Lt Gen Ranbir Singh
Sainik School, Kapurthala was set up in 1961 to prepare boys academically, physically and mentally for the National Defence Academy. Over the years it has turned out to be a significant feeder school for the armed forces. The list of its alumni who have been commissioned as officers is impressive indeed.
A very momentous milestone in the school’s proud history occurred a few months ago. No less than three of its illustrious alumni held the rank of Army Commander at the same time. These were Lieutenant Generals Ranbir Singh (1969-76) who commanded Northern Command, Satinder Saini (1970-77) who was Southern Army Commander and Iqroop Singh Ghumman (197077) who held the reins of Central Command. Something which all Saikapians (as ex-students of the school are known) can be justly very proud of.
Thirteen Military Hospitals Dedicated to Deal with Pandemic
No less than thirteen Army hospitals located all over the country with a total capacity of 3,000 beds have been earmarked to treat Coronavirus patients. These hospitals are located at Lucknow, Pune, Ahmedabad, Belgaum, Golconda (Telangana), Jhansi, Nasirabad (Rajasthan), Saugor (MP), Jodhpur, Panagarh (West Bengal), Shillong, Patiala and Palampur (HP). 370 intensive care and high dependency units are included in the capacity. At the moment more than 1,250 persons are housed in six quarantine facilities run by the Army at Mumbai, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Hindon (UP), Manesar (Haryana) and Chennai.
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Separate wards have been designated for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in twenty-nine other military hospitals in addition to regular patients. These are located at Ambala, Amritsar, Delhi, Yol (HP), Firozpur, Pathankot, Agra, Mathura, Meerut, Roorkee, Udhampur, Srinagar, Leh, Ganganagar, Ahmednagar, Babina (UP), Raipur, Pune, Devlali (Maharashtra), Kamptee (Maharashtra), Secunderabad, Wellington (Tamil Nadu), Barrackpore (West Bengal), Bengdubi (West Bengal), Tenga (Arunachal Pradesh), Likabali (Arunachal Pradesh), Allahabad, Lucknow and Danapur (Bihar). The total capacity of these hospitals is nearly 5,000 beds with nearly 800 intensive care units.
Lt Gen Iqroop Singh Ghumman
Whether going into battle or preparing to tackle a pandemic the armed forces believe in being ready for all eventualities and contingencies that may arise.
Military Staff for the Vice President
I was somewhat surprised to note that the Vice President now has two military aides-de-camp forming part of his personal staff. This is unprecedented. Why has this been done one wonders? The Vice President does not figure in the military chain of command unlike the President who is the supreme commander of the armed forces. Nor does he have any military functions to carry out. He does not present colours to regiments, ships or air squadrons for instance even in the absence of the President. That job is the prerogative of the Services Chiefs.
Many people feel that Services headquarters should once again cultivate the art of saying a polite no to unreasonable demands from politicians.
Successful IAF Experiment
Lt Gen Satinder Saini
A key landmark was achieved by the Air Force on January 31stwhen an AN-32 transport aircraft powered by a 10 percent blend of bio-jet fuel undertook flying from Leh. This meant that aviation bio-fuel is suitable for high altitude operations. The indigenously developed mixture passed all tests performed by test pilots from the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bengaluru and aircrew from the squadron which operates the aircraft. The IAF’s capability to assimilate new technology while promoting homegrown solutions was superbly demonstrated.
4 Para SF Strike at Terrorists
Aided by visual sightings and monitoring by drones a team of 4 Para (Special Forces) struck at terrorists infiltrating from Pakistani-occupied territory into Kupwara. All terrorists were successfully eliminated after a close-quarter battle with weapons, warlike stores and rations being recovered.
Unfortunately, Subedar Sanjeev Kumar from Bilaspur (HP), Havildar Devendra Singh Rana from Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand and Paratroopers Bal Krishan (from Kulu, HP), Amit Kumar (from Pauri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand) and Chhatrapal Singh (from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan) were also killed in the fierce encounter. A heavy price to pay indeed.
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