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    Army jawan ‘mastermind’ of snatchings

    Nawanshahr, November 13

    The police today busted a gang of snatchers that was planning to loot a cash van. Two pistols, a kirpan and a bike were recovered from the possession of five gang members.The police said Army jawan Vikramjit Singh, who belongs to Hoshiarpur and is posted in Rajasthan, was the mastermind of the snatchings along with Jagdish of Jalandhar. Both are on the run.Those arrested have been identified as Bihar resident Mithilesh Kumar, Nandish of Balachaur, Malkit and Rampal of Ropar and Prabhlobhan Singh of Banga. The police said Vikramjit had recently gone back to Rajasthan after spending holidays with his family. — TNS


    Congress raises questions over Rafale deal, BJP hits back

    Congress raises questions over Rafale deal, BJP hits back
    File photo for representation only.

    New Delhi, November 14Raising questions over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, the Congress on Tuesday accused the government of having compromised national interest and security while promoting “crony capitalism” and causing a loss to the public exchequer.The BJP rubbished the allegation, claiming it was intended to “divert attention” as the party bigwigs faced the prospect of being questioned in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scandal.The Congress’ communications department head Randeep Surjewala alleged the government neglected the interests of public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft refused to transfer technology to it and instead entered into an agreement with Reliance Defence.He also alleged that the aircraft was being purchased at much higher rates than what was decided after the completion of the tender process under the previous UPA government.The BJP hit right back, with its spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao claiming that the Congress party was engaging in a “stunt” by raising the Rafale issue as it was scared at the prospect of its top leadership, including the Gandhis, being questioned in the VVIP chopper scam.He said after the arrest of middleman Carlos Gerosa in Italy last month and his likely extradition to India soon, “the Congress has made baseless allegations over Rafale deal to divert public attention and to cry political vendetta”.“None of these stunts will work and the Congress must be ready to answer who took bribes in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal as the money trail is going to become known after the extradition of Carlos Gerosa,” he told PTI.“Modi government is known for integrity and all its actions are above board, while the Congress party is synonymous with sleaze, corruption and crony capitalism,” he said.Surjewala said the UPA government floated a tender on August 20, 2007, for purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the Air Force and, post negotiations, two of them—Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon remained in the reckoning.On December 12, 2012, Rafale was declared L1 vendor, the bidder whose quotation is the lowest, with base price of USD 10.20 billion (Rs 54,000 crore according to the conversion rate prevalent then).It was decided that of the 126 aircraft, 18 would come in fly away condition and the remaining 108 will be manufactured in India by HAL with transfer of technology, he said.After the Modi government was formed in May 2014, Surjewala said, the earlier Request for Proposal (RFP) for purchase of 126 aircraft was cancelled on July 30, 2015, and signed a deal on September 26 the next year for procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets for USD 8.7 billion.Later, he said, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence Limited tied up with Dassault Aviation for a joint venture for defence production in India on October 3, 2016.“There is complete non-transparency, flagrant violation of mandatory provision of Defence Procurement Procedure, sacrificing national interest on transfer of technology to PSU HAL and blatant promotion of financial interests of crony capitalist friends of the prime minister have marred the purchase of the aircraft,” Surjewala alleged.The Congress leader claimed that each aircraft would have cost Rs 526.10 crore in accordance with the negotiations under the UPA dispensation. Each aircraft would now cost Rs 1570.80 crore, he said, adding “huge” loss was being caused to the exchequer.“The Modi government is indulging in an unforgivable game of compromising national interest and national security. A huge scam is brewing in the procurement of fighter aircraft.“Grave apprehensions and claims of insurmountable loss being caused to public exchequer are in public domain with the government maintaining a conspiratorial silence,” he said.Surjewala also alleged that the deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited did not have the approval of the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and Foreign Investment Promotion Board.“It is time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to answer to people of India as to why government is buying 36 Rafale aircraft at a highly inflated price compared to originally negotiated base price by UPA-Congress,” he said. — PTI


