OPTIMISING FORCE STRUCTURE AMID INCREASING COSTS OF MODERNISATION - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

Defence

OPTIMISING FORCE STRUCTURE AMID INCREASING COSTS OF MODERNISATION

The induction of technological advancements as a force multiplier on the modern battlefield requires restructuring and optimising the defence forces. However, the process must be well-calibrated, considering the threat perception by the armed forces, and the financial constraints of a growing economy.

MAJ GEN ROHIT GUPTA (RETD)

Published

on

The Indian Armed Forces have been getting technologically advanced weapons and support systems with increased lethality, longer reach and all-weather capability. When coupled with state of the art surveillance and coordinated and unexpected application of firepower, these offer results far greater than the simple application of technology in isolation.

Despite the induction of these enablers, there has been extraordinarily little change in the concept of the application of force and the Indian Army, in particular, tends to remain in the dogma of manpower intensive tactical and operational application. Of course, the nature of deployment in inhospitable terrain and weather conditions, and the requirement of manpower intensive operation in counter insurgency/infiltration operations, does impose a caution on the commensurate downsizing.

Warfare is evolving in its interpretation and the application of forces is regularly seeing changes in its concepts. No longer are the infantry predominant bayonet charges in practice in militarily advanced countries. Technology is being used the world over to ensure that boots-on-ground are no longer used to ‘fight to gain territory’ but rather used to ‘occupy territory’, preferably without fighting. Territory, by itself, is changing in its concept of strategy and destruction of war potential and economic resources is taking root. In fact, countries are evolving towards building up extensive conventional destruction capability with flexible means of delivery which act as a deterrent to any misadventure by the adversary.

Emerging technological advancements, in conjunction with futuristic security needs, merit an in-depth analysis of existing and planned force structures. Dynamic changes in the geo-political environment as well as the developments in the contemporary battlefield sphere necessitate the force structure to be adaptive. A holistic review of doctrines, concepts, force structure and their application considering emerging technology will possibly indicate lean and agile forces across the spectrum of ops.

ILLUSTRATIONS

A few cases can be taken to illustrate the requirement of re-structuring and re-configuring. The configuration of the Armoured Regiment remains the same despite technological advancement in the tank, the ICV supporting it as well as the combat support elements. This configuration is based on flexibility in employment, so that reserves are available to manoeuvre and tank to tank distances, which are restricted by optimum ranges of engagement by day and night. With advancement in technology, the ranges, rate of fire and accuracy have increased. Enhanced communications and night vision enablement has eliminated the sense of isolation and made the tank more lethal. The modern tank now fires a missile at 5 km and is capable of the hunter-killer concept of employment. Protection levels have increased. The squadron, and therefore the regiment, can easily cover a larger area and deliver immense destructive fire power on the battlefield. However, despite the enhancement, including that of the supporting Mechanised Infantry now on BMP-2s and availability of modern supporting self propelled artillery like the K-9 Vajra, which costs twice that of the Vijayant Catapult, the configuration of the squadron remains at four troops each. There is a case to reconfigure it to three troops, but something more than pure consideration of tactical and operational employment of forces leaves it at the erstwhile composition. What must be appreciated is that a T-90 costs 1.5x a T-72, which in turn is 1.5x the outdated T-55. A modern MBT like the ARMATA-14 would be 1.5x to 2x the T-90. With increasing cost of modernisation, commensurate saving must accrue in the equipment and manpower for it to be optimum in cost implementation.

The configuration of the infantry battalion has largely remained the same, despite the change from .303 Rifle and LMG and RPG3V to SLR and 84mm RL and then to INSAS and 84RL, with better munition. The infantry battalions are now getting modern Sig Sauer assault rifles, IWI LMG and sniper rifles which provide better ranges, rates of fire and accuracy than the INSAS rifle/LMG and Dragunov sniper rifle, along with better night fighting capabilities and communication arrangement. The AK 203 is a definite improvement over the INSAS or the AK 47 for counter insurgency/conventional operations. With the destructive power of modern munition, precision guidance and artillery available for support, there is a definite case to look at the configuration of the infantry battalion, its strength, and the number of such battalions. The case is for a three-company configuration which is the case in advanced countries. The infantry soldier will have to be multi-skilled to remain relevant on the modern battlefield.

