Our last recourse - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 24 June 2013

Our last recourse

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 25th Jun 13

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has imaginatively employed its new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft --- six of which were purchased in 2010 from the United States for Rs 3,835 crore --- to revive flagging rescue and relief efforts at Dharasu, in flood-hit Uttarakhand. With fuel running out for the IAF’s Mi-17 helicopters that were flying relief missions from the small, 1300 metre Dharasu airstrip, the C-130Js’ game-changing ability to land on tiny airstrips was brought into play. Fully fuelled C-130Js flew in from Hindan (near Ghaziabad) and landed in Dharasu, each one unloading 8,000 litres of aviation fuel from its on-board tanks for use by the Mi-17s. On their return journey, the C-130Js ferried medically distressed people, making this a two-way air bridge.

This is just one recent example of military equipment and personnel becoming the instrument of last resort for overwhelmed administrators in disaster situations. The Gujarat earthquake in 2001; the Kashmir earthquake in 2005; the Ladakh flash floods in 2010, the Sikkim earthquake in 2011, and multiple flood relief operations that the services undertake every year highlight that the military is the only effective disaster response force in the country. And that the vast sums spent on the military, and its equipment, is not just insurance for some far-fetched threat of external aggression but real capability for situations that all-too frequently move beyond the capacity of the other instruments of state.

Every one of India’s military units has an official plan for “Aid to Civil Authorities” that is as carefully formulated as its plans for war. This spells out exactly what that unit will do when the government asks for help during flood, earthquake or breakdown of public order. When officially requisitioned by what the army still cheerfully calls “the civil administration” all its equipment is deployed to assist the people.

India’s armed forces have proved equally useful during trans-national natural disasters, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. The Indian Navy put 30 vessels to sea in just 48 hours, providing desperately needed relief in coastal India, and across the region including Sri Lanka and Indonesia. So quick and effective was the navy’s response that the US Pacific Command, which arrived later, openly acknowledged for the first time that the Indian Navy was the only regional force with the resources and will to exercise power across the Indian Ocean.

This careful planning and ability contrasts starkly with the bumbling ineptitude of local administrations, state disaster response forces and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), which wags say is a full-fledged disaster itself. If the Uttarakhand government seems overwhelmed, the reason --- as is evident from the April 23 audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of the Uttarakhand Disaster Management Authority --- is that the state has utterly failed to prepare for natural disasters. The Authority, created in 2007, has never held a meeting; almost half the posts in the district emergency cells remain unfilled to this day.

A fatalistic Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, told CNN-IBN’s Karan Thapar in an interview that there can be no actionable programme for the plethora of disasters --- cloudbursts, glacier collapses and flooded rivers --- that Uttarakhand might face. In his defence, he argued that no Indian state meets the norms of disaster management. This is factually true, but logically irrelevant.

Trying to show up Bahuguna, Gujarat’s chief minister arrived in Uttarakhand, putting together a surreal cameo performance entitled, “No Gujarati Left Behind” (I made up the title, but the rest is true). Ignoring the responses of other agencies, Narendra Modi and his crack team brainstormed till the wee hours, and then dispatched (according to one Times of India report, at least) 80 Toyota Innovas, four Boeings and a fleet of luxury buses to pluck a claimed 15,000 stranded Gujaratis from the sliding mud and swirling waters of Uttarakhand and transport them to safety. But while Modi may rescue Gujaratis in an election year (Why? I thought he was projecting himself as the leader of all Indians?), the rest of the citizenry must rely on the armed forces.

True, India’s geography makes it essential for the military to play this role. It is equally true that even countries with functional governments call upon their militaries when situations legitimately escalate: remember Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans? But few countries do so as often as India, except perhaps Pakistan --- and we know what that has led to. It must also be noted that the remoteness and vulnerability of so much of this otherwise teeming country is unquestionably the failure of the Indian state. When things go bad --- whether in terms of security or natural disasters --- there is always the military!

To remember what we often forget, the military must be nurtured as an important wing of government, our last recourse in dire need. The cold-eyed mandarins in New Delhi must commit the resources and attention that this instrument needs, remembering that this is not “non-productive expenditure”, but a living organisation that must be continually replenished.