    Soil from grave of Garhwal Rifles’ soldiers brought from France

    Soil from grave of Garhwal Rifles' soldiers brought from France
    Urns containing the soil of the grave of two Indian soldiers of 39 Garhwal Rifles who lost their lives during WWI in France, which were presented to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

    New Delhi, November 14

    A delegation of the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre on Tuesday returned with soil from France where two soldiers of the 39 Garhwal Rifles had laid down their lives fighting in World War I.Two urns containing the soil were handed over to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman by the delegation comprising Commandant Brigadier Indrajit Chatterjee and Subedar Major Trilok Singh.The urns, brought from Laventie in France, would now be carried to the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre at Landsdowne.On September 20 last year, during an excavation on the southern side of Richebourg village near Laventie Military Cemetery, approximately 230 km from Paris, two human remains were found.They were identified to be of soldiers of the 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles.The office of Commonwealth War Graves Commission decided to hold a ceremony to rest them along with their comrades with full military honours during the annual memorial service that is held to commemorate the Indian soldiers who were martyred in action in France and Belgium.The decision was taken in consultation with the French government and Indian Embassy.On November 12, the remains of the two soldiers were sent on their final journey with full military honours at the military cemetery.During the First World War, the Garhwal Brigade comprising 1st/39th and 2nd/39th Royal Garhwal displayed unparalleled bravery in treacherous trenches of France and Flanders.Fighting shoulder to shoulder with British soldiers, the Garhwal Brigade earned six battle honours and was twice awarded Victoria Cross in France and Flanders Theatre. — PTI


    Rank-parity mistakes being corrected: Rawat

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, November 14Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is learnt to have told officers at an Army’s internal function that the issue of rank parity is being addressed and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised full support on it.General Rawat was addressing a gathering of officers who are to retire at the end of this month. This was a customary farewell meeting of the Chief with officers who were in the ranks of Colonel and above. Sources in the know of things said the Chief clearly brought out that certain oversights and anomalies were made by the service headquarters in the past. These were being addressed and amendments were being carried out. The Tribune was the first to report the matter in October following which the Army headquarters made corrections.General Rawat talked in great detail about the classification of various services and why the Army was not categorised as ‘group-A’ service. The Army, he said, had a pyramid structure and it should not be compared with others. Terms and conditions of service are very challenging and difficult, he reportedly told the officers.


    Army lists 9 top-priority tunnels in Ladakh, Himachal, Tawang

    Part of the wider project to have 17 tunnels to provide all-weather connectivity.

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, November 14

    Faced with the rising military might of China, the Indian Army has identified nine “top-priority” tunnels, including those in eastern Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Doklam plateau in eastern Sikkim. This is to ensure all-weather connectivity in these areas.These are part of the wider project to have 17 tunnels all across the Himalayas to provide all-weather connectivity. The Army headquarters had pinpointed its needs as per operational needs. The work on several of these projects has commenced. India and China share a 3,488-km-long undefined boundary in the Himalayas.The ones to connect Ladakh will change the lives of people and add to the military preparedness. The first is an alternate route from Himachal Pradesh that will connect Padum in Zanskar, Ladakh, with an existing jeep-track in the hill state. The Army has suggested that the jeep track from Padum to the base of the 16,700-foot-high Shingo-La on the Zanskar side be metalled and a tunnel be made under the pass that will open in Lahaul-Spiti. The proposed move, if it materialises will provide an alternative shorter route to Kargil.Ladakh has two other access roads — one from Srinagar and other from Manali via Rohtang. These remain closed for seven months — October to April — due to heavy snowfall in the higher passes. The Army priority list includes making tunnels under the Baralacha La, Tanglang La and Lachung La on the Manali-Leh route. The first two are in Ladakh and the last one in Himachal Pradesh. During winters, Army equipment and men can only be moved onboard the daily flights of IL-76 from Chandigarh.In Arunachal Pradesh, the Border Roads Organisation has already started ground work for two tunnels through 4,170-metre-high Sela Pass, which would avoid the pass that is snow bound for more than six months.The project constitutes construction of two tunnels of 475 metre and 1,790 metre each through Sela-Chabrela ridge connecting the Balipara-Chaudur-Tawang road on the Nurarang side.