The artillery has improved over the decades. From 25 pounder and 105 mm, we are progressing towards a mediumisation of the regiments. The 155mm Bofors is now being supplemented with the Dhanush 155mm system, followed by the 155mm towed artillery. With Smerch Regiments and the raising of the additional Pinaka Regiments, firepower takes supreme position on the battlefield. With aerial surveillance resources and the indigenous gun/mortar locating radar, we have the capability of neutralising enemy artillery and directing accurate fire at the target end. The guns also have the capability of neutralising two to three targets simultaneously with their enhanced rate of fire and flexibility of switching targets. Mobility offers the advantage of flexibility of deployment, which allows enhanced firepower to be concentrated at the decisive point. With all this firepower at disposal, the tactical norms of deployment and utilisation of resources remain the same. The destructive and accurate firepower must enable a change in concept from ‘attacking by infantry to capture’ to ‘attacking by infantry to occupy’. This too indicates a change in the concept of the ratios of employment of troops for capture of objectives. The integral infantry firepower and support by artillery also enable a change in the ground holding configurations and frontages held. The enhanced firepower of artillery and greater flexibility indicate a change in the requirement of the number of artillery regiments resulting in savings to get technologically advanced weapon systems. The concepts of the number of forces and their structuring in operations need a change to enable commensurate savings for modernisation.

With the planned induction of the S-400, air defence is stronger. The Air Force now requires a lesser number of planes for air defence roles. We are looking at an interdiction role of strategic objectives thus crippling the infrastructure and industry of the enemy. The isolation of the battlefield becomes an important task and with precision ammunition it can be achieved easily. The enhanced firepower that the IAF provides is a deterrent to any country. The emphasis of build-up of capability must be more towards the IAF, and that is expensive.

TAKEAWAYS

The drone/swarm strike on the Saudi Arabian oil fields, influence of the Turkish drones in Libya and Syria against the Russians, and the more recent Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict has brought home the stark reality of such weapon systems to the Indian Armed Forces. The low-cost armed drones and swarm attacks will take its toll on mechanised forces and the combat support elements with it. The infantry, in the open, will be sitting targets. These would require a major upgrade in terms of the counter measure being adopted in tactical employment as well as equipment that can neutralise such threats. These technology additions, on-board to weapon platforms or off-board on support systems, will be financial constraints that will tax the defence budget, but become essential, in case the threat is to be countered. The weapon systems will have to be protected with on-board/off-board counter measures and active protection systems, also as a means to destroy such threats.

COST OF MODERNISING

The advance systems make a huge dent for the exchequer. Sustaining such costs should be offset by a commensurate reduction of forces as also weapon systems in their authorisation. Nowhere in the world, in advanced armies, is both technological advancement as well as manpower growing at the same rate. In fact, technological advancement must be enabled by offsetting its costs by saving in manpower and equipment/weapons.

The Indian Armed Forces have seen technological enablement in the last decade. The Indian Army, however, does not appear to be downsizing commensurate to the technological jump in order to ensure that the defence budget is contained to manageable levels. If at all, rightsizing has been attempted and it has been in the marginal cut in services which has been offset by raising new formations and infantry battalions. Our complete concept of force requirement revolves around a bean-count of divisions, ours and the adversary’s, which at time extends to the holding of major weapons to assess comparative capability. In the modern battlefield, this does not stand scrutiny as what matters is not the number of heads/weapon platforms, but how the heads are armed/equipped and their weapon combat potential synergised. This synergy gets into being an area of concern, both within the service and more so when extended in a tri-service domain. In fact, it is time the terminology of tri-service stops in its relevance of segregation and everything operational is assessed as across full military potential which is synergised. As such, without this consideration being uppermost, the modernisation of the Armed Forces has suffered due to the lack of attention possibly attenuated by the restricted finances, which are in turn grouped into non-interrelated three parts, one each to each service, rather than looking at it as one block.

