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LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THE GOLDWATER-NICHOLS ACT

With Chinese forces refusing to leave their posts on India’s borders, it is time to take the matter of theatrisation seriously. For this, the political and military leadership would have to develop a more one-to-one relationship and jointness will have to be fostered between the forces. In this regard, the US’ Goldwater-Nichols Act can teach us quite a few things.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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The theatrisation of commands will be transformative, if done sensibly. We need a base to work with. Most advanced forces have adopted the joint system. The US, Russia and China have transitioned to theatrisation. Very clearly, jointness is the priority. So, theatrisation is next. I am now taking a dive to highlight some aspects of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. This Act puts in perspective a lot of issues which we will have to confront in this transformation and we need to understand them for implementation in our context.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar (retd)

Prior to 1986, in the USA, each Service had a Chief. The Service Chiefs made up the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose Chairman (elected) reported to the Defense Secretary, who in turn reported to the President. This system, akin to ours before the CDS was appointed, led to intense inter-service rivalry in procurement, doctrine and all other peacetime activities. During wartime, operational activities of each service were largely planned, executed and evaluated independently. This fractured system contributed to the failures in the Vietnam war, the failed attempt to free US hostages from Iran and the blotches in the Grenada invasion.

REORGANISATION

The Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 was enacted to bring sweeping changes in the way the US Military functioned. The first thing one needs to understand is that it is an act by a legislative body. It is law! Hence, there is no choice but to follow it.

In large measure, many people in India understand that the Act was meant to bring about theatrisation. But, that is not the case. It was meant for a total reorganisation of how the US military functions. The act is meant to:

• Reorganize the Department of Defense and strengthen civilian authority;

• Improve the military advice provided to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense;

• Place clear responsibility on theatre commanders for the accomplishment of missions;

• Ensure that the authority of the theatre commanders is fully commensurate with their responsibility for the accomplishment of missions;

• Increase attention to the formulation of strategy and to contingency planning;

• Provide for more efficient use of defense resources;

• Improve joint officer management policies;

• Improve the effectiveness of military operations and improve the management and administration of the Department of Defense.

CIVIL POLITICAL AUTHORITY

The major issue is that in US parlance, ‘civilian authority’ actually refers to ‘civil political authority’. As per the Clausewitzan dictum, ‘War is Politics by other means’. Hence, there must be a direct relationship between the political and military authority. The Act establishes that relationship. In our system, a ‘Bureaucracy Sans Responsibility or Knowledge’ has interposed itself between the political and military authority to national detriment. This is a major flaw in our system. If this is not rectified, theatrisation will be retrograde.

To understand this better, one needs to examine the composition of the US Department of Defense as it exists now. It is composed of:

• The Office of the Secretary of Defense

• The Joint Chiefs of Staff

• The Joint Staff

• The Defense Agencies

• Department of Defense Field Activities

• The Department of the Army

• The Department of the Navy

• The Department of the Air Force

• The unified and specified combatant commands

• Such other offices, agencies, activities, and commands, as may be established or designated by law or by the President.

Each department has a Secretary (their Rajya Raksha Mantri), who reports to the Defense Secretary (their Raksha Mantri). All these are political appointees and, hence, the political control. The bureaucracy is also political in nature. All the Deputy, Under and Assistant Secretaries in Departments and Directors of Agencies are appointed by the President from civilian life, coterminous with his tenure. They are handpicked by merit, have adequate background knowledge and are accountable. It is assessed if political appointees have sufficient experience or expertise, to be capable of contributing immediately to effective policy formulation and management. As a result, though the US system has a large bureaucracy, it is knowledgeable enough to deliver. Some duties of the Secretary of Defense, highlighted below, provide clarity of what is expected from the civil bureaucracy.

The Secretary of Defense, with the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provides annually, written policy guidance, which encompasses:

• National security objectives and policies

• The priorities of military missions

• The resource levels being made available.

The Secretary of Defense, with the approval of the President and after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provides annually, written policy guidance for the preparation and review of contingency plans.

