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.
India's Armed Forces: Fifty Years of War and Peace is their story in the post-independence period. Starting with the trauma of partition, the Armed Forces have continuously engaged in a wide variety of operations. There is perhaps no such parallel in contemporary times of similar uninterrupted employment.
The book deals with all essential aspects of India's four wars providing some new insights. It particularly highlights the contributions of the Armed Forces in countering insurgency and towards international peacekeeping. The author captures the environment in which the Armed Forces have operated and the politico-military and strategic circumstances obtaining at various periods of India's turbulent history. The emphasis throughout is on these macro issues and the lessons learned.
Though this does not purport to be a history of the Indian Air Force without it no history would be complete.
The Indian Army too has produced many great Generals, who have defeated evil designs of adversaries. Yet they have produced none like Rommel, Manstein, Model, or even like our old warriors Maharana Pratap, Hari Singh Nalwa, or Zorawar Singh.
India can and must produce Generals of that calibre; Generals who don’t just defend territory or restore status quo, but those who annihilate aggressors, to teach memorable lessons to adversaries who transgress, who initiate punitive actions for conventional and nuclear deterrence to be effective.
To produce Generals of such calibre, the first step is to understand what is good Generalship. Then study Generalship in previous conflicts to appreciate achievements and also learn lessons from opportunities missed. Only then can the Armed Forces institute measures to improve the quality of Generalship for the future. This book is written to facilitate such study, in that order.