Thursday, September 5, 2013

Inside Story: Pakistan Army at the Gates of Delhi in 1965 War?

 "...a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance." 1965 WAR-The Inside Story by R.D. Pradhan                                    
As Pakistanis honor the memory of  their 1965 war heroes on Defense of Pakistan Day today, let us review some snippets of how the war looked from the other side. R.D. Pradhan and Harbakhsh Singh were both insiders who participated in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. While Pradhan was a civilian working for Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan, General Harbakhash Singh was commanding Indian troops on the front-lines. Both have written books drawing upon their first-hand knowledge of how the war started, unfolded and ended in September, 1965.

In Chapter 8 titled "Of Cowardice and Panic" of his book "1965 War-The Inside Story", R.D. Pradhan describes the cowardice of Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad, the Indian general commanding officer in Lahore sector.  When Pakistan Defense Forces counter-attacked the intruding Indian military and the general was fired upon on Sept 6, 1965, he "ran away".  Here's an excerpt:

"On learning that, Lt. Gen. Harbakash Singh and the corps commander drove in a Jonga (Nissan P60 Jeep) to the battlefront. Army commander found that the enemy (PAF) air attack had created a havoc on G.T. Road. (Indian) Vehicles were burning and several vehicles of 15 Division abandoned on the road, the drivers having run away, leaving some of the engines still running. Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad was hiding in a recently irrigated sugar cane field. As described by Harabakash Singh: "He (Prasad) came out to receive us, with his boots covered with wet mud. He had no head cover, nor was he wearing any badges of his rank. He had stubble on his face, not having shaved." Seeing him in such a stage, Harbakhash Singh asked him: "Whether he was the General Officer commanding a division or a coolie? Why had he removed badges of rank and not shaved? Niranjan Prasad had no answer." 

Chapter 12 of Pradhan's book is titled "Retreat to Beas" in which there is detailed discussion of Indian COAS's proposal for the Indian Army to retreat behind Beas in the face of Pakistan's fierce counter-attacks after India's attempted incursion in Lahore. Pradhan argues in this chapter that during the 1965 war with Pakistan, Indian COAS General Chaudhuri feared that "a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance".

Pradhan's book contains many different entries by Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan. A Sept 9, 1965 entry reads:  

Had a very hard day on all fronts. Very fierce counter-attacks mounted and we are required to withdraw in Kasur area. COAS was somewhat uncertain of himself. I suggested to him that he should go in forward areas so that he will be in touch of realities. He said he would go next day.

In Line of Duty: A Soldier Remembers, according to Shekhar Gupta, the editor of Indian Express, Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh reveals that not only "did Gen Chowdhury play a very small role in the entire campaign, he was so nervous as to be on the verge of losing half of Punjab to Pakistan, including the city of Amritsar. Harbakhsh describes, in clinical detail, how our own offensive in the Lahore sector had come unhinged. The general commanding the division on Ichchogil canal fled in panic, leaving his jeep, its wireless running and the briefcase containing sensitive documents that were then routinely read on Radio Pakistan during the war. Singh wanted to court martial him, Chowdhury let him get away with resignation".

According to Shekhar Gupta, Harbkhash Singh recounts that a bigger disaster struck a bit to the south where the other division cracked up in assault, just as it encountered a bit of resistance. Several infantry battalions, short on battle inoculation, deserted and Singh gives a hair-raising account – and confirmation of a long-debated rumor – that Chowdhury panicked so badly he ordered him to withdraw to a new defensive line behind the Beas, thereby conceding half of Punjab to Pakistan. Singh describes the conversation with Chowdhury at Ambala where he refused to carry out the order, asking his chief to either put it down in writing or visit the front and take charge of the battle.

 Beyond the Indian insiders quoted above,  here is how several non-Pakistani journalists have covered the war:

The London Daily Mirror reported in 1965:

"There is a smell of death in the burning Pakistan sun. For it was here that India's attacking forces came to a dead stop.

"During the night they threw in every reinforcement they could find. But wave after wave of attacks were repulsed by the Pakistanis"

"India", said the London Daily Times, "is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one in size of armed forces."

In Times reporter Louis Karrar wrote:

"Who can defeat a nation which knows how to play hide and seek with death".

