Kairon's respect for soldiers | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Kairon's respect for soldiers

After the 1962 War, then Punjab chief minister Partap Singh Kairon proposed to set up memorials in villages from where the martyrs of the conflict hailed. Arriving at Nangal Lubana, Kapurthala district, sometime in March 1964 to lay the foundation stone for such a commemoration, he was received by village sarpanch Subedar Dewa Singh, wearing his old uniform. Mandeep Singh Bajwa writes

chandigarh Updated: Nov 03, 2013 01:10 IST

Recent statements made by certain politicians and bureaucrats on soldiers have outraged them as well as the public. It was not always so. The politicians of yesteryears held military men in high esteem.

After the 1962 War, then Punjab chief minister Partap Singh Kairon proposed to set up memorials in villages from where the martyrs of the conflict hailed. Arriving at Nangal Lubana, Kapurthala district, sometime in March 1964 to lay the foundation stone for such a commemoration, he was received by village sarpanch Subedar Dewa Singh, wearing his old uniform. Kairon took the garland offered by him and instead honoured the octogenarian veteran with it remarking that the old soldier deserved it more than a mere chief minister. With a simple, gracious gesture, Kairon demonstrated the respect that he had for veterans and serving soldiers alike.

Subedar Dewa Singh was enrolled in 1897 being posted to the 48th Pioneers in 1905. He served with them as a havildar during the campaign in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) during World War 1, winning the IDSM (Indian Distinguished Service Medal) for gallantry and braving the rigours of Turkish captivity after being captured at Kut Al Amara.

Rising to the rank of subedar, he was awarded the OBI (Order of British India) for long, distinguished and loyal service before retiring in 1925. Nangal Lubana is proud of the large number of soldiers it contributed in both world wars as well as in all conflicts fought after Independence. This is something which needs special commemoration today.

UAVs for the IAF

The US deployment of drones to cause attrition among the ranks of Islamic terrorists hiding in the wastes of Pakistan's FATA badlands brings into focus the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for air domination, reconnaissance, surveillance, information gathering and delivering lethal weapons in combat. UAVs are now an established feature of air power. The IAF currently uses the Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Searcher and Heron UAVs for surveillance and reconnaissance and the IAI Harpy which is designed to attack radar systems.

Air HQ has taken the preliminary step towards capability increase by submitting a request for information (RFI) to international vendors for an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) possessing a low radar cross-section, a high service ceiling, an expected range of 925 km and the capability to carry precision-guided weapons in an internal weapons bay. This is in addition to the development projects currently being undertaken by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The Rustom UCAV is currently under development for the three Services to ultimately replace the Herons. This will have three variants: a tactical UAV, a larger aircraft with longer flight endurance and a UCAV with the capability to carry missiles in addition to a forward observation role. The highly secretive Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft (AURA) project seeks to design a UCAV with stealth capabilities carrying missiles and precision-guided munitions. It is learnt that the AURA will weigh in the region of 8-10 tonnes and have a range of more than 300 km. Using a Kaveri engine, the AURA will be capable of flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet.

Happy Diwali!
Wishing everyone who stands watch to safeguard us - the armed forces, intelligence services, paramilitary forces, police and fire services, a very Happy Diwali and all the best in the coming year.

Please write in with your narratives of war and soldiering to msbajwa@gmail.com or call on 093161-35343