He lists the causes and effects of the Indo-China War of 1962; he also talks exclusively about the formation of Bangladesh and the contribution made by the Indian Army in that regard; he informs the reader about the 1965 war with Pakistan and analyses its repercussions; and most importantly, he highlights the primal points that the Army has to be aware of in the future.
This book is divided into three parts.
The first part deals with the full-length study of the campaign that led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Written authoritatively with the inside knowledge of the developments, both in the field and at the Army Headquarters, it makes a professional appraisal of leadership, strategy and tactics.
The second part of the study of independent India at war cuts a broad swatch including the hostilities on the western border with Pakistan in the 1971 war. It assesses military strategy in relation to the previous wars with Pakistan and China, describes the evolution of the three wings of the defence services from the time of their inception, evaluates their various roles in 1971, and pinpoints the weaknesses inherent in the present set-up in relation to the functions the services are called upon to fulfill to ensure the protection of national interest.
In the third and final part on India’s wars since independence, a frank appraisal of the lessons that they teach and the questions that they raise in relation to the problem of building a credible and meaningful defence system for the country are dealt with.
The initiative rested with Pakistan to commence hostilities, which they did with a mix of irregular and regular troops and tactics. This is a story of anticipation, of impending actions, of virtual equality of forces engaged in a savage battle of attrition in which no quarters were given or asked.
The author, GOC-in-C Western Command during those fateful days provided an unflappable presence under whose command the Army imposed unacceptable levels of losses on the enemy, first toning down their rhetoric, then their confidence, and lastly their ability to sustain very high levels of material losses.
There is very little material or records to draw upon for our military studies of warfare in and around the Indian subcontinent. War Despatches narrates for the first time the inside story through original despatches field by the Army Commander from the war zone.
To maintain the authenticity of the Despatches, the military style of writing has been followed in the text as far as possible.
Writing even an abridged history of the Artillery Regiment, which is the second largest Arm of the Indian Army, and its glorious achievements would be a herculean task and would have run into a couple of volumes, but the Author has deftly tackled the dilemma by selecting to write about six Field Generals, eight Gallantry Award Winners, four Artillery Intensive Battles, twenty four Battle Honours and some noteworthy Vignettes of Valour. With this uniquely innovative approach the Book makes a great collection of marvelous feats of the Artillery Regiment of the Indian Army and the role it has played in shaping the outcomes of wars fought by the Indian Army. Artillery indeed continues to be the most potent and powerful arm without which no battle can ever be won.
The Book’s aim is to celebrate the wartime history of the Regiment, of its officers and men for the benefit of the present generation of Gunners, the posterity and for the veterans to relish the nostalgia and the reminiscences that it may revoke. The Book is a mark of love for the Regiment which has given so much of happiness, joy and fulfillment to generations of Gunners.
The Royalty of the Book will go to the Regiment of Artillery Association Martyrs’ Fund maintained by it.
Though this does not purport to be a history of the Indian Air Force without it no history would be complete.
Cariappa’s life has been a fascinating compound of character, luck and circumstances. His meteoric rise from 1947 to the pinnacle enabled him to frame the Indian Army - and other services - into his mould of tenacity and resilience.
The book, devotes itself adequately to episodes of his one-man-crusade to let the Armed Forces remain undivided for the duration of the Partition in 1947, when everyone was bent on doing so. Aspersion was cast freely on his political ambition at that time. As C-in-C his skirmish with the politically supported bureaucracy to safeguard the dignity of his office had repercussions on civilmilitary relations but he steadfastly stuck to his position. Hearing Nehru say that “the Chinese will safeguard the northern border and that, he as C-in-C should worry about J&K and Pakistan,” shook him and he could see how removed the leader was from strategic reality.
Here then is a book on the life and times of Cariappa in which there is a balanced blend of biography and history which is punctuated by human episodes, anecdotes and reminiscences.