Archive for February, 2017

The Great Wolf …

Posted on February 28, 2017. Filed under: Searching for Success |

 

 

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Birth of New Delhi …

Posted on February 19, 2017. Filed under: Indian Thought, The English |

The foundation stone of New Delhi was laid by George V, Emperor of India, during the Delhi Durbar of 12 December 1911. Delhi was inaugurated as the capital of British India by Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin, on 13 February 1931.

Announcement At The Delhi Durbar 
The Delhi Durbar, also known as the Imperial Durbar, was held three times, in 1877, 1903, and 1911. The 1911 Durbar was attended by George V.
 The Delhi Durbar of 1911, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the dais. (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia)
The Delhi Durbar of 1911, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the dais. (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia) The Emperor’s 12 December 1911 announcement, naming Delhi the new capital, stunned the nation. Geography was one of the main reasons. 

Some studies also say that the British had grown wary of the violence and nationalist uprisings in Bengal and that they planned to undo the Partition of Bengal and move out of the conflict zone.

The Prince of Wales, later King George V, laid the foundation stone of the memorial to Queen Victoria – who died in 1901 – in Kolkata on 4 January 1906.With the capital being moved to Delhi in 1912, the Victoria Memorial was formally opened to the public in 1921, in a provincial city, and not the capital as had been intended.

The new capital was designed by British architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. They chose the southern plains beyond the old walled city of Shahajanabad as their site. The roads were to be huge, in contrast to the walled city’s narrow lanes.

The area was first made a district province of Punjab. It was named “New Delhi” in 1927.

 

It would take 20 years more, until 1931, for the British to officially inaugurate their new city. The British worked swiftly to establish a temporary seat of government in Civil Lines. In 1912, they constructed a secretariat building to house government offices while the North and South Blocks were constructed on Raisina Hill in New Delhi.

 

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Declared Incomes of India’s Law Makers …

Posted on February 17, 2017. Filed under: Indian Thought |

Manoj K is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and the founder of the Centre for Governance and Development. He has a special interest in transparency and accountability in governance and has spearheaded several projects on these subjects.

In tax returns filed a year before they were elected, 72% Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress members of parliament (MPs) and members of legislative assemblies (MLAs) have claimed they earn less than Rs 10 lakh, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of affidavits of 4,848 (of 4,910) MPs and MLAs.

As many as 75% of MPs and MLAs nationwide declared annual incomes less than Rs 10 lakh. Around 35% of lawmakers said their annual income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh while 40% have declared annual income between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh. As many as 1,141 (24%) MPs and MLAs claimed exemption from income tax or have no income at all.

“We can conclude that we are largely a tax non-compliant society,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, sarcastically, during his budget speech on February 1, 2017.

 Sharing income tax data, Jaitley said that of 37 million individuals who filed tax returns in 2015-16, 9.9 million (27%) declared annual incomes below the exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh; 19.5 million (53%) declared annual incomes between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, while 7.6 million (20%) declared annual incomes of more than Rs 5 lakh.

If the annual incomes of family (incomes of spouse and dependents, as declared in their respective tax returns) are added to the incomes of MPs and MLAs, 62% legislators’ households have an income less than Rs 10 lakh.

About half (2,410) of India’s MPs and MLAs have declared household assets (movable and immovable assets of the elected member, spouse and dependent/s) of more than Rs 2 crore, of which 912 (38% of 2,410) declared family incomes of less than Rs 10 lakh.

Of 1,843 MPs and MLAs with family incomes of more than Rs 10 lakh, 106 declared household assets of less than Rs 1 crore.

Only a quarter of 4,848 MPs/MLAs declare income more than Rs 10 lakh

Only 25% (1,236 of 4,848) of MPs and MLAs declared in tax returns that their annual incomes were more than Rs 10 lakh;  35% (1,676 of 4,848) declared incomes less than Rs 2.5 lakh.

As many as 1,676 (35%) elected representatives declared annual incomes less than Rs 2.5 lakh. Of these, 1,141 (24%) reported to the Election Commission that they were either exempt from income tax on various grounds, such as being a farmer, being from an area mentioned in the sixth schedule of the constitution–such as the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura–and so exempt from income tax, or have no income at all.

Half of India’s elected representatives declared household assets of more than Rs 2 crore; 28% more than Rs 5 crore. As many as 70% of MPs and MLAs had assets more than Rs 1 crore.