Pakistani President Ayub Khan (R) and Indian Prime Minister Shastri

USA - Aviation week - December 1968 issue:

"For the PAF, the 1965 war was as climatic as the Israeli victory over the Arabs in 1967. A further similarity was that Indian air power had an approximately 5:1 numerical superiority at the start of the conflict. Unlike the Middle East conflict, the Pakistani air victory was achieved to a large degree by air-to-air combat rather than on ground. But it was as absolute as that attained by Israel.

India was the first to accept UN sponsored ceasefire (page 100 of RD Pradhan's book)  on Sept 21 followed by Pakistan on Sept 22, bringing the 1965 war to an end on Sept 22, 1965. As the ceasefire took effect, Indian Defense Y.B. Chavan wrote in his diary as follows:

"The ball is now in the political court again--where it should be--and not in the military one. I hope we have the vision and courage to (our) political leadership."
Alas, the core issue of Kashmir still remains unresolved 48 years since Mr. Chavan wrote his words of wisdom.

Here's a Coke Studio video of a popular Pakistani song from 1965 war:

Ae Wattan Kay Sajeelay Jawanon, Amanat Ali,Coke Studio Pakistan, Season 3 from Coke Studio on Vimeo.

Related Link:

 Haq's Musings

Demolishing Indian War Myths 

Kashmiris Remain Defiant

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Assessing Pakistan Army Capabilities

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech


Anonymous said...

ok lets look at the facts
Operation Gibralter-Preemptive Strike by pakistani forces in Kashmir.

Indian counter offensive across LOC

A counter attack etc etc

At the time of armstice India held more Pakistani territory than vice versa.

Also Pakistan's objective of 'taking Kashmir' failed completely.

This had 3 major outcomes all to Pakistan's detriment:

1.Post 1948 India hadn't really focussed on the Pakistani threat or even done anything particularly hostile.Infact the IWT was a sign of goodwill.Post 1965 screwing Pakistan became a priority of the Indian establishment.1971 was a direct consequence of this failed adventure.

2.It dramatically decellerated Pakistani economic progress.

3. It increased allocation of scarce capital to defence partly due to the new 'India threat' which 1965 created.

The rest is history.

Is such a misadventure really worthy of praise?

Faraz said...

Riaz bhai, but Pk always lost politically. There are stories that Kargil was a win but it turned out as political disaster. Anyhow, today, I don't think Pk can sustain conventional war with India neither politically nor militarily.

Riaz Haq said...

Faraz: "Anyhow, today, I don't think Pk can sustain conventional war with India neither politically nor militarily."

Let's not forget that Pak won politically when the UNSC passed resolutions supporting Pak position for plebiscite in Kashmir and Nehru accepted before going back. Let's also not forget that Pak did take half of Kashmir which it wouldn't have if it waited. By taking Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan became a neighbor of China with Pak-China border which added to its geopolitical strategic position. As to military, most people look at the raw numbers in conventional military strength and decide India is stronger. What R.D. Pradahan's account shows is that when a smaller Pakistani force launched a fierce counter-offensive top stop Indian incursions in 1965, the Indian COAS Gen Chowdhury panicked badly and wanted to withdraw behind the Beas and concede almost all of Indian Punjab to Pakistan. Pradahan shows that soldiers' bravery and human spirit count for a lot.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Indian counter offensive across LOC"

You have your facts wrong. India crossed the recognized international border attempting to take Lahore in which it failed.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the BBC story from Sept 1965 on Indian military invasion of Pakistan:

1965: Indian Army invades W Pakistan
Indian troops have invaded West Pakistan, crossing the border at three points in an attack which appears to be aimed mainly at the city of Lahore.
Authorities in Delhi say their action was intended to prevent a direct attack by Pakistani forces against India.

On 25 August, Pakistani soldiers launched a covert operation across the ceasefire line, established in 1949 after the first Indo-Pakistani war, into Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

Since then there have been a number of clashes along the ceasefire line, but this is the first time Indian troops have crossed into West Pakistan in what is being seen as an act of war.

Air attacks

Since the first Indo-Pakistan war, both countries have continued to lay claim to the entire state of Kashmir. Currently Pakistan controls the smaller, northern sector of Azad Kashmir and the remaining area of Jammu and Kashmir, known commonly as Kashmir, is held by India.

