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Brig Umesh Singh Bawa Vrc, SM

Umesh Singh Bawa Vrc, SM a PhD in Public Administration retired from the Indian Army as Brigadier. He is an infantry officer and author of a book called Mashkoh: Kargil as I saw it. He was awarded Vir Chakra during the Kargil conflict in 1999.

Latest Articles

Merit-based promotion system

To seek merit among one per cent officers is akin to seeking out a bright star on a clear night, as one will be able to see many bright stars.

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 19

Capt Anuj Nayyar was awarded Maha Vir Chakra, the nation's second-highest gallantry award on 15 Aug 1999. It was received by his mother
C Company attack

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 18

“Sir, one day, I will supersede you”, Captain Anuj used to tease his senior, Major Ritesh Sharma. Circumstances forced him to take his senior officer's position and turn this joke into reality.
indian troops

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 17

Nk Balwan Singh and his section could not believe the sight behind the bunker. He saw the dead Pakistani soldiers without their heads, including one who probably bled to his death, holding on to his wallet with his family's photo. Another injured Pakistani soldier screaming to be killed so that his family could claim a martyr's compensation which would feed his family. The picture of Indian casualties, was equally grim.

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 16

The company was subjected to heavy shelling by the enemy. The fire was in the form of air burst over the objective. The enemy also engaged with a small arms fire from Pimple 2. The casualties of the company started to rise slowly.

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 15

When I was a youngster, I used to wonder if I would ever participate in a war. Only the lucky ones get this chance. In war, there are only winners or losers; there is no runner's up.

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 14

During the planning process and briefing, even the junior-most commander and soldier must be encouraged to ask questions and clarifications. If the troops are not clear about the plan, it will affect the execution of the same. Leaders must take the time to explain every detail so that everyone understands it. Keep the plan simple is the mantra!

Military & media- why both are incomplete without the other?

In a democracy media, if managed appropriately, can act as a great 'force multiplier.

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 13

On 13 Jun 99, the PM was scheduled to visit the 8 Mountain Division at Matayan at 1030 hours to address the troops. We were also called there. At around 1000 hours, the enemy started shelling the area where we had gathered for PM's address. We all started running for cover to escape the deadly fire and found the folds of the hills in close vicinity to take shelter.

Covid –19 pandemic: lessons learnt – too little, too late

The shortage of hospitals, beds, ventilators, oxygen, medical facilities could have been avoided, had we prepared ourselves better for dealing with the second wave. It is sad to see the scenes of wailing mothers, wives, children and fathers who have lost their near and dear ones to this pandemic.
soldiers wearing helmet

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 12

My adjutant at once grabbed his helmet and took a lying position. The shelling was over after a couple of minutes. But we all realized that we were in the battle zone and must wear our helmets every time due to frequent enemy shelling and take a lying position with face down to minimize casualties.
Afghanistan 1

Afghanistan: India’s Concerns

Afghanistan is at a crossroads after the US announced plans to withdraw all troops by 11 Sep 2021 -- bringing America's longest war to an end
Pakistan Army Kargil

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 11

The news of the capture of Tololing spread like wildfire. It was the first big victory and boosted the confidence of one and all including my men -- If 2 Raj Rif can do it, so can we. The task of capturing the objective was feasible if we are determined to achieve it. It proved the adage, 'no defences are impregnable for a determined attacker.
women officer

Women in combat – better late than never?

Induction of women in combat arms, combat support arms and services should be based on their abilities and not based on their gender. The armed forces should lay down minimum physical standards for combat arms, combat support arms and services irrespective of gender and recruit accordingly.
karrgil Mushkoh

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 10

The battalion had been employed in a counter-insurgency/counter-infiltration role before induction into the Mashkoh valley. Therefore, the men had to be re-oriented towards undertaking conventional offensive operations in high altitude area.
injured jawans in Maoist attack

Maoist terror – lessons learnt

It is believed that the Maoists planted false information about the presence of Madvi Hidma at a particular location to lure the security forces into that area and then strike at will when they were withdrawing.

Myanmar crises: India’s dilemma

As the world's largest democracy India must join those who are condemning the military take over Myanmar. It is in the interest of India that a civilian government is restored in Myanmar at the earliest.
Indian Army

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 9

The plan of 79 Mountain Brigade looked very impressive when plotted on the map, with two separate thrust lines, along different ridgelines, finally culminating to the terminal objective of Point 4388. If we analyse the above tasking of the battalions, it appears to be a tall order for one unit. It seems the brigade wanted to bite more than it could chew.
India Bangladesh

India Bangladesh relations – the way forward

Bangladesh assumes greater importance due to its strategic location to influence the Indo-pacific region. In view of the growing importance of this region, the expansion and modernisation of Mangla and Chattogram ports in Bangladesh will play a major role in future. It could also be included as a member of the extended ‘Quad’ in future.

India-US relations: the changing dynamics

The rise of China is central to Indo-US ties. China’s rise to great power status during the last 30 years has changed the power equation that had existed in the 1990s between China and India and China and the US.
Pak Army

The inside story: Mashkoh– Kargil as I saw it # 8

With virtually no cover and Pakistani intruders entrenched all across the ridge in sangars, the advance of my troops was stopped even before it began. The platoon was bloodied so severely by the deadly enemy fire that it finally hit me what we were really up against.