The second phase of Avia Indra I, a joint Indo-Russian military air exercise was held at Air Force Station, Halwara, Ludhiana, from 17th to 27th November. The first part of the exercise was earlier held at Astrakhan near the Caspian Sea in Russia in August. During the manoeuvres fighter, helicopter and SAM (Surface to Air Missile) crews of the two air forces operated together. Manoeuvres included ground attacks (at Sidhwan Khas range along the banks of the Satluj) and fighter sorties over the mountains to the east. The 18 member crew from the Russian Federation Air Force (RFAF) flew the IAF’s SU-30 MKI air superiority fighters, Mi-35 attack helicopters and Mi-17 medium transport helicopters.
Some among the Russian team members were taken to Bengaluru, to be introduced to indigenous aircraft programmes, including the light combat aircraft Tejas and the advanced light helicopter Dhruv. The respective team commanders Air Commodore PK Vohra and Maj Gen Alexander N Lyapkin uncovered a hand carved stone and planted saplings next to the Halwara airbase war memorial to symbolise the growth of the unique partnership between the two air forces. Significantly, the IAF has a large inventory of Russian equipment. Such exercises enable the Indians to hone their skills and benefit from the experience of the cooperating force.
First organ harvest at Chandimandir
The Command Hospital, Chandimandir, carried out a multi-organ harvest from a brain-dead donor for the first time ever on November 26. Naik Narender Singh, a serving Defence Security Corps soldier was admitted to the ICU in deep coma and declared brain dead after a series of tests by the attending neurologist. The family’s consent having been obtained, a long-drawn-out surgery was carried out later in the day and the liver, kidneys and cornea were harvested. Kudos to the surgeons who performed the operation! The family of the donor who, even in their moment of intense personal grief, gave a new lease of life to three patients in dire straits deserve our earnest appreciation. Another brave soldier has even in death, given life to his fellow humans.
Jammu MH adjudged best in Northern Command
The Military Hospital, Jammu, has been adjudged the best zonal hospital in Northern Command. The 166 Military Hospital (to quote its full name) was raised as MH Jammu in place of a Section Hospital of 148 Base Hospital (which is now Command Hospital (Northern Command) on July 1, 1970. As of now, it has 531 beds with a crisis expansion capacity of a further 50 beds. The hospital has always responded actively and promptly treated mass casualties resulting from terrorist attacks in Jammu and its neighbouring areas in the past. Brigadier MM Harjai, commandant and his dedicated team deserve our congratulations.
Border meeting heldat Chushul
A ceremonial border personnel meeting was held on December 7 on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control at Chushul in Ladakh. This area has been in the shadow of tension after the recent Chinese intrusions. Personnel of the Indian 114 Brigade of 3 Division and the Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) border regiment garrisoning the area were present at the meeting. Both sides reiterated their commitment to the agreements signed between their respective governments to maintain peace along the LAC. While the bonhomie between the two sides was apparent, cynics would nevertheless say: “Till the next incursion!”
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