Details of today's invasion are sketchy. There have been reports of the Indian Air Force in action, striking against military targets, including an oil tanker train, a group of military vehicles, a goods train carrying supplies, an army camp and some gun positions.

A spokesman for the Indian government said: "Our policy is that when Pakistan has bases from which it is mounting attacks on our territory we have to destroy those bases."

The Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan blamed recent attacks by Pakistani forces for the invasion.

Although there have been a number of air attacks against Indian installations in Punjab, these seem to have been mostly by single aircraft.

But Mr Chavan said: "It was quite apparent Pakistan's next move was to attack Punjab across the international frontier."

Reports from the Pakistani city of Karachi say forces have beaten back the Indian Army from Lahore.

They said advances at the border towns of Jasar, Wagah and Bedian had all been "fully stopped".

Pakistani officials say the number of Indian dead in the Lahore sector is 800, their own casualties are reported to be "very light".

The Pakistani President Ayub Khan has made an emergency broadcast to the nation saying, "We are at war".

He said the Indian attack was proof of the evil intentions which India had always harboured against Pakistan.

Reports from Delhi say Pakistani paratroopers have landed in the Punjab. Small groups have dropped in three places, Pathankot, Patiala and Ambala in an apparent attempt to damage military installations.

One of the regular readers said...

Please refer the following URLs:

Please go through it and see the details yourself to claim one way or other.

But you are very impressive and you should go to south asia and help in improving the common people's life.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times Nobel Laureate economist-columnist on Ibn Khaldun's lessons for Microsoft and other established powers:

The trouble for Microsoft came with the rise of new devices whose importance it famously failed to grasp. “There’s no chance,” declared Mr. Ballmer in 2007, “that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”

How could Microsoft have been so blind? Here’s where Ibn Khaldun comes in. He was a 14th-century Islamic philosopher who basically invented what we would now call the social sciences. And one insight he had, based on the history of his native North Africa, was that there was a rhythm to the rise and fall of dynasties.

Desert tribesmen, he argued, always have more courage and social cohesion than settled, civilized folk, so every once in a while they will sweep in and conquer lands whose rulers have become corrupt and complacent. They create a new dynasty — and, over time, become corrupt and complacent themselves, ready to be overrun by a new set of barbarians.

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to apply this story to Microsoft, a company that did so well with its operating-system monopoly that it lost focus, while Apple — still wandering in the wilderness after all those years — was alert to new opportunities. And so the barbarians swept in from the desert.

Sometimes, by the way, barbarians are invited in by a domestic faction seeking a shake-up. This may be what’s happening at Yahoo: Marissa Mayer doesn’t look much like a fierce Bedouin chieftain, but she’s arguably filling the same functional role.

Anyway, the funny thing is that Apple’s position in mobile devices now bears a strong resemblance to Microsoft’s former position in operating systems. True, Apple produces high-quality products. But they are, by most accounts, little if any better than those of rivals, while selling at premium prices.

So why do people buy them? Network externalities: lots of other people use iWhatevers, there are more apps for iOS than for other systems, so Apple becomes the safe and easy choice. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Is there a policy moral here? Let me make at least a negative case: Even though Microsoft did not, in fact, end up taking over the world, those antitrust concerns weren’t misplaced. Microsoft was a monopolist, it did extract a lot of monopoly rents, and it did inhibit innovation. Creative destruction means that monopolies aren’t forever, but it doesn’t mean that they’re harmless while they last. This was true for Microsoft yesterday; it may be true for Apple, or Google, or someone not yet on our radar, tomorrow.

HopeWins Junior said...

Just out...

Well? What is our identity?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Well? What is our identity?"

It's a rarely acknowledged fact in India that most Indians are far more obsessed with Pakistan than any other country. But the ruling dynasty's Rahul Gandhi, the man widely expected to be India's future prime minister, did confirm it, according to a news report by America's NPR Radio. "I actually feel we give too much time in our minds to Pakistan," said Rahul Gandhi at a leadership meeting of the Indian National Congress in 2009.

The rise of the new media and the emergence of the "Internet Hindus", a term coined by Indian journalist Sagarika Ghose, has removed all doubts about many Indians' Pakistan obsession. She says the “Internet Hindus are like swarms of bees". "They come swarming after you" pouncing on any mention of Pakistan or Muslims.

