Corps of Signals 100th Anniversary
1911 - 2011

Photographs and Report on 14th Reunion at Jablapur: 13- 15 Feb 2011

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Corps of Signals: Sky is not the limit

Aditi Malhotra
E-Mail- aditimalhotra008(at)

As the Indian Army continues on the road to modernising its forces, the technological investment in the sector of space and military satellites is worth highlighting. Upcoming space technologies are going to impact military capabilities and operations in a great way. Undoubtedly, future wars are going to be swift, highly mobile and deeply influenced by space technology. With the growing significance of C4I2SR, the character of modern warfare is gradually transforming in keeping with the emerging changes in battlefield requirements. Also, Net Centric Warfare (NCW )will compel the commanders to become ‘Battlefield Leaders.’
Keeping current developments and future prognosis in mind, the Indian Army has been working towards establishing ‘net centricity.’ The Army is continuously working on bettering its C4I2SR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Information, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) capabilities as it is the first step towards NCW. For some time now, the Indian Army has been evolving its doctrine to integrate the different elements of C4I2. Needless to say, interoperability among the three services would be the essence of effective networking centric capabilities. Even in the absence of integrated doctrine or high degree of synergy, the army has embarked on a journey to develop a comprehensive net centric warfare doctrine.
A testament to the army’s efforts towards ‘net centricity’ is the development of the Tac C3I System (Tactical Command, Control, Communications and Information System). Taking its first step in 2009, the force inducted Project Shakti, a computerised command and control system to integrate its artillery weapon operations. Additionally, in the offing is the defence forces’ optical fibre networks that will help attain safe and secure communications, unbound network centricity and will also greatly improve interoperability among the three services. This will also be one of the world’s largest closed user group (CUG) networks for exclusive military communications.
Satellite and space programmes remain pivotal to further enhance net centricity. Since the early 1990s till date, the Indian armed forces have benefitted from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) civilian satellites by using satellite imagery. However, the operational requirements now demand an increase in military capabilities and the armed forces need dedicated satellites for military purposes. Though the technology and its application are not new to the Indian Army, future programmes and satellites will enhance the capabilities further. Apart from certain delays and retarding factors in the process, the future of the military use of space is bright. Military space satellites will aid the Indian Army, along with the Navy and Air Force, to undertake effective and real-time surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
Military uses of the technology includes imagery for identification of targets, navigation of target locations or weapon systems, signals intelligence, early warning etc. The technology would perpetually monitor the presence of missile silos, location of targets, troop deployment, and movement along the borders, which will facilitate combat operations. Specifically, the satellite capabilities will offer the force constant coverage of China and Pakistan’s military forces and their military build-up along the Indian border and in sensitive areas like Tibet and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK). A much awaited satellite includes the DRDO’s Rs 100 crore Communication-Centric Intelligence Satellite (CCI-Sat) which is scheduled to be operational by 2014. The satellite would be capable of picking up conversations and electronic eavesdropping activities in the neighbourhood. It will also be able to take high resolution images of the target areas. The launch of such satellites would enhance the war fight capability at the strategic, operational as well as the tactical levels.
China has been rapidly expanding its military capabilities in space and developing disruptive technologies like the Anti-Satellite capability, which poses a threat to Indian space assets. Another source of worry is the Sino-Pak cooperation in space technologies. The latest in case is the launch of Pakistan’s communication satellite Paksat-1R by a Chinese space vehicle from Sichuan province last year. With this precedence, China is likely to assist Pakistan in establishing a military space programme through soft loans and technological assistance. With such dangerous liaisons, the Indian side has sought to accelerate the pace of Indian military satellite programmes. In view of Chinese capability, in January 2010, Dr. V K Saraswat, the scientific advisor to the Indian Defence Minister, spoke about the Indian capability to undertake anti-satellite missions. He stated that India had “all the technologies and building blocks which can be used for anti-satellite missions” in the low-earth and polar orbits. This needs to be put on ground as an operational asset.
The threat from space is real and India needs to be sensitive to the issue. With the changing security environment and emergence of new threats, the Indian Army must move rapidly to optimally enhance its space based capabilities. Clearly, sky is not the limit, but time is at a premium. We can no longer afford to tarry on this score, considering the progress made by our adversaries in this field.
Aditi Malhotra is an Associate Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Corps History: Curved Shoulder Title

Dear Veterans,
I have been approached by Sqn Ldr Rana T.S. Chhina, who is the Secretary, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research at the USI. He is trying to put together a catalogue of metal shoulder titles worn by the Indian Army from 1885 till date. He has sent me a photo of a curved shoulder title of Signals which is attached. He wants to know if this title was ever worn by Indian Signals and if so, when was it replaced by the straight shoulder title that is still worn. His specific query is given below:

I would also be most grateful if you could kindly let me have the shoulder title reference. What were the patterns of metal shoulder titles worn? When was the current straight Signals title introduced? I recently acquired a curved Signals title. Which period would be this be from? I have also seen titles reading “Wireless” and a cloth slip on shoulder title reading “Wireless SEAC” (obviously from WW-2 – South East Asia Command .

I have sent him a gist of the changes that have occurred in our dress from 1911 to 1947, which have been covered in the History of the Corps of Signals Volume II. I am reproducing the information below:
From 1911 to 1916, signallers wore the same uniform as the Sappers and Miners. In 1916, the distinctive Signal Service colours, blue and white, were permitted in the ‘pullah’ in 1916 and in the ‘jhalar’ of the headdress in 1920. Indian ranks started wearing brass shoulder titles ‘SIGNALS’ in 1922. In 1923, all ranks of the Corps began to dress as mounted men, wearing breeches and short-putties, in addition to trousers and shorts. In 1927 the colours of Royal Signals – light blue green and dark blue - were adopted for ‘jhalars’, replacing the blue and white. In 1928 it was ruled that the blue and white Signals arm bands would be worn only on active service. In 1935 the Madrassis were permitted to wear felt hats, instead of the heavy pagri which often came off while riding a horse. The length of the Punjabi Mussulman’s ‘safa’ was reduced, with a small kullah being worn. Sikhs and Dogra wore a small pug under their turbans. With mechanisation, breeches and spurs gradually disappeared. During World War II, all personnel, except for Sikhs, started wearing the blue beret and the jungle hat.

Can any veteran signaller shed some light on this? Was the curved shoulder title ever worn by Indian Signals?
With regards
Maj Gen VK Singh (Retd)