12 Infantry Division / Battle Axe Division
In the pre-independence era, Indian units and formations were organized for operations against both irregular levies inland as well as actions overseas. The International Border was with Afghanistan and Southern Command thus had no operational role or border to defend. Events that unfurled in the aftermath of the partition changed all that. In September 1965, the operational responsibility for the Barmer sector was given to Southern Command and entrusted to the Division. Delhi and Rajasthan Area, with its Advance Headquarters at Jodhpur, participated in the 1965 war under Western Command. On 03 November 1966, this formation was designated as 12 Infantry Division, under Maj Gen JFR Jacob and also placed under Southern Command. Thus almost the whole of Rajasthan came to be under the jurisdiction of Southern Command.
The defining moment came in 1971 when Southern Command was deployed in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Kutch with 12 Division, 11 Division and 46 Sector respectively. Here, its formations were engaged in a tenacious defence at Laungwala which thwarted the Pakistan of offensive in the 12 Division Sector, and an equally audacious offensive by 11 Infantry Division to capture Khokhropar and Gadra Cit y. In 1971, the Indian Army, with Southern Command at the helm, undertook large scale desert operations for the first time, and captured over 9,000 square kilometers of enemy territory in the Barmer sector.
In 2001 Battle Axe Army Postal unit celebrated its 29th Corps Day. Army Postal Service (APS) became an independent corps in the year 1972. It is an extension of postal/RMS services of Postal Department. A soldier of APS is a combatant and a messenger-in-uniform. The celebrations commenced with the prayers followed by a special sainik sammelan. During the sainik sammelan Maj Md Anwarul Haq, Officer Commanding the unit, described the role of the unit during various operations and missions abroad and in peace time. He exhorted the personnel not to rest on the present laurels but to exert and improve services. On the occasion , Maj Gen K S Jamwal, General Officer Commanding Battle Axe Division congratulated unit's personnel and appreciated their efficient service rendered to Army personnel. He expressed his confidence that all the personnel would maintain the high standard of excellence that APS has achieved so far.
Lt Gen SPS Dhillon, GOC Desert Corps, released the new edition of "Customs & Etiquette in the Services "at a well attended ceremony at Jodhpur on September 03, 2007. "Customs & Etiquette in the Services" is written by Maj Gen RK Arora and Col HR Roach and is considered the Bible of Etiquette amongst armed forces officers. The book was first published in 1956 and has been updated with every edition. The 216 page attractive book, published by Dehra Dun based Natraj Publishers, deals with customs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force is a semi-official treatise on how an officer is expected to conduct himself not only when on parade , but more importantly when off parade. Paying of compliments, the dress code, the esoteric art of table manners, the procedures to be followed during Dinner and Regimental Guest Nights, the Officers dress Code, and a host of customs and rituals, which have since time immemorial acted as a unifying and driving force amongst the Services, have been encapsulated in language easily understandable by the professional soldier as well as the layman. This latest edition also contains a chapter on etiquette for the Lady Officers and another on etiquette on the Golf Course. This book should also be of immense interest to a wide. Maj Gen Arora is the GOC of the Battle Axe Division. He has also written a number of books on military history. His last book "The Trishakti Corps : A Saga of Success" was released in September 2006.
In March 2008 the Indian military staged one of its biggest war games in the deserts of Rajasthan - close to the Pakistan border - that foreign observers termed "excellent", an event involving some 10,000 troops. "Brazen Chariots", meant to showcase the "shock and awe" the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) could create in a battle, was witnessed by upwards of 100 observers from 59 countries. "The aim was to conduct air and land operations in a mechanized environment to deliver an integrated and lethal blow," explained Maj. Gen. G.P. Kamath, General Officer Commanding of the Indian Army's 12 Division that was in the forefront of the exercise.
In late 2008, in a drive to improve the ecology in the border villages of Jaisalmer sector, Battle Axe Division undertook a project, Clean Tanot - Green Tanot to increase greenery in Thar Desert. The troops of Battle Axe Division planted 1000 trees in and around Tanot area. Maj Gen RK Arora, GOC Battle Axe Division and officers were also present on this occasion and they too planeted trees. A large number of villagers of Tanot and nearby villages also participated in the drive. Officer and Jawans of BSF and personnel of Oil India also took active part in the event. Maj Gen RK Arora GOC Battle Axi Division emphasized the need to make Tanot a no plybag zone and on this occasion he distributed paper-bag to the shopkeepers of Tanot area. The Sarpanch and Mukhia of the villages in and around Tanot expressed their happiness and thanked Army for all its efforts for the betterment of the area.
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