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THE CHINESE MEDIA SOAP ON ITS THREE-CARD TRICK

The longer the virus lasts and the longer the PLA is kept on the battlefield of eastern Ladakh, China will keep losing strategically. The seeds of ‘containment of China’ are being sown in the frozen wastes of Chang Tang.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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THE CHINESE MEDIA SOAP ON ITS THREE-CARD TRICK

Ever since my last article on the Chinese three-card trick, there have been a set of events—seemingly unconnected but enough to set me thinking. Things did not jell. I shared my apprehension with Lt Gen Ata Hasnain also. We concluded that one will have to wait and watch without letting our guards down. Then the article from Taiwan Times appeared. It explained many things. I may be seeing patterns where none exist. No harm in sharing it and getting it off my chest.  

What do I do if I was in a disadvantage and if I were ‘China’ in this logjam? I must get India into discussing my proposal on my terms. Hence I must create a perception that it would be better for India to negotiate a proposal rather than face escalation of the conflict which they are losing. Hence I put my ‘Give up Finger 4, Gain Kailash Range, Retain Depsang’ proposal out. I leak it out in their media so that the proposal does not look like mine. I refute it publicly. Later, I also make a point that this is what India wants since they are weakening and are unprepared for the winter. The Chinese media soap story starts! 

Simultaneously I must create other perceptions and diversions to bring India to negotiate on my proposal. So the first perception I create is that the conflict is widening. Hence I get someone well known in the Chinese media to tweet out that there is a new village being established in Bhutan indicating a new encroachment in the sensitive Doklam area. Ensure the Indian media picks it up despite the fact that this encroachment is old. So what if the Bhutan Government is refuting any new encroachment? Perception! Then I plant stories about my interest in the Fishtail Area of Arunachal Pradesh and the Central Sector in Kaurik areas. That also gets picked and splashed on a leading newspaper. All these widen the perception of the Indian public that China is about to widen the conflict and look at new areas to encroach. Fear and apprehension are the keys. 

I also must create the perception that China is winning in Eastern Ladakh. Hence I filter out the story through Western ‘neutral’ media that the Indian troops have been microwaved on the Kailash Range and that they ran away shamefully. I also give out news of deployment of satellite jammers. I must also indicate that PLA is being battle readied. Hence movement of tank transporters, reinforcement of depth areas, deployment of UAVs, capability addition in air fields is also filtered across. 

Simultaneously China must instigate Pakistan to increase violence in the Valley and along the LoC. It has obviously done so. Hence one can see a spike in activity.  Is this increased activity by Pakistan part of collusive activity or election related? It does not matter since it is timed to serve both purposes. 

The question which comes up – Is PLA ramping up the situation? The answer comes from Taiwan. Taiwan Times has filed a report that ‘The PLA troops are struggling to survive in sub-zero temperatures with poor quality of clothing and accommodation. Local Chinese garment manufacturers produced clothing that can at best be utilised by troops deployed at 9,000 feet’. The report further states that ‘PLA Joint Logistics Support Force (JLSF) has constituted a Supervision Team for emergency procurement of Extreme Cold Climate clothing. Emergency plans such as the setting up of special working classes, scientific planning, factory supervision, on-site inspections and placement of military representatives in factories to supervise production have been put in place. This team is reported to have been reporting directly to the Central Military Commission’. If this report is even half correct, the situation is not great across the lines in PLA in eastern Ladakh. PLA morale seems to be competing with the rapidly plummeting temperature. 

The Taiwan Times report is corroborated by other reports. Multiple reports filtering through that indicate that PLA troops are suffering cold casualties far in excess of the normal. These troops are not taking well to high altitude. My hunch is that this issue has filtered into Chinese domestic media and these are being highlighted or debated in some form. The reason is simple. Every second day  the Global Times comes out with some news or video or the other showcasing newly developed winter clothing being provided to the Chinese soldiers, new barracks with heating and enhanced oxygen, water wells being dug to provide fresh water for troops, use of drones for logistics et al. Very unconvincing. All this news coming out is probably to placate their domestic audience that things are OK when things are not OK! The internal situation could be actually bad. They are rotating troops on the front line far too frequently. It does indicate something amiss.  PLA seems to be taking an internal beating despite the heavy censorship. This needs confirmation by official sources. 