INTEGRATION

The underlying theme of the Act is an emphasis on an integrated approach. Every office downwards from that of the Secretary has personnel of the armed forces working alongside civilians. Officers of the armed forces are posted on permanent duty in the Offices of the Secretaries. This is periodically reviewed to achieve balance. Integration in the system is achieved by having members of the armed forces on the active-duty list, members of the armed forces in a retired status, and members of the reserve components who are employed in a civilian role.

JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

Another recurring feature of the Act is the emphasis on jointness. Theatrisation is seen as a by-product of jointness. In our case, we seem to be putting the cart before the horse and hoping that theatrisation will breed jointness. It won’t happen. Hence, let us see the major aspects which bring in jointness. The composition and functions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tells us a lot. Some details are as under:

COMPOSITION

The Joint Chiefs of Staff consist of the following:

• The Chairman.

• The Chief of Staff of the Army.

• The Chief of Naval Operations.

• The Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

• The Commandant of the Marine Corps.

FUNCTION AS MILITARY ADVISORS

• The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the principal military advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.

• The other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are military advisors as specified.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff is the pointsman of jointness, as also theatrisation. Hence, a look at his sphere of activities is mandatory.

RESPONSIBILITY

He is responsible for the following:

• Strategic Direction: Assisting the President and the Secretary of Defense in providing for the strategic direction of the armed forces.

• Strategic Planning: Preparing strategic plans, including plans which conform with resource levels projected by the Secretary of Defense to be available for the period of time for which the plans are to be effective.

• Preparing joint logistic and mobility plans to support those strategic plans and recommending the assignment of logistic and mobility responsibilities to the armed forces in accordance with those logistic and mobility plans.

• Performing net assessments to determine the capabilities of the armed forces of the United States and its allies as compared with those of their potential adversaries.

• Contingency Planning Preparedness: Providing for the preparation and review of contingency plans which conform to policy guidance from the President and the Secretary of Defense.

• Advising the Secretary on critical deficiencies and strengths in force capabilities (including manpower, logistic, and mobility support) identified during the preparation and review of contingency plans and assessing the effect of such deficiencies and strengths on meeting national security objectives and policy and on strategic plans.

• Establishing and maintaining after consultation with the commanders of the unified and specified combatant commands, a uniform system of evaluating the preparedness of each such command to carry out missions assigned to the command.

ROLE OF CHAIRMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF

Communications between the President or the Secretary of Defense and the Theatre Commanders are transmitted through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He assists the President and the Secretary of Defense in performing their command function.

He is responsible for overseeing the activities of the combatant commands. It does not confer any command authority on the Chairman and does not alter the responsibility of the commanders of the combatant commands.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serves as the spokesman for the Theatre Commanders, especially on the operational requirements of their commands.

JOINT STAFF

If we are to get anywhere with theatrisation and jointness, we need good joint staff. We need a major relook at our MS and Personnel Branches in management of officers. In turn, we also need a relook at our training.

The importance and detail given to joint staffing in this Act is simply astounding. The Joint Staff functions under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They assist the Chairman and other members (Joint Chiefs of Staff) in carrying out their responsibilities. Officers of the armed forces are assigned to serve on the Joint Staff. They are selected in approximately equal numbers from the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Force. Each officer who is selected is among those officers considered to be the most outstanding officers of that armed force. The Secretary of Defense lays down the policies, procedures, and practices for the effective management of Joint Staff. An officer is selected for the joint specialty after he successfully completes an appropriate program at a joint professional military education school and after successfully completing a joint duty assignment. The Secretary, with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, establishes career guidelines for joint staff officers. Guidelines include selection, military education, training, types of duty assignments and promotion. To put it in perspective, the promotion of officers in joint appointments, especially to command, is based on their performance in previous joint appointments.

COMBATANT COMMANDS

The Act has scope for joint and single service commands. It clarifies that ‘unified combatant command’ means a military command which is composed of forces from two or more military departments and a ‘specified combatant command’ means a military command which is normally composed of forces from a single military department. The term ‘combatant command’ means a unified combatant command or a specified command.