For India, considering the terrain conditions and the extensive deployment of the manpower intensive arm viz infantry, in counter insurgency environment, the solution is not simplistic. Calculations for conventional warfare do not hold well when applied to the sub-conventional domain. Mountain and glacial warfare are rather manpower intensive. The problem is further accentuated by the rotation of troops to give them relief from being ‘forever in operations’. Also, our predicament is possibly fighting a war against two adversaries simultaneously, coupled with an induced insurgency. It is a complex situation, which requires a deliberate consideration, which is becoming even more important as against the challenges of the modern battlefield within budget constraints.

THE WAY AHEAD

There is a need to relook at our force structuring with commensurate technologically enabled weapons and support systems. There is also a definite need to look at the required force structure to deliver the military aim in both conventional and sub-conventional warfare, the required technological enablement to achieve it, commensurate downsizing based on a system analysed design which sets in place a plan to downsize based on the present holdings and also a roadmap to both the acquisition of enablers and equivalent savings. Integration must be enabled across the three services wherein capabilities can be synergised leading to an exponential increase in effect of the weapon impact needs to be factored in and duplication of resources weeded out.

Having outlined thoughts on the issue of savings commensurate to technological enhancement, to enable technological advancement for the modern battlefield, there is a definite need to examine the matter in all aspects of its application. Some of the aspects that could be studied, to come to any viable implementable conclusion, are as under:

• The Azerbaijani-Armenian Conflict; how do the modern systems, battle array and tactical/operational concepts used relate in the Indian context.

• Changes that have taken place in modern armies of the world. The span could be restricted to the USA, UK, Russia, and China.

• Modernisation and induction of new technology into the armed forces of these countries

• Changes in concept of war fighting. Has technological advancement had any effect on the tactical and operational concepts?

• Changes in force structuring in these countries. How much of the changes are due to induction of new technology and resultant changes in tactical and operational employment of forces.

The aspects above as related to the Indian Armed Forces:

• Has India kept pace with the evolving concepts of employment of forces and tactical doctrines?

• Induction of technology in the last ten years into the forces and its effect on

(a) Tactical and operational employment of forces.

(b) Commensurate reduction of manpower or equipment/weapons.

(c) Incorporate integration of the already introduced technology advancements in the operational plans and then deduce the corresponding reduced requirement of manpower.

• What is the deterrence level required to be reached with respect to our adversaries in conventional weapons? Identify how much has been achieved and what more is required.

• How do we intend to fight/prosecute the war of tomorrow? There would be no fronts and rears. How do we organise the force dispositions and what type force multipliers/ reserves are required? In that context, how do we achieve optimisation?

• Important technological advancements at the tactical level which directly affects employment of forces, thereby reducing manpower requirements.

• Establish a relationship between high technology equipment/systems/ weapons to manpower and vintage equipment.

• With the present high technology systems, identify the reduction in manpower and other equipment/systems which can be affected.

• Set out a roadmap for the next ten years for the induction of new technology and commensurate savings in manpower and old vintage equipment/weapons.

To do the above, a system analysis and design model will have to be evolved with weightages to salient attributes. A survey could be conducted to evolve the matrix of evaluation. The study would have to be integrated across all three services, as technology advancement and its impact cannot be restricted to the domain of only one service; the combined arm concept for the employment of forces and obtaining best results must be evolved.

CONCLUSION

The necessity of utilising technological advancements as a force multiplier on the modern battlefield in effect leads to restructuring and optimising the defence forces, which in turn releases funds for modernisation. It may also be considered that the genesis of the modernisation drive is not dictated by the requirement of downsizing armed forces. Optimisation leads to downsizing which is, in itself, not the purpose of introducing the technological advancements, but it is certainly a by-product of the entire process.

Downsizing in defence forces across the world, like in the case of China (2014-20), has been considered along with the implementation of a framework for overall restructuring and reorganisation, capability enhancement in terms of induction of new generation equipment, and integration of the defence potential in form of theaterisation. Our transition must be accordingly well-calibrated, considering the threat perception and associated two-and-a-half front dilemma. The training methodology and concepts have also to be evolved accordingly. However, the dogma of the multi-fold threat must become the catalyst for change in the induction of technology, which, considering the financial constraints of a growing economy, can take place by optimising the force strength both in terms of men and weapons/equipment.

