. The Center Commandants rightly register those posted abroad for Postal Ballot but also illegally register those posted in India for Postal Ballot without logic overlooked by ECI under lame excuse authenticated by another Commissioned Officer.

  1. EC under letter dated 28 Dec 2008 desired Chief Electoral Officers of all States to increase numbers for the Postal Ballot when no Gazetted Officer is supposed to influence elections. CEOs of all States blindly followed instructions of the EC – increased numbers for the Postal Ballot for those posted in India, amounts to unduly influencing elections – rigging of elections / discrimination against Soldiers; a separate class of people promoting enmity between Classes in connection with Elections Section 125 of RP Act 1951. ECintentionally didn’t apply election law, in respect of Forces for the last 68 years & there is no hope of justice, till Multi Service ECI is not constituted.

  1. CWP 3775/2009 filed at Chandigarh High Court by Brig HS Ghuman, SC, Retd, & others for not enumerating Soldiers at their place of posting in India, when those registered in Naga Land during 1967 elections defended by ECI – AIR 1971 SC 2123 which should have been filed by Secy. Defence / COAS if they had any respect for the Election Law of the Land.

  1. CEC of India knows14.5 Lakh Soldiers & their family members posted in India illegally registered for E-postal Ballot overlooked by COAS amounts to indulging in Politics. Need exists to post Military Officers to ECI & State CEOs to protect democratic right of Military Forces.    

  1. Elections announced by CEC of India for 5 States (Chhattisgarh, MP, Mizoram, Rajasthan & Talangana) will not be free & fair since Military & Para-military Forces deployed in these States to maintain Law & Order as also to protect sovereignty of India, at any cost, not registered at place of service, overlooking AIR 1971 SC 2123 defended by  ECI. Need exists to constitute Multi Service ECI to protect democratic right of Soldiers.

Brig. HS Ghuman, SC, Retd.

President AIVCG NGO Registered.

Copy to; RM, ECI, COAS, Adjutant General, COR Punjab Regt, RSB Punjab, KSB New Delhi, RSB Punjab. 


George Fernandes ordered India’s most effective surgical strike till date

George Fernandes took to the job of the defence minister with gusto and a purpose that left a lasting impact. 

As India’s defence minister, George Fernandes was hosting his counterpart from a newly independent Central Asian Republic in 1999.

Suddenly, the visiting defence minister walked around the banquet table carrying a wrinkled plastic duty free bag for George Fernandes. He then pulled out a beautifully crafted horse whip. And in a rather dramatic fashion, he said something in Russian. It even made his translator’s cheeks go red.

I was the only journalist at the banquet. George Fernandes had a penchant for taking select journalists to events that would have a policy impact rather than be an immediate breaking news story. But even if I wanted, what he said in Russian was unprintable back then.

Everyone at the banquet was surprised when the translator said, still blushing: ‘we use this whip on the steppes, and this is for India to use in its neighbourhood’.

George Fernandes thanked him with a smirk. Because he had been doing just that in the recent past.


Also read: George Fernandes wouldn’t fix his broken gate, washed his clothes & was a teetotaller


Fernandes had ordered the Army to conduct a top-secret raid across the Line of Control that till today remains the only one that completely achieved its political-military objectives. It was never reported in the Indian media. There were reports in the Pakistani media, but those have now been taken down.

At that time, nobody called them surgical strikes, and they weren’t tom-tommed either, for they were a fairly common occurrence. That raid remains the most devastating in terms of lives taken, and the only one, which had the greatest impact on Pakistani activities. Rawalpindi ceased doing what it had been up to, and hasn’t repeated them since then.

With his crumpled look and trade union baggage, George Fernandes made for an unlikely choice as defence minister. But he took to the job with gusto and a purpose that left a lasting impact.


Also read: How a ‘viral’ image helped Mangalore’s George Fernandes win Bihar poll in absentia


At a breakfast interview, where I had gone to do a profile for The Indian Express, he said that his readings over the years had included various international defence journals. He added that this knowledge had never found an outlet in his political activities. It was soon evident when he began to take decisions that were sharp and without remorse.

Throughout his tenure as defence minister, George Fernandes’ main obsession was Siachen. At the Base Camp where he met me before undertaking yet another visit to a post, he remarked that this was his 16th tour. He had undertaken enough visits to qualify for a Siachen ribbon.

His empathy for the soldier was such that nothing else mattered. He even ordered a couple of Ministry of Defence bureaucrats to be sent to Siachen. This was because they had been delaying the purchase of snow scooters for troops deployed there. The officials wanted to know how was the procurement financially justified. He made them find the answer by sending them, without remorse. Just as he did by being the only defence minister to have sacked a service chief.


Also read: George Fernandes, firebrand socialist leader who rose above identity politics


The author is a Congress leader and a former Editor-in-Chief of Defence & Security Alert


Field Marshal KM Cariappa, so much more than just the first Indian Army chief

Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa was instrumental in keeping the Indian Army away from politics and attempted to forge an all-inclusive army.

