Thursday, December 06, 2007

NDTV mentions Bharat-Rakshak in their reports

Col Ajai Shukla, the correspondent of NDTV , Business Standard, author of Broadsword blog etc had done a news report on 'Official histories' of the India's Post47 Wars and mentions that Bharat-Rakshak hosts the pdfs for everyone to download. The report can be viewed at here
Report - History or Mystery

There is also a follow up discussion on X-Factor where the site is mentioned towards the end of the segment. The link is here
Discussion - Can India's people not be trusted with the story of India's wars?

Okay, enough of the dabba-maro-fying

Col Shukla's Informative blog post on the topic can be seen at . its a good post that tells the history of the MoD historical cell, the number of copies printed and other shenanigans at MoD which I never knew before. Also news to me was that the MoD historical cell was scrapped in the early 90s! Any wonder why I am rolling my eyes at the mod?

Coming to the hosted files on the internet, I was a bit amused that it has been reported now that BR hosts the official histories . And one of the reports actually carries the byeline ARMY HISTORY LEAKED, as if it happened yesterday!

The truth?, blame the Times of India - it was they who leaked it way back in 2000! thats seven years ago!. After the Times stopped hosting it and pulled down their websites on this (no surprise), we decided to host the same files on BR and they have been there for seven years. But I guess the season of the day in Delhi is the official histories publications, the henderson-brooks report and stuff like that so no surprise.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An Indian Army Alouette in Gilgit, Pakistan?

For years, I have been hearing and reading stories of a captured Indian Army Helicopter on public display in Gilgit, Baltistan (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). PakDef reported it as an Alouette III. But no pictures had emerged of it - till today when I stumbled on this photo by Ali Hameed on Webshots.

Indian Army Helicopter Gilgit

Ah .. the wonders of the Internet (for the umpteenth time).

It certainly is an Alouette - or a Chetak as we call it on our side of the border. Unfortunately trying to find out its provenance and identity is going to be an uphill task. The Helicopter is painted in non-standard Indian colors - There is no roundel or fin flash to be seen anywhere, let along the familiar 'Z' serial in white. The helicopter has the letters INDIAN ARMY painted on it along with the Indian tri color and rather interestingly, the Corps badge of XV Corps "Chinars" stationed in Srinagar.

Making the assumption that this is indeed an Indian helicopter (and that the Pakistanis are not playing a joke on us by painting one of their own Alouette IIIs in Indian colors) - The obvious question arises - how did it land up in Gilgit?

Over the years, several helicopters have been lost in and around Siachen. In the early years of Op Meghdoot, the missions were flown by Chetaks and only later were they replaced by the Cheetahs. Several could have been lost to the weather and elements over the initial years - and there is a high chance that the Pakistanis managed to recover one of the wrecks and ship it back to Gilgit. Its not implausible - just a couple of years ago a Cheetah of 114 HU overshot the landing pad at a forward post and rolled over into a valley killing the hapless pilot and co-pilot. The help of the Pakistanis was sought in recovering the crew member remains as the area were the wreck was now under Pakistani control. Several early Gallantry award citations from Siachen also talk about Helicopters crashing and abandoned in forward areas , or engines being removed out of crashed wrecks (Corporal C G Soman's Shaurya Chakra was on these lines).

Perhaps this was an Indian Army helicopter lost in the LoC area , outside of Siachen. Perhaps the helicopter was one lost in operations before Siachen came into its own? Whichever it may be, the fact the helicopter was transported to Gilgit suggests that it was in a more friendly 'recoverable' terrain than the hostile altitude of Siachen.

Whether the helicopter came from Siachen or outside, whether it was IAF or IA, one thing I can claim for sure is that the helicopter was surely built up from a crashed wreck. There are no remnants of the Turboshaft engine (suggesting salvage), the main rotor or the tail rotor blades - these possibly lost in a crash . And the front portion of the crew cabin, the plexiglass 'glass house' has been rebuilt from scratch (impact with the ground?)

My notes and records are not complete about Indian Army Chetak crashes - but I am sure some light will surface in due course of time. It is unfortunate that the Pakistanis had not retained the original markings of the aircraft - a serial number or the original paint scheme with stenciling would definitely have helped establish its identity.

Perhaps one of the Crazy brits will go around peeking for its construction number? I wish!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What was that double fence and security towers? The Jail of course!

Coming into landing at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad, the above structure used to catch my attention - double wall, security towers, some sort of control tower in the middle - must have been a high security place. Indeed it is - The Cherlapalli State Jail - which I found out only today - thanks to Google Earth. The above photo was taken by me from the aircraft.

A view in google maps :

View Larger Map
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Friday, October 26, 2007

Cables Cables Cables!

I thought I got rid of a bunch of cables out of my life when I got my notebook computer. Instead it ended up with more and more cables that I now rarely move the notebook from where it is placed. At last count the following cables were hooked up

-AC/DC Power Brick for the Vaio
-Regular Headset plus Mic
#USB1 -> 250GB back up externl HD - connected to USB - AC Power Brick
###USB1A-Mini USB cable connected to Windows Mobile Device
###USB1B-USB Port on HDD connected to 1GB Jump Drive
#USB2 ->-160GB Mini HDD for additional notebook space
#USB3 -> Hub with four ports
###USB3A -> Ipod
###USB3B -> Jabra BT headset
###USB3C -> Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Receiver.
###USB3D -> Empty

Also in the wait to be connected any time are 2 USB Jump Drives, 1 Olympus Voice Recorder, 1 Canon XTi, and wait did I mention the Canon Flat bed USB Scanner?

Its a wonder that corner of the house didnt catch fire yet...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Bharat Rakshak Forum - Nine years ago.

Bharat Rakshak celebrates ten years today. The soft launch was done on 11 May 97, but the main site went online on 1st July 1997. The forum at that time was a different version. This image shows the first UBB type board . We switched over to PhpBB2.0 at some point of time later.
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Saturday, June 30, 2007

More Photos of Hyderabad from the Air

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Raj Huns

Raj Huns
Originally uploaded by cool_daimalu.
Found this on Flickr, the last of the two remaining Tupolev 124s as seen at the Lucknow Museum. Photo from Flickr


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

R2D2 is here

Saw this today - a mailbox disguised as R2D2 (or is this the other way round?)
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My Indian Air Force and Indian Aviation Book Collection

The two photos on the left show the 'Indian Aviation' books collection - a selection of Indian, Pakistani and British Aviation books related to India and the Indian Air Force. One of the recent books on Kashmir Air War is missing, but this is as best as it can get. A couple of IAF Coffee Table books are also missing from the shelves, they are tucked away in a drawer somewhere.
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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Air Chief defends the MiG-21 (Video)

Click the Title above to go to the IBN site

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vijayanta at the MCEME Secunderabad Cantonment

A new war relic in Hyderabad. A number of Vijayanta tanks have made their appearance in Hyderabad over the few years. This one has been installed at the EME War Memorial along with another tank.
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Centurion Tank at Chennai

A well preserved Centurion tank in some vivid Camo colours outside the main gate at Officers Training Academy in Madras. If you get down at the Airport and travel to the city, you will come across this just a few minutes from the airport. Taken from a taxicab.
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