Newsroom24x7 remembers Zorawar Singh, the legendary General of Maharaja Gulab Singh – the Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, on his 235th Anniversary (b.13 April 1786, in a Dogra family in village Kahlur, now Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh). Every Indian citizen should cherish the memory and legacy of this great warrior who will always be remembered for the conquests in Ladakh, Tibet, Baltistan and Iskardu. General Zorawar Singh is popularly referred to as the “Conqueror of Ladakh and Tibet“. As tribute to the great warrior we are reproducing an article on him by Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal.
Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal
Zorawar, the legendary General of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, earned for himself the title of “Little Napoleon of India’ and has been described as the military genius of the nineteenth century by Cunningham. “During the long history of India, no Army from Hindustan had attacked Tibet. No Indian ruler had thought of conquering it and no Indian General accustomed to the heat of the plains had ever dared face the rigour of the Tibetan climate. Zorawar conceived the idea of conquering the Central Tibetan province for his master and prepared an expedition for that purpose.”
These Trans-Himalayan Campaigns fought by General Zorawar Singh, over a century ago, have suddenly become important for us, for with the Chinese aggression we find a large portion of our Army deployed in those very areas. Even the lapse of this period has not changed some basic factors of warfare in these regions and the effects of terrain, altitude and climate remain very much the same. We can, therefore, still learn some useful lessons from the study of his campaigns.
Tunnel is in the most difficult terrain of Pir Panjal ranges in Himachal Pradesh
Tunnel would directly benefit Himachal Pradesh, J&K Leh and Ladakh
Farmers, Horticulturists, Youth, Tourists, Security Forces will benefit immensely from the Tunnel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation the World’s longest Highway tunnel – Atal Tunnel at its south portal in Manali, on Saturday 3 October 2020.
The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier the valley was cut off for about 6 months each year owing to heavy snowfall.
The Tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3000 Mtrs (10,000 Feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Kms between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.
It has state of the art electromechanical systems including semi transverse ventilation, SCADA controlled fire fighting, illumination and monitoring systems. The Tunnel has ample safety features built into it.
Prime Minister Modi travelled in the tunnel from the South Portal to the North Portal and also visited the emergency egress tunnel that was built into the main tunnel itself. He also witnessed a pictorial exhibition on “The Making of Atal Tunnel” on the occasion.
In his address, the Prime Minister termed the day as historic as it only fructifies the vision of the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee but also the decades old wish and dream of crores of people from the region.
He said Atal Tunnel is going to be a lifeline for a large part of Himachal Pradesh as well as the new Union Territory of Leh-Ladakh and would reduce the distance between Manali and Keylong by 3-4 hours.
He added that now parts of Himachal Pradesh and Leh-Ladakh will always be connected with the rest of the country and would witness speedier economic progress.
The PM said farmers, horticulturalists and youth will now also have easy access to the capital of Delhi and other markets.
The Prime Minister said that such border connectivity projects will also aid the security forces in ensuring regular supplies to them and also in their patrolling.
The Prime Minister lauded the efforts of the engineers, technicians and workers who risked their lives in making this dream come true.
He said Atal Tunnel is also going to give new strength to India’s border infrastructure and would be a living proof of world-class border connectivity. He said despite the longstanding demand to improve the infrastructure and overall development of the border areas, plans were made only to languish for decades without any progress.
The Prime Minister said Atal ji laid the foundation of the approach road for this tunnel in 2002. He said after Atal ji’s government, the work was so neglected that only 1300 metres i.e less than 1.5 Kms of tunnel could be built till 2013-14 i.e only about 300 metres each year.
Experts then explained that if it continued at that pace then the tunnel would be completed only in 2040.
The Prime Minister said that the Government then fast tracked the project and the construction went on at a speed of 1400 metres each year. He said the project could be completed in 6 years where the estimate was 26 years.
He said infrastructure should be developed at a fast pace when the country needs to progress economically and socially. Shri Modi said this needs unflinching political will and commitment for the progress of the nation.