Very clearly there is a double leverage being attempted by the Chinese. Create a perception in India that its troops are losing it. Political pressure can then be built to get India to the negotiating table to disengage at Chinese terms at the earliest. Simultaneously create a perception that PLA soldiers are well equipped and taken care of. A classic case of alternate reality.

What should we do? This is my surmise based on open source inputs. First. Confirm this through intelligence agencies if it is my flight of fancy or otherwise. Second. Any Chinese proposal or media release needs to be seen with a heavily jaundiced eye. In my estimate, keep the Chinese up there. All tricks to get us off the Kailash Range should be spurned. This is the time to ensure he takes a back-foot on the Depsang area. He will not unless some leverage is created. Look for that tactical action which creates strategic imbalance in PLA to reinforce what the winter is already doing. As I have said earlier, the longer the virus lasts and the longer the PLA is kept on the battlefield of eastern Ladakh, China will keep losing strategically. The seeds of ‘Containment of China’ are being sown in the frozen wastes of Chang Tang.

There will be questions as to what is our status. The truth is that that we are also having cold related injuries. We must accept that we have cases of HAPO, frostbite, Chilblains etc. However things are under control. We know what we are in for. That is half the battle won. We are rightly equipped and mentally prepared with our vast experience. We know how to handle the situation—at troop level, at leadership level and at logistics level. The morale of our steadfast troops is high. The intangible of Comprehensive National Power called will and morale gives us the edge.   

I had written that the Chinese have indulged in a three-card trick. Give up Finger 4. Gain Kailash Range. Retain Depsang. Just wait and watch. The Chinese will come up with another of their outrageous proposals based on the ‘I give up what is yours. You give up what is yours and I will keep what is yours’! Tickles your funny bone? It must. China wants to keep everything of yours while making you give up what is yours. That is the Chinese bargain! Beware!

Till then, stay put and be alert.

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 on his blog www.gunnersshot.com.

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Defence

IAF PARTICIPATES IN 70TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS OF SRI LANKA AIR FORCE

Ashish Singh

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The Indian Air Force aerobatic display teams, the fixed wing “Suryakirans’ and rotary wing ‘Sarang’, along with the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas arrived at Colombo, Sri Lanka last week on an invitation from Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF). The Suryakirans, Sarang and LCA Tejas will participate in an Air Show at Galle Face, Colombo, scheduled from 3rd to 5th Mar 21 as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of SLAF.

IAF & SLAF have seen active exchanges and interactions for a number of years in diverse fields like training, operational exchanges and through professional military education courses.

IAFs participation in the 70th anniversary celebration of SLAF is a further manifestation of the strong professional bonds that the two Air Forces share. The IAF Suryakiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) had earlier toured Sri Lanka in 2001 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of SLAF. As the IAF aircraft take to the skies of Colombo to mark the event, they will script another significant chapter in the traditionally strong IAF-SLAF ties.

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Defence

NORTHERN COMMAND INVESTITURE CEREMONY

Ashish Singh

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Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command presented Gallantry as well as Distinguished Service awards to Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks in a solemn Investiture Ceremony at Udhampur. During the ceremony, the Army Commander presented two Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry) and 50 Sena Medals (Gallantry) to the brave soldiers of the Army. He also presented, three Sena Medals (Distinguished) and six Vishisht Seva Medals for selfless service to the nation. The Army Commander also awarded Unit Appreciation to 26 units for their overall outstanding performance in the Command Theatre. The ceremony was a solemn occasion to honour the acts of valour and selfless dedication to duty of individual soldiers and units.

Speaking on the occasion, the Army Commander brought out that there has been a reduction in terrorist initiated incidents, stone pelting activities and protests as a result of tireless efforts of the Security Forces and the people of J&K.

The Army Commander commended all ranks of Northern Command for their dedication and devotion to duty in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. He congratulated those who were decorated for bravery. He conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to the brave men who made the supreme sacrifice on the borders and in the battle against Internal Security challenges. In the end he urged all ranks, ex-servicemen, civilians and their families to dedicate themselves to the cause of the Nation.

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Defence

INDIAN AIR FORCE PARTICIPATES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EX DESERT FLAG-VI

Ashish Singh

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Ex Desert Flag is an annual multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Indian Air Force is participating for the first time in Exercise Desert Flag-VI along with air forces of United Arab Emirates, United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain. The exercise is scheduled from 3 March 2021 to 27 March 2021 at Al-Dhafra airbase, UAE.

