Loving Tribute to a Soldier by a Lover of Soldiering …

Posted on July 20, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Uncategorized |

Brigadier ® Jafar Khan (18 August 1939 – 11 May 2017) – Hamid Hussain

Brigadier ® Jafar Khan passed away in May 2017. Jafar belonged to a family with long association with the army. His grandfather was Khan Bahadur Risaldar Major Malik Muhammad Gulsher Khan Gheba. Born in 1860, young Gulsher was an expert horseman. In 1880, he rode into Mardan with his horse and servant to join legendary Guides (then a mixed regiment of cavalry & infantry).

As far as regimental pride and reputation was concerned Guides was ‘it’. Eager young Pathan, Punjabi Muslim, Sikhs, Afghan, Gurkha and even men from Persia and Turkistan showed up at Guides headquarters in Mardan. Discipline was not maintained by regulations but a simple threat of being discharged from Guides was shameful enough for any man to show slackness. Guides were never short of funds and raised money from willing recruits. Some were willing to pay the princely sum of 300 rupees to join the regiment. At any given time, as many as thirty would be recruits attached themselves with Guides without pay and bringing their own horse and servant. They accompanied the regiment in the battle with the hope that if a man became casualty they would be enlisted on the spot.

This was the Guides that Gulsher joined. After eleven years of service with the regiment, he retired in 1891 at the rank of Daffadar. This short service was norm for some young men of landed aristocracy as they went back to administer their agricultural lands. His close friend and regimental buddy was Malik Muzzafar Khan Tiwana of Shahpur. Muzzafar retired as Jamadar of Guides. Gulsher accompanied his friend to Shahpur to manage the land. Muzzafar recommended Gulsher to British authorities when a remount depot was established at Sargodha. Gulsher was recalled and appointed Viceroy Commissioned Officer (VCO) Risaldar of the depot. He remained at the depot as Chief Native Officer until his death.

Gulsher was an expert horseman and given the title of “Shahsawar-e-Hind” (Horseman of India). He attended coronation Durbar in Delhi on 09 December 1911. A young English woman Ethel Grace Smith; wife of Sergeant Major Fred Killburn of 2nd Regiment Royal Artillery was in the audience at Delhi Durbar. She remembered the ‘tattoo’ in the evening and it was a scene from a fairy tale. A handsome Indian on his horse appeared against the night sky. Gulsher riding his favorite mare ‘Gul-e-Mahboob’ climbed about hundred stairs lit by lamps on both sides of the main platform and then climbed down with the same grace. The man and the horse performed like a symphony to a dazzled audience and this was Gulsher at his best. Little did she know that her family will be linked with the family of this Indian? Ethel’s grand-daughter Rosemary Young married grandson of Gulsher; Muhammad Sarfaraz Khan in 1955. Gulsher died suddenly from possibly a brain hemorrhage in 1913 at the age of fifty three.

Gulsher named his son Malik Muzzafar Khan Gheba (1901-1989) after his close friend. On the recommendation of another Tiwana stalwart Malik Omar Hayat Khan, Muzzafar was appointed Jamadar of Remount, Veterinary & Farm Corps (RVF&C). In 1941, he was commissioned as an officer and retired in 1956 at the rank of Captain. He was recalled during 1965 war and promoted Major. Muzzafar’s three sons joined army and all were PIFFERS. Brigadier Muhammad Sarfaraz Khan was from 8 Frontier Force Regiment (8 FF), Colonel Muhammad Mumtaz Khan was from 5 FF and Jafar joined his grandfather’s regiment Guides Cavalry.

Jafar was educated at Lawrence College at Ghora Gali (Peak House 1949-57). College’s alumni are known as Gallians. He joined 21st Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) course and commissioned on 23 April 1960. He excelled at PMA and passed out on top of merit list winning coveted sword of honor.

He joined his grandfather’s legendary Guides Cavalry. Later, he was appointed Adjutant of President’s Body Guards (PBG) in 1964 and he proceeded to command PBG in 1967-68. He reverted back to his regiment in 1968 and attended 1970 staff college course at Quetta. In 1971, he was appointed Brigade Major (BM) of Dacca based 57th Infantry Brigade commanded by Brigadier (later Lieutenant General) Muhammad Jahanzeb “Bobby” Arbab.

Jafar was with his brigade commander Bobby Arbab on 20 March 1971 when 2nd East Bengal Regiment refused to open fire on the crowd blocking the railway crossing at Joydevpur. They fired 62 rounds over the heads of the mob and managed to clear the obstacle without killing anybody. However Brigadier Arbab took their action of refusing to fire into the civilian crowd as “disobedience of lawful command” on their part, the CO 2 East Bengal was removed two/three days later. After the fall of East Pakistan, Jafar was Prisoner of War (POW) in India. Jafar’s brother Sarfaraz after command of 31st Punjab in Sylhet was commanding a Mujahid battalion in East Pakistan theatre and also became POW. To my knowledge, this is the only case of two real brothers who became POWs in 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.

Major Jafar Khan (right) Commandant of President’s Body Guards and Captain Badruddin (left) Adjutant. Badruddin is also sword of honor winner and commissioned in Guides Cavalry.

Jafar was repatriated in 1973 and he raised 52nd Cavalry in Kharian. He commanded his parent Guides Cavalry in Quetta. In 1977, he was appointed Directing Staff (DS) at Staff College Quetta. In 1979, he was promoted Brigadier and appointed Chief Instructor at Staff College. In 1980, he briefly commanded 2nd Independent Armored Brigade at Malir before proceeding to Royal College for Defence Studies (RCDS) course in London. On his return, he commanded 5th Armored Brigade based in Multan. After he was superseded, he served at Personnel and Administration (PA) directorate and then appointed instructor at National Defense College (NDC); now National Defense University (NDU). He retired on 17 August 1992 after thirty two years of distinguished career in the army.

It is not the rank but personality of an officer that is remembered long after they fade away.

Jafar performed very well at RCDS course and came back with the report that ‘an officer destined for highest ranks in Pakistan army’. This was not to be and there were several factors responsible for it. Old regiments have many godfathers and senior officers of the regiment have a major say in appointments and promotions. Command of an old regiment is a very difficult task. If Commanding Officer (CO) is too strict or refuse favors, he is labeled as a ‘difficult’ person and if he is lenient, he is accused by rival regiments for favoring regimental buddies and succumbing to the regimental ‘bhai bandi’ (regimental brotherhood).

Jafar’s command of Guides Cavalry was not an easy one. Officers who have family connection with the regiment are known as ‘claimants’. Jafar himself had a claim on the regiment but there were several ‘claimants’ serving under him. Lieutenant General Fazl-e-Haq ‘Fazli’ was a close friend and confidant of General Zia ul Haq. Jafar had served under Fazli in Guides as well as PBG. Both were very strong headed personalities and relationship was not always smooth. Sons of several former officers of Guides including Colonel ® Pir Abdullah Shah (ex 14th Scinde Horse, Colonel ® Muhammad Umar Khan, Colonel Abbas Durrani and Major General ® Jahanzeb Khan had followed their fathers to Guides. Jafar commanded the regiment without any favor or prejudice.

He was also a strict disciplinarian and this may have resulted in some friction. When Jafar came back from London with an excellent report, General Zia ul Haq told some people that he would like to meet Jafar but a formal official invitation was not sent. Jafar was encouraged by his friends and family members to contact Chief’s office but he refused. He said that the invitation for the meeting has not come from General Head Quarters (GHQ) therefore he will not seek it.

It was also communicated to him that he was being considered for the Military Secretary (MS) to the President position but he informed that he was not interested in the post. The final straw was his relationship with his GOC Major General (later Lieutenant General) Raja Saroop Khan when he was commanding 5th Armored Brigade in Multan. Saroop gave him a very weak Annual Confidential Report (ACR) and Corps Commander Lieutenant General (later General) Rahimuddin Khan concurred with it.