Half of all MPs/MLAs declared household assets of more than Rs 2 crore

Although assets are supposed to be declared by elected representatives at market price, immovable assets are grossly under valued, Indian Express reported in December 2013.

24% legislators declared no income

“How long will we overlook facts that stare us in the face?” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on December 31, 2016. “ I wish to share some information with you, which will either make you laugh, or make you angry. According to information available with the government, only 24 lakh people in India accept that their annual income is more than Rs 10 lakh.”

“If we look at any big city, it would have lakhs of people with annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh. Do you not feel that for the good of the country, this movement for honesty needs to be further strengthened?”

In some way, the Prime Minister drew a correlation between assets and income declared to tax authorities. We found a weak correlation existed between the assets and incomes of MPs and MLAs.

  • 38% (912 of 2,410) legislators with assets more than Rs 2 crore declared family incomes of less than Rs 10 lakh.
  • Of 1,079 lawmakers with assets in the range of Rs 2 crore and Rs 5 crore, only 44% (474) declared incomes more than Rs 10 lakh.
  • 22% (255 of 1,651) with assets between Rs 2 crore and Rs 10 crore declared incomes less than Rs 2.5 lakh.
  • 41% (891 of 2,155) with assets between Rs 2 crore and Rs 30 crore declared incomes less than Rs 10 lakh.
  • Of 156 lawmakers with household assets more than Rs 50 crore, 10 declared incomes less than Rs 10 lakh.
  • Of 75 legislators with assets more than Rs 100 crore, four reported incomes less than Rs 2.5 lakh.
  • 7% (106 out of 1,470) with assets less than Rs 1 crore declared annual incomes more than Rs 10 lakh.
  • As many as 2,410 elected representatives (MPs/MLAs) declared household assets of more than Rs 2 crore, of which 912 (out of 2410, 38%) disclosed family incomes less than Rs 10 lakh.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

And here is a Supreme Court Justice on the case of SASIKALA who could have been Chief Minister of TAMIL NADU …… Justice Amitava Roy, who was part of the two-judge SC bench that convicted Sasikala and others on February 14, was harsh in his Supplementary Verdict.                                                                                                                             .

“A few disquieting thoughts that have lingered and languished in distressed silence in mentation demand expression at the parting with a pulpit touch. Hence, this supplement.                                                                                                                                                   .
The attendant facts and circumstances encountered as above, demonstrate a deep rooted conspiratorial design to amass vast assets without any compunction and hold the same through shell entities to cover up the sinister trail of such illicit acquisitions and deceive and delude the process of law.                                                                                           .
Novelty in the outrages and the magnitude of the nefarious gains as demonstrated by the revelations in the case are, to say the least, startling.
 .
A growing impression in contemporary existence seems to acknowledge, the all pervading pestilent presence of corruption almost in every walk of life, as if to rest reconciled to the octopoid stranglehold of this malaise with helpless awe. 
 .
The common day experiences indeed do introduce one with unfailing regularity, the variegated cancerous concoctions of corruption with fearless impunity gnawing into the frame and fabric of the nation’s essential. 
 .
Emboldened by the lucrative yields of such malignant materialism, the perpetrators of this malady have tightened their noose on the societal psyche.
 .
 Individual and collective pursuits with curative interventions at all levels are thus indispensable to deliver the civil order from the asphyxiating snare of this escalating venality.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

War of BUGs …

Posted on February 16, 2017. Filed under: From Russia with Love |

Jim Mowreader on Quora

In 1945, the Soviets presented this beautifully hand-carved Great Seal of the United States to Ambassador Averill Harriman as a gesture of goodwill and solidarity upon the opening of a new embassy in Moscow. Ambassador Harriman proceeded to hang it in his study…

In 1952, the new US Ambassador to Moscow decided to move the carving. You guessed it – it was bugged, and in a really ingenious way. If you wanted to make the bug transmit, you had to tune a radio transmitter to the specific frequency the bug was tuned to, illuminate the building with radio waves, and recover the conversations made in front of it from the returned radio signal.

It gets worse: in 1975, the US decided to build an All New Embassy in Moscow. And just for the sake of Better Relations With The Soviets, they bought some of the materials from the USSR.

