Sit rep: Colonel AB Singh’s 2 successful careers

  • Mandeep Singh Bajwa, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 05, 2015 17:33 IST

Early in his career with the Signals, young Anant Bir Singh recognised the importance of food and leave in maintaining morale and cohesion in the army. This was reflected in his management style when he went into business later. Checking food in jawans’ langars (cookhouses) and later as food member in the officers’ mess turned him into an enthusiastic foodie. He picked up the intricacies of catering as mess secretary and president.

Meanwhile, his career progressed and he was destined for professional advancement when after commanding a divisional signal regiment he was posted to look after contingency planning in the military operations directorate at Army HQ.

However, he had already planned a second career in the food and hospitality industry and left the army to do so in the late 70s. The fast food outlet and ice cream parlour started by him became a popular hangout in Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, he concentrated assiduously on building up the Hot Millions brand achieving remarkable recognition and success. He never looked back after that, adding new brands, outlets, franchises, restaurants, hotels and innovative concepts all over North India.

Lessons in man management, operational and strategic planning learned in the army stood AB Singh in good stead. Above all it was his hard work and vision that has made the Hot Millions group based on food and hospitality a huge business empire. Asked for the secret of his success, he attributed it to the fact that his cook, namely his wife Mohini, would never leave him! She played a major role in his success looking after purchases, quality control and even food preparation. His personal favourite was the Hot Millions Salad Bar in Sector 17, Chandigarh, which he built up as a thriving concept. Now, his enduring legacy is carried on through astute succession planning in the shape of his sons, Mohanbir (himself a former cavalryman), Amanbir and Rajbir. Truly a Karmyogi !

Terrorist attack on Samba repulsed

The key to successful protection of security forces camps in insurgency areas is a tight perimeter defence with alert sentries. Since, the initiative lies with the terrorists once they’ve attacked, then the speed of reaction by the troops under attack, their familiarity with their own camps and preparation of killing zones within the defended areas, become all-important.

Two out of a group of four suicide attackers (the others had attacked the Rajbagh police station a day earlier) who infiltrated together attacked the camp of an armoured regiment at Samba on March 21. The sentries were vigilant and engaged them with fire, preventing their entry. Reaction from the Samba garrison was swift. A series of well-rehearsed drills came into play. A general alarm was sounded, good communications ensuring that the entire brigade’s quick-reaction teams (QRTs) already in a state of high alert deployed immediately to the spot.

Repulsed from their intended target area, the terrorists were surrounded and then pinned down in a nala, ultimately being eliminated through the use of 40mm multi-grenade launchers. Good coordination, command and control by troops of 168 Brigade resulted in elimination of the terrorist threat without any casualties to our own forces. A job well done! Interestingly, the terrorists were carrying bottles of perfume with them perhaps to be in a better state to meet their maker..

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