September 30, 2017

Changing Contours of Baloch Nationalist Movement

Since early 2000 Balochistan is yet again embroiled in a cobweb of violence. The presence of rudimentary representative institutions during the democratic interlude in the 1990s had afforded a semblance of medium to nationalist elites to articulate their grievances within the institutional mould. However, the abrupt rupture of institutionalised medium in concomitance with a repressive state apparatus during the dictatorial regime of General Pervez Musharraf signified not only the emergence of violent politics as the medium of contestation but a paradigmatic shift in the morphology, objectives and geography of the Baloch nationalist movement. Resultantly, current movement differs from many of its iterations in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. This paper attempts to identify such diacritical markers. It argues that the present movement is undergoing a process of leadership transformation with the participation of young and more articulate middle class setting off a process of „de-tribalisation‟ with non-tribal nationalists taking over the reins of leadership. The undergoing leadership transition is being paralleled by ideological propensities supplanting age-old tribal loyalties as the primary determinants of participation. The movement is also witnessing a gradual spatial expansion of nationalism which has brought forth a change in nationalist objectives too, with demands for provincial autonomy giving way to an idea of independent Balochistan. .

Through discourse analysis of the writings and discourses of intellectuals, activists and Political commentators from within Pakistan and outside, this paper identifies the above-mentioned diacritical markers of the on-going iteration of Baloch resistance and in the process highlights the rapidly changing nationalist landscape of Balochistan.

Changing Contours of Baloch Nationalist Movement

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September 29, 2017

Call for Afghanistan Unity from Najib's Daughter

افغانستان کے سایق صدر شہید ڈاکٹر نجیب اللہ کی بیٹی اور افغانستان کی ابھرتی ہوئی سیاستدان ہیلہ نجیب نے افغان حکومت کو افغان مصالحتی مشن کو نتیجہ خیز بنانے کےلیے تجاویز پیش کی ہیں ۔۔۔۔۔۔
ہیلہ نجیب نے اپنے کتاب جو انگریزی زبان میں ہے " صلح اور معاشرتی سلجھاو " لکھا ہے کہ اپنے والد کے قومی مصالحت کے ادھورے مشن کی تکمیل چاہتی ہیں جو اس وقت داخلی اختلافات پڑوسی ملکوں کے عدم دلچسپی اور امریکی مخالفت کی وجہ سے کامیاب نہ ہوسکی ہیلہ نجیب کے خیال میں پڑوسی ملکوں پاکستان ایران روس اور چین کے ساتھ ساتھ امریکہ کو بہی اپنا کردار ادا کرنا ہوگا داخلی طور پر تمام مزاحمتی گروپوں کو امن عمل میں شریک کیے بغیر پایدار امن کا خواب پورا نہیں ہوسکتا ہر افغان کو قایل کرنا ہوگا کہ بہت خون بہہ چکا بہت تباہی ہوچکی اب انیوالے نسل کےلیے امن بھای چارے اور برداشت کے سوا کوی اپشن نہیں بچا ہیلہ نجیب کہتی ہیں انکے شہید والد نے روسی فوج کے انخلا سے دو سال پہلے قومی مصالحت اور امن مشن کا اغاز کیا تھا اور انکی خواہش تھی کہ غیر ملکی فوج کے انخلا کے بعد افغانستان میں مزید خون ریزی کا خاتمہ ہو لیکن داخلی انتشار پڑوسی ملکوں کی عدم دلچسپی امریکی مخالفت روس کی درپردہ مداخلت اور مجاہیدین کے باہیمی اختلافات نے امن کوششوں پر پانی پھیر دیا ہیلہ نجیب نے انکشاف کیا کہ جب انکے شہید والد نے مصالحت کےلیے اقتدار سے علحیدگی پر رضا مندی ظاہر کی تو روسی دوست ناراض ہوگیے اور انہیوں نے متبادل قیادت کے لیے دخل اندازی شروع کردی اور اسکا نتیجہ بہت خوفناک ثابت ہوا ہیلہ نجیب نے واضح کیا ہے کہ انہیں اقتدار سے کوی دلچسپی نہیں لیکن افغان عوام نے بہت دکھ جیلے ہیں دو ملین لوگ شہید ہوچکے ہیں اور افغانستان اج بہی سلگ رہا ہے اسلیے وہ اپنے شہید والد کے امن مشن کو پورا کرنا چاہتی ہیں ۔
اے این پی آواز
— with Rana Ahmed Azeem.