In 1968, Jafar married daughter of Major General Shahid Hamid (ex 3rd Cavalry & RIASC) resulting in linking of two military families. Jafar was a horse lover and inherited this love for horses from his grandfather. He was great polo player and after retirement retreated to his sanctuary; a farm house named ‘spurs’. He enjoyed his sunset years surrounded by his loved ones and soothing is soul with poetry, bird watching and above all the company of his horses.

Brigadier Jafar was a fine officer and a gentleman. He is remembered with fond memories by many who came in contact with him in professional and personal life. Major General Charles Vyvyan of British army who attended National Defence College (NDC) where Jafar was his instructor had these words for him, “We were in awe of him at NDC – of his unprecedented range of personal qualities and professional abilities, of his huge reserves of moral courage and physical stamina, of his intellectual curiosity, of his integrity, and of his humanity which few could match. There was a craze amongst the younger generation at the end of the last century, to wear bracelets with ‘WWJD’ engraved on them: ‘what would Jesus do’. To me, it always asked ‘what would Jafar do’ – for me, Jafar was someone who’s wisdom, whose advice and guidance, and whose generosity was always a lone star!”

The author of the history of the Guides wrote about the shrine of Guides in Mardan ‘a little kingdom barely a mile square, but full of happy associations for all who have lived there. It is a quiet, unassuming spot, which year by year has bred, and sent forth to fight, many a gallant officer and brave soldier; and which in future years hopes to keep bright the shining record of great deeds that have gone before’. Jafar was a link in that chain. Jafar has now joined his fellow PIFFERS gone before him and I’m sure he is happy in the company of officers, VCOs/JCOs and Other Ranks (ORs) reminiscing about the deeds of valor done over one hundred and sixty years history of the regiment.

Old Soldiers Never Die – They just Fade Away

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Hamid Hussein’s Second Post on the ‘Arab’ World …

Posted on July 1, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Uncategorized |

On June 05, 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates (UAE) severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and also placed land and air embargo. The simmering differences between Qatar and its Arab neighbors reached the boiling point.

Qatar is a small country but in the last two decades it has shown its presence on the international scene. Qatar began as a broker of negotiations and mediator of conflicts. This combined with humanitarian and cultural interactions earned recognition and respect. However its recent involvement in armed conflicts had negative fallout. Its policies clashed with interests of Saudi Arabia and Egypt – two heavy weights of the Middle East.

Older generations of Saudi royal family worked on the Bedouin traditions and avoided public clashes with fellow Arabs. The new generation is removed from the traditions of their fathers, are more ambitious and at times reckless.

There are three main players in the current showdown and include the 37 year old Emir of Qatar Shaikh Tamim bin Hammad al Thani, 31 year old son of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Muhammad Bin Salman (known in western circles as Mr. Everything) and 56 year old Crown Prince of UAE Shaikh Muhammad Bin Zayed al Nahiyan. Their interests are a complex set of ideology, opportunism, ambition, tribal, clan and family dynamics.

The Q – How did Qatar embark on an ambitious foreign policy agenda that ran afoul of these powerful countries?

The 1868 treaty with Britain ensured Qatar’s territorial integrity especially against the expanding power of al Saud – next door big brother. British guarantee came with control of its foreign policy. In 1971, Britain departed and Qatar’s territorial integrity was guaranteed by the United States but Qatar now controlled its own foreign policy. And Qatar hosted a U.S. Air Force base (al-Udeid base near Doha).

Internally, Qatari population is more cohesive with majority Sunni. Qatar is the only other country apart from Saudi Arabia that adheres to Wahhabi school albeit a softer version and ruled by a Sunni Arab tribal family al-Thani considered first among equals (this is in contrast to neighboring Bahrain where a Sunni family rules a disenfranchised Shia majority).

Native Qatari population of a little over 300’000 out of a total of about 2.2 million and with a sovereign wealth of over $240 billion makes the job of rulers easy. They provide cradle to grave benefits to all native Qataris. Natives are content with free education, overseas education scholarships, first rate healthcare, secure lucrative jobs and a worry free future. This ensures legitimacy of al-Thani ruling family and there is no threat from a disgruntled population.

It is in this background that Qatar felt confident and embarked on policies that ran contrary to the policies of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Qatar also hosts Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera that gives coverage to dissidents of many Arab countries. This has been a bone of contention between Qatar and several Arab countries. However, major irritant is Qatar’s support for Islamist groups of the Arab world especially Muslim Brotherhood branch of Egypt.

Initially, Qatar tried to mediate between Islamist opposition groups and ruling Arab regimes.

The Arab spring of 2011 changed Qatar’s calculus. Qatar saw it as an emerging trend and tried to ride the wave. It openly supported President Muhammad Morsi of Egypt and provided $12 billion to prop up his government amidst economic crisis. But a year later, Morsi was overthrown by strongman Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sissi . Saudi Arabia and EAE rushed to his aid provided financial support worth of several billion dollars.

Sissi cracked down on Muslim Brotherhood and several leaders found refuge in Qatar. Now Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE are in one corner and Qatar is in the other.

In 2011, Libya erupted and Qatar supported Libyan Islamists with arms and money. Qatar’s two main armed proxies in Libya were Ali al-Sallabi and Abdul Hakim Belhaj. After Gaddafi’s removal and death, the country fractured into militia fiefdoms. Two main rival umbrella groups are now involved in civil war of Libya between Islamist controlled General National Congress (GNC) and secular Libyan House of Representatives (LHR).

Different armed groups and militias have joined these rival groups for control of the country. Qatar is supporting armed groups of GNC and rival armed groups of LHR are supported by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar is the head of Libyan National Army; the name given to LHR armed groups.

Qatar replicated the Libyan template when protests started in Syria against President Bashar al Assad in 2011. Shaikh Hammad (Tamim’s father) was a personal friend of Bashar and their wives were also close friends. Hammad dumped his friend and provided arms and money to opposition groups – mainly Islamists.

Muslim Brotherhood played a major role in Syrian National Congress (SNC); an umbrella group of different opposition groups. Qatar had significant influence over SNC in view of general support of the Brotherhood. However, when Iran and Hezbollah openly sided with Bashar and early military gains of the opposition groups were reversed, Qatar also hedged its bet.

It now embarked on a dangerous journey in search for a more effective armed proxy and found itself in bed with Jabhat al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda affiliate). This was followed by support for Ahrar al Sham al Islamiyyah; a salafist militant group that became most effective in the military campaign against Assad.

In the byzantine world of Middle East conflicts, Saudi Arabia was initially supporting salafist militant groups but later Qatar and Turkey became main supporters of Ahrar al-Sham. Saudi Arabia is now supporting Ahmad al Jarba whose fighters are trained by U.S. Special Forces.

In Palestine and occupied territories, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also supporting opposing groups. Qatar has been supporting Hamas in Gaza strip while Saudi Arabia and Egypt support Palestinian Authority (PA) in West Bank. Qatar’s financial support to Hamas and residence of some Hamas leaders in Qatar is resented by PA. They are of the view that Hamas rule in Gaza would have collapsed long time ago without Qatar’s help.

Qatar and Iran have shared economic interests and Qatar kept economic, diplomatic and security channels open with Tehran despite hostility of Saudi Arabia and UAE towards Iran. Qatar tried to walk a fine line to avoid open hostility of both Saudi Arabia and Iran. If one policy ran afoul, Qatar tried to compensate with other gestures.

For example in Syria, Qatar was openly supporting armed groups fighting Iranian and Hezbollah fighters but softening the friction by directly signing security and economic treaties with Tehran. Qatar also supported U.S.-Iran nuclear deal that all other Arab countries opposed. It cooperated with Saudi Arabia in many areas to allay their anxieties.

The biggest unknown is unpredictability of new US president Donald Trump. The most serious concern will be if President Trump throws his lot with Saudi Arabia. In that case a simple threat of moving the U.S. troops from al-Udeid base in Qatar to neighboring UAE will take out the life insurance policy of Qatar. This will force Qatar to make concessions.

