New Delhi (India), April 20: The War Wounded Foundation, a registered charitable Non-Government Organisation (NGO), had organised a comprehensive seminar, in concert with USI of India, the oldest ‘Think Tank’ of India, at the USI Auditorium in New Delhi on 19 April 2022. The subject covered related to the challenges and concerns of War-Disabled personnel of the three services.
A galaxy of highly experienced officers from the army dilated on various aspects of the subject, bringing out how the war-disabled personnel need to be recognised as a separate group, in the same manner as those Killed in Action (KIA), wrongly referred to as “Martyrs” for electoral purposes. More than one Panellist emphasised the need for government agencies at both Centre and states levels to empathise with the war-disabled, give them recognition as a separate group and honour them for their sacrifices made on many battlefields.
The aim of honouring the war disabled soldiers and giving visibility to the Foundation and its work were fully achieved. Nearly 100 war disabled personnel, some in wheel chairs and crutches had participated in the Seminar.
The Chief Guest at the Seminar was General V P Malik, PVSM, AVSM, Former Chief of Army Staff, under whose command and directions, the Kargil War was fought and won. In his inaugural Address, he emphasised the importance of war-disabled personnel, bringing out that if the war-disabled are not assisted, helped and indeed honoured, future volunteers may think twice before opting to join the armed forces.
During his address, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, President War Wounded Foundation and Former Vice Chief of Army Staff, who himself is a war disabled officer of the 1965 India-Pakistan War, sporting an artificial leg for over 50 years, chaired an important session dealing with the need for the war-disabled leading an honouable life, standing on their feet and becoming financially independent. Gen Oberoi had lost his leg in the 1965 War with Pakistan, but he had soldiered on, competing with his peers and superannuated as the VCOAS of the Indian Army.
He was not the only war-disabled officer who had competed with their peers and had held highly important appointments in the armed forces. One of the speakers, Gen Bhupesh Jain pointed out that the entire gamut of family, education, military training and service in different parts of the country, besides the self-confidence of the individual himself and the support of his colleagues comrades and units all contribute to the mental make-up of a war-disabled person.
Maj Gen Deepak Sapra, SM, who has extensive experience of serving in many appointments in the army as well as in the corporate word laid out a workable blue print on the very important subject of formulating a dynamic data base of the war-disabled to formalise the need for creating a separate group, which is lacking today.
Lt Gen Arvind Dutta, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, former Adjutant General of the Indian Army emphasised that the war-disabled must not be ignored as it will affect the intake of future soldiers, sailors and airmen adversely. He also cogently brought out ways and means to reach out and accord recognition to all war-disabled personnel.
All speakers were unanimous in their views in praising the War Disabled Personnel for their selfless service to the Nation and exhorted each member to continue to achieve skills to make their own dreams come true, so that they can stand on their feet. He also assured them of all help and support from the army.
During the two breaks in the proceedings for tea and lunch, there was extensive bonding, relating of experiences and informal interaction with the war-disabled personnel about their experiences.
A brave lady who not only had fought and won her various disabilities, Deepa Malik, belonging to a military family, could unfortunately not participate in the Seminar due to a medical emergency. Deepa, a Padam Shri recipient has brought laurels to the nation in participating and winning a large number of medals in many events in the para Olympics and other sports tournaments. A recipient of the Major Dyan Chand Khel Ratna Award of 2019, she is currently the President of the Paralympic Committee of India.
Two war-disabled personnel, Hony Capt P Dyalan, SM and Naik Dharamvir shared their war experiences and post-disabiity challenges; Their presentations were very well received.
Overall, the Seminar was a great success and achieved all its aims, thanks to the efforts of those who participated in the Seminar. The Seminar also marked the change of hierarchy of the War Wounded Foundation, whereby the pioneers of the Foundation handed over the reins to a younger Team, headed by Lt Gen Asit Mistry, former Commandant of the National Defence Academy.
Details of the Foundation are available at the website of the Foundation at warwounded.org.
Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
War Wounded Foundation
Former Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)
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