September 28, 2017

Africa Digest by Pramit Pal Chaudhuri 

Mr. Pramit Pal Chaudhuri 
Distinguished Fellow, Ananta  Aspen Centre 
 Foreign Editor, The Hindustan Times                                                                                             SEPTEMBER 2017 | VOL 01 ISSUE 04| MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS

• India and Japan Move towards Growth Corridor

• South Africa’ s Gupta Brothers Scandal 

• Togo’s Inadvertent Internet Experiment



India and Japan Move towards Growth Corridor    

India and Japan moved towards officially breaking ground for the proposed Asia Africa Growth Corridor during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state visit to India. In their joint statement issued on 14th  September, the two governments spoke of working together to build connectivity in the Indo-Pacific and Africa. The statement said the two sides “welcomed the efforts to explore the development of industrial corridors and industrial network for the growth of Asia and Africa, which will benefit various stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region including Africa.” This explicitly makes African connectivity as a strategic priority for both countries. 

The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, according to Indian and Japanese officials, will initially see the setting up of modern port facilities and special economic zones at two points: Nakala in Mozambique and Mombasa in Kenya. Broadly, the idea is to create an ecosystem at these two nodes that is attractive to Japanese and Indian manufacturers and traders. This investment will then generate commercial links to markets around the Indian Ocean, but with a preference for the Indian littoral and the Bay of Bengal area. 

The idea seems to be to build infrastructure to help firm up these business linkages as they organically branch out from Nakala and Mombasa into the hinterland and to other parts along the East African coast. While present plans envisage a long-term budget of $40 billion with about three-quarters being provided by Japan, the plan is to make the corridor’s development as market-driven as possible. 

The growth corridor would require not merely physical infrastructure but also customs harmonisation, regulatory reforms and skills development for local labour. India’s Foreign Secretary Dr S. Jaishankar, in a speech on 25th August, emphasized that the corridor would require “a strong sense of local ownership that can only happen with consultative project designing, transfer of technology and encouragement of skills.” Japanese officials stress that the corridor must be built and financed in a manner that is substantially different from the way China, for example, is using debt to construct its Maritime Silk Road and other components of the Belt Road Initiative. 


South Africa's Gupta Brothers Scandal   

A slowly spreading scandal involving an Indian-origin business family continues to damage the reputation of South African President Jacob Zuma, the ruling African National Congress and has now begun to stain a number of major international companies. The global accountancy major, KPMG, purged the top management of its South Africa after evidence it had facilitated the crony business relationship between Zuma’s family and the Guptas. South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has called for an investigation into KPMG’s actions.

The Guptas are three Indian-born brothers whose meteoric rise in South Africa has closely paralleled the political career of Zuma. 

With official inquiries into the scandal seemingly stalled, the opposition has turned its attention to businesses which it believes were involved in the Zuma-Gupta dealings. A number of other firms including McKinsey, Bell Pottinger and SAP now face investigation or are carrying internal probes into their South African office’s culpability. 

South Africans are often astonished when they find few people in India have ever heard of Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, three brothers born in Saharanpur who came to South Africa in 1993. They began by selling goods from the boot of a car but today their Sahara Group – unconnected to the Indian financial firm of the same name – has a turnover of over $20 million with interests in mining, transport and media. Their personal wealth is considerable: Atul Gupta’s personal wealth was listed in 2016 by Who Owns Whom as $ 773 million.  

Their notoriety in South Africa derives more from the fact that company’s directors and employees have included Zuma’s son, daughter and one of the president’s wives. This, in turn, feeds into evidence that the Gupta won lucrative business deals because of high-level political lobbying. 

The “Zupta” relationship goes back a decade when Zuma’s son began working for the Guptas. The online news site AmaBhunagane, using over 100,000 emails leaked under the hashtag #GuptaLeaks, has since exposed what the opposition parties argue is a crony structure of rigged government contracts, kickbacks and money laundering which helped enrich both Guptas and Zumas. The Guptas are said to have been influential enough to have had a finance minister removed in 2015. Public anger at their influence exploded after the brothers used an air force base to ferry guests to a 2013 family wedding. 

Zuma, who recently survived a no confidence motion in Parliament partly motivated by the Gupta scandal, and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing. No government agency or judicial inquiry has arrested or prosecuted anyone but it is assumed Pretoria has blocked or stalled many of these efforts. 

The opposition has turned to filing cases against firms like KPMG, on the basis of the leaked emails. A number of firms, including the Bank of Baroda, announced last year they would no longer be doing business with Gupta-owned companies. 

