Regiment of Artillery celebrated their 193rd ‘Gunners Day’ on September 28 thus it was appropriate to dedicate this issue of the magazine to the ‘Glory and Valour’ of Gunners. The lead article appropriately is by General J.J. Singh, former Army Chief, who gives his experience with the Gunners. He talks about ‘Operation VIJAY’ and the contribution of artillery regiments in crushing the enemy in various operations. During the Kargil war, in which he was actively involved, General Singh details how most of the infantry attacks were launched with overwhelming fire support of over one hundred artillery guns, mortars and Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers. A large percentage of Pakistani casualties occurred due to the artillery shelling leading to a large number of battle honours, awards for gallantry and decorations were bestowed upon the Gunners for their conspicuous bravery and exemplary courage in battle.
In another article on Regiment of Artillery, dedicated to the ‘Gunners Day’, Lt General Naresh Chand (Retd) gives out an overview of the Regiment, with brief history, role, inventory, modernisation and performance in battle. Regiment of Artillery has won many awards since Independence which include seven Mahavir Chakras and 92 Vir Chakras, forty honour titles, amongst others, which speaks highly of their combat capability.
Excerpts of Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Parliament on China’s infringement in Ladakh, is included in this issue. This statement enunciated India’s stand on the LAC and its policy towards China in resolving the current dispute. He stressed that, “while no one should doubt our determination to safeguard our borders, India believes that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbours”.
In an update on the critical situation in Ladakh, Lt General Katoch (Retd) states that the number of PLA battalions deployed in Ladakh has gone up from 35 in August to 50 in September. Tensions are high as opposing troops are eyeball to eyeball in certain locations and there have been incidents of shots being fired in the air and draws some far reaching conclusions.
In an article in this issue, Lt General Jagga (Retd) talks about the modified narrative of acquisition of defence hardware from ‘Indigenous’, to ‘Make In India’ and now ‘Aatmanirbhar’ and the hurdles India will face in pursuing this approach. He states that the Defence Ministry has always been empowered but the turf battles are what thwarts all attempts at building the domestic defence manufacturing industry. The trust amongst Defence PSU’s, Ordnance factories and DRDO is in the grey zone with the private sector right in their grievance of not getting a level playing field.
Wishing the Gunners a very happy anniversary and may they prosper and bring greater glory to India!