Friday, March 30, 2012


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
A general and a Jawan who have pledged their lives to the cause of the country’s defence and beating the wily enemy at his nefarious machinations are indeed patriots. How else can a man die better than defending his motherland? India that is Bharat would have lost Kargil but for the patriotic officers and soldiers who reconquered own territory at a heavy cost of losing life and limbs. They fought on bravely and showed unflinching loyalty to the Constitution and the commanders. In the face of our valiant men, the Pakistan army had turned tail. The world knows no patriots other than officers and men of the Indian Armed Forces who never questioned the orders of their commanders but fought on bravely in that valley of death.
I cannot resist the temptation of quoting Lord Tennyson when he eulogised chivalry of cavalry men of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.
: Theirs not to reason why
But to do and die
Rode into the valley of death
Rode the Six Hundred.
Canon to the right of them
Canon to the left of them
Volleyed and thundered
Rode into the valley of death
Rode the six hundred.”
Indeed that was the case in Kargil too. Many brave soldiers made the supreme sacrifice to defend the nation. And yet the govt of India never thought of raising a memorial for them. The politicians in power are too busy saving their seat of power, in attracting greedy legislators and parliamentarians by bribing them to save their govt from a fall on the floor of the house. One wonders whether such members of the legislature or parliament can be trusted with the defence of the nation. They may deceive the trust reposed in them at the crucial juncture. Money means everything to them and for money they may sell themselves and the country. Are they patriots or traitors; let us leave it to the common man to decide.
The Indian Army is suffering from night blindness. Not the Jawans who come from rural areas where there are no dazzling lights to bind them but total darkness as there is no electricity. If the electric lines exist, load shedding deprives them of electric lighting. It is a blessing in disguise because their natural eyes can see in a dark environment some distance. But they need Night Vision to make their outfit operational by night as well as by day.
Gone are the days of Mahabharat when an absolute cease fire was observed withthe last rays of the setting sun. The arrows were removed from bows and put back in quiver; swords in raised arm to strike the enemy were lowered and sheathed the moment Retreat was sounded on the trumpet and big drums. Soldiers retired to their camps and even visited the adversary’s camp to compare notes and mourn the dead.
In modern warfare the shooting goes on irrespective of the time of the day or night. Formations move forward to contact the enemy, take him by surprise and annihilate, if feasible. Officers and soldiers cannot see much at night so they are issued the Night Vision devices to enable them to carry on with the operation of war. I am sorry to say that a few years ago the capability of the Indian Army to see at night with the help of Night Vision device was twenty percent and the ability is on the downward slope for lack of devices that the government of India did not buy.
The night vision capability of the Pakistan Army is EIGHTY percent; and that of the PLA of China it is one hundred percent. Where does India stand in night operations vis-a-vis its potential enemies? Let us leave it unsaid. General VKSingh said so in so many words to beat the drum and awaken the deaf and dumb Govt of India and someone leaked that missive to the Press and now the Army Chief is being dubbed as Anti-national obliquely by no less a person than Raksha Mantri himself. Left to meek Manmohan Singh the Indian Army will continue to suffer from night blindness even when the battle is joined and the enemy is at our doors. The modern version will keep saying, like Mohammad Shah Rangeela, a Moghul King, “Hanoz illi Door Ast”- Delhi is far away for invading Nadir Shah. The rest is his HISTORY.
Let not history repeat itself. Otherwise our children and children’s children will never forgive our generations for the myopic policies of the Govt of India led by the Congress party. Thanks to General VK Singh beating the drum to awaken our people to many lacunae in our defence preparedness, we may now be in a better position to thump the table of those who matter and ask that they rearm and reequip our armed forces adequately.
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