    Two Assam Rifles jawans killed in Manipur ambush

    Two Assam Rifles jawans killed in Manipur ambush
    One AK-47 and two unexploded Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were also recovered. ANI file

    Chandel (Manipur), November 15

    At least two Assam Rifles jawans and one militant were killed in an ongoing encounter in Chandel’s Sajik Tampak in Manipur.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    One AK-47 and two unexploded Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were also recovered.

    A search operation by 4 Assam Rifles (28 Sector) was launched earlier in the day, when armed militants ambushed the Regiment at Chamoli Top at around 05:30 am.

    Firing is under way.

    More details are awaited. — ANI


    Zimbabwe military denies coup in TV address; says President, family safe Soldiers, armoured vehicles seal road access to govt offices

    Zimbabwe military denies coup in TV address; says President, family safe
    President Robert Mugabe and General Constantino Chiwenga. Reuters/file

    Harare, November 15

    Zimbabwean military officers read an address live on state TV on Wednesday, saying they were not launching a coup but were “targeting criminals around” President Robert Mugabe.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    “It is not a military takeover of government,” said one general reading a statement.

    “We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president… and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

    “We are only targeting criminals around him (Mugabe) who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Zimbabwe Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, said on national television on Wednesday.

    “As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.”

    Zimbabwean soldiers and armoured vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, a Reuters witness said on Wednesday.

    While nearby, Zimbabweans queued for cash outside banks as public taxis ferried commuters to work.

    The military detained Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo on Wednesday, a government source said. Chombo was a leading member of the so-called ‘G40’ faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife Grace, that had been vying to succeed Mugabe.

    Soldiers deployed across the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Tuesday and seized the state broadcaster after Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party accused the head of the military of treason, prompting frenzied speculation of a coup.

    Just 24 hours after military chief General Constantino Chiwenga threatened to intervene to end a purge of his allies in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, a Reuters reporter saw armoured personnel carriers on main roads around the Capital.

    Aggressive soldiers told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness. “Don’t try anything funny. Just go,” one barked at Reuters on Harare Drive.

    Two hours later, soldiers overran the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster and a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist said.

    Shortly afterwards, three explosions rocked the centre of the southern African nation’s capital, Reuters witnesses said.

    Mugabe, the self-styled ‘Grand Old Man’ of African politics, has led Zimbabwe for the last 37 years.

    In contrast to his elevated status on the continent, Mugabe is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states.

    The United States and Britain advised their citizens in Harare to stay indoors because of “political uncertainty.” “US citizens in Zimbabwe are encouraged to shelter in place until further notice,” the US statement said.

    The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office statement told “nationals currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer.” The Southern African nation has been on edge since Monday when Chiwenga, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he was prepared to “step in” to end a purge of supporters of sacked vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

    Only a few months ago, Mnangagwa, a former security chief nicknamed “The Crocodile”, was favourite to succeed his life-long political patron but was ousted a week ago to pave the way for Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife Grace to succeed him.

    ‘Politics over the gun’

    Chiwenga’s unprecedented statement represented a major escalation of the struggle to succeed Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe has known since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

    Mugabe chaired a weekly cabinet meeting in the capital on Tuesday, officials said, and afterwards ZANU-PF said it stood by the “primacy of politics over the gun” and accused Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct … meant to incite insurrection.” The previous day, Chiwenga had made clear the army’s refusal to accept the removal of Mnangagwa – like the generals a veteran of Zimbabwe’s anti-colonial liberation war – and the presumed accession of Grace, once a secretary in the government typing pool.

    Local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, a leading figure in her relatively youthful ‘G40’ faction, refused to answer Reuters questions about the situation in Harare. “I’m in a meeting,” he said, before hanging up shortly before midnight.