He said the delay in the completion of such important and major infrastructure projects causes financial losses and deprives people of economic and social benefits,
He said in 2005, the estimated cost for the construction of the tunnel was about Rs. 900 crores. But due to continuous delays, today it has been completed after spending more than 3 times i.e. 3200 crore rupees.
The Prime Minister said many important projects were meted out the same treatment as the Atal Tunnel.
The strategically very important air strip in Ladakh as Daulat Beg Oldi remained uncompleted for 40–45 years though the Air Force wanted an air strip.
He said work on the Bogibeel Bridge also started during Atal ji’s government but work on it languished later. The Bridge provides key connectivity between Arunachal and the North East region. He said the work gained unprecedented momentum after 2014 and was inaugurated about two years ago on the occasion of Atal ji’s birthday.
He said Atal ji also laid the foundation stone of Kosi Mahasetu to connect two major regions of Mithilanchal in Bihar. After 2014, the Government expedited the work of Kosi Mahasetu and the bridge was inaugurated a few weeks ago.
The Prime Minister said the situation now changed and in the last six years the border infrastructure – be it roads, bridges or tunnels- is being developed with full impetus and great speed.
The Prime Minister said taking care of the needs of the security forces of the country is one of the highest priorities of the government. But this was also compromised earlier and the interests of the country’s defence forces were compromised.
He listed many initiatives of the Government to take care of the needs of the defence forces like implementation of One rank One pension scheme, procurement of a modern fighter plane, procurement of ammunition, modern rifles, bulletproof jackets, harsh winter equipment which were laid on hold by the previous Government. He said governments earlier did not have the political will to do so and said this situation is changing in the country today.
The Prime Minister said major reforms such as relaxation of FDI in Defence manufacture have been made so as to produce modern weapons and ammunition in the country itself.
The Prime Minister said reforms were initiated in the form of creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff and establishing a better coordination in both procurement and production as per the requirements of the Defence forces.
He added that to match the rising global stature of India, the country has to improve its infrastructure, its economic and strategic potential at the same speed.
The Prime Minister said the Atal Tunnel is a shining example of the country’s resolve to become AatmaNirbhar (Self Reliant).
New Delhi: China continues to undertake provocative activities to escalate the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
This has been underscored in categorical terms through an official statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday 8 September 2020.
While asserting India’s commitment to disengagement and de-escalation of the situation on the LAC, it has been emphasised by India that at no stage has the Indian Army transgressed across the LAC or resorted to use of any aggressive means, including firing.
India has made it amply clear “it is the PLA that has been blatantly violating agreements and carrying out aggressive manoeuvres, while engagement at military, diplomatic and political level is in progress.
On 7 September 2020, it was the PLA troops that were attempting to close-in with one of India’s forward positions along the LAC and when dissuaded by the Indian troops, PLA troops fired a few rounds in the air in an attempt to intimidate the Indian side. However, despite the grave provocation, the Indian troops exercised great restraint and behaved in a mature and responsible manner, India has pointed out to set the record straight.
While emphasising that the Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility, China has been told that India is also determined to protect its national integrity and sovereignty at all costs. The statement by the Western Theatre Command of China is an attempt to mislead their domestic and international audience.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose the Independence Day to convey a stron message to both Pakistan and China by underscoring that from LoC to LAC, the Indian soldiers have given a befitting reply to those who have dared to challenge the sovereignty of India.
The Prime Minister was addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, for the seventh time in a row, on the occasion of Independence Day. He was resolute in stating that the country was fighting terrorism and expansionism with firm determination.
In the backdrop of the border row with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and many incidents of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the Prime Minister particularly drew attention to China’s misadventure and cowardly attack on Indian troops in the Galwan Valley and said he salutes the brave Indian soldiers who are always ready for the supreme sacrifice to protect India’s territorial integrity and soverignty. The entire world has seen the bravery and the fighting spirit of the Indian soldiers in Ladakh, Modi observed.