The IAF is participating with six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft. C-17 Globe-master will provide support for induction/ de-induction of the IAF contingent. Su-30 MKI aircraft will undertake long range ferry, routing direct from India to the exercise area with aerial refuelling support from IL-78 tanker aircraft. The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure to the participating forces while training them to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment. The participating forces will get an opportunity to enhance their operational capabilities along with mutual exchange of best practices.

The large-scale exercise involving diverse fighter aircraft from across the globe will provide the participating forces, including IAF, a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience, enhance operational capabilities and interoperability. Exercising and interaction with the participating nations in a dynamic and realistic warfare environment will also contribute to strengthen international relations.

Over the last decade, IAF has regularly hosted and participated in multi-national operational exercises, wherein collaborative engagements are undertaken amongst the best air forces of the world.

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Defence

MoU signed to support families of service personnel deceased in line of duty

Ashish Singh

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Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) and Veena Nayyar, wife of late Vice Admiral K.K. Nayyar, former Vice Chief of Naval Staff, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pledge Rs 2 crore for welfare schemes run by the Army, Navy and Air Force. Veena Nayyar presented a cheque of Rs 2 crore to three Services which was received by Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Gen MM Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff and Air Marshall VPS Rana, Air Officer In Charge of Administration at Army Headquarters, New Delhi.

The main objective of the MoU is to facilitate various welfare schemes instituted for next of kins of service personnel died in harness. The welfare schemes include Education Scholarships and Computer Grant for wards and widows of deceased service personnel, Grant for Higher Education of widows and marriage grant for widows and daughters. The Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of the Army Staff conveyed their gratitude to Veena Nayyar for her benevolent contribution to the three Services and said that her noble gesture would support more than one lakh widows and wards in leading a respectful life.

DIAV is one of the primary organisations of Indian Army which looks after the Rehabilitation and Welfare of the families of Service personnel who have died in harness. DIAV has disbursed approximately Rs 86 crore to about 76,000 beneficiaries over the past 20 years towards various welfare schemes. Lt Gen Harsha Gupta, Adjutant General and Veena Naravane, president Army Wives Welfare Association, and Sudha Gupta, general secretary, Army Wives Welfare Association, were also present on the occasion.

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Defence

ARMY HOLDS MULTIPLE RECRUITMENT RALLIES IN DIFFERENT STATES

This is the first Army recruitment rally after prolonged lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions.

Ashish Singh

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Army Recruitment Rally for various categories of soldiers is in progress under aegis of Tiger Division at Sunjuwan Military Station from 15 February to 6 March. The rally is being organised for the youth of all the ten districts of Jammu Division. Army Recruiting Office (ARO) Jammu in close coordination with Shivalik Brigade, Civil Administration of Jammu Division and J&K Police is conducting the ongoing rally in a smooth and transparent manner.

Maj Gen Vijay B. Nair, General Officer Commanding, Tiger Division reviewed the conduct of recruitment rally. The GOC was briefed by Brigadier AP Singh, Commander Shivalik Brigade and Director Recruiting, Jammu about various arrangements including various security, anti-touting and Covid-19 related measures.

This is the first Army recruitment rally in this region after prolonged lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions. An overwhelming response from the exuberant youth has been recorded and approximately 40,000 candidates have registered online. The rally is witnessing immense participation from the well prepared local youth of all ten districts of Jammu Division towards joining Indian Army. Covid-19 protocol is being followed during the rally by all participants and recruiting staff.

ARMY RECRUITMENT FOR MAHARASHTRA AND GOA

The Army Recruitment Rally, Kolhapur, was planned to be conducted at Shivaji University Sports Ground, Kolhapur from 5 to 25 March, for the youth of Maharashtra and Goa, thereby giving them an opportunity to serve the motherland and lead a dignified life. However due to alarming situation of increasing Covid-19, the civil administration has requested for postponement of the said rally till 15 March 2021.

Recruitment Rally will now be conducted for Soldier General Duty (All Arms), Soldier Clerk/Store Keeper Technical/ Inventory Management, Soldier Technical, Soldier Technical (Aviation/Ammunition Examiner), Soldier Technical (Nursing Assistant), Junior Commissioned Officer Religious Teacher (RT), Soldier Tradesman 10th and 8th passed categories and Soldier Pharma from 16 March to 4 April 2021 subject to clearance given by Civil Administration. This rally is applicable to candidates of six districts of Satara, Sangli, Solapur, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri of Maharashtra State and North Goa & South Goa of Goa State (except Junior Commissioned Officer Religious Teacher (RT), & Soldier Pharma).

