With the defence ministry dragging its feet on crucial defense purchases, for the first time since independence the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to lose conventional edge overPakistan. It’s fighter squadron strength is set to hit an all time low of 31 in the next two years.
Since the 1971 Indo-Pak war in whichPakistanwas completely defeated, the Indian defence strategy has been based on maintaining a superior air force overPakistanandChina. In the event of a conflict with either of these countries, the IAF will be a critical fighting instrument of first resort.
Fighter assets of the IAF are dwindling fast and the force will not be able to attain it’s minimum required sanctioned strength of 42 until 2032 thus adversely affecting the “operational capability” of the IAF. No doubt that the IAF is purchasing new state-of-the-art fighter jets and also manufacturing the top of the line Su-30 MKI’s in India, it will still not bridge the gap.
The committee has found that the IAF has at present 34 fighter squadrons against the sanctioned strength of 42. As the Committee understands the strength is likely to be reduced further to 31 during the 12th plan (from 2012-2017).
The current strategy has been aimed to build eventually to 45 numbers of combat squadron of air force. The number of sanctioned strength now is 42 but finally the need will be to have 45 squadrons, which will happen only by the 15th plan (2032),” said the committee’s report tabled in the Parliament.
As early as 1959, the IAF had projected the requirement of 64 squadrons, including 45 combat aircraft squadrons, to prepare for an eventuality of facing war on two fronts. The debacle in 1962 reaffirmed the requirement. But since then the snail-paced acquisition has hurt the IAF badly. The IAF managed to maintain an edge against the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) giving the IAF a 2.9:1 advantage in combat aircraft.
Presently the PAF has around 26 squadrons and the IAF needs to have 39.5 squadrons to maintain it’s edge. The PAF too is undergoing a major augmentation of it’s capacity. And as recently as in 2006 it ordered 28 F-16CD Block 52 fighters from theUS. Out of these 14 has already been delivered. It has also placed order for 36 J-10 combat jets withChina.
Pakistanis also doing series production of JF-17 Thunder aircraft – the Chinese equivalent of the home-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – withChina.Pakistanhas produced 26 such fighters with Chinese help since 2009.Chinahas also agreed to provide 50 JF-17 Thunders equipped with sophisticated avionics toPakistan.
The decline inIndia’s combat squadron will come as it begins its “obsolete” MiG-21 fighter jets in 2014 and the phase-out will complete by 2017. Already the force has decided to stop training its fighter pilots on the Soviet-vintage war-jet following a series of crashes last year. According to data 482 MiG aircraft have crashed since 1971-72 resulting in the death of 171 pilots, 39 civilians and 9 service personnel earning a moniker of “Flying Coffins”.
With the development of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas taking place facing constant time over-runs and the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft progressing painfully slow, the force had been unable to write off the MiG-21s. After a long winding procurement process spanning nearly ten years, the deal for 126 fighter jets is now in price negotiation stage and the first of the aircraft is likely to be delivered by the end of this decade only.
The conventional edge of the air force has already been compromised qualitatively, as these MiG-21 variants have already out-flown their initial prescribed life span of 20 years. Presently, there are four versions MiGs flying with the IAF – Type-77, Type-96, Type 75 and Bisons. Of these Type-77 jets are the oldest and Bisons are the upgraded versions. Flying for the last four decades, these aircraft have been given life extensions several times over.
RUSSIA READY TO SET UP MIG PLANT IN INDIA
NEW DELHI: A defence ministry delegation is expected to leave forMoscowshortly to finalise, arrangements for the purchase of Russian Mig Supersonic Jet Fighters for the Indian Air Force. Talks have been going on for the purpose betweenIndiaand the Soviet Union for some time andIndiais now understood to be anxious to obtain fighter planes of comparable performance in view of the supply of F-104-g jets toPakistanbyUSA.
The Government had explored possibilities of buying similar US British or French fighters, but the foreign exchange problems and the question of early delivery are understood to have come in the way. The advantages of the Migs — that they are much cheaper than comparable western supersonic jet fighters and that the Soviet Union is understood to be ready to set up a plant in India for the manufacture of Migs — are understood to have impressed India in favour of these planes.