The writer is a combat Arms Officer, retired as the Addl DG, Weapon and Equipment, Indian Army, and currently heads the Aerospace and Defence vertical at Primus Partners. The officer has commanded a Counter Insurgency Force in J&K and has extensive operational experience in the Valley and Ladakh as well as with Mechanised Operations.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

Defence

SINO-INDIAN LOGJAM: THE STRATEGIC GAINS AND IMPLICATIONS OF GALWAN

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

Published

on

Galwan is a turning point in our history. It was India’s ‘Casablanca’ moment when our boys stood on the burning deck to turn tables. It was that moment in time when India and the world realized that the Chinese can be overcome. It was the Nth coming of the Indian Armed Forces from behind. It ensured that India regained its strategic confidence. Many articles have appeared to commemorate the incident. However, a strange dichotomy has emerged. Most analysts say that India is in a state of asymmetry with PLA which has hung a Damocles sword over Ladakh to tie us down to our Northern Borders at the expense of our maritime interests in the IOR. One detects ‘Strategic Hesitancy’ due to a gross overestimation of Chinese capabilities despite Galwan and its aftermath. We need to understand the strategic gains of Galwan and their implications. 

Indian Army officer Capt Soiba Maningba Rangnamei of 16 Bihar Regiment during the clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley. (ANI Photo)

Fact 1: In Mar 2020, the Belfer Centre analysis stated “China is regularly operating with a permanent Indian conventional force advantage along its border areas…it would have to rely upon mobilization primarily from Xinjiang and secondarily from the Western Theatre Command… By contrast, Indian forces are already largely in position”. This forecast has been borne out on ground. My own view is that China does not have an ‘Akshay Patra’ from where it can draw forces without consequences – long and short term. The PLA does not have numerical superiority over Indian Army along the LAC if numbers are crunched. Further, the recruitment standards of PLA have been lowered as per South China Morning Post and many other inputs. The quality of PLA is suspect.  

Fact 2: PLA Air Force (PLAAF) suffers from a numerical disparity in comparison to the IAF along the LAC. India has a stronger air position, with a large number of airfields. Even if some airfields are down, operations can continue from other locations. The same is not true for PLAAF. IAF has a clear edge for the present. The PLAAF is trying to neutralise this edge by building up air infrastructure at a frenetic pace. 

Fact 3: Any terrain allows deployment up to a level only. Beyond that, pumping in more forces results in diminishing returns. It is a matter of space, logistics, effectiveness, survivability, mobility and recuperability. In high altitudes, these factors get compounded. From a defensive perspective, India has adequate forces to thwart China. In my considered opinion, China does not have enough forces to wage a decisive  war in its favour against India.

Fact 4: China is transforming PLA from a conventional land based force to a multidimensional force with a global foot print. Increasing force levels along the LAC is at expense of the larger role. The assessment to be done is whether a hand brake has been already put on this process post Galwan.     

Fact 5:  Comprehensive national power is a fictional metric coined by the Chinese to create a halo. It has no value on the battle field. Otherwise Taliban should not have kept USA on the run for so long. India needs to fight asymmetrically to defeat PLA. While India has the tools to do so in Tibet, PLA does not have it. There are no morals in not using the asymmetric option against an untrustworthy enemy.     

Fact 6:  Conventional ‘big’ battles between nuclear nations is fertile imagination. Most of the conventional weapons are now consigned to deterrence only. However we need to be prepared to defend our territorial integrity conventionally if push comes to the shove. The trend will be localised battles of high pressure and intensity.  

Pre-Galwan Opinion: As per the Belfer Center Report, ‘India has key under-appreciated conventional advantages that reduce its vulnerability to Chinese threats and attacks. India appears to have cause for greater confidence in its military position against China than is typically acknowledged in Indian debates, providing the country an opportunity for leadership in international efforts toward nuclear transparency and restraint. Indian strategists have not focused on this opportunity, in part because they draw pessimistic conclusions regarding China’. How true!