Chain Of Command: The chain of command to a unified or specified combatant command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, and from the Secretary of Defense to the commander of the combatant command.

Assignment as Combatant Commander: The President assigns an officer to serve as the commander of a unified or specified combatant command, only if the officer has the joint specialty and has served in at least one joint duty assignment as a general or flag officer. A major issue which emanates is that the Command and the Staff are separated at one level and also fully integrated with each other by legislation. Prima facie, it appears that the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff has no direct control over the Theatre Commander. However, he outranks the Theatre Commander. More importantly, one of the QRs to be a Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff is to be a Theatre Commander. The Act codifies everyone’s roles and duties and forces them to behave accordingly.

SUMMARY

The Goldwater-Nichols Act was truly transformative for the US. If we are to head in such a direction, we need some similar document to go by. We also need politicians of calibre with authority who need not be midwifed by ignorant bureaucrats. They need to be assisted by a professional bureaucracy and a system integrated with the armed forces. The current equation of a generalist bureaucracy, which is in agriculture one day, health the next and defence the third, leads only to egocentric and ignorant power brokers calling the shots. The equation between the military and political leadership has to be direct and one-to-one. The PM, RM and the CCS need to put their thinking hats on. This is way above any bureaucrat’s pay grade.

The second issue of bother is an increasing lack of jointness. The Navy’s views on theatres appear in a magazine and its views on terms of service appear on social media before it is made official. The COAS says that theatrisation is going to take a long time. The IAF is on silent mode. Is it ominous or sullen? The CDS appears to be spending more time than necessary on contentious issues of pay and allowances. To me, as a common man, it appears that our Chiefs are like the four lions of the Ashoka Pillar — constantly looking away from each other. It is time for our political leadership to take a hard look at what can bring about jointness and follow it by theatrisation. Otherwise, the salami slicer at our doorstep in eastern Ladakh will take his toll.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read onwww.gunnersshot.com.

The Goldwater-Nichols Act was truly transformative for the US. If we are to head in such a direction, we need some similar document to go by. We also need politicians of calibre with authority who need not be midwifed by ignorant bureaucrats. They need to be assisted by a professional bureaucracy and a system integrated with the armed forces.

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Defence

CHINA VS CHINA: UNRAVELLING AN INTERESTING BATTLE

China, as we see it today, will not be the same in another five years. India needs to be cognisant of this fact and script a long-term strategy to handle the emerging Dragon.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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Galwan happened last year. A lot of water has flown in Indus. Sino Indian animosity is ascendant. Beyond a doubt, China is inimical to India’s interests in every respect. Chinese hatred of India was evident in the picture of a Chinese rocket at take-off besides a burning Indian pyre. China mocked India during our grief of the second wave. It also ensured that help does not reach India on one pretext or the other. Further, China does not understand another civilisation antithetical to its own in all respects — religion, culture, practices, ethnicities, and politics. A singular and homogeneous China and a heterogeneous and plural India have no common ground. Indian democracy has strengths far beyond the authoritarian CCP. India is a major threat to China in ways beyond our own self-deprecating and dismissive imagination. George Fernandes once said, “China is India’s number one enemy”. We should treat it accordingly.         

As we move into the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, new equations are emerging. China was projected as a technological, economic, and financial giant. The Chinese dream was being rejuvenated through the greatest military on earth. The general belief was that China is the next superpower, set to dominate the world. A reality check is needed. Contrary to popular perception, emerging challenges faced by China are more than the opportunities presenting themselves. People might not agree with me. However, like the Chinese, I would like to see things in the long term.

China has entered its historical phase of ‘China vs China’. We need to understand this phenomenon. Historically, one generation of communist China has seeded major problems for the next generation. Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ led to the great famine where millions perished in hunger. It generated widespread poverty till the next generation. Deng Xiaoping, accredited with opening up China, also started the ‘One Child Policy’. It is now propelling China into a demographic disaster. Xi Jinping’s ‘Rejuvenation of China’s Dream’ program marked by aggression and assertion has already put the next generations at risk. China’s naked ambition has put it under severe scrutiny, which it had escaped so far. There is a discernible switch from ‘aided’ to ‘impeded’ growth. ‘Cooperation’ has turned to ‘contestation’. Major fault lines — short and long term — crisscrossing each other have emerged.    