This was NOT a good idea; the Soviets managed to plant so many bugs in the building materials they sold us, we had to tear half the embassy down and start over using American construction crews and American-made materials hauled to Moscow on US Army-owned tractor-trailers, each of which contained a US Army transportation sergeant, a Russian-speaking US Army military intelligence soldier, a loaded M16 rifle and a full can of ammo!.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Respect for the Fallen …

Posted on February 15, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Searching for Success |

Recorded at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. .

 Observe how the American Airlines handles the men who die in the line of duty.

 This was a K9 Soldier with his dog trained to find IED’s. They died for their Country.. Notice the number of people watching inside the terminal.

.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

‘Red’ Skeleton! Any One Remembers him? …

Posted on February 9, 2017. Filed under: Mars & Venus |

Twice a week we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship She goes on Tuesdays; I go on Fridays.

We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California , and mine is in Texas .

I take my wife everywhere…. but she keeps finding her way back.

I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. ‘Somewhere I haven’t been in a long time!’ she said. So I suggested the kitchen.We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker. She said ‘There are too many gadgets, and no place to sit down!’   So I bought her an electric chair.

My wife told me the car wasn’t running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was. She told me, ‘In the lake.’

She got a mud pack, and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

She ran after the garbage truck, yelling, ‘Am I too late for the garbage?’ The driver said, ‘No, jump in!’

Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce. I married Miss Right. I just didn’t know her first name was Always.

I haven’t spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don’t like to interrupt her.

 The last fight was my fault though. My wife asked, ‘What’s on the TV?’ I said, ‘Dust!’
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Trumps … ‘Four NO Trumps?’ …

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: American Thinkers, Searching for Success |

From Dawn – A Pakistani perspective by Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

TRUMP – Don’t under estimate the guy!
He’s the ultimate pragmatist with ZERO ethics and morality and just bordering on the legal. And the ultimate deal maker. His mantra – Okay here’s what I can do for you …. what can you do for me? ……… And he will use this approach in his Presidency to try and get the best deal for the USA.
.

All his current posturing on contentious issues is to set the stage for negotiations. His two books “Art of the Deal” and “Think Big” gives us an uncanny insight into his mind. Its just pure business. Winning. Hard negotiations. Get the best deal.

For example repealing or threatening to repeal Obamacare is to get the best deal from the Healthcare Industry and also keep them happy. The Wall with Mexico, to renegotiate a better trade deal. Threatening Iran, so that Iran buys US goods and as some say, especially change the 700 Airbus order to Boeing. Etc etc. And also keep Saudi and UAE as its largest arms buyer.

Whether he succeeds or fails is another question but he’s a hands on guy, who has played slugfest in the dark and dirty real world alleys of American business. And of course an unsavory character. But much as one finds him personally obnoxious and highly unlikeable, he’s what is called a “fixer and a deal-maker”.

The ultimate American carpetbagger. And interestingly, detests traditional politicians and loves military leaders and corporate CEO’S.

So finally America has a leader as close to a large segment of that society. Souless. Unethical. Immoral. No holds barred winning. Ruthless. Unbridled greed. And completely self centered.

In my view, the USA never was and never will be an ethical and moral society, as it so pretends to be.  Hence I’ve stopped thinking and commenting on that aspect of their society. Shooting stars like Jimmy Carter or Obama, are exceptions. Intellectuals like Chomsky, rare. Visible, but totally ineffective to change a society so driven by selfish greed and short-term economic gains. After 8 years, a guy like Obama walks away empty handed.

The USA are simply 21st Century Spanish Conquistadors, looting and plundering the wealth of other lands, disguised under labels of “human rights” “democracy” “our way of life” etc And where it suits their economic interests, supporting and bedding with dictatorial regimes such as the Middle East monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia.

And so finally they get a President who is the plain unvarnished proverbial “Ugly American”.

To understand their policies one needs to understand how the 3 big Industry sectors in the USA, Defense, Financial Services and Healthcare will be impacted. These three drive the USA economic agenda and all their internal and external policies.

Being a pragmatist Trump will keep these three big lobbies happy and get the best deal from them. But, it’s unclear, how he will keep the defense Industry happy. USA’s biggest bulldog in the ring. Especially because the country has had a near permanent and booming defense industry and war economy since 1941. — 2nd World War. Korean War. Vietnam War. Afghanistan. Kuwait. Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Iraq.

