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Sitrep | Military Literature Festival kicks off

The inaugural military literature festival at Chandigarh promises some enlightening discussions as well as exciting events and displays

punjab Updated: Nov 18, 2017 23:27 IST
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Hindustan Times
Military literature festival,Mandeep Singh Bajwa,Punjab
Chandigarh, India November 18, 2017 : Exhibition during literature festival at art museum festival sector 10 Chandigarh on Saturday, November 18, 2017 Photo by Karun Sharma/Hindustan Times(Karun Sharma/HT)

The inaugural Military Literature Festival, Chandigarh, kicked off with a polo match at Patiala on November 11 and a two-day military art and photography exhibition on November 18. Conceived by the Punjab governor and chief minister, the event is being organised by the Punjab government, Chandigarh administration and the Army’s Western Command. The aim is not only to showcase military writing and history but also foster debate on vital issues of national security.

A whole lot of events have been planned as part of the festival. November 28-29 will see the tricity veterans being provided with a platform to articulate their views. The organisers’ objective is to involve as many people with military experience in the discussions.

On December 3, a motorbike ride around the city with over a hundred participants will pay homage to our military starting with laying wreaths at the Chandigarh war memorial. Thereafter, audio-visual shows, a band display, an equitation tattoo, a motorcycle and paramotor display will keep the city’s population enthralled. Two days of panel discussions on books and subjects of military interest will be the finale.

The organisers are getting the finest minds and speakers from India and abroad to participate. Not just military men but civilian experts and analysts too. Personally, as one of the organisers, I’ve been most gratified by people’s enthusiastic response and contribution.

The Swifts’ golden jubilee

Number 22 Squadron (The Swifts) drew first blood for the IAF in 1971. On November 22, four Gnats operating from Dum Dum attacked four Pakistani Sabres engaged in strafing troops of 9 Division in the Boyra salient, shooting down two and badly damaging a third. Thereafter, the unit flew extensive ground support missions attacking the Barisal and Ishurdi airfields and targets at Jessore. 22 Squadron provided escorts for bombers striking deep inside East Pakistan and to transports carrying paratroopers to be dropped at Tangail. The attempted retreat towards the Dhaka bowl by units of the Pakistan Army was prevented by 22 Squadron and other units through effective anti-shipping operations. The squadron has continued to guard the skies of the North-East since the war and currently flies the Mig-27 ML Bahadur variable-geometry ground-attack aircraft. Some of the most iconic commanders in the IAF’s top leadership have led the squadron.

Raised in 1966, the Swifts are celebrating their golden jubilee with a series of functions at Hashimara in West Bengal. Sadly, the commemorations will coincide with their impending number-plating, i.e being put into suspended animation. Weakening of our frontline combat strength is a worrying factor in view of the increasing threat perception.

Standard presentation at Adampur

223 Squadron and 117 Helicopter Unit received the President’s Standards at Adampur airbase on the 16th. 223 Squadron (Tridents) is equipped with the Mig-29 UPG air-superiority fighter to which it converted from the Mig-23 MF variable-geometry fighter in 1990. The squadron is tasked with the air defence of a considerable section of Punjab as well as offensive operations over Northern and Central Pakistan.

117 Helicopter Unit (Himalayan Dragons) flies the indigenous HAL Dhruv helicopter. Earlier it was equipped with Mi-8 medium-lift helicopters. Based at Sarsawa in UP with 30 Wing the unit is tasked with a wide variety of roles. Its motto ‘Apatsu Mitram’ (A Friend in Time of Need) best describes its role – ferrying supplies to remote outposts, evacuating casualties and disaster relief.

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

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 23:27 IST