This move may also embolden Saudis and end up in more reckless decisions. Qatar on its own part will try to appease the new American administration by another American weapons purchase binge.

Kuwait is the preferred mediator as it understands local dynamics. There are several concessions that Qatar will likely offer especially in areas not directly affecting Qatar’s vital interests. The list will include asking Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood members as well as Hamas leaders to find a new home most likely in Turkey and pulling some support from its proxies in Syria and Libya.

It will also ask Al Jazeerah to tone down criticism of neighboring countries. Qatar’s relations with Iran will be kept at current levels with no new agreements in the short term.

If these concessions satisfy Saudi Arabia and Egypt then de-escalation process can start. However, it must be remembered that Shaikh Tamim is also an Arab and he will need some face saving to maintain his dignity and not be seen as capitulating.

A side show of the side show will be the impact on occupied territories in Palestine. PA is taking advantage of the precarious situation of its main backer of Hamas. It has decreased payment to Israel for electricity supply to Gaza and increased tariffs on diesel fuel that may result in forty percent cut down of electricity supply to Gaza. PA has already stopped medicine and medical equipment supply to Gaza. This is complemented by complete blockade of Gaza by Egypt. The hope is that this squeeze of Gaza population will force them to re-think about their support of Hamas.

Thoe new Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar was summoned to Egypt and read the riot act. He was bluntly asked to start thinking about rolling back Hamas rule in Gaza and allow some space for Muhammad Dahlan – an old PA hand in Gaza and potential successor of Mahmud Abbas. Dahlan is based in Dubai and close friend of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed and Egyptian President al-Sissi.

Hamas is already feeling the heat from several directions and considering concessions on many grounds. The clear and present danger is that this multi-faceted conflict between Palestinians and worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza will provide the perfect breeding ground for Daesh to get a foothold in the fertile terrain of hopelessness, misery, anger and resentment.

Thanks to Palestinian infighting and changed ground realities, if ever a deal is reached it will not be a two state but a three state solution.

The price of brinkmanship is usually paid by subjects and ripple effect goes beyond the borders of their countries. Leaders surrounded by court jesters and with modus operandi of making decisions on whims and in fits of anger without serious thought and without informed counsel usually end up in blind alleys.

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Hamid Hussein’s First of Two Posts on the Arab World …

Posted on July 1, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Uncategorized |

Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) has upped the ante with a soft coup of his own securing the Crown Prince seat by breaking tradition and family agreement – that a sovereign will not appoint his own son as heir.

Let’s see how Qatar reacts. If it stands its ground then its only external support from Turkey will take the conflict into Arab – Non Arab within the Sunni community.

However, Turkey is on shaky ground. In addition to diving head first into the Syrian civil war with all its negative fallout, Erdogan is also fighting his own rearguard action with a whole lot of angry jobless, police, intelligence and military personnel.

In addition, the Kurdish genie is trying to get out of the bottle. Iran is another potential supporter of Qatar but there is vigorous internal debate within Iran between moderates and hardliners. Hardliners in the forefront of the war in Syria with a number of fighters killed fighting against the very forces financed and armed by Qatar are happy to see Qatar biting the dust. They are advocating a hands off policy and let the Arabs stew in their own juice even if not pouring kerosene on the fire.

Moderates are arguing that there is golden opportunity provided by internal Arab conflict to weaken the coalition against Tehran. They advocate using this back door to Qatar to divide Arab camp. So far Tehran has only provided some food supplies to Qatar and at least earned some goodwill of Qataris.

Media is another weapon of war and in Arab world only Qatar has this weapon. Qatar has the widely watched and respected al-Jazeerah which they can unleash on their foes.

Saudi Arabia has provided bad optics to Arabs by fawning over the most unpopular U.S. President in Muslim world and who is embroiled in his own ‘twitter tantrums’ and a cloud of investigations.

On this landscape, Qatar is just a blimp. Al-Jazeerah can tap into this discontent in the Arab street by beaming into their homes unpalatable truths about naughty and reckless princes.

If this escalation scenario unfolds then both Qatar and Saudi Arabia will question the very legitimacy of the ruling family and support the dissidents. Not a pleasant scenario with each prince retreating into his own tribal, clan or family.

This may open the ‘mother of all mayhem’ which Arab rulers and societies are oblivious of despite watching on their television screens every day. There is fertile ideological ground for Daesh in Arab societies especially in Saudi Arabia. In many Arab countries, societies fearful of Daesh accepted the lesser evil of autocracy with significant restriction on their freedom and participation in the affairs of their country.

Whenever there was a call from civil society for more freedom or participation in the decision making process, the rulers quickly pointed that look at Iraq – this is what democracy looks like. Do you want that? If not then take this check, enjoy yourself and leave the dirty business of governance to us.

Nation states ruled by autocrats are artificial states and as soon as the ‘man with the longest knife’ is removed either by outside forces or internal revolt, the society collapses from its own weight. One need not look too far – Iraq, Libya, Syria are good examples.

If legitimacy of rulers is severely compromised by their own ill-conceived policies in context of oncoming battlefield defeat of Daesh on the killing fields of Syria and adjacent Iraq then all surviving members will retreat to their native lands. And just like a rabid dog rapidly spread the disease to other healthy dogs, there could be exponential growth of Daesh.

The Arabs returning from the killing fields of Afghanistan called Aghansi returned to Egypt and Algeria and perpetrated horrendous atrocities. Not too many people know but this culture of slaughtering humans like sheep was first performed by these Afghansi in Algeria.

The theological stance of Daesh is very clear and they have repeatedly articulated in their publications. They consider all Arab ruling regimes as apostate and hence deserving the treatment worse than that afforded to an infidel. Bombing of the most holy Muslim sites is as fair as bombinga on the streets of Manchester, Berlin and Brussels.

These societies are sleep walking towards the gates of hell and they don’t know it. A thoughtful citizenry and even a half witted leadership should be able to grasp this and change course.

I may be totally off the mark, but I have come to a bizarre conclusion. Real degradation of Daesh will most likely come from a very unexpected source and that is Israel.

Daesh already has a strong presence in Syria and Sinai in Egypt, rising its profile in Jordan and now if it is able to get a foothold in Gaza (less favorable terrain for it in West Bank) then Israel will be surrounded on four sides with the threat of Daesh. If Israeli strategic community perceives it as a strategic threat to its own well being, then only Israel has clear thought process, necessary skills, competence and ruthlessness on the operational plane.

These are the essential elements of a policy to degrade the threat to a level where it becomes more a nuisance rather than affecting the social and economic health of a nation. If this happens, this will be the second most prized gift of Jews to Muslims after contribution of Jewish philosophers and physicians of Muslim Spain.

Former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al Faisal once said to a CIA operative, ‘ we don’t do operations, we only write checks’. These suckers are going to write many more checks to strangers but see their own people die in most miserable conditions. Just one example; Yemen is facing famine and cholera epidemic and UN has sent an urgent appeal for merely $ 2 billion. Major chunk has been contributed by non-Muslim countries.

On the other hand Saudis are buying ships for littoral seas worth several billion dollars for which they don’t have any Saudi sailors to man. They don’t realize that the real threat is from a Saudi who puts explosives in his own ass and come to meet interior minister to blow him up (this actually happened but small amount of explosive that can be deposited in one’s own rectum meant that only the creative operator died without harming anyone else).

A fancy ship and slick, shiny F-16 will not work against this threat. Qatar will be spending $500 million per MONTH (it is month and not a year) for the next two years to prepare for soccer world cup. Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Tamim’s mother has bought a 200 million sterling pound property in London to convert into her palace. At least this is a better fall back plan so that in case ruling family loses or the country collapses, they will have a comfortable exile. Arab societies consist of some of the most charming people one can meet, thoughtful men and women, poets and artists and they deserve much better.