HISTORY OF ARMY MEDICAL CORPS
Very little is known of the medical organisations that existed in the various Armies in this country in the ancient times. However, Kautilya’s Arthashastra shows that during battles, physicians with surgical instruments (Sastra, medicines and drugs in their hands besides women with prepared food and beverages) used to stand behind the fighting men. Similarly, from Sushruta Samhita, it is seen that a physician fully equipped with Medicines would live in a camp not remote from the royal pavilion and there the persons wounded by arrows and other war projectiles, or those who had imbibed poison used to be treated. A physician in the King’s service used to adopt certain measures to protect the life of his royal highness from secret poisoning. The physician well versed in technical sciences and with knowledge of other allied branches of study was held in high esteem by the King and others.
The Army Medical Corps came into existence as a homogeneous corps of officers and men on the pattern of the Royal Army Medical Corps on 03 Apr 1943 by the amalgamation of the Indian Medical Service, the Indian Medical Department and the Indian Hospital Corps. The Corps was formed as a wartime necessity for attracting suitably qualified men for service in a rapidly expanding army.
Indian Medical Service
The history of the Indian Medical Service (IMS) dates back to 1612 when on the formation of the East India Company into a joint stock business, the Company appointed John Woodall as their first Surgeon General. Under him, medical Corps officers (mainly civilians) were recruited more or less on individual contracts. The company expanded activities in various part of the country which necessitated the formation and maintenance of regular bodies of troops inIndia. As a consequence, they commenced employing Military Surgeons from 1745 onwards. It was not until 1764 that these Surgeons were made into regular establishment of the company’s armies. Thus the Bengal Medical Service was formed in 1764, the Madras Medical Service in 1767 and the Bombay Medical Service in 1779 for the three Presidency Armies of Bengal,MadrasandBombayrespectively. Three medical services were in due course combined into one Indian Medical Services (IMS) in Apr 1886 under a Surgeon General to the Govt of India. The designation was later changed into the Director General, Indian Medical Service. In 1913, the appointment was designated as the Director of Medical Services inIndia.
Until the First Word War the IMS was pre-dominantly civil in character, but gradually from 1912 onwards those employed in civil duties became less and less in number. Indianisation of this service commenced from 1915 onwards. Sarjoo Coomar Goodeve Chauckerbutty was the first Indian to enter the service as Assistant Surgeon on 24 Jan 1855.
UntilBurmawas separated in 1935, the IMS was catering for the civil and military needs ofBurmaalso. During this period, the IMS was assisted by the members of the Indian Medical Department (IMD) and Indian Hospital Corps (IHC).
The idea of re-organising the medical services into a separate Medical Corps exclusively for the Defence Services was first conceived in 1939 with the out break of World War II and with the formation of Indian Army Medical Corps in 1943, the extinction of the IMS as such was merely a matter of time. On 14 Aug 1947 the service was finally wound up.
Indian Medical Department
The history of the Indian Medical Department (IMD) dates back to 19th century. Initially starting as compounders and dressers in the three Presidency Medical Services they became Sub Surgeons and later on as Indian Medical Assistants in Indian Regiments. In 1868, they were redesignated as Hospital Assistants. In 1900, the Senior Hospital Assistants were granted the rank of Viceroy’s Commissioned Officers and in 1910 the designation was finally changed to Sub Assistant Surgeons of IMD. They were primarily for work with the Indian troops.
The Indian Hospital Corps was formed on 01 June 1920 by combining the Army Hospital Corps and Army Bearer Corps and the subordinate personnel of Indian Station Hospitals, comprising persons of categories then considered necessary for hospitals, field ambulances and other medical units.
In the days of the East India Company there were no regular formations or units charged with the task of looking after the health of troops. In 1881 the British Regimental Hospitals gave way to British Station Hospitals and they needed subordinate persons. So in 1981, the Army Hospital Native Corps was formed of menials of the disbandedBritishRegimentalHospitals, Compounders, dressers, ward coolies, barbers, shop coolies, cooks, bhistis and sweepers and were designated as, Hospital Attendants. With the abolition of the Presidency Armies by the Government and the evolution of the Army into 10 Divisions, the Army Hospital Native Corps was re-organised into 10 Companies as Army Hospital Corps.
Army Bearer Corps
It was not until 1901 that the necessity for a proper corps of bearers was accepted by the Government and in this year, Dooly Bearers and Kahars were enlisted in the newly formed Army Bearer Corps, which came under the Medical Department. The Army Hospital Corps persons did the menial service in British Station Hospitals and the Army Bearer Corps provided persons for the carriage of the sick and wounded. In 1903, the Army Bearer Corps was re-organised into 10 Division Companies and the duties of these Companies in war were to carry stretchers and doolies, and in peace for general work in hospital.