Corroboration. Overall all these facts and opinion have been borne out in the past one year on ground in Eastern Ladakh. However things are changing. 

PLA ACTION

The PLA executed a premeditated and calibrated operation to ensure that the focus of Indian action remains on the LAC instead of expanding to POK and Aksai Chin. This was in response to abrogation of Article 370 and its political postulations. To that extent, China has achieved its aim as I have enunciated in my article ‘Aim Revisited’@ https://www.gunnersshot.com/2021/06/please-read-in-conjunction-with-these.html . However when viewed in the larger context, PLA did not achieve objectives to cripple India like  cutting off the DSDBO road or inflicting a military defeat on the Indian Army or coercing India into alignment with China or preventing India from doing what it wants. In fact the opposite has happened. PLA had to retreat humiliatingly after destroying their own defences and obliterating the Chinese flag. To that extent China stands defeated. However there are larger issues which have exposed the severe limitations of the PLA and China. We need to exploit them. Unfortunately at a military level, these have not come out clearly. At the political level it has not been  realised as to how to drive home the advantage which Galwan gave us. I will leave the bureaucratic level out, whose (in)action has contributed more to the detriment of national interests, objectives and strategy. 

PLANNED OFFENSIVE VS SPEED OF REACTION

The PLA incursions were meticulously planned with two divisions at a time and place of China’s choice. News of rehearsals on walk-through GIS models had also been publicised. It was probably appreciated that India will not be able to react in time and space to even pose a challenge to PLA. Hence two divisions would be able to militarily coerce India to achieve multiple political aims and objects. The execution failed due to gross under-assessment of Indian capabilities. All these were probably based on PLA norms. These norms indicate PLAs lack of military grasp. Its incapability to exploit the advantage and initiative when the window of opportunity opened is well established now.  However the more important issue is the Indian reaction. We could build up an equivalent amount of forces to mirror PLA deployment in a matter of 2-3 weeks and stymie the offensive in super high altitudes. In the battlefield equations of time and space, capability to build up forces in such quick time frames indicates India’s latent offensive capability. Any one noticed that?  India’s military capability to launch an offensive into Tibet at a time and place of its choosing by beating the PLA in time is now established. The edge which IAF brings to the table enhances Indian offensive potential. India will win the ‘Race to the Swift’ unless PLA commits additional forces in Tibet on a permanent basis. It seems to be doing that now! Anyone with fundamental common sense will discern as to who is tying down whom. Further, it tells us that we need to get into a preventive counterattacking mode rather than being permanently defensive. 

OUTMANOEUVRE IN HIGH ALTITUDE

Occupation of Kailash Range and heights above Finger 4 in the face of PLA led to China being outmanoeuvred. More importantly, there was no counter manoeuvre by the PLA due to its limited capability in high altitude. The limitations of a political Army when set against a professional  Army have been exposed.  Significantly, the capability of PLA will not get better since it has already degraded its intake standards of height, eyesight and even hearing. Overall it leaves PLA as a vulnerable force in the mountains at super high altitudes. This will be exploited by all forces opposing China anywhere. It has taught everyone that PLA can be arm twisted into retreat.     

TURNOVER IMPLICATIONS

There are reports in the media that PLA is turning over both the divisions from Eastern Ladakh.  It begs a question. Why are they doing so? It takes more than a year for troops to get used to the environment and be fit for fighting. Just when those two divisions were getting fit to fight they are being turned over. PLA will now have two new divisions which are not fully fit for high altitude warfare. There are two explanations. First. The two divisions are beat-up and fatigued in near combat. Poor show then. Second.  PLA troops do not identify with Tibet as their home land worth defending by sacrificing their  life. After all, China as it exists today is an unnatural country which has never existed earlier in history. It has a spatial divide, an ethnic/racial divide and an economic divide between its Han dominated core in the East and the non-Han West. Despite all the talk of change of demography, Hans have not settled in Tibet in droves. Both these issues need monitoring to assess PLA’s ability and commitment to fight a last man last round battle in high altitudes.