“The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of our adversities”. Sophocles

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16th Light Cavalry n Other Units – A Look Back but Not in Anger …

Posted on June 6, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Personalities, Regimental |

By Hamid Hussein –

In September 2013, militants attacked the officer’s mess of 16th Cavalry in Kashmir.  Luckily, all officers were at gun cleaning after morning physical training (PT).  CO Colonel Avin Uthaiya and Second-in-Command Lieutenant Colonel Bikramjeet Singh had come back after morning PT.  Bikramjeet and one jawan ran towards the guard room to grab weapons.  Both were shot dead by militants.  CO and Quick Reaction Team (QRT) surrounded the militants and engaged them.  CO was hit and his elbow was shattered.  Regiment had brought out few tanks and CO climbed on one of the tanks with his shattered arm and tried to run down a militant outside the building.  CO was shot second time in the chest and evacuated.  Probably first time in an armor unit history, Captain Arpam Bose leveled his gun on the regiment’s own mess and shot off two high explosive shells into the building.  An officer of 2 Sikh was attached to the unit doing a computer course.  He rang up his unit and pretty soon QRT of 2 Sikh was at the scene.  They were joined by soldiers from 9th Special Force (SF) battalion.  They carried out the mopping up and cleaning operation of the buildings killing all three militants (These events were narrated by an officer of 16th Cavalry and published in The Times of India, 02 October 2013).

Now a look Back to the OLD TIMES – First a Historic Photo in which needed corrections are given.PP3

Corrected as follows – First Row Seated: Left to Right: Captain Khalid Jan, Captain Hira Lal Atal, Second-in-Command (2IC) Major Basil Holmes, DSO, Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel A. H. Williams, MC (with dog in his lap), Major Faiz Muhammad Khan, Captain K. M. Idris (11), Risaldar Major Ugam Singh (12). First Row Standing: Left to Right: Unidentified VCO, Lieutenant Inder Sen Chopra (3), Lieutenant Enait Habibullah (4), Lieutenant K. K. Verma (5), Captain S. D. Verma (6), Captain M. S. Wadalia (7), Lieutenant Ghanshyam Singh (8), Lieutenant J. K. Majumdar (9), Lieutenant P. S. Nair (10) and unidentified VCO.

 16th Light Cavalry was one of the first cavalry regiment of the Indian army that was Indianized.  7th Light Cavalry was the second cavalry regiment that was Indianized and later 3rd Cavalry was also earmarked for Indianization.  Disproportionately, large number of future senior cavalry officers of Indian and Pakistani armies belonged to these three Indianized cavalry regiments. They were the founding fathers of armored corps of Indian and Pakistan armies.

King Commissioned Indian Officers (KCIOs) were graduates of Sandhurst and Indian Commissioned Officers (ICOs) were trained at Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehra Dun. During the war, Indian officers were commissioned as Emergency Commissioned Officers (ECOs) after only six months of training. The picture is circa 1936, therefore most Indian officers are KCIOs and only two ICOs as first IMA batch known as ‘pioneers’ was commissioned in December 1934. Both are from the first IMA course.

Major Basil Holmes: In this 1936 picture, he was Second-in-Command (2IC) of the regiment. He was an Australian and served with Australian army during First World War.  He was ADC to his father Major General William Holmes who was killed by a shell in France during a tour. He won Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in First World War. After the war, he transferred to Indian army and after a career of twenty one years in India, retired as Colonel and went back to Australia.

Lieutenant Colonel Austin Henry Williams (1890-1973): He was commissioned in 38th Central India Horse in 1909. In Great War, he fought with his regiment in France and won Military Cross (MC).  In 1922, 38th and 39th Central India Horse regiments were amalgamated to form 21st Central India Horse. He served as Adjutant and later squadron commander of the regiment. In 1933, he was transferred to 16th Cavalry as Second-in-Command of the regiment. In 1934, he was appointed Commanding Officer (CO) of the regiment and he held this position until 1938. He then served as commandant of Equitation School at Saugor and when this school was closed in August 1939, he became commandant of Small Arms School. He retired at Brigadier rank and after partition of India in 1947 moved to South Africa.  He was an accomplished international polo player and was member of Indian army polo team that visited United States in 1927.

Lieutenant Harbhajan Singh: He came to IMA via Patiala State Forces.  As evidenced from his picture, he was very tall and was member of the color party of IMA.  He retired as Brigadier of Indian army.

Lieutenant Muhammad Afzal: He was member of a military family and son of Risaldar Major Fazal Dad Khan (12th Cavalry). His five brothers; Major General Muhammad Akbar Khan (Probyn’s Horse & RIASC), Major General Muhammad Iftikhar Khan (7th Light Cavalry), Major General Muhammad Anwar Khan (Engineers), Brigadier Muhammad Zafar Khan (RIASC) and Brigadier Muhammad Yousef Khan (RIASC) served with Indian and Pakistan armies.

He later transferred to Royal Indian Army Service Corps (RIASC).  He retired as Brigadier of Pakistan army.

Captain Khalid Jan: He was the scion of Afghan royal family section settled in Peshawar.  He was the grandson of legenry Colonel Sardar Muhammad Aslam Khan of Khyber Rifles and son of Brigadier Sir Hissam-uddin Khan.  He attended Royal Indian Military College (RIMC) at Dehra Dun.  He was commissioned in August 1928 from Sandhurst.  In 1940, he went to Indian Cavalry Training Centre (ICTC).  During Second World War, he served with Persia-Iraq command in Middle East.  In 1946, when he returned to India, he served with Guides Cavalry for a short period of time before assuming command of 25/8 Punjab Regiment (Garrison battalion).  In 1947, he commanded 3rd Mahar Regiment during internal security duties in East Punjab.  In 1947, he opted for Pakistan army and his Pakistan Army number was 13 (PA-13). He was the first native commanding officer of 1/12 Frontier Force Regiment (now 3 Frontier Force Regiment) from October 1947 – October 1948.  He later transferred to Remount, Veterinary and Farm Corps (RV&FC). He retired at Lieutenant Colonel rank of Pakistan army. His elder brother Ahmad Jan was commissioned in 1927 in 7th Light Cavalry.  He retired at Brigadier rank of Pakistan army.

Captain Hira Lal Atal (1905-1985):  He was a Kashmiri pandit and son of Major Dr. Pyare Lal Atal of Indian Medical Service (IMS).  He was medical officer of 59th Scindh Rifles (later 6/13 Frontier Force Rifles and now 1 Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistan army).  He died in First World War in November 1914 in France when the house serving as hospital collapsed from artillery shelling. Hira Lal was commissioned in January 1925 from Sandhurst and joined 16th Light Cavalry. He served with 47th Cavalry on frontier duty during the war.  He later commanded 18th Cavalry in 1945.  After partition, he commanded 1 Armored Division of Indian army and also served as commander of UP Area. He was the first native Adjutant General (AG) of Indian army.  He retired as Major General of Indian army.

His younger brother was Kanhiya Lal ‘Bagga’ Atal (1913 – 1949).  He was from the first IMA course and commissioned in 6/13th Frontier Force Rifles. His father had died with his boots on while tending to the wounded comrades of the same battalion in France.  He fought Second World War on Eritrean front.  In 1948 Kashmir war, he commanded 77 Para Brigade.  In 1949, he was Brigadier when he died at the age of 35 from heart attack during a hunting trip.

Major Faiz Mohammad Khan: He was commissioned in July 1921 from Sandhurst.  He was the first Indian commissioned officer posted to 16th Cavalry. He was from the ruling family of the state of Maler Kotla. In 1927, he was seconded to Indian Political Service (IPS) for six years.  He spent three years as Military Secretary to Maler Kotla State Forces and returned back to 16th Cavalry in September 1936.  Two years later, he was posted to 15th Lancers (then converted into a training regiment). At the time of partition, he was the second senior most Pakistan army officer and assigned Pakistan Army Number 2 (PA-2).  He transferred to Army Services Corps (ASC) and served as director RV & FC.  He retired at Brigadier rank of Pakistan army. His grandson Colonel Sohail served with 26th Cavalry of Pakistan army.