Indian troops had no station hospital facilities until 1918, and had to depend entirely on their regimental hospitals. In October 1918, Station Hospitals for Indian troops were sanctioned. Ward orderlies and followers came from Army Hospital Corps and bearers were provided by the Army Bearer Corps.
The IHC initially was divided into 10 Division Companies corresponding to the 10 existing Military Divisions inIndiaandBurmaand they were located at Peshwar,Rawalpindi,Lahore,Quetta, Mhow,Poona,Meerut,Lucknow, Secunderabad andRangoon. The whole corps was re-organised on command basis during the year 1929-32 and thus there were five companies of the IHC in 1932, No 1 Company at Rawalpindi, No 2 Company at Lucknow, No 3 Company atPoona. No 4 Company atQuettaand No 5 Company atRangoon. On separation ofBurmain 1935, No 5 Company of IHC was formed as Burma Hospital Corps and this left four companies of IHC.
Indian Army Medical Corps
World War II was responsible for rapid developments. The idea of having a homogeneous corps by amalgamating IMS, IMD gradually took shape and Indian Army Medical Corps (IAMC) came into being on 03 Apr 1943. On the formation of the IAMC, the IHC HQs atPoonabecame the Administrative Headquarters of the IAMC in May 1943.
AfterIndependenceof the country, the Corps has made a steady progress. The men enjoy combatant status. The post of Director General Armed Forces Medical Services was created in 1949 as coordinating head of the med services of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Army Medical Corps
The IAMC was re-designated as Army Medical Corps with effect from 26 Jan 1950.
PAK WARY OF INDIA : BUILDS BUNKERS
Pakistanmay be on the path of steady growth in nuclear power, but remains a bit wary ofIndia’s fast expanding military might. With the Indian Army perfecting a short but power-filled warfare recently, a lot of military movement has been noticed from it’s western neighbour along the border.
Worried overIndia’s recently held war-exercises – Sudarshan Shakti, Vijayi Bhav andShoorveer,PakistanRangers have constructed large numbers of bunkers, towers, posts and outposts in their area adjoining Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar,Jodhpurand Barmer districts.
They have laid new communication lines in many important border areas. They have also constructed a huge army cantonment in Rahimiyar Khan district inPakistan.
The move is being seen as Pak’s counter-strategy toIndia’s war-gaming exercise.
According to reports, the Border Security Force (BSF) has raised objection toPakistan’s increasing military activity just across the international border. Registering its disapproval against the movement, the BSF has handed a ‘protest note’ to the Pak Rangers. It is learnt that BSF personnel are constantly keeping a watch on every act of Pak Rangers.
Pakistanhas constructed over 1,600 bunkers, towers, posts and outposts along its border withIndia, promptingNew Delhito lodge protests withIslamabad.
The BSF, during a flag meeting of field commanders with Pakistani rangers, had also lodged their protests against these constructions.
INDIAN ARMY OFFICERS, JAWANS BATTLE IT OUT IN LADAKH
Four Indian army officer, including a colonel and his deputy, were hospitalized after a free-for-all involving the jawans and the officers of an artillery unit in the sensitive Ladakh sector, Indian media reported on Saturday.
Rattled by the rare instance of breakdown in military discipline, the army Friday ordered a probe but described the incident that occurred at a firing range as a “minor scuffle”.
It rubbished reports that the fight was triggered by a jawan, who allegedly molested an officer’s wife. It also denied that there was a virtual mutiny in the 226 Field Regiment, with the jawans taking control of the armoury.
The army said there was no truth to the claim that the commanding officer (a colonel), said to be backing the jawans, was beaten up by the major whose wife was allegedly molested.
While the exact sequence of events is not known, a senior army officer said some misunderstanding between an officer and a jawan led to the confrontation near Nyoma, 150 km from Leh and barely 20 km from the Line of Actual Control betweenIndiaandChina.
“A minor scuffle took place between officers and troops of a unit on the night of May 10/11. Few minor injuries were suffered,” an army spokesperson said. He said the situation was under control.
The general officer commanding of 3 Division of which the 226 Field Regiment is a part rushed in to defuse the situation. Army chief General VK Singh briefed defence minister AK Antony on the clash, also being viewed as a breakdown of leadership at the unit level.
“If officers and jawans exchange blows, there’s certainly a crisis of leadership and character in the army. We need major reforms in leadership and training for officers and jawans,” a retired three-star general said on condition of anonymity.
SENIOR OFFICER IN CABINET SECRETARIAT LEAKED ARMY CHIEF GENERAL VK SINGH’S LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER: PTI REPORT
NEW DELHI: A joint secretary-rank officer in the cabinet secretariat has been found guilty of leaking Army chief General VK Singh’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the poor state of preparedness of his force and has been shunted out.