REBALANCING DIVIDEND

Rebalancing a strike corps deployed against Pakistan to face the PLA has a tremendous strategic dividend for India. The rebalancing exercise does not detract our capability against Pakistan or in the IOR. On the other hand dual tasking  significantly enhances our defensive and offensive options and capabilities along the LAC. PLA has now been forced to react to this. It will have to deploy additional forces in Tibet which is its secondary theatre and it will be at the cost of its larger geopolitical priorities.  It has come to light that PLA is busy building infrastructure to house troops permanently along the LAC. PLA has been forced to commit itself much more to the LAC than hitherto fore and it no more takes Indian Army for granted.

THE GEO-STRATEGIC FALLOUT

Galwan inspired many countries to face up and counter China which were hesitant to do so till then. Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam took up issues more forcefully with China after Galwan. These countries will be thankful that India has tied down China in remote Tibet. It takes Chinese focus away from them. Unfortunately, this fact has not been played up by either our diplomacy or strategic community to build or form a coalition of nations which are militarily affected by China and have a dialogue with them for joint action. Galwan also forced convergence of all democratic nations to form an unitary view about China. QUAD would not have come about without this action. NATO would not have declared China as a systemic global security challenge. The geo-strategic fallout has been huge.   

SUMMARY

We have turned ‘Defeat into Victory’ but are we capitalising on it? We have exposed the limitations of PLA. The Chinese seem to have learned from their shortcomings. They are increasing the depth of the battlefield and building a firm base.  I do not see a plan to overcome our short comings.   We remain in awe of Chinese!  We are not able to tell the world as to how to deal with China! There is a need for political and strategic introspection. Galwan has also brought out that while we are fully prepared and capable of taking on the PLA in close battles, we are unprepared for the deep battle. We need to be able to deter the Chinese from any further adventurism by re-tooling for war in super high altitudes. We  should enforce ‘Standoff’. Standoff can be imposed by improving battlefield transparency, reach, and survivability of existing forces. Let me put it across simply, the table which I outlined in my earlier article can be implemented incrementally, with indigenous technology as an evolutionary process. It needs unified thinking and clarity of mind. More than great financial investment, it needs commitment and dedication. That is sorely lacking. Strengthening the LAC is not at the cost of our maritime aspirations as being perceived by many.  The challenge before the CDS is to increase joint ‘force’ and ‘operational’ capability. Theatre commands are  contentious and emotive issues. Let them evolve. Increasing indigenisation rather than importing Russian tanks and Israeli guns should be the greater priority. We have a task cut out ahead.    

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

India’s military capability to launch an offensive into Tibet at a time and place of its choosing by beating the PLA in time is now established. The edge which IAF brings to the table enhances Indian offensive potential. India will win the ‘Race to the Swift’ unless PLA commits additional forces in Tibet on a permanent basis. It seems to be doing that now! Anyone with fundamental common sense will discern as to who is tying down whom. Further, it tells us that we need to get into a preventive counter-attacking mode rather than being permanently defensive.

Continue Reading

Defence

INDIAN COAST GUARD ON ALERT OVER OIL SPILL FROM MV DEVON

Ashish Singh

Published

on

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received information from MRCC Colombo in late hours of Thursday regarding a mid-sea oil spill about 450 Km South East of Chennai. On further investigation, it was revealed that a Portugese Flag Container ship MV Devon on passage from Colombo to Haldia (West Bengal), developed an underwater crack in the left side fuel tank containing about 120 KL of Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO).

The crack resulted in spillage of about 10 KL of oil into sea before preventive action was taken and remaining oil in tank was transferred to another tank by ship’s crew. The vessel is carrying 10795 Tonnes of general cargo in 382 containers and manned by 17 crew of mixed nationality. The container ship is continuing her voyage to Haldia & likely to reach today. ICG is in continuous contact with MV Devon and master has reported that the vessel is stable. ICG pollution response team at Chennai has been alerted and kept standby. In addition, ICG ships & aircraft deployed at sea are also put on alert in pollution response configuration.