Highlights from Prime Minister’s Speech
In this extraordinary time of Corona, Corona warriors have lived the mantra of ‘Seva Parmo Dharma.’ Our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, ambulance personnel, safai karmacharis, policemen, service personnel and many people are working round the clock continuously.
Expressing grief over loss of lives in various parts of the country due to natural calamities, he reassured fellow citizens of full support in this hour of need.
India’s freedom struggle inspired the entire world. The idea of expansionism left some countries enslaved. Even in the midst of fierce wars, India did not allow its freedom movement to suffer.
Amid Covid pandemic, 130 crore Indians took the resolve to be self-reliant, and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is on the mind of India. This dream is turning into a pledge. Aatmanirbhar Bharat has become a ‘mantra’ for the 130 crore Indians today. I am confident of the abilities, confidence and potential of my fellow Indians. Once we decide to do something, we do not rest till we achieve that goal.
Today, the whole world is inter-connected and inter-dependent. It’s time for India to play an important role in the global economy. For this, India has to become self-reliant. From agriculture, space to healthcare, India is taking several steps to build Atmanirbhar Bharat. I am confident that measures, like, opening up the space sector will generate many new employment opportunities for our youth and provide further avenues to enhance their skills and potential.
Only a few months ago, we used to import N-95 masks, PPE kits, and ventilators from abroad. We not only made N-95 masks, PPE kits and ventilators during the pandemic, but were able to export these to all over the world.
Apart from ‘Make in India’, we must also embrace the mantra of ‘Make for World’.
National Infrastructure pipeline project worth Rs 110 lakh crore will boost our overall infrastructure projects. We will now focus on multi-model connectivity infrastructure. We can’t work in silos anymore; we need to focus on comprehensive and integrated infrastructure. About 7,000 projects of different sectors have also been identified. It will bring a new revolution in infrastructure sector.
How long will the raw material from our country become a finished product and return to India. There was a time when our agricultural system was very backward. The biggest concern then was how to feed the countrymen. Today, we can feed not only India but many countries of the world. Self-reliant India not only means reduction of imports, but also to increase our skills and our creativity.
The whole world has been noticing the reforms being pursued in India. As a result, the FDI inflow has broken all records. India witnessed 18% jump in FDI even during the Covid pandemic.
Who could have imagined that lakhs of crores of rupees would be directly transferred in the Jan Dhan accounts of the poor in the country? Who could have thought that such a big change would happen in the APMC Act for the benefit of farmers? One Nation-One Ration Card, One Nation – One Tax, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and Merger of Banks is the reality of the country today.
We have worked for women empowerment- Navy and Air Force are taking women in combat, women are now leaders, and we abolished triple talaq, got sanitary pads to women for just 1 rupee.
My dear countrymen, we have been told here – Samarthyamool Swatantryam, Shrammulam Vaibhavam. The strength of a society, the freedom of any nation is its power, and the source of its prosperity and progress is its labor force.
7 crore poor families were given free gas cylinders, more than 80 crore people were provided free food with or without ration cards, about 90 thousand crores were directly transferred to bank accounts. Gharib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan has also been started to provide employment to poor in their villages.
The campaign for Vocal for Local, Re-Skill and Up-Skill will bring about a self-reliant economy in the lives of people living below the poverty line.
Many regions of the country have also lagged behind in terms of development. By choosing more than 110 such aspirational districts, special efforts are being made there so that the people get better education, better health facilities, and better employment opportunities.
Self-reliant India has an important priority – self-sufficient agriculture and self-reliant farmers. To provide modern infrastructure to the farmers of the country, a few days ago ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ of Rs 1 lakh crore has been created.
From this same Red Fort, last year, I announced the mission of Jal Jeevan. Today, under this mission, every day more than one lakh houses are getting water connection.
Professionals emanating from the middle class make their mark not only in India but in the whole world. The middle class needs opportunity, the middle class needs freedom from government interference.
