Monday, May 13, 2013


Leh Palace 1964
Chushul village headman with our CP staff
   The recent incursion of Chinese border guards and their subsequent withdrawal has created lot of Media frenzy about Ladakh and ITBP role  and Army's interest in acquiring complete operation control over ITBP.This shows how the Army Staff have NOT read the Colombo proposals  of 1962 which India has accepted. As per proposal 2(c) only civilian posts are to be  allowed to be established  in the western sector.
   The following Officers of Indo Tibetan border force did yeoman service to the nation unsung, un noticed  in very difficult terrain without any security protection against the Chinese. It is just their guts and inner strength as well the unbroken Intelligence Bureaus esperi-de-corps which sustained them. For us  ITBF personnel Shri BN.Mullick's dictum that "" Intelligence officers have no borders""was holy Manthra.
   Mr.Charan singh, DYSp of Punjab police on deputation to IB was the one who discovered first the Chinese Aksai chin road connecting Tibet with Sinkiang and brought some Chinese mile stones on his Pony's back. He became little more adventurous and was taken Prisoner along with some ITBF constables  near Hot springs post and was tortured by the Chinese which left him partially paralyzed in one leg. This day is observed as Police Memorial day on 21st October.
   Mr.N.S Bhatti who was instrumental in re  establishing the Indian ITBF posts  7 main posts supported by another 10 or so subposts which were withdrawn during 1962. Some posts like Track junction, Murgo,DBO were established with just 4 or 5 personnel with signal officer carrying those bulky SAFI sets made by BHEL. But the posts were established by July 1963 with some casualties due to weather. Ladhaki sepoys of ITBF could easily face the weather but then others from plains have to face the weather.Track junction which was at 17,800 feet was the worst where one has to melt  ice throughout the year to drink.
   Mr.Parminder Singh who was in charge of Koyul post impressed Mr.BN Mullick so much with his adventurism like getting a Chinese  pony to our side that he promoted the entire Koyul post by one rank. What was tricky was that the constable cook got promoted as Havildar and created funny situation amongst other constables.But this one single action by Mr. Mullick was talked about amongst every one of ITBF personnel and acted as a great incentive to show similar adventurism. May be this is what made us to see the inside of Khurnak fort or Rezang Lungpa posts of the Chinese which I donot think is possible now.
   Samuel Santhanam who climbed most of the OPs and took snaps.Mr.Lakshmi narayanan,Sd Sehgal, guptha, GK Uphadyaya, Upendra. AKBakshi,CN parthasarathy, KS Rawat,Ponnuswamy,Chatterjee, are some of the names which come to my mind.There were constables like Abdul Razzak,Mathai  who within two months of posting could speak Tibetan fluently though from Kerala on deputation to ITBF from CRPF. Grass cutter Norphel who kept the Ponies fit for recce. I recovered 8 bodies in sleeping bags from inside a bunker at Rezang La and also plenty of empty rounds fired from a LMG nest.The visit of Mrs.Narasimhan along with her husband was a great Morale booster for the entire checkposts she visited as well as the Army units which were posted alongside us.I have already posted in 2009 how the Chinese killed  three of my  constables in cold blood at Dumchele.The link is below.

  There were many signal officers who have to carry the bulky SAFI sets which never worked properly but has to keep the communication going from check posts to HQTRS. Some like Mr.Dayalu who showed adventurism was selected  to be communication officer for the Everest expedition led by Cdr.Kholi. The maintenance of the communication link in earlier days was done by  police veterans who came on deputation to ITBF from Mysore police,Madras police etc.I want to mention Mr.PM.Nairof Mysore Police and Mr.Ramaswamy  of ITBF who maintained all the check post's communication equipment  by visitng most of the posts..Mr.Purushotham of Mysore Police who was one of those who reestablished the check posts after the Chinese aggression in 1962 got the Police medal.There were others  like Mr.Rangan,Ramdas,Ramakrishnan, Venkatachalam,Gill who did yeomen service silently. ITBF also suffered from lack of proper road transport like the Army which had Shakthimans , Nissan one tonner  trucks and Jonga jeeps with their 4 by 4 drive while ITBF had the Tata 3 tonner which will not start or didnot have the 4 by 4 drive.The Willeys jeep was another poor performer but they were the ones procured from CRPF.
     One cannot forget the wild life of Ladakh especially the Ibex, Mountain goat, wild Horses, Rabbits, and I was fortunate to see the rare legendary Golden Fox in all its majesty only once.The modern digital cameras were not there at that time and I had the Russian Lubitel camera but not enough 120 films which could be processed.easily or purchased. The giant 5 ton Shakthiman trucks crossing over frozen Indus river is a sight to see. The Ink blue Pangong lake is another sight to behold.There were some innovation too with Chinese dollar serving as yeast for setting curd.Many a Hotspring like at chumathang, Hotsprings ,Demochok etc.were so invigorating to take bath.
    The Indian media was crying hoarse about Chinese aggression which shows their complete ignorance or vested interest to provoke some skirmish between the two nations so that American Arms export lobby is benefited.Why the Chinese came inside 19 KMs and not 21 KMs? For Indian media there is no interest to study the Colombo proposals( given below in full), or the 1993 or 1996 pacts between the two nations and what they say. They even do not know the difference between Chinese army or its border guards who are the ones who pitched the tent. They do not even know the difference between ITBP, the role of Army  in peace and war. They never interviewed any officer from the the Ministry of Home or ITBP while the retired Generals and colonels were mouthing their valour and patriotism.Why the Chinese came at this time and why did they withdraw?What is the significance of Chinese Prime Minister's coming visit?These require deep study.Chinese respect strength and Self reliance and that is what India should strive to achieve.