Tailpiece: I remember, during the 2002 J&K elections, which are widely regarded as a turning point in open insurgency in that troubled state, a 20-minute sortie that I flew in an IAF Mi-17 helicopter, which was conveying a polling team and an EVM from Doda to an isolated village high in the Pir Panjal. This was done so that 11 voters in that village could cast their ballots. On the evening of polling day, the Mi-17 went back to pick up the polling team. More than any flowery statements on India’s democracy, this astonishing military effort to obtain the ballots of 11 voters represents for me the triumph of India’s electoral exercise.


  1. A brilliant post Ajai ! I totally agree with your analysis that the military remains the country's ONLY effective disaster response force...

  2. Its not clear why you are calling NDMA (not the state/distt. level authority) a disaster. NDMA has a Response Force made up of 10 dual-tasked paramilitary battalions spread across the country. The idea is to REACH to the disaster as soon as possible and to handle small scale disasters by itself. For larger missions, military is always requisitioned. That is the plan.

    NDMA has spread awareness in lakhs of civil volunteers and rescued almost 2 lakh people in last 5 years. It doesn't have dedicated resources, and frankly, cannot afford resources like dedicated choppers, excavators and pilots! Plus wasn't Gen NC Vij heading NDMA for 5 years out of 8 years that it existed? Sounds like he wasn't able to get much done anyway even though he's a military man himself. The fact of the matter is NDMA has a different role than what you hint at.

  3. The army despite its shortcomings is still held in great regard by this nation due to all the reasons stated above. They have not failed to deliver as the "civil administration" tends to do. An army major once remarked to me "I am happy to see so much respect for the army". I think the reason is best captured in this piece.

  4. been said... never say... never ever... still... armed forces... india... be armed forces of... not be the tool... like civil administration... under political parties... manned by... people with an heart of... soldiers... airmen... sailors... para soldiers... service of India...

  5. Very well put :D

  6. JATINDER SINGH25 June 2013 at 03:18


  7. An excellent post Sir. I totally agree with your views. Its only the Armed Forces who have risen to the occasion otherwise locals, policewala and have been reported busy looting tourists/making money/ getting into petty politics.\

  8. There is no doubt about the commitment of Indian armed forces by us. But the only shortcomings is that there is a shortage of some key resources(armaments,ammunitions,accessories) due to inefficiencies of some corrupt sarkari babus.

  9. An excellent post sir. Its only the Armed Forces who have risen to the occasion and helped people come out of that area otherwise locals have been reported involved in looting tourists and making money, policewalas charging people to get them out of that area and politicians getting into petty politics where Modi is not allowed to land and Rahul more than welcome to land anywhere he wants... Really pathetic state of affairs..

  10. Dear Ajai,

    Love your blog and articles. I think this one is brilliant as always. Would like to point this out though - You are incorrect saying that Modi only rescued Gujaratis. They rescued anyone who needed to. Contrary to popular beliefs, he is only a CM of Gujarat. he has not become PM of India. He cannot take over the Uttarakhand rescue operation as there is an elected govt in UK which needs to do this. If he tried to do that, MSMs would tear him apart saying that he is trying to take over already and he is not even elected yet. He is between Rock and a hard place, so to speak.

    His first priority was and is gujaratis as he is CM of Gujarat. he is not PM of India, yet.

    Please search the net and find the tweets and text messages from people who were rescued by Gujarat CM's team (there are people from Delhi, Bengal, Rajasthan, etc). https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/115873465455180160785


  11. Quite brilliantly written. I have shamefully copied and broadcasted it on FB

  12. Nice article. However, I beg to differ. In India, the Army has always been projected as a servant of the masses, which called upon in times of any sort of distress. Now, civil-military interaction in our country is limited to Republic day parades, and the odd airshows, and times like these serve as a medium of interaction between the common man, and the military jawan. This, as evident by the appreciation of people that have been rescued, solidifies the bond between people and army. However, this does not mean (as you've correctly expressed) that disaster management crews shouldnt be raised, but till that happens, the military will always be called to serve.

  13. Eye Opener! Most of our leaders are still living in the 80's. And thank you for mentioning about 'Our Future PM' India sadly will never be One. The Divide is still too big.

  14. No matter what Narendra Modi do, he always gets criticized. All that this poor fellow did was to arranged for return of rescued people. Only Gujaratis! Well, do you honestly think that he could have arranged to send all the rescued people back to their homes? Can we see the glass half full instead of seeing it half empty when it is in Modi's hand.

  15. NDMA was enlargement of empire of the IAS and IPS in the name of "implementation of GoM report on Kargil Committee .." recommendations...