It may be recalled that, ICG ships & aircraft in a coordinated operation with Sri Lanka deployed vessels had successfully undertaken a major firefighting operation last month onboard MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo, thereby averting a major environmental disaster. The vessel now partially sunk off Colombo is under the supervision of Sri Lankan authorities and efforts are in hand for its salvage.

Continue Reading

Defence

NORTHERN COMMAND PAYS HOMAGE TO GALLANT SOLDIERS ON ITS 50TH RAISING DAY

Ashish Singh

Published

on

‘Golden Jubilee Raising Day of Northern Command’ was celebrated at Udhampur amidst strict COVID protocol. On this occasion, Lt Gen S Harimohan Iyer, COS, HQ Northern Command, on behalf of Lt Gen YK Joshi, Army Commander, Northern Command and all ranks, laid wreath at the Dhruva War Memorial and paid homage to the gallant soldiers of Northern Command who have made the supreme sacrifice for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

Northern Command was raised on 17 June 1972 and completed 50th Raising Day. In his message to the troops, the Army Commander stated that these glorious years are testimony to historic operational achievements of Northern Command in ‘Op Meghdoot’, ‘Op Parakarm’, ‘Op Vijay’ ‘Op Rakshak’ and ‘OP Snow Leopard’. The resolute response of the Indian Army against aggression on the LC & LAC has won numerous accolades. In addition, our firm yet people friendly sub-conventional operations have not only thwarted attempts by our Western adversary to destabilise the nation but also, won the hearts and minds of the local populace.

Northern Command has been at the forefront to assist the administration and people of UTs of J&K and Ladakh during every natural calamity like snow blizzards, earthquakes (2005), Cloudburst of Leh (2010), floods in Jammu & Kashmir (2014) and frequent avalanches. The current COVID-19 pandemic is yet another example when the Indian Army has gone out of its way to support the people, in their times of need.

The Army Commander in special order of the day complimented all ranks for their extraordinary leadership, courage and sacrifice to keep the flag of the Command, the Indian Army & Nation flying high and exhorted all ranks to rededicate towards safeguarding our Nation’s integrity and resolve to confront new challenges with exemplary professionalism and courage.

Continue Reading

Defence

INDIAN COAST GUARD SAVES 16 LIVES FROM SINKING BARGE MV MANGALAM NEAR REVDANDA PORT

Ashish Singh

Published

on

In a swift sea-air coordinated operation amid inclement monsoon weather, Indian Coast Guard ship and helicopters undertook successful rescue of all 16 crew on Thursday from sinking MV Mangalam near Revdanda port of Maharashtra. MRCC Mumbai received information from Second officer of Indian flagged MV Mangalam (IMO-9084619) intimating that the vessel was partially sinking with 16 crew onboard approximately 3 Km from Revdanda Port (Raigarh District), and the master was planning to abandon the vessel. The crew of the distressed vessel were in panic due to swelling water ingress and waves breaking over the ship. MRCC team initiated rescue action and convinced the master and crew to remain onboard with life jackets as Coast Guard ships were dispatched for assistance.

Indian Coast Guard Ship Subhadra Kumari Chauhan pressed into action and proceeded towards distressed vessel with best speed for rendering assistance. Meanwhile, two Indian Coast Guard Chetak Helicopters were also launched at 9:45 am from Indian Coast Guard Air Station Daman for evacuation of the crew from MV Mangalam. Braving rough seas, Indian Coast Guard ship Subhadra Kumari Chauhan quickly arrived at scene of distress and post assessment of situation lowered the rescue team in inflatable boat amidst challenging sea conditions. Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard Helicopters also arrived at the location and despite gusting monsoon winds commenced airlifting of crew. Through daredevil operations, the ICG Ship & helicopters successfully rescued all 16 crew. The rescued crew were taken to Revdanda and administered first aid following COVID protocol. All crew were safe and healthy.

The timely co-ordination and rescue by ICG once again saved precious lives. On an average, Coast Guard saves one precious life every second day at sea. The incident once again showcased Indian Coast Guard’s resolve and commitment towards safety of life at sea, upholding its motto ‘We Protect’ and ready to undertake operations at sea 24×7 through the year.