Management of such a large number of candidates requires details planning and meticulous execution on ground. Towards this, the State and district administration has been more than forthcoming in providing requisite assistance and making available required infrastructure. Candidates are advised to carry all required original education certificates, adequate number photographs, valid affidavit as per format given in notification and must be properly filled. “No candidates will be allowed entry into rally without correctly filled Affidavit” and a certificate that he is free from Covid-19 symptoms from Government Medical Officer not more than 72 hrs earlier. Candidates in their own interest must carry out basic medical pre-inspection regarding any temporary medical condition, presence of wax in the ears and free from Covid-19, etc. These actions will be enable smooth participation of the youth in the recruitment rally and will facilitate Army authorities in flawless conduct of the rally. Army authorities advise all candidates not fall prey to touts as the entire recruitment process is very fair and transparent. Any tout approaching any candidate must apprise military officials / Civil Police. For any further queries candidates may drop their queries on www.joinindianarmy.nic.in contact land line No 0231-2605491.

RECRUITMENT RALLY UNDER RECRUITING ZONE PUNE

The Covid-19 pandemic situation is now visibly in control. The successful conduct of Recruitment Rally at Jamnagar wef. 1st to 15th Feb has instilled much needed confidence in the environment that with strict implementation of precautions /protocols a recruitment rally can be conducted.The Recruitment Year 2021- 2022 will commence wef. 01 April 2021 onwards and the Zone will witness back to back rallies covering geographical area of Maharashtra, Gujrat, Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The Army Recruitment Office (ARO) wise distribution of districts for all rallies commencing wef. 1 April 2021 will be as elucidated. ARO Aurangabad will cover districts of Aurangabad, Buldana, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Nanded, and Parbhani. ARO Ahmedabad will cover districts of Ahmedabad, Anand, Arvalli, Banaskantha, Bharuch, Chhota udepur, Dahod, Dangs, Gandhinagr, Kheda, Mahisagar, Mehsana, Narmada, Navsari, Panchmahal, Sabarkantha, Surat, Tapi, Vadodara, Valsad, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman.

RO (HQ), Pune will cover Districts of Pune, Ahmednagar, Beed, Latur, Osmanabad and Solapur. ARO Nagpur will cover districts of Nagpur, Wardha, Washim, Amaravati, Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Chandrpur, Akola and Yavatmal. ARO Mumbai will cover districts of Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban, Thane Raigad, Nasik, Palgarh, Dhule and Nandurbar. ARO Kolhapur will cover districts of Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri & Goa State. ARO Jamnagar will cover districts of Jamnagar, Porbander, Rajkot, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagarh, Surendranagar, Kutch, Diu, Gir Somnath, Botad, Morbi, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Patan.Anticipating heavy footfall during these rallies, all necessary arrangements are being made in coordination with the civil administrative to ensure Covid-free conduct.

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Defence

DRDO celebrates National Science Day

Ashish Singh

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National Science Day 2021 was celebrated in Defence Research & Development Organisation, DRDO Head Quarter in New Delhi on 1 March with great fervour. To mark the occasion, a special function was organised by Defence Science Forum. Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India, Prof K. Vijay Raghavan, was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The function was presided over by Secretary DDR&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G. Satheesh Reddy.

In his keynote address, Prof Vijay Raghavan said that there is a significant amount of work being done by DRDO that epitomises quality science. He appreciated the speed and quality of innovations by DRDO during the pandemic. He stated, “We are a design driven world, and our two major goals should be designing and manufacturing indigenously”. He further said that in this new era of partnership between DRDO and industry, we should have the capability to buy local and make local.

Secretary DD R&D and Chairman DRDO in his address congratulated the scientific community for its ongoing quest to achieve excellence and self reliance. He emphasised the need to concentrate on science in laboratories and academic institutes to come out with state of art technologies. He highlighted the requirement for a focus group in each DRDO laboratory to work on future technologies. Dr G. Satheesh Reddy further said that it is very important for any nation to work on the fundamental side of science, for which the universities need to be made stronger, so that the nation can come out with quality products.

DRDO Science Day orations were delivered by scientists of three DRDO laboratories namely, Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Hyderabad, Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru and Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior. National Science Day is celebrated each year on 28 February to commemorate the discovery of “Raman Effect” in 1928 by Sir C.V. Raman, which led to the Nobel Prize being awarded to him in the year 1930.

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