    You have high hopes form that agency ?? If they were able to do any thing of that sort that would be done as IAS and IPS administer the districts ....

    No disasters take place out side the boundaries of districts ...

  16. Anon @ 07:17 :

    I am totally in agreement.

    Ajai Shukla has a virulent hatred for the BJP and Modi.

    It doesnt matter to him that TOI is a pro-Cong newspaper. It doesnt matter to him that none of these claims were made by Modi or the Guj government. It doesnt matter to him that as Guj CM, he is responsible primarily for his own flock now. It doesnt matter to him that Guj govt offer of helicopters was promptly declined by Congis.

    All that matters to him is whether he got an anti-modi comment printed in Business Standard.

  17. Kudos to you for such a well written piece in support of the Forces and the triumph of India's electoral exercise. However, is it not ironic and shameful that, when it comes to natural calamities or fighting terrorists, the whole country wakes up to the immensely sacrificial and humane acts of the Armed Forces, yet, the value of the contribution by the Forces is soon forgotten, when it comes to giving the Forces their dues in matters of wages and welfare? There will be many more instances of rescuing the Nation from calamities and emergencies of all kinds, but the attitude of the Govt will NOT change. Undoubtedly, the cause for this attitude lies with the Administration, NOT the politician .... who is only a pawn in the hands of the all-powerful Administrative Service. Unfortunately, the Administration is NOT accountable to the people, the Politician is - it is THIS lacuna in our system that keeps the 'babu' above any responsibility or accountability. You, Ajay Shukla, as the author of this article, understand this as much, or better that all of us. Somewhere, sometime soon, you need to enlighten our country, our people, to this terrible evil that has been eating into the coffers and into the very foundations of our "mahaan Bhaarat". Will you take on this honourable task of questioning the accountability of the Administration? Tell the Nation how the Administration is the ONLY agency that sanctions ALL projects in this country, but protects itself behind the signatures of the Politician. The country has been misled to such an extent that, whenever there is a scam, everyone is out to seek out the corrupt politician and his black money .... and here too, the "babu" dealing with the subject, of say, taking up the case with the Swiss banks, make sure that our request is worded so cleverly that it gets rejected instantly!! (all other countries seem to have NO problem getting information from Swiss Banks, only India has that "problem"!! Whether the builders lobby gets its building sanction, or Vedanta gets a mining sanction, the Nation must know .... its the "babu", and NOT the politician. Come on Ajay, do this for the Country .... we ALL owe it to the Nation, but we need people like YOU to do the 'dirty' work. GOD Bless you.

  18. Well Put sir. Also the army and air force (Not the navy though) should come forward to help develop and buy the weapon systems and platforms produced in India to save the nation from the disaster in horizon, the ever widening CAD... As evident we spend billions od hard earned dollar every year for importing the tanks and aircrafts (C130J and MI17/26 being different as we are still at infancy in aviation tech). But we could have brought the Dhruv, Tejas, Arjun into series production if the Army and Airforce sat down with the DRDO in sorting out the design short comings and forced MOD to overhaul the DPSU's and OFB's for timely and quality delivery of products.

    I am no army basher but I am a responsible Indian citizen who worries what this CAD will do to this nation's progress... equally worrying is the common man's obsession with gold and the CIL's obsession with its inability to deliver coal in time and quantity...

  19. From Facebook 25-26 June: I do not agree that the public evidence yet shows the Indian military have been heroically rescuing masses of people in the Uttarakhand disaster. They seem to have been doing, at best, a barely competent job. There seems to have been a woeful lack of high quality political leadership and high quality military advice too. The first helicopter priority should have been not even transporting people back in dribs and drabs of a half dozen or so per ride from here and there but rather to have located all the major groups of civilians and have landed with each of them small teams of military personnel (armed to maintain general law and order and to organise them for survival) with some supplies, so logistic contact could have been made for more systematic larger evacuations. I do not see that to have been done. And then there is the business of the helicopters! Initially some 40 light helicopters which did not seem very military in appearance seem to have been on the job. Then they added an MI-26 after several days, and also started to fly around the new expensive US-made transporters, the latter perhaps just for show. And now the excuse is made — could they not expect this? — Oh the weather has turned bad again, all the choppers have to be grounded! What can we do even if 5,000 or 10,000 remain stranded and starving? This is nonsense. The Indian Army has numerous well-trained Mountain Divisions. It has a long history of *mules* being used for transportation in all weather conditions! Remember the Chindits?! “The 77th Indian Infantry Brigade, otherwise known as the Chindits, was gradually formed in the area around Jhansi in the summer of 1942. Wingate took charge of the training of the troops in the jungles of central India during the rainy season….The standard brigade and battalion structures were abandoned. The force was instead formed into eight columns…The heavy weapons, radios, reserve ammunition and rations and other stores were carried on mules, which would also provide an emergency source of food once their loads had been depleted. With 57 mule handlers, each British column numbered 306 men (the Gurkha columns were slightly stronger, with 369 men). Each man carried more than 72 pounds (33 kg) of equipment, which was proportionally more than the mules carrying the support weapons and other stores….”