Zawar said...

Thanks for sharing this piece of information.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Hindustan Times on Indian Army lies about the Battle of Logewala in 1971 in Rajhastan:

One of the most glorious moments of the Indian Army, the victory in the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 war with Pakistan, is based on blatant falsehood, claims an upcoming book by a general decorated in the same operations.

The battle was immortalised by the 1997 Bollywood blockbuster "Border", starring Sunny Deol as victorious army hero major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri. In a tell-all account of one of the first engagements in the western sector during the 14-day war, major general Atma Singh (retd) has alleged that the army's version of the battle is built on "exaggerated claims" when it had little to do with crushing Pakistani forces.

Atma Singh, then a major, has credited the Indian Air Force for saving the day for the country. He was commanding the No. 12 Air Observation Post (AOP) flight, tasked with directing close air support firepower toward enemy targets. AOP units were under the IAF. "If our own troops had vacated the post (Longewala) at first light on December 5, then when and where was the big battle of Longewala fought?" he questions in his book, "Battle of Longewala: The Real Story", which will hit the stands on December 3, the day the war began 42 years ago....

Riaz Haq said...

Mani-Talk: We Have Not Terrified #Pakistan Into Submission. #India #Narendramodi #Kashmir … via @ndtv

Arun Jaitley thumps his chest and proclaims that we have given the Pakis a "jaw-breaking reply" (munh tod jawab). Oh yeah? The Pakistanis are still there - with their jaw quite intact and a nuclear arsenal nestling in their pockets. Rajnath Singh adds that the Pakis had best understand that "a new era has dawned". How? Is retaliatory fire a BJP innovation? Or is it that we have we ceased being peace-loving and become a war-mongering nation? And Modi thunders that his guns will do the talking (boli nahin, goli). Yes - and for how long?


When a young band of Serbian terrorists slipped into Bosnia to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Government of Serbia did not know, even as it is entirely likely that the Government of Pakistan did not know that Ajmal Kasab and his gang had slipped into Mumbai to target the iconic Taj Hotel. But, as in India, so in Austria, the suspicion was so strong that there were rogue elements in the Serbian establishment that were backing the terrorists, no proof was needed: suspicion amounted to conviction. Therefore, when the Serbian terrorists struck, assassinating the heir-apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, the Empire needed no conclusive proof that the Serbian government was behind the assassination. It knew, as India "knew", that 26/11 was master-minded by the Government of Pakistan. And even as the Pakistan government denied any involvement in such cross-border terrorism and undertook to set in train an investigation into the dastardly terrorist attack, so also, a hundred years earlier, did Serbia condemn the assassination and offer to investigate and bring to justice those responsible.

But Vienna would not be appeased. An eight-point ultimatum was sent to Serbia demanding full acceptance of the eight conditions within a month. Eventually, after much hemming and hawing, Belgrade accepted seven of the conditions but baulked at the eighth - that a joint Austrian-Serbian investigation be launched into the assassination. That was enough for Vienna to insist that if all conditions were not fulfilled, the far more powerful Austro-Hungarian forces would reduce Serbia to rubble in a matter of days.

The threat was meant to cow the Serbians. The Serbians went as far as they could, but baulked at abject surrender. In consequence, military plans began to roll - to the alarm of both Emperor Franz Joseph of Austro-Hungary as well as the German Kaiser whose belligerence was pushing Vienna further and further down the road to disaster. Their political misgivings were entirely understandable. For Russia had declared that any military action against her Slav cousin would invite Russian retaliation against both Austria and Germany. At the same time, Germany had made it clear that her first target was France. Treaty obligations made it incumbent for France to come to Russia's rescue and vice versa in the event of war. Britain was committed to entering the war in these circumstances. The very balance of power that was supposed to have kept the peace in Europe for a hundred years was now pushing the world to the brink.

To prevent this catastrophe, the two Emperors who had been the loudest in proclaiming a "munh thod jawab" to Serbia tried at the last moment to stop the guns from booming, but were over-ruled by their respective military hierarchies. War was launched. The mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire conquered Serbia but ended up losing the War and disappearing from the map of the world....

AJ said...