So let’s see what deal he makes with them. Because for all his bluster, he doesn’t appear to be a war monger

Even Professor Obama couldn’t do much against the Big Three. On the contrary the Financial Services Industry got their biggest bailout from him. The reason Obamacare will morph into ‘Trump’s New Deal” is because he went against this massive powerhouse of Healthcare.

Obama did go for the Afghanistan surge which did serve the interests of the defense industry in his first term but he never opened another front, Syria being one, and nothing in his second term, partly because he didn’t want to and partly because he didn’t have to with no re election issues.

Part of the reasons behind Hillary’s defeat was, in my opinion, the lack of support by the big 3, because she would have have continued with Obama’s plans.

On Pakistan. Here’s my gut feeling. He’s going to ask us. Okay you guys. I’ll fix Kashmir for you with India? What will you give me in return? And even Afghanistan? So we better be ready with our asks and answers.

So like I said earlier, don’t under estimate this guy. He may surprise many despite being a really unsavory character!

Just a perspective!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Before James Bond …

Posted on February 6, 2017. Filed under: Indian Thought |

Kim Sengupta  – The Independent Culture

An Indian Spy – trained by the Brother of the Creator of James Bond and Code named, Silver – was actually Bhagat Ram Talwar, who spied for both Axis and Allied Powers during the Second War so says Author Mihir Bose.

With an elementary education and speaking broken English, Talwar managed to fool both British Intelligence as well as the Nazis. There is obviously little chronicled about  espionage. 

Agent Silver was recruited by Peter Fleming who was working for British intelligence. Fleming’s brother, Ian, was to draw on the experience of his glamorous and dashing sibling when he created James Bond. It was Peter, an established Author, who persuaded Jonathan Cape to publish the first of his brother’s series – Casino Royale.

Based in Delhi in the 1940s Peter Fleming played a key role in a deception programme and ran double agents. It was here when he i became the handler of a man who called himself Rahmat Khan, who was working in Afghanistan purportedly to counter German/Italian  activities on India’s Western Borders.

Col Peter Fleming knew the world of espionage well but even he was duped by his Indian Recruit (Rex) Unknown to him, Fleming had hired someone who was himself a master of deception. In his new book, Silver: The Spy Who Fooled the Nazis, the Author and Journalist Mihir Bose reveals how Khan, whose real name was Bhagat Ram Talwar, played off one side against the other in a dizzying mosaic of subterfuge.

There were a few double or even triple agents during the War, but Talwar was the only one who could claim to have spied for five, or even six Counteries.

The man behind the masks peeled back by Bose in this fascinating tale came from the landed gentry of what was then the North West Frontier. In a space of five years he spied for Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

His real loyalty, however, lay with the struggle for Indian independence, something his paymasters in London would have suspected if they had carried out a thorough enough background check. Talwar’s brother had been hanged by the British for his part in the death of a policeman during an assassination attempt on the Governor of Punjab.

Talwar claimed to have killed a man by feeding him curry laced with tiger’s whiskers. 

Talwar made the journey into Afghanistan on foot through the Khyber Pass in an often hostile landscape then, as now, bristling with guns. Peter was, at times, worried about his safety, once imploring him not to make a trip because of the presence of a suspect who may have blown his cover. But Talwar insisted on going ahead and befriended the man and invited him for dinner in Kabul. He later described to Fleming that he had served a curry mixed with tiger’s whiskers, the sharp bristles of which cause internal bleeding. “It was the last meal he ever ate,” 

Silver commented later, words one could easily imagine Bond using in a report back to M about one of his adversaries.

The relationship between the Agent and his Handler was an intriguing one. Fleming – Eton and Oxford – was not only a Journalist who had written highly acclaimed books of his adventures in remote places, but he was also something of a society figure, married to acclaimed actress Celia Johnson, who was a prized guest on the Country house Circuit.

Talwar, on the other hand, had the most rudimentary of educations and unlike most middle-class Indians, spoke only broken English.

It was a shared love of deception, says Bose, which made the two men get on so well with each other. And, in this deception, Talwar won hands down. hiding his loyalty to the Communist Movement in India to whom he sent much of the money which had been paid to him by his various foreign employers.