Captain Khairuddin Mohammad Idris: Known as K.M. ‘Shrimp’ Idris.  He was commissioned in September 1925 from Sandhurst.  He later raised and commanded war time raised 44th Cavalry.  At the time of partition, he was commanding 3rd Cavalry.  Muslim component of 3rd Cavalry was detached and regiment left for India.  His Pakistan Army number was 4 (PA-4). He commanded 3rd Armored Brigade of Pakistan army.  He retired at Brigadier rank of Pakistan army. He was a great polo player.  His two sons Major Owais Idris (13th Lancers) and Lieutenant Colonel Shuaib Idris (12th Cavalry) also proudly served Pakistan army.

Lieutenant Inder Sen Chopra: He was commissioned in January 1931 from Sandhurst.  He transferred to Indian Political Service (IPS) early in his service in 1937 and served as political officer of Loralai in Baluchistan.  Later, he joined Indian Foreign Service.  In early 1950s, he was chief of protocol.  As a former cavalry officer steeped in traditions of appropriate and formal dress, he had many nightmares when politicians showed up at president house in native dress despite reminders about formal attire.  He served as ambassador to Sweden, Iraq and Argentina.

Lieutenant Enait Habibullah: Shaikh Enaith Bahadur Habibullah was from a taluqdar family of Oudh and son of Shaikh Muhammad Habibullah who served as Vice Chancellor of University of Lucknow.  Muhammad was an enlightened feudal and wanted a different course for his children.  He sent all three sons to England for education.  Enaith was educated at Clifton College and commissioned in August 1930 from Sandhurst.  During Second World War, he served with 16th Cavalry.  In 1947, he opted for Indian army.  He was the first commandant of National Defence Academy (NDA). He retired at Major General rank of Indian army. His two brothers Issat Bahadur Habibullah and Ali Bahadur Habibullah opted for Pakistan.

Lieutenant Krishna Kumar Verma:  K. K. ‘String’ Verma was commissioned in February 1933 from Sandhurst.  He later transferred to 3rd Cavalry when this regiment was Indianized.  At the time of partition, he was serving at Quarter Master General (QMG) branch.  He retired at Brigadier rank.

Sardar Mohinder Singh Wadalia: He was nick named ‘Wad’.  He was commissioned in January 1929 from Sandhurst.  He was originally commissioned in 4/19 Hyderabad Regiment but later transferred to 16th Cavalry. He served as Chief of General Staff (CGS) and Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) and retired at Lieutenant General rank of Indian army.

Captain Shiv Dev Verma: He was from Lyallpur (Pakistan). He was commissioned in January 1929 from Sandhurst.  In 1947, he was instructor at Staff College at Quetta and was responsible for taking the Indian share of Staff College to India.  He managed to get the Camberly Owl silver trophy for India by arguing that the inscription stated that it was presented by Camberley staff college to ‘Indian staff college’ and as staff college at Quetta will not be called Indian staff college therefore it should go to Indian staff college whenever it is established. He was the founding father and first commandant of Indian staff college and responsible for selecting Wellington as the home for staff college.  He served as Corps Commander and retired at Lieutenant General rank of Indian army.

Verma adopted the Quetta staff college emblem Owl and motto ‘Tam Marte Quam Minerva’ for new Indian Staff College. The survival battle that ‘owl’ fought in India and Pakistan is interesting. In Pakistan, the motto was changed to a Persian saying ‘peer shu be amooz’ (grow old by learning) in 1950 but owl survived.  In 1979, owl lost the battle when Pakistan replaced the owl with an Arabic word ‘Iqra’ (read). Owl also had a hard time in India. Initially Army Headquarters (AHQ) rejected the owl symbol and motto insisting for an Indian symbol and motto.  The debate went on for a while when in 1957, Major General P. S. Gyani argued for retaining the owl as it was used by commonwealth staff colleges. In 1964, the decision was finalized when a Hindi motto ‘Yuddham Pragnaya” (to battle with wisdom) was adopted but owl survived proudly perching on crossed swords. The owl lost in Pakistan but won the battle in India thus keeping a link with the past.

Lieutenant Ghanshyam Singh: He was nick named ‘Popeye’ and commissioned in February 1934 from Sandhurst.  Later transferred to 3rd Cavalry when this regiment was Indianized.

Lieutenant Jai Krishna Majumdar: He was nick named Joy ‘sunshine’ Majumdar. He was son of Captain P. K. Majumdar of Darjeeling.  He was commissioned in August 1933 from Sandhurst.  He died in a plane crash.

Lieutenant Palat Sankaran Nair: He was from Kerala and grandson of Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair; an eminent jurist who served as member of Viceroy’s Council and President of Indian National Congress.  P.S. Nair nick named ‘Bosco’ was commissioned in September 1932 from Sandhurst.  He was originally commissioned in 3rd Cavalry and later transferred to 16th Cavalry. He retired at Brigadier rank of Indian army.

There are several other Indian officers of 16th Cavalry who are not in the picture.  Some were not with the regiment in 1936 while others joined after 1936.  Mirza Rashid Ali Beg was from a respectable Hyderabad family.  His grandfather served as a Rissaldar in Royal Deccan Horse.  His father was an educated government servant and rose to become the first Indian to become Vice President of Council of India in London.  He moved his family to London and Baig lived in England from 1910 to 1923 attending the prestigious Clifton school.  He was selected for Sandhurst and after commission joined elite 16th Light Cavalry in 1925.  For the first time in his life he experienced racial prejudice when he came close to British in military setting.  He along with two other Indian officers (Faiz Muhammad Khan and Sheodat Singh) lived in a separate bungalow called ‘native quarters’.  He resigned his commission in 1930.  He was more of an intellectual bent and felt constrained by highly disciplined military life; however his personal unhappy experience in the army due to racial bias probably was the main reason for his resignation.  Later, he served a long career in Indian diplomatic corps.

Raol Dilawarsinhji Dhansinhji was from the princely state of Bhavnagar. He was educated at Dulwich College in London and commissioned from Sandhurst in 1927.  He resigned his commission in 1933 and then served with Bhavnagar State Forces. Thakur Sheodatt Singh is not in the picture as he was attending Staff College. He retired at Major General rank. Y. S. Paranjpe transferred to infantry battalion 1/7th Rajput regiment.  He commanded a para brigade and retired at Major General rank.

Those who joined after 1936 include Sangram Keshary Rey, Leslie Sawhney, Nawabzada Agha Khan Raza and Zorawar Singh.  S. K. Rey was son of Captain Dr. K. Rey of Indian Medical Service (IMS).  He retired at Brigadier rank and died in 1971 in a tractor accident at his farm. Leslie Sawhney left army early at the rank of Colonel.  He married Rodebeh; younger sister of business tycoon Jahangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata know by his initials JRD. Leslie had great leadership qualities and JRD was planning to make him chairman of Tata Sons. Tragically, in 1966, Leslie dropped dead on the golf course from a massive heart attack.

N.A.K. ‘Windy’ Raza later transferred to 3rd Cavalry.  After partition, he opted for Pakistan and commanded 10th Guides Cavalry (November 1947 – November 1948).  He was the first native to command Guides Cavalry.  He served as Military Attaché in Washington and retired as Brigadier of Pakistan army.  Zorawar Singh ‘Zoru’ (14 February 1920 – 24 December 1994) won the coveted sword of honor on graduating from Indian Military Academy Dehra Dun in 1941. He was commissioned in 16th Light Cavalry but later transferred to Central India Horse (CIH).  He was the first Indian to command CIH in 1947. In 1947-48 Indo-Pakistan war over Kashmir, CIH tanks managed to get to and capture Rajouri under his command in April 1948. He retired at Major General rank of Indian army.

