For the Indian Army, the year 2006 proved to be a year of challenges and achievements. The Indian Amy continued to guard the nation from external and internal threats. Though a ceasefire is holding along the LC in J & K, troops continued to guard it against infiltration and exfiltration by anti national elements. In the hinterland, in J & K and the North East, it continued to seek and apprehend/ neutralise terrorists. In J&K alone, close to 600 militants were killed and over 400 apprehended while over 200 surrendered. In the process large quantities of arms, ammunition and other war like stores and equipment were recovered. Various militant groups have either been neutralized or considerably weakened. The common man continues to look up to the Army as an important organ of the nation to provide safety, security and succour.
1. Trials for identifying 155 mm/52 Calibre towed guns are in process and the selection process will commence once these are completed. Electronic surveillance devices such as unmanned ground sensors, Battle Field Surveillance Radars, Infra Red Sensors, Hand held thermal imagers etc have been introduced to assist in counter terrorism operations. The Army is also working towards Network Centric Warfare concept for a digitized battlefield of the future. The Army is adequately prepared to operate in the prevailing NBC environment in the region and these capabilities are regularly reviewed keeping in view the changing threat scenario, as required.
Contributions In UN Peacekeeping
2. Besides the ongoing contribution in various Peace Keeping Missions under the UN banner, the Indian Army dispatched a contingent for the first time to Golan Heights. They joined the UN Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) with troops from Canada, Japan, Australia, Poland and Slovakia, UNDOF is deployed in an Area of Separation between Israeli and Syrian Forces
3. 4 SIKH, deployed in Lebanon was awarded the Force Commander’s Unit citation for the stupendous manner in which this battalion performed its tasks. It may be recalled that this battalion was located between two warring faction in the region. In a rare honour, UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan also visited this battalion.
Sino Indian Border Personnel Meetings
4. Besides Chushul, Nathula and Bumla for the first time ever, a Sino Indian border personnel meeting was held in Area Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh on 18 Nov 2006. Peace and tranquility prevails on the Sino – Indian frontier.
5. Indian Army continued to hold joint exercises with foreign armies. Some of these were with Uzbekistan Special Force in Jan 2006, United States for Counter terrorism in Oct 2006 and with US Marine, also in Oct 2006.
Rescues and Relief – Floods
6. In early Aug 2006, Army rescued over 1600 persons in the flood affected areas of Marathwada, Chattisgarh and Ladakh. Later in the same month, it was deployed for rescue and relief of over 4000 person in Barmer District of Rajastan.
7. Assured decent last rites scheme was introduced this year wherein all assistance is made available to ensure dignity in death of all ex servicemen. A number of educational institutes continue to do yeoman service for the wards of serving and retired Army personnel. Army Wives Welfare Organisation has focused on the welfare of widows of service personnel and children with different abilities.
8. A number of steps have been initiated to address the incidents of suicides in the Army. Though the per capita figures of suicides in the Army are considerably lower as compared to civil society and also many other armies, it is to be expected that these will be controlled even further by various steps which have been initiated.
9. The Indian Army conducted a large number of adventure activities in 2006, the major ones being:-
(a) K2K Para Motor Expedition from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in January 2006.
(b) Army’s Day-Night Hot Air Ballooning Expedition Jaipur to Delhi in February 2006.
(c) Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Cho Oyu in May 2006.
(d) Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Nun Peak, Zanskar in Jammu & Kashmir in September 2006.
(e) Joint India – Myanmar Army Car Rally in December 2006.
Visits of Security Forces Commanders
10. A number of delegation of security forces from various nations visited Army HQs. Some the Security Force Commanders who visited are as under:-
(a) Maj Gen Mohamed Zahir, Chief of Staff, National Security Service, Maldives in February 2006.
(b) Gen Tsutomu Mori, Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self Defence Force in March 2006.
(c) Lt Gen ISA Chisuzi, Zambian Army Chief Commences in May 2006.
(d) Maj Gen Said Nazzer Slumeiman Al Salmi, Commander of Oman Army visit to India in June 2006.
(e) Gen Peter J Schoomaker, Chief of Staff, US Army in September 2006.
(f) Staff Maj Gen Ali M Subaih Al-Kaabi, Commander, Land Forces, UAE in November 2006.
(h) Gen Francisco Roberto De Albuquerque, Commander, Brazilian Army in December 2006.
11. The entire nation joined the Army in honouring various martyrs who have laid down lives in counter terrorism operations. The valiant sacrifice of Col GS Sarna during the concluding days of 2006 was widely acknowledged as one more supreme sacrifice on the altar of national security.