    Army, police and government spokesmen refused to answer numerous phone calls asking for comment.

    ‘Defending our revolution’

    Neither Mugabe nor Grace have responded in public to Chiwenga’s remarks and state media did not publish his statement. The Herald newspaper posted some of the comments on its Twitter page but deleted them.

    The head of ZANU-PF’s youth wing, which openly backs Grace, accused the army chief of subverting the constitution.

    “Defending the revolution and our leader and president is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for,” Youth League leader Kudzai Chipanga said at the party’s headquarters in Harare.

    Grace Mugabe’s rise has brought her into conflict with the independence-era war veterans, who enjoyed privileged status in Zimbabwe until the last two years when they spearheaded criticism of Mugabe’s handling of the economy.

    In the last year, a chronic absence of dollars has led to long queues outside banks and an economic and financial collapse that many fear will rival the meltdown of 2007-2008, when inflation topped out at 500 billion percent.

    Imported goods are running out and economists say that, by some measures, inflation is now at 50 percent a month.

    According to a trove of intelligence documents reviewed by Reuters this year, Mnangagwa has been planning to revitalise the economy by bringing back thousands of white farmers kicked off their land nearly two decades ago and patching up relations with the likes of the World Bank and IMF.

    Whatever the outcome, analysts said the military would want to present their move as something other than a full-blown coup to avoid criticism from an Africa keen to leave behind the Cold War continental stereotype of generals being the final arbiters of political power.

    “A military coup is the nuclear option,” said Alex Magaisa, a UK-based Zimbabwean academic. “A coup would be a very hard sell at home and in the international community. They will want to avoid that.” Agencies


    Life Certificate

    Many elderly pensioners find it difficult to carry out regular banking activity or giving Life certificate.
    There are banks which provide home banking facility for elders and disabled. Please give a letter to your branch to ask for the facility.In any case by Dec 2017 as per RBI latest orders as per orders seen at

     https://www.labourlawnews.com/banking-facility-senior-citizens-differently-abled-persons/

    For life certificate one need not go the home branch put can submit the life certificate as follows
    Go to any one who has Jeevan Praman facility and submit. Some welfare NGO have done this.To find  facility go to

    https://jeevanpramaan.gov.in/locater

    Electronic Delivery of Certificate :The Life Certificates can also be electronically delivered to the Pension Disbursing Agency, without any manual intervention.
    Get your life certificate signed by any of the following officials and submit to the nearest branch of your bank and get a receipt for the same.
    Officers Authorized to sign Life Certificates
    Life certificates issued/signed by one or other of the following authorities/persons can be accepted:-
    A serving or pensioned person exercising the powers of a Magistrate under the criminal procedure code (Act-V of 1898).
    A registrar or sub-registrar appointed under the Indian Registration Act 1908 (XVI of 1908).
    A Gazetted Officer.
    A Munsif.
    A police officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector incharge of Police station.
    Master, a Departmental Sub-Post Master or an Inspector of Post Office.
    Officers of the Reserve Bank of India and other PSBs in respect of pensioners drawing pension from Banks.
    The head of the village Panchayat, Gram Panchayat or Head of an executive committee of a village.
    Retired Commissioned Officers of the Armed Forces in respect of pension bill form IAFA-319 of Commissioned Officers, departmental Officers and Warrant Officers.

    AFT I B OF TSEWA GOING TO BE FILED SOON IN AFT DELHI FOR HIGHER PENSION FOR OFFICERS FROM JAN 2006 TO JUN 2014

    Dear Veternas,

    1.    Pre – 2006, 53 Maj Gens filed a case in AFT Chandigarh (OA 100/2010) praying that their pension fixed in Jan 2006 (in 6th CPC) is at the minimum of Rs 30,350 for their rank and their increments earned at the time of retirement (in 5th CPC) have been ignored by Govt of India and they draw pension in Jan 2006 less than even Brigadier who retired in Jan 2006. Their prayer is to consider their increments in fixing pension in Jan 2006.