By the end of Second World War in 1945, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel (later General) J. N. ‘Mucchu’ Chaudhuri (ex-7th Cavalry) was commanding 16th Cavalry.  His Second-in-Command was Major S. D. Verma and Captain Shamsher Singh Puri was Adjutant.  Puri later commanded 16th Cavalry.  He served as Military Attache in Germany and retired at Brigadier rank.  Several officers were not with the regiment and attached to other postings.  Major Faiz Muhammad Khan was at recruiting staff, Thakur Sheodat Singh was at Military Intelligence directorate, K. M. Idris was commanding  44th Cavalry and Captain Khalid Jan had gone to 8 Punjab Regiment. M.S. Wadalia and Enait Habibullah were GSOs and N.A.K. Raza was at training centre.

Class composition of the regiment was Rajputs, Jats and Kaim Khanis.  In 1946, it was decided to change the class composition of the regiment and convert it into a South Indian class regiment.  This was finally completed in March 1947.  In 1947 division of armed forces, 16th Cavalry went to India.  It was South Indian single class regiment; therefore there was no headache of interchange of class squadrons.

Acknowledgements: Hamid Hussein thanks many Indian and Pakistan army officers for many details.  All errors and omissions are the author’s sole responsibility.

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India NOT in Win Win mode with Pak …

Posted on June 1, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan |

In the 1983 film WarGames, a nuclear war simulation is accidentally started by a supercomputer designed to take over in the event of the Cold War spiralling out of control. After evaluating all the possibilities, the computer declares that “war is a strange game, in which the only winning move—is not to play.” That advice is possibly true for India right now.

Matter of fact, short of total genocide, no country regardless of its war-withal can hope to achieve a decisive victory with a “short war” in today’s world. That era of “decisive” short wars, especially in the Indo-Pak context, is largely over.
Firstly, the much vaunted Indian military superiority is largely an accounting subterfuge. Sure we have more soldiers, tanks, aircraft, and ships than Pakistan, but banking on mere numbers is misleading and irrelevant in military strategy. Pakistan has successfully locked down over 30% of our army in internal counter insurgency roles that not only sucks in combat troops from their primary roles for prolonged periods, but also alienates the local population in the valley.
The major reason for the Pakistani Op Gibraltar’s failure in 1965 was the overwhelming loyalty of Kashmiri locals towards India. Disguised Pakistani troops who had infiltrated into the valley to incite rebellions were caught by the locals and promptly handed over to the Indian security forces. Fifty years later, sentiment in the valley is very different. And this “turning move” has been achieved by Pakistan with a ridiculously low investment of merely a few hundred terrorists and psychological operations.
Another substantial part of our army is locked down in the North East insurgency and we are still trying to build adequate force levels against our much stronger adversary all along our border with China. India’s Chinese front is in a tenuous state because of decades of neglect and the massive infrastructure China has built to be able to mobilise several divisions in a matter of hours into that theatre.
Most worryingly, Pakistan and China have achieved military interoperability, which is the capability of their two armies to execute joint missions against a common target. Decades of mutual cooperation, technology transfer, training, equipment sales, and of course a common enemy, have welded our two adversaries into a formidable joint force. Pakistan’s accelerated achievements in nuclear technology, missile delivery systems, logistic supply chain of equipment, and spares as well as new-age technologies such as cyber and drone warfare are all the result of cooperation between the two countries.
In contrast, India has not even been able to integrate its three services, what to speak of assimilation with political leadership, industry, academia and indigenous defence capabilities. As Praveen Sahwney points out in his book “The Dragon on our doorsteps,” India has primarily focused on developing its military arsenal whereas Pakistan and China have been developing war waging capabilities, which is a synthesis of many strengths other than just military force.
Secondly, Pakistan has leveraged its geopolitical position far more strategically than India has been able to. India has traditionally relied on moral high ground to achieve global consensus and support. In the aftermath of the Cold War, the world’s largest democracy, wedged in between a communist adversary and a rapidly radicalising Islamic nation got global mindshare and sympathy. Though none of that translated into meaningful benefits for India per se, our foreign policy continues to have the hangover of “doing the right thing.” Unfortunately, in the harsh reality of the contemporary world that doesn’t count for much.
Russia, our traditional all-weather friend, has far greater bonhomie with both the US and China than ever before. The US needs Pakistan to achieve closure in Afghanistan so much so, that despite the blatant betrayal of shielding America’s public enemy number one, Osama bin Laden, the US has no choice but to continue supporting Pakistan financially and militarily. On the other hand Pakistan’s dependence on the US has reduced dramatically with China filling in the gap.
China’s “One Belt One Road” project coursing through the length of Pakistan has pretty much made the two permanent partners. China’s economic aspirations and access to the Arabian Sea through Baluchistan ending at Gwadar port is a strategic masterstroke by Pakistan and China. Not only is it a win-win for them but it is also a “lose-lose” for India for many reasons.
Firstly, the only area where India could try a meaningful riposte to Pakistan-sponsored insurgency would be Baluchistan. By tying in China’s stake of keeping Baluchistan under control, Pakistan has made it extraordinarily difficult for India to make any aggressive move in its south without threatening Chinese interests. The same is true for any Indian military action in the theatres of Kashmir or Punjab. Any Indian operation that endangers thousands of Chinese citizens working on the CPEC project in Pakistan will draw the wrath of China and give them the loco standi to initiate hostilities against India. So beyond shallow skirmishes all along the border, India really has no operational or strategic options without the risk of drawing China into a two-front war.
Pakistan has correctly appreciated that the force levels which India will be able to muster against it will be more or less evenly matched, and in the event of Indo-Pak hostilities, they can depend on China for their logistics supply chain as well as splitting the Indian armed forces’ resources and focus by mobilising PLA divisions along the border with India. This would in effect, pin down a substantial part of the Indian Army’s reserves to cater for the eastern front.
Also, now there too many stakeholders dependent on the success of the “One Belt One Road”/CPEC project and any disturbance in this area would be attributed to India’s truculence rather than Pakistan’s interference into Kashmir. China combine has positioned the OBOR as an Asian developmental initiative, whereas the Kashmir problem has been positioned as a bilateral local issue—by none other than India itself. So, rather than looking like the visionary big player in the Asian growth story, India is at the risk of being perceived as the obdurate party incapable of setting aside bilateral issues for the larger good of the region. And with dark clouds hovering over their own respective challenges, none of the world’s major powers, the US, UK, Russia or France, will have the gumption to interfere militarily in an Indo-Pak conflict that has the potential to draw in the fifth permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Politically too, India is in no position to consider a short war. The current political dispensation is only just gathering momentum on its electoral manifestoes, the lynchpin of which is economic development. That necessitates a stable and peaceful environment. War clouds are an antithesis for economic investments. Even preparation for war costs billions of dollars in terms of resources and mindshare, a diversion that India can scarcely afford when millions of youth are entering the job market whose un-channelised energies is another potential risk.
For a nation to go to war, all its pillars of strength, including its military, economic prowess, industrial capability, external alliances and national will must be aligned in a singular direction to achieve meaningful success. War waging is not about bombastic threats, surgical strikes, cross-border firing or clamorous bellowing on TV channels ie letting off steam.
There is an old couplet by Ramdhari Dinkar which suggests that forgiveness befits a snake which has venom in its bite—not one which is weak, toothless, and harmless. To be taken seriously, India needs to build that strength first rather than spewing ineffectual rhetoric.
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China Wraps and Roasts Pakistan …

Posted on June 1, 2017. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom, Pakistan |

Have the Pakistanis read the Story of Hambantota port of Sri Lanka?     …………  China sold Sri Lanka a plan to develop Hambantota Port during tenure of previous regime of Sri Lanka. China gave them a big loan (did not spend their own money) to Sri Lanka for developing Hambantota. With their clout in Colombo, Chinese ensured that all the contracts of construction of Hambantota  were secured by Chinese companies only.    .