Riaz Sab today Pakistan is far more capable than before to attack and destroy India. For God Sake, stop murmering like oldies against Pakistan. If u r that much doubting Pakistan capability and power then, please dont live in here. Leave Pakistan imediately. you dont deserve to be called even Pakistan. You Pro Indian

Riaz Haq said...

Retired #Pakistan pilot Sattar Alvi recalls how he shot down Capt Lutz flying a #Mirage in 1973 #Arab-#Israel war. …

They were closing in rapidly and there was no choice, but to turn and engage. No sooner had the leader ordered the turn, that the radio and radar signals were jammed, emitting unbearably shrilly noises. Just as I was turning to position myself during the turn, I got a glint of metal from behind and well below me. I simply could not ignore it and turned back to find two Mirages zooming up towards me from the valley beneath. By this time, my own formation had turned 180 degrees away flying at Mach 1.2 with no radio contact. ‘This was it’, I knew instinctively, and I was alone: Two Mirages against a single Mig-21. Instantly the fighter pilot’s training kicked in and all other thoughts left my mind. I proceeded to do what I had been trained to do.
A cardinal rule of air combat is knowing and using the limitations and strengths of your own and the enemy’s aircraft. A Mirage is good at high speeds and poor at slow speed combat. The Mirage leader made his high speed pass at me and as I forced him to overshoot he pulled up high above me. His wingman followed in the attack and I did the same with him; followed by a violent reversal and making the aircraft stand on its tail. The speed dropped to zero. The wingman should have followed his leader.
To my surprise he didn’t, and reversed getting into scissors with me at low speeds. That was suicidal and a Mirage should never do that against a Mig-21. But then, the game plan probably was for the wingman to keep me engaged while the leader turned around to sandwich and then shoot me. It was a good plan, but not easy to execute. The only difficulty in this plan was that the second Mirage had to keep me engaged long enough without becoming vulnerable himself. This is where things began to go wrong for the wingman because his leader took about 10 seconds longer than what was required.
The ‘Miraj’ effect
The wingman couldn’t just hang on with me and there was a star of David in my aiming sight after the second reversal. Seeing his dilemma and desperation to escape, the wingman attempted an exit with a steep high-speed dive. That in fact made my job easier and quicker. As soon as the distance increased and I heard the deep growl of the K-13, I fired. The missile takes one second to leave the rails and that was the longest second of my life. A second later there was a ball of fire where the wingman had been and I turned to face the leader charging towards me. We crossed but he had made a beeline for his home and thank God for that. I had only vapours remaining and no fuel. I hit the deck with supersonic speed.
Capt Lutz who was flying as the unfortunate wingman, was rescued by a helicopter and brought to the military hospital. He succumbed to his injuries later in the hospital before I could have a tete-a-tete with him. I have his flying coverall with me, presented to me as a war trophy by the Syrian air force commander-in-chief. I was awarded Wisam-e Faris and Wisam-e-Shujaat by the Syrian government, which are equivalent to Pakistani Hilal-e-Jurat and Sitara-e-Jurat.

Riaz Haq said...

#India Army ad admits its defeat at the hands of #Pakistan Army in 1965 war. …

A full-page advertisement published in major Hindi national dailies on Thursday came out with major blunders in its text. For instance, the text mentioned the role of the 15th Infantry division during an attack near west of Ichhogil canal, saying that Indian Army responded to the Pakistan attack with fear (darkar muqabala kiya). The English version of the advertisement, published in leading national dailies were no better. “Pakistan’s 1st Armoured division pushed an offensive towards Khem Karan and by 10 September nearly 100 tanks lay destroyed in what is now known as the Battle of Asal Uttar.” It takes away the credit of the Indian Army as there is no mention of the Indian Army’s role in the famous battle.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian journalist Shivam Vij on 1965 War: "India's own official history of the war, published only two years ago, is scathing in its review of how poorly the Indian army and air force performed. The Indian armed forces are now rewriting the history to show that it was a clear victory....On the outskirts of Srinagar, to make sure that no Pakistani fighters were hiding in an area, an entire colony was set on fire by Indian forces. I have been to that place, and people remember that even today, blaming India for being insensitive. The war showed it was not going to be easy for Pakistan to liberate Kashmir militarily, and though the Kashmiris didn't rise up with the Pakistani fighters, it exacerbated a conflict between India's security forces and the locals in Kashmir."

Riaz Haq said...