    2.   AFT Chandigarh was pleased to direct Govt of India to refix notional pay in Jan 2006 considering their increments so that there is no difference in pension between Pre – 2006 Maj Gens and Post – 2006 Maj Gens for the same length of service. The Govt of India after protracted correspondence implemented the judgment of AFT Chandigarh and all Pre – 2006 Maj Gens started getting much higher pension than Rs 30,350 w.e.f. Jan 2006.

    3.   Seeing this judgment of AFT Chandigarh, T SEWA also filed a similar plea in AFT Delhi. Pre – 2006, 1049 petitioners including 250 impleaders joined this case in Sep 2015. Lead Petitioner is Brig SKS Rana, VSM.  Due to such a huge number of petitioners, the Govt advocate kept getting adjournments on the plea that he has to examine all the 1049 records. Hence there is delay in getting judgment in our favour. Our plea is simple: Give the 1049 petitioners the same benefit of higher pension w.e.f Jan 2006 considering their increments at the time of their retirement in 5th CPC which AFT Chandigarh gave to Pre – 2006 Maj Gens.

    4.   Good News.  14 Maj Gens including one R Adm and One AVM also filed a similar case in AFT Delhi in 16 Apr 2016 and were lucky to get judgment in their favour on 12 Feb 2017. The judgment of AFT Delhi is based on judgment of AFT Chandigarh. They are to be paid higher pension from Jan 2006 to Jun 2014 with 9% interest from date of filing their case in AFT Delhi. I calculated the arrears from Jan 2006 to Jun 2014 of the 14 General Officers after the Govt of India gave sanction to enhance pensions w.e.f Jan 2006. PCDA (O) gave LPC to 12 Maj Gens and PCDA of IAF and Navy also gave LPC to one R Adm and one AVM respectively enhancing pension from Rs 30350 to Rs 35660 (highest depending upon the number of increments earned and the last pay drawn at the time of retirement in 5th CPC). I am attaching 16 MS PP slides explaining the method of notional pay fixation and you can see the bonanza these 14 Maj Gens got. The arrears for the period Jan 2006 to Jun 2014 range between Rs 2,36,751 to Rs 6,02,950.

    5.    Who are Going to be Biggest Beneficiaries?.  In Army, infantry, Armd Corps and Mech Infantry officers get their promotions faster than their course-mates from AOC and EME. Similarly Naval officers get their promotions faster than their NDA course mates of Army and IAF. You get higher pension w.e.f. Jan 2006 if you have got more increments or how early you got your promotion to your next last rank.

    6.   Period of Arrears. It is from Jan 2006 to Jun 2014. OROP comes into effect from Jul 2014.

    7.    AFT – 1B. AFT 1 was filed in AFT Delhi in Sep 2015 and  T SEWA was given OA – 34/2016. We are sure to win in view of judgment given in favour of 14 Maj Gens. There is a demand from many Officers of the rank of Capt to Maj Gen who could not join AFT – 1 for various reasons now to join in a similar case if permitted. Considering their genuine demand T SEWA has opened sequel to AFT – 1 (OA – 34/2006) titled AFT – IB.

    9.    All India Coordinator. Cmde Sudheer Parakala, Vice President, T SEWA has been kind enough to be All India Coordinator for AFT – I B. You are requested to contact him at his e-mail id: commodore_parakala@yahoo.co.ukand also can speak to him at 98490 57767. He will send you legal documents which you are required to fill and dispatch the hard copies to his postal address. He is also CC to this mail.

    10.    Legal Fees. Since it is common cause we fixed very low legal fees of Rs 5,000 per officer. For single ladies of deceased officers, it is Rs 3,000. You are required to send cheque in favour ofTSEWA –AFT  alongwith the hard copies of legal documents to Cmde Sudheer Parakala. On the envelope kindly mention AFT – 1B for easier identification. We will NOT accept NEFT or Internet banking remittance as we are unable to locate the sender as our bank does not give any details of such money transfers.