Talwar also carried out an outstanding coup against the Raj, smuggling the wanted Nationalist Leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, out of India. The original plan was for him to get to Moscow, but, when that failed, Talwar organized the move to Berlin where he met Hitler and other senior German officials. Bose was to eventually get to Japan, raise an army from captured Indian prisoners of war to fight the British, and then die in an airplane crash.

The end of the War was followed by Independence and the Partition of the Sub-continent by the British before they left. In the dreadful communal violence that followed, Talwar and his Family had to flee the newly created Pakistan. Then in 1948, Silver/Khan/Talwar, the Man of Mystery, disappeared. 

Some British thought that he had been killed while trying to escape from Pakistan. But then, just as suddenly, he reappeared a quarter of a century later, at an International Seminar on Subhas Chandra Bose in Calcutta.

There is a photograph in the book of him from that time, dapper in a suit, with Dietrich Wizel, a senior German Abwehr Agent he had sparred with and hoodwinked in Kabul. Fleming had died two years earlier of a heart attack while shooting in Scotland. One imagines Peter would have rather enjoyed being present at that meeting – smiling old spies, reminiscing about secrets and lies of a deadly game all had played those many years ago.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

ISRAELI Military Might …

Posted on February 5, 2017. Filed under: Searching for Success |

New York Times Book Review – How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower By Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot

Seventy years ago, the state of Israel was still just a gleam in Zionists’ eyes, and the future state’s military was hardly more than a ragtag group of irregulars, forced to manufacture bullets in a secret facility built underneath a kibbutz. Today, Israel’s military is widely viewed as one of the most effective in the world. Once compelled to arm itself with surplus equipment purchased from more powerful states (and sometimes obtained by stealth), Israel is now one of the world’s six largest arms exporters, earning billions each year through the sale of military equipment to buyers from China and India to Colombia and Russia.

“The Weapon Wizards: How Israel Became a High-Tech Military Superpower” tells the story of this transformation. Written by the Israeli journalists Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot, “The Weapon Wizards” offers a lively account of Israel’s evolving military prowess, from the early days of Jewish paramilitaries operating within the British Mandate to Israel’s recent emergence as exporter of 60 percent of the world’s drones. From satellites and missile defense systems to adaptive armor and cyber weapons, Israel has consistently found ways to circumvent or leapfrog financial and technological barriers.

But Katz and Bohbot aspire to do more than just offer a journalistic history of the Israeli military’s technological advances: They aim to explain just how the tiny Jewish state managed to become such a military innovator. “How did Israel do it?” Katz and Bohbot ask. “What was the secret to Israel’s success?” Their answer: brains, pluck and the bracing prospect of imminent annihilation.

If “The Weapon Wizards” were a novel, it would be one written by Horatio Alger; if it were a biblical allegory, it would be the story of David and Goliath. Katz and Bohbot highlight several interconnected cultural drivers of Israel’s military innovations. Surrounded by enemies at its inception, Israel came to view itself as a nation that could, as Arieh Herzog, a former head of Israel’s missile defense agency, put it, “either innovate or disappear.” Meanwhile, “the Jewish tradition of education and scholarship” led Israel to place a high value on investments in research and development.

Today, Israel devotes a higher percentage of its G.D.P. to research and development than any other country, and Katz and Bohbot note that roughly 30 percent of Israeli R&D goes toward military technologies. Israel also invests in its human resources, with numerous specialized educational programs designed to bring top talent into the military and to send soldiers back to school. (Katz and Bohbot quote Shimon Peres: “We need to invest in soldiers’ brains, not just their muscles.”)

Israel’s small size, combined with its tradition of universal military service, also helps, by ensuring that there’s rarely more than one degree of separation between military officials, scientists and entrepreneurs; as a result, military needs and challenges are quickly and easily communicated to policy makers, academics and financiers.

“The Weapon Wizards” offers plenty of good stories about fascinating people. There’s the young Shimon Peres, negotiating weapons deals in Havana nightclubs. There’s Danny Shapira, the legendary Israeli pilot testing French Mirages. There’s the Israeli official who helps start Israel’s drone program in the late 1960s by buying remote-control airplanes at a Manhattan toy store and sending them back to Israel in the embassy’s diplomatic pouch.