    Just as I do not see the Indian military to have deployed forward teams with known groups of stranded civilians, I do not see it to have deployed immediately its many many many lowly mules to help reach them and rescue them…. It is more comfortable to stay at a local base perhaps waiting for helicopters to fly again, and also waiting for non-existent orders from some purported leader.

    The Chindits did not need let aside have any helicopters; just mules and men and grit and determination. Gopal Tandan may remember that in 1970 we, a schoolboy party of a dozen or so led by David Gibbs along with a dozen or so sherpas, cut through mountainous jungle and made our own paths for miles in heavy rainfall or fog carrying backpacks, crossing roaring rivers too. Our legs would be filled with leeches by evening — a completely panicky thought, until you learn to use salt on them and have them drop away.

    I do not think bad weather itself would prevent trained well-equipped mountain soldiers of the Indian military to have sent columns on foot into the mountains, along with mules, to rescue thousands upon thousands of stranded starving civilians; execrable political leadership and unimaginative military advice from pampered comfortable peace-time generals would be sufficient though.

    There is very little terrain that an equipped well-led military force cannot get through.

  20. @Dr Subroto Roy

    Mostly well intended and well commented but suggestions are highly far away from reality. Garhwal hills are not jungles of Burma. one does not have to hack his way through but climb the boulders. No one carries 36 kgs on his back in those mountains as a mtter of capacity and in high altitude even less. So far as mules are concerned those could have been moved from all over but the Army Commander there is a tankman like Ajay who would have never seen mountains and has no idea of mountains whatever.

    Nevertheless, mules also need fodder and becomes useless after a certain distance of turn around. After certain time mules are bound to be used to carry only their fodder and no useful load. and when the roads have been washed off how do the mules move? Mules need mule tracks and after vehicle revolution in mountains there are very few mule track along the rivers and roads where majority stand stranded.

    Army is deployed there at higher reaches and near the border. All those at rear areas have been suitably employed.

    Army is supposed to cater for and stock war like stores and not disaster tents, jackets and umbrellas. Army could guide the stranded if any the survivor is ready to walk even 20 km a day ?? Even for that it would take eight days for one to walk down to uttarkashi from Harsil necessitataing eight en route camps. From where does the Army bring stores and rations for those camps to feed thousands ?

    Are there any?? Well those who are capable of walking are doing so and Army is escorting them. The idea of dropping a team of four SF soldiers at inaccessible places was also good as a life saving measure.. Construction of Burma Bridges and Flying Foxes can only be result of Army training.

    And lastly Mr Subroto Roy, why not give the budget of Disaster Management to the Armed Forces ? You have disaster management white elephants in MHA and when it comes to work it should be Armed Forces ??

    What are you advocating ?

  21. Oh Cavalry Cad.... be clear it was the Mud Corps & the Sappers apart from Daddy in his black overalls !!

  22. This is a case of media hype clouding reality. The scale of the disaster overwhelmed the administration, NDMA and others. Requisition of armed forces was an absolute necessity. That it took the IAF and IA almost 72 hours for the rescue efforts to get going calls for a review. To a discerning eye the IAF & IA botch-ups were in abundant evidence. The sight (and sounds) of an Army Commander managing the rescue and relief operations, presumably of the Army only, was bizarre. The IAF & IA had separate code-names for the operation - Operation RAHAT.... & Operation SURYA HOPE.... spells the spirit behind the 'unified' effort. And what's so damn innovative about employing C-130Js? These aircraft variants are especially outfitted to land on unprepared airstrips within 700m if required. Ajai is giving it a miraculous spin !