There is evidence that the Gupta brothers have transferred some portion of their wealth overseas. The brothers said last year that they would wind up their South African business operations by the end of 2016 “in the best interests of our business, the country and our colleagues.” So far, this has not happened. #GuptaLeaks documents indicate they have bought a luxury home in Dubai for Zuma, leading to speculation this could become the South African leader’s getaway in case the scandal engulfs his reign. 

Togo's Inadvertent Internet Experiment 

The West African state of Togo shutdown its internet on 5th September for a week. The government wished to stop youth from mobilizing online to hold protests against the reining Gnassingbe family. But the result also provided the world an experiment in what a society would do if it suddenly lost the internet.

Local and foreign media reported that the country, where WhatsApp is ubiquitous, experienced a more attentive civilian workforce, a rise in old-fashioned social interaction such as conversations in bars and walks in parks, and a drop in sexual activity among the young as online seduction was replaced by the more expensive business of actually paying for flowers, drinks and meals. There was also a surge in the purchase of books and printed reading material.

The Gnassingbe family have ruled Togo for over 50 years. Since August they have been facing a revived opposition over the country’s stagnant economy and the ruling family’s reluctance to surrender power. The internet closure was designed to preempt a new round of protests planned for September.

The ban, however, is reported to have been counterproductive. The sudden loss of WhatsApp has led to far greater political awareness among a previously apathetic youth. Large business, whose operations were largely cloud-based, saw all of its activities come to a standstill during the week of the ban and has now become more vocally anti-government. 


September 26, 2017

UNGA : Experts happy with India's performance

Rahul Gandhi caught lying in a speech in Gujarat

Good job OpIndia👍

ByOpIndia Staff

Posted on September 26, 2017

Congress scion Rahul Gandhi has a penchant for fake news. In 2015, Rahul had estimated the cost of Modi’s suit to be Rs 10 lakhs, in one of his speeches, which was pure lie. This had then become a statement of fact for all his sycophants. Today, he has added one more lie to his repertoire.

This lie shows that not only is Rahul Gandhi not updated with the facts, but even his lies are extremely outdated and well-debunked. Almost 2 years ago, in October 2015, in a rather sensational news break, Outlook claimed that L&T, had given the work of constructing the statue to a Chinese Foundry. The article mocked Modi’s “Make in India” campaign, by branding the Patel statue as “Made in China”.

We at had debunked this story then and there itself. An L & T spokesperson, had outright denied the story:

The statue obviously will be built at the site itself at Sadhu Bet (near the Sardar Sarovar Dam). This is not just a statue; it is a memorial. It cannot just be shipped in from somewhere. It will be constructed at workshops which we will create. The foundry and workshops will be created close by.

Since media reports kept quoting, L&T had to issue another statement to clarify the position:

The entire statue itself is being built in India at the site and only the bronze cladding in the form of bronze plates is being sourced from China, which constitutes a negligible amount of less than 9% of the total value of project

In spite of all this, Rahul Gandhi repeated this lie today at a speech in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region:

Worse, he even went on to tell the audience, mostly consisting of villagers, that this will lead to employment in China and not in Gujarat or India. The statement can be viewed here:

So not only he repeated a lie, he made absurd arguments based on that lie. Rahul Gandhi has recently come back to form, with a series of gaffes. Was this a “gaffe” or a deliberate lie? Will the mainstream media call out this lie?

ISIS is Growing in Pakistan

ISIS is Growing in Pakistan


Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

10:58 AM 09/26/2017

The common thread in the growth of Islamic extremism in Pakistan is its four decade official policy to harness Sunni militancy to suppress ethnic separatism and religious diversity domestically and advance its regional interests, particularly against Hindu India, Shia Iran and the perceived threat posed by Pashtun nationalism in Afghanistan.

Coupled to that is the tendency for Islamic extremist groups to splinter in their search for purer and ever more intolerant forms of Sunni Islam or simply fragment through tribal disputes and internal power struggles.

All of those elements are now operating within an environment where Sunni militancy is no longer completely under Pakistani government control.

The onset and growth of ISIS in Pakistan are natural consequences of those factors and whose presumed leader, Shafiq-ur-Rahman Mengal, is a prototypical example of Islamic extremist evolution.

Shafiq Mengal is the son of former Pakistan state minister for petroleum and Balochistan’s caretaker chief minister, Nasir Mengal. He comes from an influential and educated family, dropped out of the elite boarding school, Aitchison College in Lahore. He later attended a fundamentalist Sunni-Deobandi theological school in Karachi, where he met senior members of the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and was recruited as a future asset of the Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence Agency, the ISI.