What “The Weapon Wizards” doesn’t offer is any meditation on the political context or implications of Israel’s rise to military superpower status. Katz and Bohbot are cheerleaders, not critics, and there’s little room for introspection in this breathless tale of triumph over adversity. Left largely unmentioned, for instance, is the role of the United States. American security guarantees over the last few decades have kept Israel’s neighbors relatively docile, if not precisely friendly, and nearly a quarter of Israel’s annual defense budget is effectively paid for by the United States. Israel receives more American military aid than every other country in the world combined. A more complete answer to “How did Israel do it?” might be: pluck, brains and billions of dollars of American aid each year.

“The Weapon Wizards” is also largely silent on how Israel uses its military might. Absent is any reflection on the role of the Israeli armed forces in paving the way for the contentious expansion of Jewish settlements into Palestinian territory, for instance, or the Israeli practice of destroying homes occupied by the families of suspected militants, though both have been condemned by the international community.

Katz and Bohbot are similarly uninterested in the brave new world Israel is helping to create. Israel, they note with pride, has “become the first country to master the art of targeted killings,” which have now become “the global standard in the war on terror.” Some might consider this a dubious honor. To Katz and Bohbot, however, targeted killings are interesting only because they showcase the combination of “cutting-edge technology, high quality intelligence, and Israel’s best and brightest minds.”

Israel, Katz and Bohbot note, is “changing the way wars are being fought around the globe.” Readers will have to decide for themselves if this is something to cheer or mourn.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

An IAF Surgical Strike …

Posted on February 4, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized |

An Indian Air Force French-made Mirage 2000 jet. Article by Sudhi Ranjan Sen Deputy Editor (News) HUFFINGTON POST

It was about 2 am on 31 July, 2002. Flight Lieutenant Rajiv Mishra, a 29-year-old fighter pilot, was woken up at his living quarters at the Ambala Air Force Station. Leave for Srinagar immediately with laser designation equipment, he was told. A transport aircraft was ready and waiting at the base.

Mishra flew the Jaguar fighter jet of the Indian Air Force. But that night he had not been woken up to fly. The IAF had recently acquired laser guidance systems from Israel. The technology helped fighter pilots to hit targets accurately once the target has been designated on the system. Mishra was regarded a wizard with the new technology.

On board the transporter, Mishra and his two colleagues were briefed by the members of the IAF Strike Cell,. The mission was stunning — they had to “light up” Pakistan positions along the Line of Control — the de facto border. ‘Light up’ is military talk for designating a target on the laser guidance system. They grasped the implication immediately: Indian fighter jets would lock on and hit the Pakistani positions, something the IAF has rarely done during peace time.

It was a sensitive moment in the fraught India-Pakistan ties. Militants had stormed the Indian Parliament just seven months ago, in December 2001, triggering a massive military mobilization and standoff on both sides of the border and along the Line of Control. India called it Operation Parakram.

BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister and George Fernandes the defence minister. Between May and June 2002, tensions between India and Pakistan were at its heights, following the Kaluchak massacre in May and a failed mediation effort by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

India’s defence apparatus suspected a Kargil-like troop build up situation near a border post in the Kel area in the Kupwara sector. Pakistani troops were raining shells on Indian positions from there. There was a need for strong retaliation.

The initial plan was to send in the India Army to attack the Pakistani positions but it was shelved after consultation with the then Army Chief, General Sundararajan Padmanabhan. Instead of a ground assault, it was decided to soften Pakistani positions using the IAF.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

“Typical cold start doctrine in the Air Force terminology was put in practice. The details of this should remain cold. No one should talk about it. What it was intended for was successful,” then Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy, told HuffPost India.

This account has been pieced together by speaking with multiple people directly involved with the operation. All of them agreed to speak, following months of persuasion, on the condition of anonymity. The IAF declined to comment, as did Flt Lt Mishra, who is now a retired officer and works as a commercial pilot. Typical for a special operation, this mission carried no name.

“Light It Up”

In the tense summer of 2002, the task of carrying out the strikes fell on the Western Air Command. Fighter aircraft including the French-made Mirage 2000, British-made Jaguar fighters and the Russian MiG-21 were moved to forward bases. While the mission was planned to take off from Srinagar, all forward air bases on the West Border were put on alert to be ready for a potential Pakistan retaliation.

That is when Flt Lt Mishra and two colleagues were tasked with “lighting up” the target. Today this can be done using different and more advanced technology. In 2002, it required someone operating from the line of sight of a target to designate it on the laser guidance system. That was going to be the job of the three-men team led by Flt Lt Mishra.

