In its sixty-year post-colonial history, India’s Army, Navy and Air Force have fought five wars – one against China and four against Pakistan. Every year, these Armed Services provide succour to thousands of people when rivers overflow their banks, when cyclones devastate coastal districts, and when occasional tsunamis and earthquakes maroon hundreds of thousands of people. Overseas, India has been a leading contributor to the United Nations’ Peace Keeping Missions.
The Indian Army operates in extremes of terrain and climate:-
- In the glacial terrain on the northern Himalayan borders in Siachen; in the high altitude terrain in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh; and in the mountainous terrain in Jammu & Kashmir
- In the riverine plains of the Punjab and Bengal
- In the desert of Rajasthan and
- In the salty marshes of Kachch, Gujarat and Bengal.
It is widely respected as an experienced Army that has been coping with insurgencies for sixty years and, for the last thirty years, in combating the Islamic Terrorism that has now spread across the world.
The Indian peninsula straddles the Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) across the northern Indian Ocean. With the strategic reach of its air arm, the Navy, jointly with the Coast Guard, safeguards India’s, as well as the region’s, maritime interests.
The Air Force’s well-equipped air squadrons, together with its capabilities of in-flight refuelling and sizeable airlift bestow deterrent strategic reach.
All four services exercise, jointly and singly, with friendly regional and international counterparts to erect bridges of friendship and strengthen inter-operability as each of them transforms to cope with the 21st century.
Regional peace and stability are crucial for India’s societal well-being and economic development. These are best ensured by competent Armed Forces. This book provides an excellent overview by veterans who served with honour in India’s Armed Forces.