Manoj Joshi Op Ed published in India on 1965 war.

This is what the commander of the main effort, Lt Gen Harbakhsh had to say about the main thrust to Lahore that faltered on day one itself, largely due to incompetent leadership of the division and its brigades.

Also read: Why Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh's book on 1965 war is important to read today

Surprise attack

On September 6, XI Corps launched a surprise attack at 4am, led to the crossing of the Ichhogil canal and the capture of the Bata shoe factory on the outskirts of Lahore by 11am. But the senior commanders could not cope with the situation and ordered a withdrawal to the east bank of the canal by that evening.

Despite capturing some 140sq mi of land, and crippling Pakistan's 1st armoured division at Khem Karan, XI Corps performance, Singh says it was "a sickening repetition of command failures leading the sacrifice of a series of cheap victories."

The performance of India's premier I Corps, built around the 1st armoured division, was no less disappointing. I Corps captured 200sq mi of territory and destroyed a great deal of Pakistani armour. But it did not deliver what it was meant to - a decisive battlefield victory.

"With the exception of a few minor successes… The operational performance was virtually a catalogue of lost victories." Singh praised the performance of units like the Poona Horse, but was harsh in his judgement of the higher commanders.

Harbakhsh's third corps - the XV Corps, which then, as now, looks after Kashmir, fared better. It gained an unambiguous victory in capturing the Haji Pir Pass and in defeating Operation Gibraltar.

However, it was battered by the surprise attack launched by Pakistan in the Chamb sector on September 1. India also launched an offensive in the Rajasthan sector with a view of tying down Pakistani forces in Sind. But the plan was poorly conceived and executed. There was no joint planning, leave alone coordination, between the Air Force and the Army. This led to the Lahore fiasco when Pakistani air strikes disrupted the Indian offensive on September 6.

Despite seeing action on September 1 in Chamb, the IAF was unprepared for the strike on September 6 when the Pakistan air force (PAF) destroyed 13 aircrafts in a raid on Pathankot, including two new MiG-21s. Similar raids found the IAF station Kalaikunda in the east unawares leading to the destruction of eight aircraft on the ground.

Shoddy intelligence

Intelligence was equally shoddy. India failed to pick up the fact that the Pakistanis had surreptitiously raised an additional armoured division and the IAF could not locate the PAF aircraft in East Pakistan.

There are of course, bigger questions. Indian accounts claim that there was no plan to capture Lahore. If not, then why were three divisions thrown at it? And if the plan was to just carry out shallow attrition attacks, it nearly came a cropper in Khem Karan when Pakistan launched its 1st armoured division in a bid to reach the Beas bridge that would have cut off Amritsar. Fortunately, they were trapped at Asal Uttar and defeated.

Anonymous said...

Why everyone talks only about war way cannot we think of south Asia growth in world war European countries were enemies but now the have common currency euro why....................... we cannot india ,china and Pakistan common currency icp if can friends when japan can forget nuclear attack why cannot we

Riaz Haq said...

Retired General Hoon of #India reveals Brasstacks was prep for invasion of #Pakistan by #Indian Army Chief in 1987 …