In a way, most of the money came back to China. Now the Hambantota is ready but does not get revenue because it never could have – but Sri Lankans have a big debt which they cannot repay. Now the game. Chinese are  negotiating with Sri Lankans that they lease the port to them for forgoing the loan.
Meaning Chinese will get Hambantota port and 2000 acres of land around it, and they will turn it into a military base. Hambantota is a good site for a military base but not for a maritime port.
The game. China gave a loan to Sri Lanka, which Sri Lanka gave to Chinese companies to build a port which will be used as a naval base by China. And China will get Hambantota port plus 2000 acres of land around it for free for 99+99 years.

Sri Lanka lost their sovereign land for nothing. This is Debt Trap Diplomacy Suggest ead the CPEC Long Term Plan (LTP) document on Dawn’s Exclusive on CPEC, and then every Pakistani should ask the following:                                                                        .

1) Why was port of Gwadar leased out to the Chinese for 43 years for free? If not, how much money did China pay for lease of Gwadar?                                                          .

2) How much tariff shall China pay for containers passing every year through Pakistan? Or has a lump some amount been decided?                                                           .

3) Why is the Pakistani taxpayer paying more than $11 billion for construction of highways under CPEC scheme when China is going to be the primary beneficiary of those highways?                                                                                                                              .

4). Why cannot China pay at least half of that amount? And why is China charging interest rate that is higher than market rate? Why didn’t China give an interest free loan?                                                                                                                                                  .

5) Why shall China be acquiring large pieces of agricultural land in Pakistan to set up the so called demonstration parks in Pakistan, as mentioned in Dawn’s exclusive on CPEC? Won’t that acquisition give tough competition to small farmers and eventually make Pakistani farmers landless labourers in Chinese farms on Pakistani farmlands.  .

6) Coal power projects would produce electricity at a very expensive price. And all the projects are guaranteed by Government of Pakistan. Any loss or inability to buy expensive coal based power shall be of Pakistani taxpayers’. Why is that so?                  .

The Bottom Line is that Pakistan hasn’t negotiated CPEC in its favour. Slowly, Chinese will be running all the enterprises in Pakistan and they will have an extraordinary clout in determining the policy of various governments in Pakistan. Earlier, it was Allah, America, Army. Now it is China, China and China.

Question to every Pakistani –
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Gen KS Thimayya or Just Timmy …

Posted on May 15, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan, Personalities, Quotes |

Gen KS Thimayya remains one of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Indian Army along with Field Marshals KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.

Timmy’s  misfortune was that Nehru’s blue eyed boy – the machiavillian V K Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister whose sole aim was to belittle the Chief and destroy the moral fabric of the Nations’ Army. Menon had even gone to Sam when he was GOC 26 Div, to enlist his help to bring down Timmy. Sam had of course point blank refused to be dragged down to such heinous villainy. As a consequence an enquiry was instituted against Sam when he was Commandant the Staff College and his promotion delayed by a year and half.

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans which was to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri related to Nehru, Chief after Timmy retired.. The result was that toe indian Army touched the Nadir of its Great History.

\Bare bone facts re Timmy – a military legend in his own right and by any standard.

Born 30th Mar 1906. Died 17 Dec 1965 after he had seen the Debacle of 1962 and the 1965 War.

He was the first Indian to command an Infantry brigade during WWII.

His elder brother Ponappa served in the INA, while his younger brother Somaiah was killed in action  in Kashmir.

In the army he had a running feud with British officers over their snobbery/racism.

He wanted to quit the Army and join the Freedom Movement  but was dissuaded by Motilal Nehru – father of Pandit Nehru.

During the Quit India movement he ordered troops not to fire on the protesters.

He oversaw the surrender of INA at Rangoon, his brother was one of the POWs.

After the Korean War, he played a major role in repatriation of POWs winning plaudits from Gen Douglas Mc Arthur.

During the Kashmir War in 1947, he personally led from the front in a tank for ohe capture Zoji La Pass.

He asked Nehru for just thoree months to retake the whole of J and K but Nehru referred to the UN.

Had a running feud with the Def Minister V.K.Menon over his undue interference in the Army.

Had the foresight to recognize the dange from China along with Sardar Vallabhai Patel much before any one else..

His proposal to appoint Lt.Gen Thorat as Army Chief was shot down by Nehru, who instead appointed Pran Nath Thapar to ease the way for Biji Kaul.

He spent his last days in Cyprus, as part of UN Peacekeeping Force during their Civil War. Passed away in Cyprus on 17 Dec 1965, aged 59. No important person from India attended his Funeral. He was buried in the  Wilson Garden cemetery.

When General Thimayya died in Cyprus, the Cyprus Govt. declared a 10 day mourning and the their Flag flew at Half Mast.

When the President of Cyprus, came to India, specifically to Honour him, our government, woke up and hastily erected a memorial, in ASC Center, Bangalore.

Jai Hind

Gen KS Thimayya remains one of the Three Greatest Chiefs of the Indian Army along with Field Marshals KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw.

Timmy’s  misfortune was that Nehru’s blue eyed boy – the machiavellian V K Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister whose sole aim was to belittle the Chief and destroy the moral fabric of the Nations’ Army. Menon had even gone to Sam when he was GOC 26 Div, to enlist his help to bring down Timmy. Sam had of course point blank refused to stoop to such a despicable. As a consequence an enquiry was instituted against Sam when he was Commandant the Staff College and his promotion delayed by a year and half.

Timmy had foreseen the 1962 War and had got Gen SP Thorat to do an Appreciation to evolve a plan for the defense of NEFA. Gen Thorat had in the event recommended that we fight at the existing Road Heads in view of the poor communications and our lack of wherewithal. Gen Thimayya agreed with Gen Thorat and went on to recommend to the Govt that Gen Thorat should take over as Chief after he retired.

However Nehru and Menon had different plans which was to make an Army Service Corps officer, Gen BM Kaul, a Kashmiri related to Nehru, Chief after Timmy retired.. Incidentally Gen Kaul was the first recepient of the PVSM.His citation read

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Sam Manekshaw – Background to the 1971 War …

Posted on May 11, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan, Personalities, Uncategorized |

Again from Sam’s lecture at the DSSC –

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed. There was this Cabinet Meeting and when I was asked to attend, I thought that now they have sent for the Prince while so far  they were playing Hamlet with out him.

A very angry Prime Minister read out messages from Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. All of them saying that hundreds of thousands of refugees had poured into their States and they did not know what to do.

The Prime Minister turned round to me and said: “I want you to do something”. I said, “What do you want me to do?” She said, “I want you to enter East Pakistan” and I said, “Do you know that means War?” She said, “I do not mind if it is war”.I, in my usual stupid way, said, “Prime Minister, have you read the Bible?”

And the Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh (a Punjabi Sikh), in his Punjabi accent said, “What has Bible got to do with this?” and I said, “In the first Book, the First Chapter, the First Paragraph, the First Sentence, God said, ‘Let there be light’’ and there was light. You turn this round and say ‘Let there be war’ and there will be war. What do you think? Are you ready for a war? Let me tell you – It’s 28th April, the Himalayan passes are opening, and if the Chinese gave us an ultimatum, I will have to fight on two fronts”.

Again Sardar Swaran Singh turned round and in his Punjabi English said, “Will China give ultimatum?”  “You are the Foreign Minister. You tell me!”

Then I turned to the Prime Minister and said, “Prime Minister, last year you wanted elections in West Bengal and you did not want the communists to win, so you asked me to deploy my soldiers in penny pockets in every village, in every little township in West Bengal. I have two divisions thus deployed in sections and platoons without their heavy weapons. It will take me at least a month to get them back to their units and to their formations.

Further, I have a division in the Assam area, another division in Andhra Pradesh and the Armored Division in the Jhansi-Babina area. It will take me at least a month to get them back and put them in their correct positions. I will require every road, every railway train, every truck, every wagon to move them.