Demography: South China Morning Post published a series of 16 articles on China’s demography recently. It has not published a 16 series analysis so far in the past two years. This unprecedented analysis indicates the bleakness of the future with no solutions offered. The graph published recently by Renmin University defines the problem. The Renmin University figures are doctored to show the ‘State’ in a good light. Hence the problem is even graver. China’s population is shrinking irrevocably. The current fertility rate is 1.3 children per woman, which is well below the replacement level of 2.1. In just five years, the ratio of working population to non-working (dependent) population will be 60: 40 and will continue to reduce further. Working hands which have already reduced from 10:1 to 5:1 will further decrease. The situation, as per many analysts will be far worse. The recently enunciated ‘three child policy’ is a panic reaction. It is not a solution. People cannot afford to raise one child leave alone three. Girls do not want to get married. The gender ratio is skewed with 30 million unmarried men. Life expectancy has increased to 80. Old people are increasing and social security is inadequate. China will have to spend phenomenal sums on pensions. Pension funds are emptying and risk running dry. China’s younger workforce is decreasing. The middle and old age workforce are not suited for disruptive technologies. Technological superiority is a chimaera. China has a zero migration policy hence population inversion cannot take place as it does in the US. Further, even PLA does not have quality recruits. It has already lowered education, height and eyesight requirements. Look at it anyway — reducing population, reducing the workforce, shrinking pool for high technology, increasing old people, lowered standards for the army, reducing marriages, and reducing childbirths. Combine it with the headwinds on the economic front and its increased global footprint. People are the base for any nation. That is irretrievably skewed.  

Virus and Vaccines: The inefficiency of Chinese vaccines is now admitted by Chinese themselves. This is now proven by a rethink in Seychelles, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and others. It also highlights the weaknesses of China’s technology. It will have a diplomatic fallout. The important issue is the internal effect. The virus is mutating with a shorter incubation period, faster transmission, greater virulence and higher viral load. New mutations are clearly beyond the Chinese vaccines. Chinese people remain unvaccinated. “China is at a very critical moment,” Zhong Nanshan, their top respiratory disease expert, said in a recent interview. “When other countries have been very well vaccinated, and China still lacks immunity, then that will be very dangerous”. The Chinese playbook of vast testing, strict movement controls and intense scrutiny of international arrivals will now impede economic growth. The new outbreaks suggest that the virus will circulate in China for a long. Look at it from any point of view — economic, technological, diplomatic or political- the law of diminishing returns is setting in for the Chinese. China will not break free ahead of others. 

Viral Stigma: There is no doubt that the Virus originated in Wuhan. The question is whether it was a natural zoonotic transmission or an engineered one which leaked out? Was it biological warfare? The lab leak theory, though based on circumstantial evidence, is getting stronger by the day. There has been no logical explanation about the natural origins of the Virus. Scientific investigation indicates that something fishy was going on in the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). That is reinforced by the fact that China has sealed all data of the WIV and is refusing to part with any information. China has hidden a lot. Hereafter, whether it is confirmed or not, China will be blamed and lampooned for the origin of the virus — officially or unofficially. Theories of biological warfare will abound. Chinese secrecy, aggression and attitude will enhance the perceptions. Loss of face in private is assured if not in public. China will carry the cross of this virus to stigmatise future generations. More the denial, greater will be the sticking power. China will be equated to the virus eventually. This will start appearing in all kinds of literature, school and history books. Repercussions will be wide-ranging and well into the future. 

