Sitrep: A career to look back at with pride | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Sitrep: A career to look back at with pride

Lieutenant General KJ Singh retires on Sunday, July 31 as Western Army Commander after a distinguished career spanning four decades.

punjab Updated: Jul 31, 2016 10:18 IST
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Lt Gen KJ Singh inspecting weapons and equipment recovered after the Pathankot airbase attack. During his tenure, the effort of the troops was to check infiltration by terrorists as far forward as possible.
Lt Gen KJ Singh inspecting weapons and equipment recovered after the Pathankot airbase attack. During his tenure, the effort of the troops was to check infiltration by terrorists as far forward as possible. (Photo: HQ Western Command)

Lieutenant General KJ Singh retires on Sunday, July 31 as Western Army Commander after a distinguished career spanning four decades.

Commissioned in 1977 in 63 Cavalry, he established a bond with the men he commanded; a professional’s hallmark. He did the staff course with the Navy in an experiment in jointmanship. Valuable lessons were learnt by him in a stint with the UN mission in Angola. Command of an armoured regiment, brigade and division followed while commanding XXXIII Corps tasked with the defence of Sikkim and Bhutan brought him the greatest satisfaction as a tankman. Additional armoured and mechanised units were inducted bringing about a change in the nature of operations. The previous defensive mindset prevailing until then was changed. Now any intruding enemy armour or infantry was to be decimated in killing areas.

The achievements continued in his last posting at Chandimandir. Orientation of operational plans for the Ravi-Chenab corridor was changed.

An aggressive, layered defence against infiltration and terrorist movements in the Jammu region brought results in the Arnia, Samba and other encounters.

Vigilant citizens were enlisted into the Jagruk Hindustani scheme, a grassroots information system. Other innovations included overcoming the shortage of officers by introducing JCO-led mobilisation for war. Developing the Dhar-Udhampur road as an alternate to the vulnerable Pathankot-Jammu highway was a strategic initiative. Setting up of the think tank Gyan Chakra and the command museum displayed KJ Singh’s vision and drive in full measure.

The achieving zeal was also displayed in welfare measures for ex-servicemen including the senior veterans’ home, additions to the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and a host of other administrative initiatives.

As the general rides off into the sunset today in the tank he commanded as a subaltern (he’s actually doing it in his old regiment), he can certainly look back with satisfaction at having served his country well.

Naval coastal surveillance operations

A naval detachment (NavDet in Service parlance) has taken up guard at Androth Island in Lakshadweep. Another NavDet will soon be operational on Bitra in the same island group.

These NavDets are small details consisting of 2-3 officers and 25-30 ratings tasked with maintaining surveillance initially establishing a presence in far-flung territories building up to full-fledged bases. The NavDets will maintain surveillance to frustrate moves by terrorists, arms smugglers and pirates. For this purpose they will employ coastal radars networked to the BEL-developed Coastal Surveillance System.

The system can watch over the complete Indian coastline from a consolidated focal point. For local operations, the NavDets will be equipped with Gemini rigid-inflatable boats and Solas Marine fast interceptor craft (FICs). The general nautical and coastal security scheme envisages a networked surveillance system with a chain of radar stations and small and large naval forces working in conjunction to deny our space to any hostile elements.

Northern Command takes to Twitter

Northern Command with it’s active involvement in counter-insurgency and cross-LOC operations not to speak of engaging with the Chinese interacts with the media on a daily, even hourly basis. The need to be in sync with the new communication super-highway is imperative.

Therefore, it was in the fitness of things that the formation’s media team now operates a Twitter handle (NorthernComd_IA) for regular updates on operations, encounters, military news and most importantly to squelch rumours and counter disinformation. Good luck to the Dhruvas!

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