Operation Brasstacks was the army’s preparations for a war against Pakistan and not a military exercise, says Lieutenant General PN Hoon (retired), who was the then commander-in-chief of the Western Command. The revelation was made by the veteran during the launch of his book, “The Untold Truth”, on Saturday evening.
In the book, Lt Gen Hoon has revealed behind-the-scene politics of major operations and events that took place during his 40-year service in the army. While in one chapter, the author has called the Operation Blue Star a “botched-up operation”, in another chapter he has revealed that Operation Brasstacks was a “war against Pakistan”.
“I have written about operations I have been part of and no one else knows about till today,” said the author.
The chapter 9 of the book reveals the inside story of Operation Brasstacks. It was in peacetime in January 1987 that the Indian Army began moving to the western border carrying live ammunition. The citizens were told that it was an exercise. The book suggests that “it could only be a preparation for a war”
Talking about the operation, Lt Gen PN Hoon said, “Brasstacks was no military exercise, it was a plan to build up a situation for a fourth war with Pakistan. And what is even more shocking is that the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was not aware of these plans of a war.”
The author said that it was General Sundarji’s (the then chief of army staff) and minister of state for defence Arun Singh’s plan to provoke Pakistan “into launching an offensive in Kashmir”.
“... an attack on Kashmir would be an attack on India and in the garb of the exercise that India was already conducting, India would go into a full-fledged war with Pakistan,” reads the chapter.
Lt Gen Hoon said that it was during a dinner party on January 15, 1987, (Army Day) that the PM came to know about the exercise.
“Rajiv Gandhi asked me, ‘How is the western front?’ To this I replied, “Mr Prime Minister, sir. The western army is in fine fettle and very soon I shall be past our battle stations and will give you Sind on one side and Lahore (Pakistan) on the other,”said the author.
“Rajiv was totally aghast and visibly angered. He left the party immediately. The PM did not want to go into a war. Hence, on January 20, Sundarji, pleaded me to stop moving forward,”he added.
When asked as to why Arun Singh and Sundarji would want a war while keeping the PM in the dark, Lt Gen Hoon said: “It was a power game. Sundarji wanted to become a Field Marshal and Arun Singh wanted to become the Prime Minister.”
Apart from these issues, the book reveals behind-the-scene politics when India was forced to take over Sikkim. The author has tried to expose the true nature of political mindset, which should have been protecting the economic, political and strategic interests of the country.
The author also reveals that how President Giani Zail Singh was planning to take the help of the army in dismissing Rajiv Gandhi. “The army had a role to play in the plans to dismiss Rajiv Gandhi. The conflict between the former President Giani Zail Singh and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was well known by all. But what is still not known is the real politics that continued during the period and how army was involved in all this,” mentions the book.

Riaz Haq said...

A General who led the Indian Army on ground in the Kargil conflict, has broken his 11-year silence to say that he believes India actually lost the war in strategic terms.

In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Lieutenant-General Kishan Pal, who was then the head of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, says India has failed to consolidate its tactical gains.

Asked for his assessment of the conflict 11 years later, Gen Pal told NDTV: "Well for 11 years I did not speak at all...I did not speak because I was never convinced about this war, whether we really won it...We did gain some tactical victories, we regained the territories we lost, we lost 587 precious lives. I consider this loss of war because whatever we gained from the war has not been consolidated, either politically or diplomatically. It has not been consolidated militarily."

Gen Pal was recently in a controversy involving the battle performance report of one of his juniors, Brigadier Devinder Singh.

Speaking to NDTV, the then Army chief General VP Mailk refused to get into the debate but said there was little doubt who won that war. (Watch: Kargil war ended on our terms: Gen VP Malik)

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Air Force pilot M.M. Alam among 7 of the Greatest Flying Aces in World Aviation History - … via @PopMech

A dogfight between two aircraft is perhaps the most fascinating type of combat. The technical knowledge and precision required to operate a fighter aircraft combined with the physical and mental strain of a dogfight make the fighter pilots who excel at them truly exceptional.

Unofficially, a flying ace is a fighter pilot who shoots down at least five enemy aircraft, though the number a single pilot can achieve has steadily decreased because anti-aircraft and tracking technology has made dogfights rare in modern warfare. From Erich Hartmann, the Nazi fighter pilot credited with the most aerial victories of all time, to Giora Epstein, the ace of aces of supersonic jet pilots, these men are among the most skilled fighter pilots to ever enter a cockpit.

Muhammad Mahmood Alam was a Pakistani Air Force jet fighter pilot in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He was the last fighter pilot to become an ace in a day, shooting down five Indian Hawker Hunter fighter jets in less than a minute on September 7 1965, the last four of which he downed within 30 seconds. A national hero in Pakistan, Alam holds the world record for becoming an ace in the shortest amount of time. This bold feat also makes him the only jet pilot to become an ace in one day. Alam was already a respected leader and proficient pilot and gunner when the war started in April 1965. He piloted an F-86 Sabre and downed a total of nine Indian Hawker Hunters in the 1965 war, as well as damaging two others.

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Manfred von Richthofen - World War I

Erich Hartmann - World War II

James Jabara - Korean War

Muhammad Mahmood Alam - Indo-Pakistani War

Charles B. DeBellevue - Vietnam War

Giora Epstein - Arab–Israeli Wars

Cesar Rodriguez - Gulf War

Mithun said...

