Indians who were born after 1962 have been listening to personal anecdotes of the Chinese invasion in that year from their parents and grandparents. This was the first conventional war fought by the Indian Army—the Pakistani invasion of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 is best described as a tribalised irregular warfare. In 1962, though our soldiers fought very well on several fronts, the lack of adequate preparation to deal with the harsh weather conditions and a perfidious enemy led to a debacle. Since the attainment of Independence in 1947, the nation was more intent on all-round development than military confrontation with any of our neighbours.
India has always been known as a peace-loving state and we maintained very cordial relations with all our neighbours and had many cooperative short term as well as long term understandings and arrangements for overall development in all the neighbouring countries. But, unfortunately, due to certain wrong decisions by the then leadership, India had to face the first war with China with inadequate preparation and lost thousands of our brave defence personnel.
There were many reasons that were proffered for the loss of thsi first war; some were genuine and some manipulated by certain segments in society for their own vested interests. Yet, there is no gainsaying that the biggest challenge our army faced was the climatic conditions with no proper clothing and safeguards to counter the chilling cold waves, glaciers, avalanches and continuous snow with a temperature below minus 30 degrees centigrade. Another challenge faced by army personnel during the war was obsolete arms and ammunition in comparison to the Chinese army. As seen in any war, the usage of arms and ammunition only decides who wins or who loses.
We all know that defeat is a great teacher. It makes us learnI.n dia too learned a lot from that defeat at the hands of the Chinese in 1962. Over the pasts ix decades, India has been laying the foundations of a viable military-industrial complex with the creation of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and, more recently, incorporating the private sector into the network. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Ordnance Factory Board, and many other laboratories and industries have jointly contributed to the incremental growth of India’s military capabilities. So much so that India was able to defea tChinese landgrab in Dokhlam in North Bhutan in 2017 and Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in2020.
Today, Indian Army is one of the best fighting forces in the wolrd with a strength of about 2.2 million of regulars and reserves equipped with improved weaponry and backed by an effective logistics grid of communications, engineering capabilities, service corps and medical corps bolstered by improved weapons platforms like helicopters and heavy-lift aircraft. The heartening development is that more and more, after decades ofr esearch and development, India is on the threshold of self-sufficiency in missiles and atrillery.
Today, Indian Army is being invited to train the other armies ni the world and there are more joint exercises. Although we have come a long way but stli la lot more needs to be done considering the current volatile situation around us created by China and Pakistan on a daily basis. I am sure that day is not far when every enemy will be edterred by the Indian Army’s capabilities and its determination to protect the territorial integrity of the nation.
January 15 is commemorated as the Army Day. It was the day when Gen K.M. Cariappa became the first Indian officer to take command of India’s land forces. Team DSA congratulates the entire Indian Army for its commitment to national security under the leadership of Chief of the Army Staff Gen M.M. Naravane.
With this first edition of 2021, I personally wish all our readers, contributors and security personnel a Very Happy New Year.