Around 2008, Shafiq Mengal organized a pro-government tribal militia known as the Baloch Musallah Difa Tanzim, which was considered a pawn of the ISI and an instrument of the Pakistani government to suppress the Balochistan independence movement. Mengals’s group soon degenerated into local vigilantes, accused of acid attacks on women and killing people for political as well as non-political, tribal or personal reasons. That included the alleged torture and murder of up to 169 people, whose mostly unidentified remains were found in a mass grave in Tootak, north of Khuzdar in January 2014.

It is important to note, that Mengal remained closely associated with the Pakistani government even participating as a featured speaker at the National Defence University conference on Balochistan held July 17-18, 2012.

Mengal has provided protection to Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives in Balochistan and was known as a subcontractor of the intensely anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Sunni-Deobandi supremacist group and a formal affiliate of al Qaeda. A local Balochistan publication claimed that Mengal spent three months with ISIS in Syria before returning in September of 2016. In the wake of the Pakistani government crackdown on domestic terrorist groups, Mengal took advantage of the power vacuum created in LeJ to become one of the leading lights of the LeJ splinter group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami (LeJ-A), who, together with ISIS, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and killing of two Chinese nationals in Quetta, Balochistan in May 2017.

Immediately afterwards, in early June 2017, Pakistani security forces attacked an alleged ISIS headquarters in Mastung, Balochistan, said to be under the control of local ISIS commander Ejaz Bangulzai. His brother, Farooq Bangulzai, has been facilitating the ISIS network in Nangarhar, Afghanistan and, like Mengal, had been leading members of LeJ before joining ISIS.

In an August 7, 2017 Reuters’ article, a Pakistani teenager, who was captured moments before carrying out a suicide attack, told of being trained at an ISIS camp in Wahd, Balochistan supervised by Shafiq Mengal. According to Pakistani police, Mengal now controls a network of 500 to 1,000 Jihadis spanning both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Just in the past two weeks, an ISIS cell was found operating out of a flour mill in Peshawar, Pakistan and an ISIS flag was seen flying in Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad.

Given the trends towards greater Sunni extremism in Pakistan and the transnational nature of ISIS, the Afghan Taliban may only be the tip of the Islamist iceberg in South Asia.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at

September 24, 2017

What do Yazidis make of Kurdish independence?

Martyn Aim/IRIN

ERBIL, 19 September 2017



Tom Westcott 

Freelance journalist and regular IRIN contributor 

Author Note

Part of an in-depth IRIN series exploring the challenges facing Kurdish people throughout the Middle East as Iraqi Kurds vote on independence

Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum hangs on tenterhooks, with Iraq’s prime minister promising military intervention should Monday’s vote lead to violence, the US, UK, and UN urging Kurdish leaders not to move forward, and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s parliament voting to do just that.

With much of society apparently in two minds about the referendum, especially its timing, one group the authorities long believed they could count on for a “yes” vote was the Yazidis, a Kurdish minority singled out by so-called Islamic State for especially cruel treatment in a campaign the UN has deemed genocide.

But Yazidis – displaced in different camps and mostly hailing from Sinjar, a contested area that could become a flashpoint for further conflict if the vote goes forward – are themselves divided on the independence question.


Many internally displaced Yazidis have taken shelter in camps or housing near Dohuk

“It’s the same for us if we vote or if we don’t vote,” Hassan, a Yazidi father of four living in a sprawling camp near the city of Dohuk, told IRIN. “Everyone treats us badly. Both the Arabs and the Kurds have treated us very badly. Both sides look out for their own interests and, meanwhile, nobody helps us.”  

He gestured around the small tent he and his family have called home for two years: “There are 6,000 Yazidis living like this here, in just this one camp, but no one is interested in helping us to rebuild our homes and return home.”

Backing for Iraq’s other armed force  

Hassan said many Yazidis have thrown their support behind the predominantly Shia Hashd al-Shaabi forces, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Units, or PMU.

Formed in 2014 of pre-existing militias and new volunteers with the express purpose of fighting IS and now officially under the authority of the Iraqi government, the PMU played a major role in liberating parts of Sinjar from IS, arming Yazidis who were willing to join. According to PMU spokesman Ahmed al-Asadi, 2,000 Yazidis have joined the force and are stationed in positions around Sinjar, mostly in areas still classed as military zones.