Afghanistan: The moment of reckoning for China —the wannabe superpower, has arrived. Till now China had the insurance of the US’s presence in Afghanistan. That will vanish in September. China has to protect its interests on its own hereafter. It must secure its borders and stop extremism spilling over into Xinjiang. Its $3 billion investment in a giant copper mine in Aynak must be secured. It has to prop up a failing Pakistan to keep the CPEC and BRI going. It has already established a military base 12-14 Km from the Tajik-Afghan border and 30 km from the Tajik-China border in Gorno-Badakhshan province around 2019. It is in the process of constructing a road through the Wakhan Corridor. Chinese commitment in Afghanistan is set to increase in ways unknown. China is coming into the military centre stage wittingly or otherwise. Inevitably, it will have to shed blood to protect its interests. Slowly this military involvement will spread internationally. The military costs will go up and overstretch will commence. 

Outlook and Image: The images and epithets associated with China are wolf warriorism, assertion, aggression, debt-trap diplomacy, IPR theft, currency manipulation, untrustworthy, coercion, threats, corruption, and human rights abuses. Overall, a negative image has developed over the past year. Chinese actions have matched these descriptions in the South China Sea, Hongkong, Eastern Ladakh, Paracels, Australia, EU, Taiwan, Senkaku’s, Xinjiang, Tibet, and many more. The Chinese are also attempting to repair their image. Despite that, China continues with its arrogant outlook and ideology. For example, China came to an understanding with the EU on a new investment pact. It was touted as a diplomatic coup. EU imposed some sanctions due to severe human rights abuses in Xinjiang. China retaliated with sanctions on some EU politicians and entities. In response, the European Parliament paused the ratification of its new investment pact with China. China has now started shooting itself in its foot. It is a typical China vs China story. 

Exclusion: Throughout last year, the expectation was that China will be isolated. In a globalised and interconnected world, China has created multiple dependencies. Isolation will never occur. That is clear. However, something else is taking shape. The leaders of ‘G7’ (Germany, Japan, France, the UK, Canada, the US, Italy and Canada) plus Australia, South Korea, India and South Africa met recently (11 to 13 June). This is the first major meet of the world’s powerful democracies during the pandemic. The focus was on China, alternate supply chains and rivalling the Belt and Road. The significant issue is that in a year, two frameworks – ‘QUAD’ and ‘G7 Plus’ have evolved from which China has been excluded. The larger implication is that China might see the birth of international systems from which it is excluded and in which it is the main antagonist. China has to swim against the very current which helped its rise. The portents are ominous.

View it from any angle. All the issues which have been highlighted are interrelated and interdependent. They will detract from the Comprehensive National Power of China. Very importantly, China has no control over them. They are autarkic and will run their course in different directions. Issues related to economics, BRI, pollution, food security, energy security, environment, and climate change have not been factored in. Many of these issues were analysed in an earlier article. Everyone talks of the great military, but most of it can hardly be used. This is the great superpower which we will have to contend with. In a decade our adversary will be old and not rich. I had written about the  Chernobyl factor in an article. I am more than convinced that it will come true. The China we see today will not be China in another five years. China vs China is an interesting battle that is unfolding. India needs to be cognisant of these facts and script a long term strategy to handle the emerging China.     

Lt Gen PR Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the Modernisation and Indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com 

China does not understand another civilisation antithetical to its own in all respects—religion, culture, practices, ethnicities, and politics. A singular and homogeneous China and a heterogeneous and plural India have no common ground. Indian democracy has strengths far beyond the authoritarian CCP. India is a major threat to China in ways beyond our own self-deprecating and dismissive imagination. 

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Defence

ANDAMAN & NICOBAR COMMAND CELEBRATES WORLD HYDROGRAPHY DAY

Ashish Singh

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Lieutenant General Ajai Singh, Commander-in-Chief Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN) participated in commemorating the Centenary of the World Hydrography Day on Monday. The occasion is celebrated by the Hydrographic fraternity of the Indian Navy every year through a series of coordinated events at the respective Commands to spread awareness of hydrography and its contribution in ensuring safe navigation at sea as well as to showcase achievements and contributions of the Indian Naval Hydrographic Organisation. The theme for the event this year is “100 years of International Cooperation in Hydrography”.