    11.    Last Date. We will close AFT – 1 B the moment we reach 100 petitioners or by 30 Nov 2017 whichever is earlier. Thereafter if there is still demand then we will open AFT – 1C. Earlier we file the case in AFT Delhi, earlier we are likely to get a judgment.

    12.    Eligibility. All Officers from the ranks of Capt to Maj Gen including Hony Lt & Hony Capt and wives of the deceased officers of three services of these ranks are eligible to join the case.

    13.    Refund. T SEWA spends almost Rs 9 lakhs per annum on salaries to staff members, maid, telephone / mobile charges, electricity, water, stationery and other recurring expenditure. Anyone who wants to withdraw from the legal case will be refunded Rs 4,500 /2700 (single ladies) before the legal documents are sent to Delhi by 07 Dec 2017. Thereafter we are unable to make any refund as we pay full legal fees to our advocate who will not permit you to withdraw.

    14.    List of Litigants. Though Cmde Sudheeer Parakala will endeavor to send you a confirmation of receipt of your legal documents by e-mail, we will put up the list of petitioners in our T SEWA Blog (www.tsewa.org) before we send the documents to Delhi for filing in AFT Delhi. For any queries once we send our documents to Brig SKS Rana, VSM, President, Legal Division, T SEWA, you are requested to contact him. He is CC to this mail and his mobile no is :9810281035.

    15.   Non- Members. Since our advocate gives us the concession of very low legal fees, non-members will be admitted to AFT – IB only after they become members of T SEWA. Membership form will be sent to such non – members. When you approach Cmde Sudheer Parakala, kindly mentione your T SEWA membership No. Unless you become a member of  T SEWA you will not be included in this legal case. Membership form also will  be sent to you. You are required to fill it up in CAPITAL LETTERS and affix a joint photo with your spouse and enclose a copy of your first PPO (not Corr PPO). Unless copy of PPO is enclosed AFT Delhi will not treat as an Ex-Serviceman.

    16.    My job is over once I sensitize the environment about legal case and an All India Coordinator is identified. I do NOT deal with legal cases thereafter. You are requested to contact Cmde Sudheer Parakala, All India Coordinator for any information about the legal case. I am unable to answer any queries and therefore request you to spare me. If you still want to correspond then do contact Col Dr GB Sethi, General Secretary T SEWA (9440859877)  and Lt Col  G Parvathesam, Treasurer T SEWA (9490941822) for any information on the legal cases. They are CC to this mail.

    17.   May God grant us Victory in 2018 and may all get our entitled emoluments.

    Warm Regards,

    Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)

    9493191380 (Mobile connectivity is very poor in my residential complex)
    040-48540895

    Whatsapp: 9052345814


    India’s first Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh next month

    Military lit fest: Dalrymple, Rikhye to be in attendance

    CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government and Chandigarh administration will jointly organise the three-day Military Literature Festival from December 7 at the Lake Club.

    KESHAV SINGH/HT■ (From left) Lt Gen TS Shergill, Punjab tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Western Command chief Lt Gen GS Dhillon at Punjab Bhawan in Chandigarh on Friday.

    The event aims to bring the Indian and foreign defence analysts under a single roof and also showcase the country’s military history. Seminars on India’s defence literature, art, music, photography, among others will be organised during the festival.

    To create awareness about the country’s defence forces, around 1,200 students from rural areas around the tricity will be invited to attend the festival. The festival is open to all and there shall be no registration fee.

    Prominent Indian and foreign authors and defence experts have confirmed their participation in the event. These include US-based Ravi Rikhye; emeritus professor of history at Ulster University Tom Fraser; historian William Dalrymple; curator at the Imperial War Museum London Alan Jeffreys; military historian and publisher Tom Donovan, author of ‘Battleground Chhamb, 1971 Gen AJS Sandhu, military historian Rana Chhina, and Brigadier Darshan Khullar, among others.