I really don't care about Pakistan. Doesn't deserve my time or attention. Pls don't lull yourself into thinking all India does is eat breathe dream Pakistan. Instead of writing blogs with one sided depiction of all events, you would do well to re-educate yourself on the colossal blunders by your own armed forces. A good blog is a balanced one not a rant and rave Pakistan is the mightiest nation on earth loose motion. By the way why didn't your JF Junk Fighter turn up in Bahrain? Your new excuse pilot had severe stomach cramps.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Navy sunk an Indian warship INS Khukri in 1971, the first such sinking of a warship since WW2 by a submarine. After the attack on Khukri, the Indian Navy ceased its attacks on Karachi and moved the focus of its operations to East Pakistan ports like Chittagong and Cox's

To date, Khukri is the only ship lost in combat in the history of the Indian Navy.[2][3][9] Over 18 officers and 176 sailors were lost in the sinking.[3][9] The captain, Mahendra Nath Mulla, chose to go down with the sinking ship. He refused to abandon ship, and passed his life-jacket to a junior officer. He has remained so far the only Indian captain to go down with a vessel.[3][9] He was posthumously awarded India's second-highest military honour, the Maha Vir Chakra.[3][9]

A memorial to the dead sailors exists at Diu. 20°42′10″N 70°58′37″E The memorial consists of a scale model of Khukri encased in a glass house, placed atop a hillock facing the sea. The memorial was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Madhvendra Singh as the flag officer commanding-in-chief.[4]

Riaz Haq said...

From Indian Defense Review on 1971 ground war on western front:

The major Indian gains claimed in terms of area were about 3,200 square kilometres in the Ladakh region under Lt Gen Sartaj Singh and 1,200 square kilometres. under Lt Gen G G Bewoor in the Rajasthan Desert. In both regions these gains lay in farflung, desolate, uninhabited and difficult areas of negligible economic, strategic and political value which could hurt the rulers of Pakistan only in their prestige.

On the other hand, Sartaj Singh lost the area of Chhamb, where the aftermath of the refugee problem still haunts the Jammu and Kashmir administration. The loss of the Kasowala bulge, the Hussainiwala enclave and the Fazilka agricultural belt in Punjab could not be equated with marginal gains in the Sehjra bulge and the Mamdot enclave in economic, military or political terms. The Indian occupation of the major portion of the Shakargarh bulge was somewhat embarrassing to the Bhutto government in v ..

Rawlley lost more than he gained in Punjab. The loss of Hussainiwala, the Fazilka cotton track and Chhina Bidhi Chand were inexcusable. The battle in this sector was a peripheral loss and gain of border outposts and nothing more.

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Ahmed F. said...

In a defensive role, the Pakistani army has achieved significant tactical successes. The Pakistani infantry put in a superb performance in the Battle for Lahore in 1965. The Indian army launched a three-pronged attack across a 50-mile wide front towards Lahore at 0530 hours on September 6. The Indian XI Corps, comprising the 7th and 15th Infantry Divisions and the 4th Mountain Division mounted the attack. Within 24 hours the engineers of the Pakistani army had blown up all the bridges on the BRB irrigation canal that lies between Lahore and the border with India. The Pakistani infantry put up a fierce resistance, and were ably assisted by the heavy and accurate fire of the Pakistani artillery. As a result, the Indian attack was halted within a few days. The Indian commander of the 15th Division was relieved of command for an unwillingness to take risks.
Within a couple of days, the Indian army launched a full-scale attack with its 1st Corps directed towards the Pakistani town of Sialkot, in between Lahore and Kashmir. This attack was intended to inflict heavy damage on the Pakistan army, and possibly to cut the Grand Trunk Road between Lahore and Rawalpindi. The Indian forces comprised the 1st Armored Division supported by the 14th Infantry and 26th Infantry and 6th Mountain Divisions. Pakistan’s 6th Armored Division, ably assisted with infantry equipped with recoilless rifles and Cobra anti-tank missiles, halted this attack. When hostilities ended on September 23, the Pakistanis admitted losing 44 tanks and claimed to have destroyed 120 Indian tanks. Two British journalists who visited the area after the cease-fire confirmed these estimates.[1] In this battle, the 25th Cavalry of the Pakistani army showed that the Patton tanks was very effective in combat against the Centurion tanks of the Indian army.