New Delhi: Popular discourse on Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa is often limited to placing him as the first ‘Indian’ commander-in-chief of the Indian Army who took over from Roy Butcher on 15 January, 1949, and the second person to have been conferred the rank of Field Marshal in 1986 after former Army chief Sam Manekshaw.

There are, however, countless other factors that make him a towering figure in the history of Indian military, all of which is still relevant and important on his 120th birth anniversary, which falls today, 28 January.

Field Marshal Cariappa was not only instrumental in drawing a strong dividing line between the Indian Army and politics but he also helped shape the Army into a highly professional force in its formative stage.

He attempted to do away with caste, creed and other barriers in the Indian Army by raising the Brigade of The Guards — a mechanised infantry regiment of the Indian Army — in 1949. Recruitment to it was open to all regions, castes, creeds and all sections of society.

Military historian and national security analyst Mandeep Singh Bajwa says that such was his stature, that Field Marshal Cariappa interacted directly with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, not allowing anyone in the bureaucracy or others in the corridors of power to take liberties with him.

“But the crucial fact is that he kept the Indian Army away from any kind of political influence, in contrast to the political nature of the Pakistani Army,” Bajwa told ThePrint. “When Ayub Khan was appointed the commander in chief of the Pakistan Army in 1951, the Pakistan Army clearly had a role in shaping the foreign and domestic policies of the state.”

The military coup that followed in 1958 only testified to the political nature of the Pakistan Army.

“He wanted the Indian Army to be an apolitical entity and that’s the reason he decided against inducting former INA personnel into the Army as they had become political soldiers,” Bajwa adds.

A distinguished career and a run-in with a junior

Field Marshal Cariappa had a distinguished career as the Army chief but before that he led Indian forces on the Western Front during the India-Pakistan War of 1947.

He was instrumental in recapturing Zojila, Drass and Kargil and created a linkup with Leh before the then Indian government decided to abide by an UN-brokered ceasefire on 1 January, 1949.

An illustrative anecdote about his character relates to the 1965 Indo-Pak war. Field Marshal Ayub Khan had served under Cariappa in the British Indian Army. In 1965, Cariappa’s son, Flt. Lt. K.C. “Nanda” Cariappa, was taken prisoner of war by Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down. Khan had offered to release him, but Cariappa made it clear to Khan that his son was not to be given any special treatment.

Bajwa says that the interest of the nation was always first with Cariappa. “He accepted pay and ration cuts for the forces because he felt that it would help the cause of nation building,” he says.


Also readIndian Army chief should know that no one feigns disability


The officer from Coorg

Cariappa was born in Coorg and was educated at the Central High School at Madikeri and the Presidency College in the then Madras state.

He began his Army career under the British and was among those in the first batch of King’s Commissioned Indian Officers at the Daly Cadet College in Indore.

His remarkable career had several firsts.

He was the first Indian officer to undergo the course at the Staff College, Quetta, in 1933. He also saw action in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Burma and became the first Indian officer to be given command of a unit in 1942.

In 1947, Cariappa became the first Indian to be selected to undergo a training course at Imperial Defence College, Camberley, UK.

He also oversaw the division of the British Indian Army between India and Pakistan during Partition.

He was chosen over General S.M. Shrinagesh and Lt General Nathu Singh Rathore to head the Indian Army.

After retirement, he served as the Indian high commissioner to Australia and New Zealand.

He died in Bengaluru in 1993 at the age of 94.

The current army chief General Bipin Rawat has said that Field Marshal Cariappa deserves the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.

 


Nirmala Sitharaman To Inaugurate Bein Bridge In Jammu And Kashmir

Nirmala Sitharaman To Inaugurate Bein Bridge In Jammu And Kashmir

Nirmala Sitharaman will inaugurate Bein bridge in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.

SAMBA: 

Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will inaugurate the strategically important 331-metre-long Bein bridge in Samba in mid-February, an officer said Tuesday.

The bridge is considered to be most strategic for the movement of armed forces and the BSF along the Indo-Pak border, Commanding Officer Col Aditya Shahi told PTI.

It will usher in a new revolution in the connectivity of roads and bridges in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

“Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman will inaugurate 331.20-metre-long Bein bridge in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir and dedicate it to the nation (in the middle of next month),” Col Shahi said.

The Bein bridge has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 21.03 crore under the supervision of Border Roads Organisation (BRO), he said.

“It has been completed six months before its scheduled time,” he said, adding that the bridge is constructed on the Parole-Rajoura road.

“The Bein bridge is strategically very important for the Army in deploying forces on the border areas as well as in smooth connectivity for the people of border villages in Samba sector,” the officer said.

COMMENT

The bridge is important as connectivity gets disrupted during monsoon.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)