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Thursday, October 14th 2004, 4:48pm

India, Q4/24

Note: I’ll edit in any reaction to Danish/Siamese developments when I see them.

7 October

There’s an unfamiliar ship in Sittwe this morning - the battleship Dara Shikoh . The dreadnought has just returned from the Philippines, where she was present at the signing of SATSUMA and for the launch of the ill-fated Filipino warship Basilan .

With four of India’s fourteen cruisers under repair, the battleship is taking on the role of coordinating the interdiction of possible arms smugglers in the Chittagong area. That role will be handed back to the cruiser Hyderabad in December, when the latter completes her post-repair work-up.

9 October

The Rana, also on her way back from the Philippines, took advantage of a two day visit to Sittwe to pay her respects to the recently slain, and to visit dozens of seaman still in hospital.

“These men gave their blood in exchange for the security of all Indians. The least I can do is thank them personally for that sacrifice”, the somber Empress remarked at the Sittwe Military Cemetary and Crematorium yesterday.

22 October

The commanding officer of the Indian Navy’s Western District has been relieved of duty. Vice-Admiral Anil Tagore is said to be facing a court-martial over the August 20 attack on Danish warships by the aviation ship Otta .

A source in the senior ranks of the Indian Navy told AWNR, “The Danish warships were days away from our blockade, and no declaration of war had been delivered to Denmark. A strike against the ships made military sense, but was outside our rules of engagement. The Danes could have interpreted the raid as an act of war - and so Admiral Tagore is going to pay the price for that.”

The date of the court-martial has not been set.

27 October

There is renewed fighting in Chittagong, following a bold attack on a constabulary station in the city’s northern outskirts. Five constables were killed in the battle and several others were briefly abducted.

An anonymous letter from the Concerned Citizen’s Coalition confirmed that it was responsible for the attack, noting that it was in retaliation for the alleged brutal behaviour of the constabulary itself. Sittwe’s Captain of the Constabulary, Anupam Surjeet, countered by defending his men, saying, “They’ve conducted themselves as well as can be asked of anybody at risk of being shot by apparent civilians. I applaud them for that.”

There are unconfirmed reports that the constabulary’s armory was looted during the raid, but Captain Surjeet declined to comment.

1 November

Vice-Admiral Anil Tagore has resigned from the Indian Navy, mere days before he was to be tried on three charges.

Admiral Sanjay Das said that the court-martial would not take place, noting, “Admiral Tagore has done the honorable thing and acknowledged his actions. Given his long history of service to the nation, I accepted his resignation, which I believe will be punishment enough for him. The Navy in his blood; being apart from it will hurt him.”

12 November

An ambitious research project is underway, as the chartered yacht Sharmila left Alleppey today. The Sharmila is carrying a team of Indian meteorologists and geologists, bound for Antarctica.

First, though, the Sharmila will sail to Durban, where a group of South African researchers, including biologists and renowned cartographer Maas Van Der Meer, will join the expedition. Van Der Meer, known for his work surveying along the Trans-African Railway, told AWNR, “We’re going to let the ship be frozen in, to provide a base of operations for the scientific staff as we spend a full year at work. When the ship breaks free again, around this time next year, we’ll come home and conclude our work.”

Van Der Meer acknowledged that the mission is potentially dangerous, but commented, “We’re incorporating the lessons learned from past voyages, successful or otherwise. We have ample supplies for two-plus years, wireless, and support from both South Africa and India. It’ll be a hard winter, but a fruitful one.”

The Sharmila expedition is a collaboration between the Adventurer’s Guild of India, the Meteorological Service of India, the University of Durban, and the South African Geodesic Survey.

18 November

A week of violence in Chittagong has left about forty people dead and many more hospitalized. The killing began six days ago when an army patrol was cut down by ambushers in the textile district.

Chittagong Constabulary raids against suspected CCC hide-outs resulted in eight deaths and several arrests. Nonetheless, additional CCC raids struck against the Constabulary, the Army, and random government buildings.