This is also the first time when the EMI of a home loan for your home is getting a rebate of up to 6 lakh rupees during the payment period. Just last year, a fund of 25 thousand crore rupees has been established to complete thousands of incomplete houses
Education of the country has great importance in building self-reliant India, in building modern India, in building new India, in building prosperous India. With this thinking, the country has got a new National Education Policy.
In Corona’s time, we have seen what the role of Digital India campaign has been. Just last month, almost 3 lakh crore rupees have been transacted from BHIM UPI alone.
Before 2014, only 5 dozen panchayats in the country were connected with optical fiber. In the last five years, 1.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country have been connected with optical fiber. All 6 lakh villages in the country will be connected with optical fiber within coming 1000 days.
My dear countrymen, our experience says that whenever there is an opportunity for women power in India, they have brought laurels to the country, strengthened the country. Today, women are not only working in underground coal mines, but also flying fighter planes, touching new heights in sky.
Of the 40 crore Jan Dhan accounts opened in the country, about 22 crore accounts are of women only. At the time of Corona, in April-May-June, about thirty thousand crores of rupees have been directly transferred to the accounts of women in these three months.
When Corona started, there was only one Lab for Corona Testing in our country. Today there are more than 1,400 Labs in the country.
Another very big campaign is going to start in the country from today. This is the National Digital Health Mission. Every Indian will be given a health ID. National Digital Health Mission will bring a new revolution in India’s health sector. All your tests, every disease, which doctor gave you which medicine, when, what were your reports, all these information will be contained in this one health ID.
Today, not one, not two, three vaccines of Corana are currently under testing phase in India. As soon as the green signal is received from the scientists, the country’s preparation is also ready for mass production of those vaccines.
This year is the year of a new development journey of Jammu and Kashmir. This year is the year of rights for women and Dalits in Jammu and Kashmir! It is also a year of the dignified life of refugees in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a matter of pride for all of us that the representatives of the local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir are pushing forward a new era of development with activism and sensitivity.
By making Ladakh a Union Territory last year, the old demand of its people has been met. Ladakh, situated in the heights of the Himalayas, is moving forward today to touch new heights of development. Just as Sikkim has made its mark as an Organic State, in the coming days, Ladakh, will make its identity as a carbon neutral region, work is also being done in this direction.
A special campaign with a holistic approach to reduce pollution in 100 selected cities of the country is also being worked on.
India is fully sensitive to the preservation and promotion of its biodiversity. In the recent past, the tiger population has increased at a rapid pace in the country! Now a project lion for our Asiatic lions is also going to be started in the country. Similarly, Project Dolphin will also be launched.
From the LOC to the LAC, whoever has raised eyes on the sovereignty of the country, the country, the army of the country has responded in the same language. Respect for India’s sovereignty is supreme for us. What our brave soldiers can do for this resolution, what the country can do, the world has seen this in Ladakh.
A quarter of the world’s population lives in South Asia. We can create untold possibilities of development and prosperity of such a large population with cooperation and participation.
Our border and coastal infrastructure also have a huge role in the security of the country. Be it the Himalayan peaks or the islands of the Indian Ocean, today there is an unprecedented expansion of road and internet connectivity in the country.
There are more than 1300 islands in our country. In view of their geographical location, considering their importance in the development of the country, work is underway to start new development schemes in some of these selected islands. After Andaman and Nicobar islands, in the next 1000 days, Lakshadweep will also be connected to submarine optical fiber cable.
The expansion of NCC will be ensured to 173 border and coastal districts of the country. Under this campaign, special training will be given to about 1 lakh new NCC Cadets. In this also, about one-third of the daughters will be given this special training
Our Policies, Our Process, Our Products, Everything should be Best, Must be best. Only then will we be able to realize the vision of Ek Bharat-Shresth Bharat.
The middle class will be the biggest beneficiaries of ‘Ease of Living’; from cheap internet to economical air tickets, highways to i-ways, and from affordable housing to tax reduction – all these measures will empower the middle-class people of the country.