“It’s good that [Yazidi] people are joining the Hashd,” Hassan said, while older family members nodded sagely in agreement. “They are [a] good option and a better one for us than the Kurds.”

A key PMU leader has recently come out against the referendum. Iran, which supports the PMU with weapons, ammunition, and training, is also opposed to the vote. 

But a few kilometres down the road from Hassan and his scepticism, at a makeshift garage and petrol station, Yazidi mechanic Yusef, selling fuel from barrels, was brimming with enthusiasm. “This referendum is good for the Kurdish people and good for the Yazidis,” he said, beaming. “The Kurds are supported by the US and together they support us. I’ll absolutely be voting yes.”

History of persecution

Most of Iraq’s Yazidis hail from Sinjar, in Nineveh province. More than 275,000 people – including tens of thousands of Yazidis – were driven from their homes there in August 2014 as IS swept through, terrorising the Yazidi population, who they characterise as pagans. 

Innocent civilians were killed, abducted, and forced to convert under torture. Women were taken into sexual slavery, and many are believed to be still captive. Many fled IS slaughter to the top of Mount Sinjar, where some were dramatically rescued.

Yazidis who remained on the mountain split. Some joined forces with a militia that has ties to Turkish- and Syrian-based Kurdish groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while others are loyal to KRG President Masoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

Tom Robinson/IRIN

Some of the Yazidis who remained on Mount Sinjar joined up with various militias

In March this year, fierce fighting broke out between the groups, sending yet more civilians into flight. The split in the fighters – many of the first group have since joined the PMU – suggests how divided the Yazidis are politically and raises questions about who might control the territory in the future.

What becomes of the Yazidis matters even more for the future of Iraq as Sinjar – strategically located near the borders of Syria and Turkey – is one of the key disputed territories.

Renad Mansour, an expert on Iraqi Kurds at Chatham House, told IRIN that Sinjar and other disputed territories – claimed by both Iraq and the KRG – are particularly important as the referendum is a “tactic to increase [the KRG’s] bargaining power in negotiations on post-IS [territorial] settlements.”

With a variety of interested parties – including Turkey because of the PKK presence and the PMU – Sinjar will be hotly contested and potentially dangerous.

In Sinjar and elsewhere, Mansour pointed out, “[Haider al-]Abadi will not want to be the [Iraqi] prime minister who lost territory to the Kurds.”

Arab vote issues

So far, very few Yazidis or Arabs from Sinjar have been able to return home. Those originally from the area, from both ethnicities, are theoretically eligible to vote in the referendum. Most Yazidi IDPs now live in camps in the KRG, where they should be able to vote. The more complex problem lies with Arab families originally from Sinjar, most of whom were forcibly relocated by IS and are now living in IDP camps outside Mosul, beyond Kurdish territorial borders.

“Of course we will invite the original Arabs from Sinjar to vote, but some of them supported Daesh [IS] in the beginning and I don’t think they will be allowed,” Jutyar Mahmoud, a member of the KRG’s Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission, told IRIN.

Mahmoud did not explain how these decisions on excluding certain voters would be reached, but indicated it would be a challenging process to include displaced Arabs from Sinjar in the vote.

“It’s a very complex situation because we can’t put ballot boxes outside Kurdistan,” he said. “So for these people to vote [from Mosul], they would either have to come back to Kurdistan or already be living in camps inside Kurdish territories.”

Arabs from Sinjar living in west Mosul camps told IRIN it was very difficult for them to leave the camps. They said they believed they would be prohibited from attempting to return to their former homes, most of which they claimed had been demolished by peshmerga forces – something peshmerga commanders have denied.

Even if they were eligible to vote and able to reach polling stations, Sinjar Arabs said they were not keen on the idea of an independent Kurdish state.

“Kurdistan can’t be independent,” 38-year-old Ahmed, a displaced Arab originally from the Sinjar village of Rabia, told IRIN. “There can’t be two countries in Iraq and, right now, we need unity to help each other rebuild Iraq.”

Hijacking the Yazidi cause?

One Western humanitarian worker based in the KRG for several years said he felt the suffering of the Yazidis had been manipulated in support of the referendum. After attending a recent commemoration of the 2014 Yazidi massacres, he described it as having been “hijacked by pro-referendum propaganda”.

The motto of the event was: “Yesterday was genocide, today is the referendum, and tomorrow will be an independent state”. It also included an elaborate dance performance that appeared to show peshmerga saving the Yazidis from IS.