A probe into the leakage by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has also cleared General Singh of any wrongdoing in the episode, highly-placed sources told PTI.
In his letter, the Army chief had highlighted the critical shortage of equipment and ammunition in artillery and armoured regiments.
The female officer belonging to the Indian Economic Service (IES) was handling the charge of intelligence agencies under the cabinet secretariat and was nailed after interrogation of some suspected persons, they said.
The officer has now been repatriated to her parent cadre and further action can be taken against her for leaking such a sensitive document, sources said.
After the letter surfaced, both the Houses of Parliament were rocked over the issue and certain parties had demanded action against General Singh also.
At that time, General Singh had said that incident should be treated as “high treason” and the source of leakage should be dealt with “ruthlessly.”
“The leakage of the letter should be treated as high treason. Cynical approach to tarnish my reputation should stop. Sources of the leakage should be found and dealt with ruthlessly,” Gen Singh had said in a statement issued by the Army Headquarters.
Following the incident government had asked the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to investigate the matter and find out the person responsible for it.
The letter was leaked to the media after Gen Singh made a sensational disclosure in an interview that he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore by a retired lieutenant general for favouring a sub-standard defence deal regarding purchase of Army trucks.
FIRST WOMAN PRIVATE PILOT PASSES AWAY AT 95
SAS NAGAR: The first Indian woman to hold a private pilot licence (PPL) passed away on Sunday. Beant Kaur, widow of Air Vice Marshal Harjinder Singh (retd), was 95. She will be cremated once her nephew arrives from
Canada. Born into a Sikh family on April 9, 1917 in Lyallpur district of Pakistan, Kaur did her matriculation fromKhalsaCollege,Lyallpur. In 1971, her husband died of a heart attack.
It was after her marriage with the Air Force officer that she developed an interest in flying and obtained the PPL from a flying club inKanpur. Though she did not fly as the main pilot, she accompanied her husband in the four-seater plane owned by them. According to one of her relatives, she had around 70 hours of flying as the assistant pilot.
Though Kaur was only a matriculate, her husband’s encouragement coupled with her passion for flying led her to getting the PPL. Both husband and wife would fly almost every day.
After her husband retired in 1964, they shifted fromKanpurtoChandigarhand were allotted a four-kanal plot in Sector 3, where they later settled down.
InChandigarh, Singh started working as a technical adviser to thePunjaband Haryana governments on a token annual salary of Re 1. It was here that Kaur fulfilled her desire of flying and used to fly almost every morning. She also inspired her sister, who followed in her footsteps and got the PPL.
Major Narinder Singh Dhillon (retired), a relative of Kaur, said, “She had been living with us for the past six years following a dispute with her adopted son Col MS Bains (retd). He had turned Kaur and her sister Satwant Kaur Gill out from their house, following which they faced many hardships. In 2005, the sisters sold their house for Rs. 1.5 crore and in June that year met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and donated Rs. 1 crore to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Her sister died in March 2006 and since then she had not been keeping well. The cremation will take place after his nephew arrives fromCanada.”
ARMY SUBMITS REPORT ON LEH CLASH TO DEFENCE MINISTRY
LEH: The Army has submitted a report to the Defence Ministry about the clash between jawans and officers at a firing range near the India-China boundary in Nyoma, Ladakh inJammu and Kashmir.
An initial report about the incident has been submitted to the Defence Ministry. Details about the entire episode would be provided only after the Court of Inquiry (CoI) instituted in the matter submits its findings, army sources said inNew Delhi.
However, sources said there seemed to be an attempt earlier on part of the army to cover up the whole incident as it had informed the ministry that there was only a scuffle between jawans and officers and that details were not provided.
Soon after media reports about the incident surfaced, the army had issued a public statement dismissing the incident as a scuffle.
The army has ordered a Court of Inquiry into a scuffle that broke out between officers and jawans in Ladakh after the ministry sought a detailed report from it on the incident.
Army sources said the officers and jawans involved in the clashes will now be attached to the CoI ordered by the superior headquarters and will face action.
On whether the Commanding Officer of 226 Field Regiment Colonel Kadam was being relieved of his command duties in view of the incident, Army sources denied this saying the officer had anyways completed his command tenure and was expecting a posting in the near future.
Sources said there was also a possibility that the unit may be disbanded after the completion of the disciplinary proceedings into the case.