The Three Musketeers

Dungti check post crew over frozen Indus

Chushul post crew constables Razaak,Mathai with self

Kumaon Memorial for Maj Shaitan singh and his company

captain Johann with Guptha

captainjohann over Chushul runway

captainjohann with constables Phendo,dorje,shivdayal,norphel

Captainjohann with Ladakhi belles


Self over pony at gurung hill

At an abondones Indian army bunker at Rezang la with thurbine

How Can A Man Die Better?
Than Facing Fearful Odds,
For The Ashes Of His Fathers,
And Temples Of His Gods.”
AVM Pinto's wreath was the last one he laid
before he dies in an air crash.Captain johann
and Guptha

Dungti post across Indus

Leh Bazaar  1964

With my prized 303

Monitoring Sapangur gap Chinese post from Gurung Hill

handle is hein.journals/intlm2 and id is 243 raw text is: 227

*     *     *     *     *
Proposals of the Conference of six non-aligned nations held at Colombo
(10th to 12th December 1962)
1. The Conference considers that the existing de facto cease fire period
is a good starting point for a peaceful settlement of the Indian Chinese
2. (a) With regard to the Western Sector, the Conference would like to
make an appeal to the Chinese Government to carry out their 20
kilometres withdrawal of their military posts as has been proposed
in the letter of Prime Minister Chou En Lai to Prime Minister Nehru
of November 21 and November 28, 1962.
(b) The Conference would make an appeal to the Indian Government to
keep their existing military position.
(c) Pending a final solution of the border dispute, the area vacated
by the Chinese military withdrawals will be a demilitarized zone
to be administered by civilian posts of both sides to be agreed
upon, without prejudice to the rights of the previous presence of
both India and China in that area.
3. With regard to the Eastern Sector, the Conference considers that the
line of actual control in the areas recognised by both the Goverments could
serve as a ceasefire line to their respective positions, Remaining areas in
this sector can be settled in their future discussions.
4# With regard to the problems of the Middle Sector, the Conference suggests
that they will be solved by peaceful means, without resorting to force.
5. The Conference believes that these proposals, which could help in
consolidating the ceasefire, once implemented, should pave the way for
discussions between representatives of both parties for the purpose of
solving problems entailed in the ceasefire position.
6. The Conference would like to make it clear that a positive response
for the proposed appeal will not prejudice the position of either of the
two Governments as regards its conception of the final alignment of the
Upon request from the Government of India, the followirg clarifica-
tions of paragraphs 2, 3 and h of the Colombo Conference proposals were
given by the Delegations of Ceylon, UoA.R. and Ghana:
*[Reprinted from a text released on January 13, 1963, by the
Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.]


arayans said...

this was an interesting read. if, in the future, you could shed some more light on the sino-indian dispute, and the roles of the itbp-army-etc, and what you think were the causes for the chinese incursion (i'm assuming, of-course, that it *was* an incursion in the first place), i'd quite look forward to reading!
i hope you're feeling fine.

V Ramaswamy said...

its a brief but true narrative of post 1962 scenario in Ladakh.
Many youngsters out of university one or two years earlier found themselves in Ladakh with no sound brief or medical checkup to face a difficult tenure.
What actually transpired in those formative years of their career is history now long forgotten by many.
But old friend Capt Johann has surely stirred 50 yrs old memories of my adventurous two& half yrs in there. Thanks

V Ramaswamy said...

its a brief but true account of post 1962 scenario.
true! deserving and unsung heroes were there but the job--of reestablishing CPs--was to be finished and move on. thankfully we had officers like Bhatti & Arunachalam who took good care of us.
Surely you have stirred with your photographs 50 yrs old memories of 2&1/2 yrs of adventurous and pleasurable time that i had spent and have always cherished.thanks

Patri Upendra said...

How lucky we were to experience the adventure and see the lunknown land and its lwonderful people. You indeed did a great job , Jolhann

captainjohann said...

Hi Upendra, Why not write your memories for all to see and read. You can write your views here also. It is for future generations of India that we the lowly ranked also did our duty.