Yesterday, the CCC staged a brazen raid on the Department of Agriculture building in downtown Chittagong. A lorry drove slowly past the building as a machine gun concealed in the canvas-shrouded back fire about one hundred fifty rounds. Eleven people were killed, and about thirty more hospitalized. The lorry was found abandoned several blocks away.

Harry McMaster, an American businessman from the state of Louisiana, was among those injured in yesterday’s violence. “Just a long volley a' shots like I got used t' hearin' in France. Caught me in the leg, but ah’ll be fine. Be good to put 'n end to this, though - the point was t' make sure people got disaster relief, but now it’s just random attacks and retaliation. Not good for business.”

21 November

India’s Western Military District has a new senior naval officer. Rear-Admiral Salman Sikdar has been promoted to Vice-Admiral and handed the assignment.

Sikdar led India’s close blockade of Siam in August, and commanded the navy’s forces at the battle of Ko Racha Yai late that month. Sikdar has faced some criticism of his strategy since then, as many believe he could have won a more decisive victory if he had concentrated his cruisers and met the Danes as a single force.

Sikdar himself has been quoted as saying, “My job was to stop the convoy, not the Danish Navy. I did that.”

1 December

Admiral of the Navy Sanjay Das has tabled the revised fleet estimates for 1925.

“The material effects of the August conflict will be felt through the year. We have had to cancel three ocean-going minesweepers as well as an ice-breaking survey ship built specifically for expeditions to the Antarctic. Work will resume on those vessels currently suspended by the diversion of labor and materials to our damaged cruisers and destroyers. Construction will also continue on the battleships Akbar and Jahangir , which have not been affected by our recent events.

“Our new construction will be limited to seven vessels. Four destroyers of the G-143 class, featuring the new 12.5 cm gun, will be laid down in the first half of the year. A second ocean-going minesweeper will also be started, after being cancelled earlier this quarter.

“A single ocean-going submarine will be commenced, with the expectation that she will report to the west coast next year. Two additional units of the same class have been pushed back to 1926.

“Finally, we will take a bold step forward in our naval aviation program with the lay-down of SR Urumi . This aviation cruiser will anchor the scouting force of our battleline, utilizing scout-bombers for reconnaissance and anti-ship operations, and will embark fighters for fleet air defence. She will be as fast and well-armoured as a cruiser, and carry the armament necessary to defend herself from such a ship. Urumi will be laid down on the first day of July, with an anticipated completion date of May, 1927.

“Our infrastructure work will focus on completing the much-needed drydock at Columbo. Our experience over the past four months demonstrates that India has the ship-building capability it needs, but not the ship maintenance facilities it also requires.”

17 December

The yacht Sharmila is now bound for Antarctica with its crew of nineteen and thirty-two researchers. The amibitious year-long expedition is expected to arrive in an unnamed bay in Queen Maud Land, at about six degrees west, seventy degrees south, early in January.

The first order of business, once the ship is at anchor? “Find a flat area and have re-match”, said Indian meteorologist Jaya Musharraf from Durban three days ago. “Our Afrikaaner friends took the football match last time - we need to even it up. Then we’ll get down to work.”

"We've got five geologists now, and they're used to long traverses with heavy loads. They should add speed and endurance to our offence."

22 December

A spokesman for the Concerned Citizen’s Coalition says that the violence in Chittagong needs to come to an end.

“The wheel of misery must stop spinning”, the spokesman, identified only as “K” said in a telephone interview yesterday. “We must take the first step in making Chittagong safe for the people again, so we will cease our attacks until the end of the month. We ask that the Raj call off his dogs and negotiate a conclusion to this mess with us, before more innocent lives are ended. If the Raj refuses to speak with us, we’ll have to consider resuming our activities.”

Captain Surjeeet of the Chittagong Constabulary replied, “We don’t negotiate with insurgents. We bring them to justice. Whatever it takes, we’ll see it through.”


Keeper of the Sacred Block Coefficient

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Thursday, October 14th 2004, 5:40pm

Well done!


Thursday, October 14th 2004, 8:56pm


The Philippines respectfully inquires if they may be allowed to send a small team to look over the results of the Sharmila expedition upon its completion.