The attendee said that given the fact that the peshmerga are alleged to have actually withdrawn from Sinjar in the face of IS advances, “the performance was quite embarrassing to watch and the whole event seemed far more focused on referendum propaganda than on the Yazidi genocide it was supposed to be commemorating”.

“The legacy of August 2014 is still in the memory of the Yazidis,” said Chatham House’s Mansour.

Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/IRIN

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled Sinjar in 2014

He explained that various sides were using the issue – with pro-PKK forces claiming the peshmerga abandoned the Yazidis to IS as a tactical move, and the KDP finding loyal Yazidi allies, funding them, and effectively causing splits in the community.

“You see this with various minorities [in the KRG],” Mansour said. “What happens is they become divided politically, and those who are not receiving funds [from the government or KDP] become overtly critical of those who are.”

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has emphasised that “the voice of Shingal (Kurdish for Sinjar) in this referendum is very important because it is the voice of the Anfal genocide and the voice of the pains of our people,” referring to Saddam Hussein’s anti-Kurdish campaign in the late 1980s that killed thousands of civillians, including Yazidis.
“It will be a call for freedom from subjugation and slavery,” he said.

Not all Yazidis agree with this sentiment.

(TOP PHOTO: A Yazidi shrine in Niveneh Province, northern Iraq. Martyn Aim/IRIN

FreeBalochistan posters rattled Swiss Pak relationship

Sitrep | Arjan Singh laid foundations of 1971 Victory

‘Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh’s strategic vision, foresight and hard work provided the framework for the strategic victory in 1971’

The then Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh visiting the MiG-21 squadrons based at Tezpur in Assam in the late 1960s.(

Updated: Sep 24, 2017 15:29 IST

By Mandeep Singh Bajwa, Hindustan Times

Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh made an outstanding contribution to the country’s defence and air force. By far, his most exceptional role was in analysing the IAF’s strengths and weaknesses, which showed up during the 1965 war, and applying necessary correctives. The major lesson learned was that the Service had been preparing for a medium to long-duration war. What was needed was a change in mindset, planning, logistics and operational dynamics for a short war of intense proportions. This was done through detailed planning and operational discussions. Personnel at all levels were briefed on the changed strategy for future wars. We saw that this worked perfectly in 1971 as the IAF achieved air supremacy over East Pakistan within three days and caused heavy attrition to the Pakistan Air Force in the West.

The Army had been crying itself hoarse about the lack of adequate air support with some reason. The reasons therein were analysed and solutions produced after joint consultations. Arjan Singh went down to micro-levels in this matter. He correctly deduced that the unreliability of World War-2 vintage wireless sets prevented forward air controllers from communicating with the aircraft and providing targets and feedback. Therefore, state-of-the-art communications equipment was sourced. The Army was thoroughly impressed with the ground support provided in East Pakistan in 1971.

Focusing on leadership at the higher level, Arjan Singh advocated joint planning with other Services, which was lacking in 1965. This paid rich dividends during the later confrontation with Pakistan. The IAF embarked on a concentrated period of modernisation, expansion and solidification. Many new fighter aircraft, equipment and systems such as the MiG-21, Sukhoi-7, HF-24 and SAM-3 surface-to-air missiles were inducted. Arjan Singh’s foresight, hard work and strategic vision truly provided the underpinnings of our stirring victory in 1971.

1st Maharaja Yadvindra Singh lecture

Tony McClenaghan will deliver the 1st Maharaja Yadvindra Singh Memorial Lecture on the princely states’ contribution to World War 1 under the aegis of the Centre for Indian Military History at the CRRID auditorium on Tuesday, September 26. He is a world authority on the Indian States Forces and is currently the secretary of the Indian Military Historical Society.

Dograi Day commemoration

It was an emotional moment to represent my late father at his old formation’s Dograi Day commemoration, place a wreath on the war memorial and interact with officers and Jawans. Located in a neat and clean new military station, the formation organised the remembrance in the Army’s usual style with grace and meticulousness. Defending a vital sector of the border, we can be rest assured that the conquerors of Dograi in 1965 will perform their tasks with the same aplomb and grit.

Women’s AFPI

The Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for Women at Mohali has grown from strength to strength. The efforts of it’s dynamic director, General IP Singh and his staff are soon to bear fruit. I’m informed that the first batch to appear for the Combined Defence Services examination will do so in November this year. The best of luck to them! The girls are currently studying for their graduation at MCM DAV College, Chandigarh.

Nathu La

Why is there no commemoration of the bloody nose given by our troops to the Chinese fifty years ago at Nathu La?

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