    I advocate a thorough review of the response and performance of the armed forces in the rescue and relief ops. Google the Net for numerous similar efforts in the US post-Katrina. The aim being to tweak and fine-tune military response and participation and NOT to blow one's trumpet or a witch hunt.

    armed forces did nothing spectacular or extraordinary. Don't credit them thus. They had the capability, the organisation, the equipment & infrastructure to respond in the manner that they did. More importantly, it is a part of their job. In the din created by the brouhaha over the scale of the disaster and attendant failures by Govt machinery to respond in time and in scale, the magnitude and the visibility of the armed forces response has blinded everyone to serious blemishes and shortcomings therein. On the long run this does more harm than good - laid the armed forces performance to the skies and bury them in the next instant while deciding the perks and privileges or indiscretions.

  23. @ ANNON 09:49


    Why did not you say athat lack of coordination between IAF and IA, if any, calls for appointment of CDS. You name the CDS and the tails of people like you goes hiding.

    IA and IAF deployed their resources even without requisition. Civil administration took more than 72 hours to formally requisition the Forces.

    Disaster management is Army's primary responsibility ?? Ha Ha Ha !! You must be kidding or misinforming all the with a view to save someone's, (like you)' backside and abject neglect.

    The civil administration (IAS and IPS) has not responded even today after 15 days and will never do except to fill their pockets on dead bodies expenses and you are talking of 72 hours. I hope you know how much time it takes to walk from Rishikesh to Badrinath or for that matter from Joshimath to Badrinath. It could take months for a Babu and his retinue... or even years

  24. BroadSword please allow readers to upload an odd photo as related to the context of our comment.

    Para Commandos on rescue and relief in Uttarkhand ? I was shocked to see these bozos on TV. I wonder what did they do ? As per Ms Barkha Dutt, they carried explosives to blast Helios where none existed (wow !) though there are no such reports. Other uses could have been to search for lost survivors and gather them, weather reporting, helipad survey, and maybe to lend their rope tricks and survival skills including first aid for the rescue effort. It was downright ridiculous and bizarre to see these bozos wearing their Oakleys (without exception), and donning Keffiyehs wrapped around the ears and chin like Mongheri Lals. Even the SF officers were strutting around in their suede tactical 'boots'. These monkeys wrote private-pattern OG t-shirts instead of their battle dress whereas the rescuers on the ground wore authorised items. There was the sight of a SF officer on the tarmac with his maroon beret folded under his epaulettes and instead wearing a 'patka'. Let it be known that our SF have not distinguished themselves in combat; on the contrary their performance in Sri Lanka and Kargil as also UNPKO has been a classified shame. Their false bravado and swagger, Hollywood costumes and inflated risk allowances notwithstanding, these bums need to be disciplined. Give me a regular infantry battalion and spare it the incessant fatigue and administrative burdens - man for man they will do a better job in war and otherwise than the Paras (or the SF avatars).

    It's the under-equipped ITBP, NDMA boys as also the pilots and ground crew of the private helicopters who need (and deserve) generous praise and felicitation.

    1. I concur. They overdid it bigtime. The real Paras were unloading the numerous 'desi-style' cardboard cartons wrapped in line-bedding and what have you. These guys are overrated ! Of that there is no doubt.

  25. From Facebook etc

    "Dehradun: Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal has said that he fears that more than 10,000 people may have died in the flash floods and landslides that have ravaged the state since June 16..."!

    --- It is inexplicable if not outrageous that an educated man like Manmohan Singh, as Prime Minister of India did not immediately instruct the military to send in foot columns of crack mountain troops, supplied by mules, to make their way into the mountains to find and sustain thousands of stranded starving civilians regardless of weather conditions. There is hardly any terrain that a well-led force cannot get through on foot. Whatever helicopter support they had in the beginning should have been used to locate all major groups of stranded civilians, and land small armed forces there to organise them, maintain law and order, and prepare them for survival and evacuation… Everybody knows helicopters cannot function in bad weather, and could not be relied on for mass evacuations in bad weather.

    Instead of clear-headed civilian leadership, Government and Opposition politicians merely put on a pathetic show and declared they were throwing (debauched) money at the event after the fact. The military has seemed to me somewhat complacent and unimaginative, not wanting to get their nice uniforms muddied too much. Two cheers for the Army Chief who said yesterday ‘he had asked his commanders to launch relief operations in “very, very difficult conditions” in a proactive manner, without waiting for any requisition from authorities’ — yes, finally, a clear statement of what was needed but far too many days late: when had he issued that order? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have ordered this himself on Day One. Did he? What did he in fact do?