The Half Hour Wait

On the night of 31, senior officials met for the last time at Srinagar go over the details. New Delhi was informed after all ends were tied up. The team was told to wait. Nearly half hour later, the message came back–it was green.

On first light, the team was air lifted from the Srinagar airport on 1 August. Doors of the single-engine Cheetah helicopter had been removed. They would soon find out why.

As the helicopter neared the LoC, they could hear the blasts from the incessant shelling underway. They flew low, close to the ground. When they neared a BSF post just on the LoC, the three men jumped. Their equipment was dropped from the helicopter, and was grabbed by two BSF soldiers. They immediately had to duck into a foxhole. Shells landed on the post even as the Cheetah swiftly moved away.

The IAF fighters had to climb three mountains before they could get close enough to the targets to designate them. They were operating at an altitude of 16,000 feet, with rarefied air, making breathing difficult.

Missing Camouflage

The Pakistani positions were on an incline and covered with heavy foliage; it was impossible to light up the targets from a distance. They had to go closer. This eventuality had not been accounted for. This meant the IAF men didn’t have any camouflage on them. If they walked from the BSF post further, they would be artillery fodder in minutes, because the helicopter movement would have alerted the Pakistani posts.

Time was ticking away — the operations could commence only after the targets had been well identified. They managed to source two camouflage jackets from the BSF post but the three men decided to march on anyway. On the way, they found trees splattered with blood. The night before, the Indian Army had foiled an infiltration bid. The bloodstains on the trees were that of the infiltrating terrorists.

The IAF team had to climb three mountains before they could get close enough to the targets to designate them. They were operating at an altitude of 16,000 feet, with rarefied air, making breathing difficult. Finally after much effort they could close enough to identify and designate the targets on the laser guidance system. Once the job was done, they fell back to a post that was jointly manned by the BSF and the Indian Army.

On the way, they found trees splattered with blood. The night before, the Indian Army had foiled an infiltration bid. The bloodstains on the trees were that of the infiltrating terrorists.

The Gathering Force

As Ft Lt Mishra and his two colleagues waited in a darkened bunker, Indian Army’s Special Forces started moving into the post. Pakistani guns were in full flow. The only lantern in the bunker had been covered with black paper and put underneath a cot. Even a flicker of light would attract shells. Nonetheless, a Major of the Artillery Unit was calculating the Pakistani gun positions and relaying it back.

2 August 2002

As Ft Lt Mishra, his colleagues and the Special Forces waited, a bit of bad news came in–fighter jets weren’t being able to take-off because of bad weather. As Pakistan continued to pound Indian posts, everyone dug in. The final assault was pushed back twice. Finally, at 1:30 pm on 2 August, the code came through. The fighters had taken off and the assault had begun.

Mirage-2000 fighters dipped over the horizon, locked on the laser beams and bombed the Pakistani bunkers in the Kel area in Kupwara sector. Due to the sensitive nature of the operation, we are withholding the number of aircraft used in operation and the exact location where the strike took place. The Pakistani bunkers were reduced to rubble. The casualties are unknown.

Shocked by the surprise air raid, the Pakistanis were quick to take counter-measures to confuse the second wave of fighter jets. Left with no option, The IAF team would break radio silence and communicate to the incoming fighters. They directed them correctly. Pakistan would open up its heavy artillery guns–this time to target the Army-BSF post on the LoC where they had taken refuge.

Due to the sensitive nature of the operation, we are withholding the number of aircraft used in operation and the exact location where the strike took place. The Pakistani bunkers were reduced to rubble. The casualties are unknown.

Ft Lt Mishra and his team would soon begin their long trek back to safety as the Indian Army’s Special Forces moved in to eliminate any remaining Pakistani soldiers. By evening the Pakistani guns had fallen silent.

Pakistan never retaliated to the 2002 air strikes. The Vajpayee-led NDA government at the time was happy to keep the strikes under wraps. That the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army were deployed to destroy Pakistan’s military capabilities remained known all these years to just a handful of people in the political and civilian leadership, apart from those involved in the operation.

Flt Lt Mishra retired from the IAF as a Wing Commander.

Because the secret operation was never placed on record, no one involved has received a gallantry medal.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...