“We are harvesting in the Punjab, and we are harvesting in Haryana; we are also harvesting in Uttar Pradesh. And you will not be able to move your harvest. I turned to the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, “If there is a famine in the country afterwards, it will be you to blame, not me.” Then I said, “My Armoured Division has only got thirteen tanks which are functioning.”

The Finance Minister, Mr. Chawan, a friend of mine, said, “Sam, why only thirteen?” “Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking for money for the last year and a half, and you keep saying there is no money. That is why.”

Then I turned to the Prime Minister and said, “Prime Minister, it is the end of April. By the time I am ready to operate, the monsoon will have broken in that East Pakistan area. When it rains, it does not just rain, it pours. Rivers become oceans. If you stand on one bank, you cannot see the other and the whole countryside is flooded. My movement will be confined to roads, the Air Force will not be able to support me. And, if you wish me to enter East Pakistan, I guarantee you a hundred percent defeat.”

 “You are the Government”, I said “Now give me your orders!”

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seldom seen a woman so angry, and I am including my wife in that! She was red in the face and I thought, “Let us see what happens”. She turned round and said, “The cabinet will meet four o’clock in the evening”.

Everyone walked out. I being the junior most man was the last to leave. As I was leaving, she said, “Chief, please will you stay behind?” I looked at her. I said, “Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, would you like me to send in my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical?”

“No, sit down, Sam. Was everything you told me the truth?”

“Yes, it is my job to tell you the truth. It is my job to fight and win, not to lose.” She smiled at me and said, “All right, Sam. You know what I want. When will you be ready?” “I cannot tell you now, Prime Minister, but let me guarantee you this that if you leave me alone, allow me to plan, make my arrangements, and fix a date, I guarantee you a hundred percent victory”.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, as I told you, there is a very thin line between becoming a Field Marshal and being dismissed.

Now, those of you who remembered what happened in 1962, when the Chinese occupied the Thag-la ridge and Mr. Nehru, the Prime Minister, sent for the Army Chief, in the month of October and said, “I want you to throw the Chinese out”.

That Army Chief did not have the moral courage to stand up to him and say, “I am not ready, my troops are not acclimatized, I haven’t the ammunition, or indeed anything”. But he accepted the Prime Minister’s instructions, with the result that the Army was beaten and the country humiliated

A word or two re leadership; men and women like their leader to be a man, with all the manly qualities or virtues.

The man who says, “I do not smoke, I do not drink, I do not ….. (No, I will not say it)’, does not make a leader. Let me illustrate this from examples from the past.

You will agree that Julius Caesar was a great leader – he had his Calpurnia, he had his Antonia, he also had his Cleopatra and, when Caesar used to come to Rome, the Senators used to lock up their wives.

And you will agree that he was a great leader. He was known in Rome as every woman’s husband yet he was a great leader. Take Napoleon, he had his Josephine, he had his Walewska, he had his Antoinette and Georgettes and Paulettes. And you will agree he was a great leader.

Take the Duke of Wellington – do you know that the night before the battle of Waterloo, there were more Countesses, Marchionesses and other women in his ante – chamber than staff officers and Commanders. And you will agree he was a great leader.

Ladies and Gentlemen, a thought has just struck me. All these leaders- Caesar, Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington- they had one facial feature in common, all had long noses!

And now about the end. After the 1971 conflict with Pakistan, which ended in thirteen days and we took 93000 prisoners, my fans, the ‘yes-men’ around me, the sycophants, kept on comparing me to Rommel, to Field Marshal Alexander, to Field Marshal Auchinleck, and just as I was beginning to believe it, the Prime Minister created me a Field Marshal and sent me packing to the Nilgiris.

And then a hard-headed, no-nonsense wife deprived a psychiatric home (what we in India call a lunatic asylum), of one more inmate.

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The Civil – Mil Divide …

Posted on May 7, 2017. Filed under: From a Services Career, Pakistan, Uncategorized |

From the Blog of a Rimcollian – Gp Capt Unni Kartha –

A few yrs ago when some of my course mates got AVSM and PVSM, I was invited as a personal guest to Akash Mess where the Def Min Anthony was giving an official reception and dinner.

The brass from all three Service were there in their finery, medals, collar tabs, auguets, gold burnishing, gold buttons, Sam Brownes, what have you – some even had their swords.

In spite of a smart business suit and my miniature medals, even I felt undressed in front of such an august and very impressive uniformed crowd.

Anthony arrived late – after we had already downed 2 Ls. He was wearing a simple white bush shirt with a traditional Malayali dhotie – luckily not at half mast.

He was taken around the august collage of military brass and introduced to them by the Def Secy. Afterwards I saw him standing alone in a corner with the Def Secy. His knees were shaking.

I went to say hello. ‘An-Thony Sare,’ I said with due diligence. ‘Why are you standing as if you have swallowed a spear – your knees are shaking ?’ (Literally translated from Malayalam), I asked without tact.

‘Ayyo Kartavu Sare’, he replied equally frank. ‘I am frightened of all the costumes here, it looks like Satan is having a party’ (Malayalam translation).

At that moment I think I understood the crux of the politico-military problem. If only the services dress up like very ordinary people, say like the Chinese Army in the 60s, with drab uniforms and less frightening pomp, I think the political may even get to like the military.

I have noted on TV that when Gen Kayani goes to meet the Paki PM, or the Paki Prez, he goes in a simple jersey without a frightening visage. He doesn’t even seem to carry a cane or baton.

I think we must learn to emulate the Paki man, though Kayani is frightening even when undressed!

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Strange Facts – Indian and Pak Armies …

Posted on April 3, 2017. Filed under: Pakistan |

 This is courtesy Taher Ahmed ……………… A number of Indian and British officers were captured by ROMMEL’s Afrika Korps when it was taking Tobruk in North Africa in May/June 1942.  Here are some amusing coincidences from the careers of some of these PsOW.

All three Commanding Officers of the Regiments of 3rd Indian Motor Brigade – Lt.Colonel Fowler, CO of 18th Cavalry, Lt Colonel De Salis, CO 2nd Lancers and Lt. Colonel P. R. Tathem, CO of 11th PAVO Cavalry – went into the bag together!

In the Aversa POW camp in Italy, a strange chapter of Indian military history came to pass. The Italian Commander of the POW Camp, Colonel Errera could not have imagined what a great lot of future personages were in his charge. As per common practice, he appointed captured Officers to posts for management of the prisoners.

Major Kumaramangalam (2nd Field Regiment) being the senior most officer was appointed Commanding Officer. Captain Yahya Khan (4/10 Baluch Regiment, now 11 Baloch) was made Camp Adjutant and his assistant was Lieutenant Shamsher Singh. Captain Tikka Khan (2nd Field Regiment) was Quarter Master.

Other inmates of the camp were Yaqub Khan (18th Cavalry), Major Ajit Singh (Royal Indian Army Service Corps), Captain Kalyan Singh (2nd Field Regiment), Captain A. S. Naravane (2nd Field Regiment), Lieutenant Abhey Singh (18th Cavalry) and Lieutenant Sardar Hissamuddin Mahmud el-Effendi (11th PAVO Cavalry).  .

Kumaramangalam escaped from Italy but was caught by the Germans. He later became Chief of Army Staff of India (1966-69). Yahya Khan become Pakistan’s Army Chief and then President (1966-71).

In 1971 prior to the War, Tikka Khan was Commander of Eastern Command and later became Pakistani Army Chief (1972-76).

2nd Field Regiment can be proud to have had two Army Chiefs of the two opposing sides – India and Pakistan.

Yaqub Khan became Lieutenant General and served as Commander of Eastern Command during the fateful days of 1971. After retirement he served as Ambassador at several places and then becamek Foreign Minister of Pakistan.

Hissam rose to the rank of Brigadier in Pakistan army. Ajit Singh rose to become Lieutenant General, Kalyan Singh and Naravane became Major Generals and Shamsher Singh became a Brigadier in the Indian Army.

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