    Instead, business being business, the Big Business Lobbies cannot be stopped from controlling the Government of India's agenda even during the Uttarakhand Emergency!

    "The government on Saturday decided to set up 51 new low-cost airports with an aim to give boost to civil aviation sector and increase air connectivity to Tier-II and Tier-III cities....The state-owned airport operator, Airports Authority of India (AAI), would set up the low-cost airports in 51 cities in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.Apart from the low-cost airports, the government has decided grant new international airport status to Bhubaneswar and Imphal at a cost of Rs.20,000 crore. Also, construction of eight greenfield airports this year would be awarded under public-private-participation (PPP) mode for Navi Mumbai, Juhu in Mumbai, Goa, Kannur, Rajguru Nagar Chakan at Pune, Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh, a statement from Prime Minister's Office said.Also, the government was mulling operation and maintenance of airports at Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Ahmedabad through PPP contracts.In a bid to ramp up investor sentiment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday set an investment target of Rs.1.15 lakh crore in PPP (public private partnership) projects across infrastructure sectors in civil aviation, rail, port and power in the next six months.The decisions were taken at a meeting Prime Minister held here to finalise infrastructure projects for 2013-14 which was attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Ministers of Power, Coal, Railways, Roads, Shipping and Civil Aviation...."

    Yes, Dr Singh and his acolytes have indeed been busy with decision-making!

    Speaking of airports, these are presumably to service aircraft and not, e.g. railways, trucks or other surface transport vehicles used by India's masses; are all these new aircraft to the imported? Bought from Boeing? Airbus? The Russians? What will be the net forex burden? Are existing airlines and airports in India doing well? NOT!

  26. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1130628/jsp/frontpage/story_17057733.jsp#.UdKjF5BJw2x

    Last week, led by their commanding officer, the bandana-strapped Colonel Sandip Chatterjee, the men of the 6 and 7 Paras, along with rescuers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), had lopped off some trees, uprooted electricity poles and planted explosives in the jagged rocks and blasted them to hew a helipad out of nowhere. ..


    That little station in “Death Valley” had made it possible for the Army Aviation Corps’ Cheetah helicopters to land and evacuate the stranded people in Jungle Chatti over the weekend. Mixed teams of 6, 7 and 9 Paras were dropped into the gorges here at different spots on June 21 to extricate survivors.

    An engineer surveyed the spot, wired explosives to blow off rocks and electricity poles and cleared the ground to let Cheetahs and Chetaks land on what NDRF commandant Jaideep Singh had thought was an “impossible place to land”.

    For the hard commentator above....

    1. Demolitions is a standard engineers task. The Assault Pioneer platoons can wire up charges to fell trees and blast rocks. Why, the civilians in Border Roads can do it better, using half the explosives. This is not a unique SF skill. And it certainly does not need bandanas, Oakley tactical eye gear or Keffiyehs or sweatshirts.

      Please don't highlight media pieces to justify SF / Para vanity. These are ordinary troops meant to achieve the extraordinary but fail to outgrow their superficiality - despite Oakleys et al.

  27. It's the under-equipped ITBP, NDMA boys as also the pilots and ground crew of the private helicopters who need (and deserve) generous praise and felicitation.

    Poor Thulla... could not hold

  28. worth a read for many commentators here :


  29. The ranks of the armed forces have shown professionalism once again.
    The civilian administration ,IAS did not do their homework and have no post trauma strategy also.

    The work carried out by the ranks now should be furthered by genralmanship by the highest echelon stating clearly to the nation that the Armed Forces have once again cleaned up the mess created by the IAS in a civilian tragedy which was supposed to be tackled by civilian administration.

    Thus the army should take the opportunity to ask the nation and convey to the IAS which has failed on all counts that it should not be in a position to dictate terms to the army whilst dealing in military affairs be it modernization requirements or in case of wars like kargil , or in dealing with situations like in Kashmir.
    This is also a golden opportunity to tell the govt and the IAS to comply IMMEDIATELY with the Supreme court's decision on OROP and veteran's dues. At this juncture the nation acknowledges the work done by the ranks of the armed forces and many like me are waiting for the voices of the admirals, generals and the air marshals sitting in N Delhi to stand by the ranks...not be just writing letters but by striking hard, striking first when the iron is hot...address the nation sirs ..please



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