My college mate who is in the army has come on leave and I met him after 4 years. Currently he is on deputation in South Sudan. Funny part is that I was interested to know what's going with his life and all about his experiences and he wanted to know about me and thought his life was not worth talking about. When I told him I am admin on a defence forum and my interest in such affairs, his joy knew no bound. He could not believe people like me exist in India he said and by extension like those ok this forum who care about the army. He said I made him happy. Happy coz he got to know one citizen who is bothered about the army. He went on to say that in the US, a US Marine boarded a plane. An announcement was made by the flight attendant about the presence of the marine in their midst and how proud they were to have him on board. All passengers gave a round of applause and a person from the business class asked him to take his seat. He said this is how the US people respect their armed forces something that lacks in India. So he was pleasantly surprised about my interest and the existence of the forum. He shared his experience of couple of weeks back. He said his car was ambushed by rebel forces and how his friend was hit by a bullet which broke his spine. He was saved, but may not walk again. This soldier who got hit is Indian Army Major. My salute to him for putting his life on the line in a foreign nation. I asked him what will happen now that the Major will not be able to walk. He said he will be given some money and will be discharged and will be left to fend for himself. He said his deputation has been an eye opener for him. He has come in contact with Japanese, Nepalese and other nations contributing to the UN force. He said even the Nepalese soldier was better equipped than him. He was pissed with the govt "shoving" down DRDO into their throats all the time. He said we wear a bloody bullet proof vest which is 8 kgs! A helmet which gives a headache but not save the head and a rifle (INSAS) that sucks. ( @Kunal Biswas, @Ray) He said the other nations came in Land Cruisers (Nepali), another in a Nissan but the Indian govt sends them good old Mahindra Jeep! He said official UN reimbursement is 30-40lakhs for getting one vehicle but the govt sends a 3 lakh jeep and pockets the rest. Even his allowance is 1/3rd of what the UN pays per soldier on deputation. Rest goes to the govt. Time just flew. 3 hours just vanished. I hope to meet him again later next week and hopefully for a longer time.