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Wars and Lessons

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No one needs war; but when it happens, it generates an inexorable momentum of its own. India, the Golden Bird, has been a victim of foreign assaults from time immemorial and the incursions have continued even after the moment of our emergence as a sovereign, independent nation. It is significant, that in the five wars that we have had to fight after independence in 1947, some part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir has been involved, as Pakistan and China, singly and in collusion, have sought to delink it from the rest of India. Kargil in 1999 was the last such manifestation. Hence the rationale to bracket wars and locale in this edition of DSA.

Irrespective of the logic and comprehension, every war has taught crucial and imperative lessons for sharpened preparedness of the forces involved. There had been a paradigm shift in the war scenarios of ancient times till the Second World War and then subsequently from Second World War till date. India had to face the first of these five battles immediately after independence in 1947 when Pakistani troops, disguised as tribals, invaded the princely state to try and give credence to the spurious Two-Nation Theory. They managed to reach the gates of Srinagar, compelling the Maharaja to seek help from Indian troops to sweep away the invaders. This was only partially achieved before the UN-sponsored Ceasefire was imposed. Because of this unfinished business, India has had to revisit the battlefield, time and again. The second Indo-Pakistani conflict was also challenged over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war. This war began on August 5, 1965 and concluded on September 22, 1965.

In many ways, the Chinese attack of 1962 across a broad front from Aksai Chin in J&K in the west and Arunachal Pradesh in the east was a predecessor and template for the Pakistani attack of 1965 – the Pakistanis hoped that they would be able to do the same to a psychologically depressed India. But that was not to be because of the lessons our political and military leadership had learned.

The 1962 War was an extensive and crucial lesson for the preparedness of our forces. The infantry and the artillery divisions of Indian Army were well equipped to counter the Pakistan Army. The role of Indian Army was outstanding and well-supported by the Indian Air Force. Our courageous Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri motivated the entire defence force and even went to the borders to boost the morale of our army personnel and the peasantry on whose land the war was being fought (remember the slogan Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan?)

As we commemorate and celebrate 50 years of a victorious abrogation of this Pakistani invasion in 1965, DSA attempts an introspective of invaluable lessons learnt, game changers of the war, vulnerabilities then and our preparedness to frustrate any future Pakistani misadventure while Islamabad persists in its self-destructive militarism. Stagnant minds create immobile systems which become roadblocks to growth. India demands creative thinking in governance that enables fast-track development and ensures social harmony and secure environs for its citizens. The nation has to be placed above partisan impulses.

Team DSA extends warm greetings to fellow Indians and salutes our soldiers in uniform along with extraordinary men and women who have sacrificed their todays for our tomorrows, as India unfurls the ‘ Tricolour’ in honour of its 69th Independence Day.

Stop Press: Team DSA joins me in paying homage to former Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who passed away on 27th July 2015.



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