the Indian Government decided to reestablish its embassy at Kabul in
Afghanistan, it faced a peculiar problem of an extremely poor
communication infrastructure for rearward communication to Delhi. The
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) requested Signal Officer-in-Chief
(SO-in-C), Corps of Signals to assist in planning, installing and
operating communications network at Kabul Embassy.
was agreed that a satellite link would be established between the Indian
Embassy at Kabul and MEA in New Delhi. In addition, local network for
voice and data connectivity at Kabul would also be required in order to
provide connectivity for the local area network and its access to
the advice of Director General, Signals, the necessary hardware was
purchased by MEA. A team of officers, JCOs and ORs from the Corps of
Signals was selected and imparted an extensive training. The team divided
the hardware into suitable packages and transported it to Kabul.
Signals team reached Kabul in September last year and set up VSAT
communication link between MEA in New Delhi and Indian Embassy, Kabul; a
24-line exchange for the trunk and local voice communication and a Local
Area Network (LAN) at the Indian Embassy. This provided the much- needed
voice, data and internet access to the Indian Embassy. It brought the
isolated embassy on the world map communications.
Maj Nitin Raj
1897, the 36th Battalion of Sikh
Regiment (now 4 Sikh) was deployed at Saragarhi Post (Samana ridge) in the
Hindu Kush mountains (now in Afghanistan) at the height of 6000 ft in the
North West Frontier Province. On September 12, at 9 am, about 10,000
tribesmen (Afridis and Orakais) attacked Saragarhi Fort. There were only
21 Sikh soldiers under the command of Hav Ishar Singh. A fierce battle was
fought which lasted for more than six hours. At 3 pm Signaller Sep Gurmukh
Singh sent a message to headquarters that all his comrades were dead and
he requested permission to fight alone. After getting the nod from the
headquarters, he took up his rifle and shot 20 tribesmen before being
burnt alive. The tribesmen later admitted that they had lost 200 men with
another 250 wounded in the battle. They revealed how the defenders had
held on the fort and how a wounded soldier shot four of them when they
tried to force their way into the fort.
21 troops had been awarded the Indian Order of Merit, the highest
gallantry award then given to Indian soldiers.
commemorate the battle, an impressive obelisk was built at Fort Lockhart
at Samana. On hearing such acts of valour, the British Parliament paid
homage to the fallen soldiers. The Battle of Saragarhi has been included
in the syllabus in schools of France. It also figures as one of the
stories on bravery published by UNESCO.
Parachute Field Regiment, one of the oldest decorated units of Indian
Artillery, celebrated its 62nd
raising day at Agartala. Recipient of two battle honours-Zojila and
Poongli Bridge—the regiment this year was also honoured with Chief of
the Army Staff Unit Citation for counter-insurgency operations in the
North-East. Lt Gen KM Seth (Retd), Governor of Tripura who was the 15th
Indian Commanding Officer of the unit was the guest of honour on the
occasion. Speaking to the troops at a special sainik sammelan, the
Governor complimented the unit for its valour and bravery.
celebrations also included a badakhana in which officers and men
Army has joined hands with Coca Cola India (CCI) to launch a
scholarship programme for senior students in Army schools all over the
country. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to this effect at
the Army Headquarters. Brig Vikram Madan, Deputy Director General
(welfare) signed the MoU on behalf of the Army and Mr Sunil Gupta signed
on behalf of Coca-Cola.
the programme, each year 500 students from classes X, XI and XII will be
given a Coca Cola scholarship of Rs 5,000 each towards their
tuition fee, uniforms, books and other educational aids. The arrangement
is initially meant for three years. The CCI will also bear the
administrative cost to run the programme.
Rehabilitation and Welfare Section, Ceremonial and Welfare Directorate in
the Army Headquarters will select the deserving students for the
scholarship on the basis of ‘means and merits’. The list of scholars
will be drawn from amongst the children of officers, Junior Commissioned
Officers (JCOs) and other ranks belonging to regular Army. Sixty per cent
of scholarships will go to the children of soldiers and other ranks, 25
per cent to the wards of JCOs and the remaining 15 per cent to officers’
education standard in Army Schools is among the best in the country. There
are 116 Army Schools spread across the country. The total number of
students registered in these schools is close to 1.25 lakh. During the
academic year 2001-02, nearly 75 per cent of the students secured 60 per
cent and above.
on the occasion, Mr Sunil Gupta said that it was a great privilege to be
associated with the Indian Army. The scholarship will come into effect
from the academic year 2003-04.
of Combat Redesignated
College of Combat of Army has been rechristened as Army War College with
effect from Army Day, this year. In view of the need for an institution
for training in all arms-integrated battle, the College of Combat was
founded in 1971. It was the pioneer institution to promote the concept of
the years, the College has developed into an institution of international
repute. The scope now extends to national strategy, operational art,
leadership, logistics and information warfare. It has also pioneered
training methodologies and application of IT in the curricula. The College
has also been interacting with other armies of the world.
the present environment, the name of the college was considered not
appropriate enough to fully convey the large fields of its activities.
Similar institutions in other countries have had ‘war’ incorporated in
their names. The USA has two such institutions namely, US Army War College
and US Naval War College. Therefore, the new name of the college would
suggest jointmanship as the order of the day.
Colonel Commandant, Army Aviation
Gen GS Sihota, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command took
over as Colonel Commandant of Army Aviation Corps from Gen NC Vij at a
function held at Army Headquarters. He received Colonel’s Baton and
Banner from the Army Chief.
Gen GS Sihota is the first Army aviator to hold this coveted appointment.
He is an accomplished aviator who has flown both fixed wing aircraft and
helicopters in varied terrain. He was awarded Vayu Sena Medal and Vir
Chakra in the 1971 operations. He is also the Senior Colonel
Commandant of the Regiment of Artillery.
on the occasion were senior aviators like Lt Gen A Natarajan, Adjutant
General, Lt Gen Narayan Chatterjee, DG (MP & PS) and Maj Gen Charanjit
Singh, Additional Director General, Army Aviation at Army Headquarters.