The CINCAN appreciated the yeoman service by the Indian Naval Hydrographic Organisation in capacity building initiatives among littorals in the Indian Ocean Region through hydrographic surveys and providing world-class training to personnel from friendly foreign nations. The surveys help in augmenting the Sagarmala project under the NITI Aayog for the sustainable development of A&N Islands.

The Hydrographic Survey Unit at Port Blair under HQ ANC is responsible for the surveys around the A&N Islands and is fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the conduct, analysis and preparation of reports of hydrographic surveys. HSU (PBR) participates in various joint operations with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force within the Andaman and Nicobar Command. The Unit has successfully conducted surveys for RCS 3.0 — UDAN, the prestigious Government of India project under regional connectivity by playing a vital role in identifying suitable seaplane landing sites at four locations in the Andaman group of islands at Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, Hut Bay and Long Island, which will boost regional connectivity and tourism.

Indian Navy hydrography ships Sutlej from Southern Naval Command and Nirupak from Eastern Naval Command are currently deployed for hydrographic survey in Andaman and Nicobar Islands since April 2021. These ships utilise state-of-the-art Multi-beam Bathymetric Data Acquisition Systems to survey and update navigational charts of the A&N Islands. All Covid protocol measures were followed by the personnel present at the event.

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Defence

INS SHIVAJI ORGANISES VARIOUS ACTIVITIES TO MARK YOGA DAY

Ashish Singh

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The International Yoga Day celebrates the physical and spiritual prowess that yoga has brought to the world stage. While it is an important source of exercise and healthy activity, there are many benefits of practising yoga daily. This is a useful way to connect the body, mind, and soul in a way that exists for centuries. INS Shivaji undertook various activities towards the celebration of the International Yoga Day at Station Lonavla from 19 to 21 June. Keeping Covid-19 protocols in mind, a yoga workshop and seminar for personnel and trainee officers and sailors in the cohort group was conducted by a qualified yoga instructor.

As part of virtual yoga practice, yoga sessions were conducted for Naval personnel as available in the Namaste Yoga app launched by the Government of India. Personnel and families also undertook yoga sessions offered by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga at their respective residences. Quiz and essay competitions were conducted for trainee sailors to educate them about the importance of yoga in daily life. To enlighten the significance of yoga, home guidelines and a list of digital resources available in the open network were uploaded on the unit LAN/website. Towards awareness of daily yoga practice, banners with the theme “Be with Yoga, Be at Home” were displayed at prominent locations.

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Defence

NORTHERN COMMAND CELEBRATES YOGA DAY

Ashish Singh

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Amidst strict Covid-19 protocols, yoga camps were organised on the occasion of International Yoga Day on Monday in all Army formations and units of Northern Command across the entire UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh including “Siachen Glacier”, the highest battlefield. All ranks & families attended the Yoga camps with great enthusiasm. A number of aasanas, pranayama, and dhyan were practised and their benefits towards health and in disease prevention were shared by qualified Yoga instructors.

The theme ‘Yoga for well-being’ with the aim to promote the holistic health of troops was emphasised. The Covid-19 crisis has caused psychophysical, emotional and physical impact on the people across all ages in the country. Our troops have been successfully kept shielded from such effects to a great extent as a result of practicing Yoga on regular basis despite all challenges. The celebration of International Yoga Day is a reminder for all ranks to incorporate yoga in daily routine for a happy and stress free life.

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Defence

HOW INDIAN NAVY CELEBRATED 7TH INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY

Ashish Singh

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The International Day of Yoga was celebrated at Western Naval Command (WNC), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), and Southern Naval Command (SNC).

The International Yoga Day was celebrated at WNC, with all serving naval personnel including Defence Security Corps (DSC), the Military Engineer Services (MES), Defence Civilian Employees and their family members enthusiastically participating in the 7th International Day of Yoga on the theme ‘Be with Yoga, Be At Home’.