Continue Reading

Defence

DEFENCE MINISTER INAUGURATES 12 ROADS BUILT BY BRO IN NORTHERN AND EASTERN BORDER AREAS

Ashish Singh

Published

on

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated to the nation 12 roads, built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the Northern and Eastern border areas on Thursday. At an event organised in Lakhimpur district of Assam, the Raksha Mantri e-inaugurated a 20-km long double lane Kimin-Potin road, along with nine other roads in Arunachal Pradesh and one each in the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. The roads have been constructed under ‘Arunank’, ‘Vartak’, ‘Brahmank’, ‘Udayak’, ‘Himank’ and ‘Sampark’ projects of BRO.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh lauded BRO for its contribution in infrastructure development of remote border areas of the country, especially amid the COVID-19 restrictions. He said the roads inaugurated today hold strategic and socio-economic importance as they will play an important role in strengthening national security as well as promoting development of the North-East region. “These roads will be helpful in fulfilling the needs of our Armed Forces and transporting necessities like medicines and ration to remote areas,” he said. The Raksha Mantri added that these road projects are part of the ‘Act East Policy’ of the Government wherein special emphasis is being laid on the overall development of the border areas. He reiterated the resolve of the Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the development of North-east, describing the region as the gateway to not only the overall development of the country, but also to the nation’s relations with East Asian countries. Rajnath Singh paid tribute to the soldiers who showed exemplary courage during the Galwan Valley incident last year and made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation. He said India is a peace-loving nation but its response to aggression has been resolute.

Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mr. Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Minority Affairs and Ayush (Independent Charge) Mr. Kiren Rijiju and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region & Minister of State for PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh were among the dignitaries who attended the event virtually. The Raksha Mantri also touched upon some of the major reforms undertaken by the Government, including appointment of Chief of Defence Staff, measures to boost self- reliance in defence manufacturing and Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). These reforms are proving to be a game changer in the military preparedness in the rapidly changing times, he said.

Rajnath Singh underlined the constant efforts of the Government to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing under the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by the Prime Minister. “We are actively working towards making India a defence manufacturing hub. Self-reliance in defence production will reduce our dependence on imports, increase exports and strengthen our economy,” he said. In his address, DG Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry gave a brief overview of the achievements of BRO and reiterated the commitment of the organisation towards infrastructural development of border areas.

Continue Reading

Defence

SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH CELEBRATIONS AT RASHTRIYA RIFLES SECTOR HEADQUARTERS

Ashish Singh

Published

on

NEW DELHI: The Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame after having entered the serene Kashmir Valley through the Navyug Tunnel on Tuesday, continued its journey and made its way to Anantnag City, also known as the ‘Land of Infinite Springs’. The Victory flame was received by Commanding Officer of Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, Wuzur and travelled to Khanabal, Anantnag via Mir Bazar, Khudwani and Wampoh and reached Rashtriya Rifles Sector Headquarter, Khanabal.

The flame was received with tremendous fervour by school children, local youth, 13 Veer Naris, 55 ex-servicemen, personnel from Security Forces & Law Enforcement Agencies and many other civilian dignitaries from the local administration. Thereafter, the Victory Flame was escorted through the Khanabal Junction, proudly carried by military personnel & civilians alike before entering the Khanabal Military Garrison. Later, the Victory Flame was handed over to the Commander, Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal at the War Memorial. Wreaths were laid to pay homage to the unsung War Heroes, by the visiting dignitaries, including Mr Hilal Ahmed Shah, Mayor Anantnag, Mr Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, IAS, Additional DC Anantnag, Mr Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, SSP Anantnag, Mr DP Upadhyay, DIG CRPF, Mr Abdul Jabbar, IPS, DIG (South Kashmir) and Commander Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal, followed by a ceremonial Guard of Honour. Post the solemn event, the celebrations continued with cultural performances by school children and local artists, followed by the felicitation of Veer Naris, Veer Matas & veterans by the dignitaries present.

Continue Reading

Trending