An online yoga session was conducted under the aegis of the Navy Wives Welfare Association (Western Region) for the naval community in South Mumbai to encourage all personnel and their family members to practise yoga regularly for bolstering their health and boosting immunity, especially in these trying times. Various asanas were demonstrated through digital platforms and replicated by the enthusiastic participants. Additionally, all sea-going units in the WNC also took part in celebrating the day by conducting yoga sessions at the unit level, both at sea and in harbour, with due observance of all Covid protocols. Yoga has been formally assimilated into the Navy’s physical fitness regime and had been found to be beneficial to men at sea given the paucity of space onboard ships.

The International Yoga Day was celebrated by all units under ENC, where naval personnel including Defence Security Corps, Defence Civilian Employees and their family members enthusiastically participated in the Yoga Day on the theme ‘Yoga For Wellness’ on Monday. All units under the ENC spread across the Eastern Seaboard from West Bengal to Tamil Nadu participated in various yoga-related activities.

All participants practised yoga asanas at their respective residences/units in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by released by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India with strict adherence to Covid protocols. The yoga sessions included standing and sitting yoga postures, pranayama — breathing techniques followed by meditation. Ships of the ENC on Mission Deployments at high seas across the Indian Ocean region participated in the Yoga sessions in the true spirit of Yoga Day.

International Yoga Day was celebrated at SNC, where Naval personnel including Defence Security Corps (DSC), The Military Engineer Services (MES), Defence Civilian Employees and their family members enthusiastically participated in the Yoga Day celebrations . Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), SNC and Mrs Sapana Chawla joined families of Southern Naval Command in a virtual yoga session.

Simple and easy to do asanas were demonstrated on a digital platform and replicated by the participants in accordance with the guidelines on the Namaste Yoga app and by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga at their respective residences. The yoga session included standing and sitting yoga postures, pranayama and breathing techniques. It was followed by meditation techniques, based on the common Yoga protocols released by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. All units under SNC spread across different states of India also participated in various yoga-related activities. Special yoga-related quizzes, posters, essay competitions and lectures by yoga experts for adopting yoga as a way of life were also organised. Towards spreading awareness of daily yoga practice, banners with the theme were displayed at prominent locations along with the distribution of yoga mats with International Yoga Day logos to encourage more personnel to take up yoga.

Various ships under the Southern Naval Command on mission deployed at high seas across the Indian Ocean region and beyond, in the true spirit of International Yoga Day, participated in the yoga sessions. Vice Admiral AK Chawla encouraged SNC Parivar to practice yoga regularly and to make yoga a way of life.

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Defence

EASTERN FLEET AWARDS FUNCTION TO RECOGNISE OPERATIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Ashish Singh

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Fleet Awards Function 2021 was held to celebrate the operational achievements of the Eastern Fleet during the last year. Fleet Awards Function marks the culmination of the Operational Cycle of the Eastern Fleet and recognises accomplishments of the ‘Sword Arm’ of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC). Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief ENC was the Chief Guest at the event hosted by Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.

As compared to previous years, the Fleet Awards Function was held as a modest event with full observance of COVID protocols. The function culminated with the distribution of sixteen coveted trophies covering the overall spectrum of maritime operations. INS Sahyadri was adjudged as the Best Ship of the Eastern Fleet amongst Capital ships, INS Kamorta as the Most Spirited Ship for displaying indomitable spirit and grit whilst undertaking a plethora of challenging missions and Best Corvette trophy as won by IN Ships Kiltan and Khukri amongst Corvettes and similar classes of ships.

The year gone by was a challenging one for the Sunrise Fleet. Even as the COVID pandemic gripped the world, Eastern Fleet went about its operational responsibilities and maintained a forward active posture. Sustaining high operational tempo, the Fleet ships participated in numerous operations, exercises, and humanitarian assistance missions. The Eastern Fleet ships participated in several major bilateral and multilateral exercises such as Malabar-20, La Perouse, PASSEX with various navies and undertook Op Sahayam and Mission Sagar for delivery of HADR stores and Op Samudra Setu for evacuation of stranded Indian citizen from overseas. In the second wave of COVID-19 as Op Samudra Setu II, Eastern Fleet ships acted as the mainstay for enhancing oxygen delivery to the Eastern seaboard emphasising its role as a professional and credible force.

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