At Chhamb the failure was only at senior levels. There were adequate troops in Jaurian Sector, across the Chenab, to recapture Chhamb, but no attempt was made. Why didn’t the Corps Commander, Army Commander or the Chief order recapture of Chhamb, instead of only launching counter attacks East of Munawwar Tawi? There was adequate time after 10 December. The Chief went to Akhnur after the War, and declared he did not want to talk to the troops; hardly a mature action, in my humble opinion. Did the troops fail to fight? In the Indian Army, Generals only take credit for success, never the blame for any adversity!
In J&K, the Generals in 25 Infantry Division and in 15 Corps had adequate resources to launch limited offensive operations, but failed to utilize the opportunity.
In the East, during 1971, by about 09 Dec,2 Corps had captured the Pakistani strong points at Jessore and Jhenida beyond which there was no Pakistani defence up to Dacca. 2 Corps had 50 Para Brigade less a battalion as reserve. It was the only Corps to have such a strong reserve. Yet they made no move towards Dacca.The Para Brigade less a battalion was later withdrawn from Eastern Command along with one or two armoured regiments though there was no major crisis in the West; where we were on the strategic defensive. The shifting of forces between 11and 13 December goes against the principle of concentration of force for achievement of the Aim of War. These troops were not used even in the west. In NW sector of Bangladesh Commander340 (Independent) Infantry Brigade at Bogra received orders to advance to Dacca and simultaneously received orders to send back armour supporting his advance! Reasons for shifting of troops are not recorded.
In J&K, the Generals in 25 Infantry Division and in 15 Corps had adequate resources to launch limited offensive operations, but failed to utilize the opportunity. 33 Brigade (ex 39 Division) was available as additional force in 25 Division. In the Kashmir Valley one infantry brigade was reserve and available. While 9 SIKH did a fantastic job in advancing across Tut Mari Gali into the Lipa Valley, a brigade remained unutilized even when there was no threat to the Valley. The attack towards Hajipir had made no progress, due to poor leadership. Despite the excellent action of 9 SIKH, the General Officer Commanding was sacked for inaccurate reporting of the situation across the Pass, and messing up a counter attack in that sector.
Since there were no plans to use 33 Infantry Brigade in 25 Division it could have been sent south to help in the battle of Chhamb or back to 39 Division for the battle in Shakargarh. But the Brigade was just wasted near Poonch, due to a cautiousgeneral, but one who put such pressure on his subordinates that one brigade commander committed suicide after the War. Such matters are not recorded in histories.
The Chief was primarily covering his rear when he announced “we will fight with what we have”. Wonder if he ever heard of the saying “when the bugle makes an uncertain call, imagine the outcome of battle” and why didn’t we have what the Army required?
The scuttling of a Division offensive due to the unforeseen action at Laungewala shows poor generalship in the Jaisalmer Sector.
Our misadventures in Srilanka were totally due to bungling by the top Generals. I have not heard any officer talk good of any General during OP PAWAN. Yet no introspection has taken place, nor is it likely in future.
OP VIJAY 1999
Let us have a look at the Kargil Operations in 1999. I wonder if there is anyone who feels the Army Commander deserved a Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal for the Kargil War. In fact the performance of senior generals needs critical study?
The Chief was primarily covering his rear when he announced “we will fight with what we have”. Wonder if he ever heard of the saying “when the bugle makes an uncertain call, imagine the outcome of battle” and why didn’t we have what the Army required? Are the formations expected to procure weapons and equipment directly, themselves? In 1959 Gen Thimayya had resigned since he could not ensure security of the borders due to the negative attitude of the Defence Minister. In May 1999 instead of doing something about our deficiencies our Chief went to Poland?
If the Chief didn’t know of the intrusions, as he claims, the question is why didn’t he know? Did he sack the people who failed to inform him? By 14 May even the PM knew, that too through the Defence Minister, who had been to Kargil. When did our Chief first visit Kargil?It is well known our casualties were high due to delayed action by the Air Force and Artillery failing to interfere with the enemy build up, in May. Even though the intrusions were first detected on 03 May 99, the first aircraft to attack the enemy flew on 26 May. While volumes may be written explaining why, the fact is it was failure of higher command.
Why was 6 Mountain Division not used? If General Officer Commanding was not found fit, why was he not removed and another one appointed as was done in 13 JAKRIF? Why was the General assessed incapable only when given an operational task? He must have been a high flyer during peacetime. Has the system been rectified since? When troops were moved from the Kashmir Valley to Dras, why were the Corps reserves not the first to move and counter attack? Why 56 Brigade which was employed for Counter Terrorist operations? Was it not the task of the Corps Commander to ensure surveillance of the Line of Control throughout his Corps Zone and to keep reserves ready to counter intrusions? When 8 Mountain Division was moved out, the complete Intelligence Grid in the Valley was disrupted which Pakistan utilized well to raise the level of terrorism over the next few years. Many precious lives were lost in the Valley from 2000 to 2004,due to the directions of the Corps Commander.
No wonder, except for Mizoram all other disturbed areas remain disturbed over decades and new ones are added every now and then.
In Kargil, since all offensives were launched in Dras and Batalik Sectors only, what was the great hurry to remove the brigade commander from Kargil? Was he removed for professional reasons or since he was hell bent on exposing the seniors? Even the Commander who conducted operations in Batalik Sector so well, was sacked by the Corps Commander for reasons that remain ‘confidential’.
I am not supporting the actions of the Commander Kargil Brigade in any way and he was very much to blame for what happened, but so were many others who not only escaped punishment but were felicitated after the War; because they were seniors, or professionally dishonest, or both? On eexception who stood out was the division commander at Dras, who behaved like a General, throughout.
There are many grey areas, still. The inquisitive media which was highly appreciated in the early stages of the War was later shunned when they commenced asking uncomfortable questions.
Counter Insurgency Operations
Counter Insurgency Operations have exposed our senior leadership over many decades. Yet we refuse to learn and continue to re-invent the wheel as Generals change at Corps and Command HQ.
What is astonishing is that many mediocre generals, who believed in body and weapon counts, have prospered; each coming out with his own theory on how to conduct Counter Insurgency Operations. No wonder, except for Mizoram all other disturbed areas remain disturbed over decades and new ones are added every now and then.
The seniors must develop courage of conviction to stand for what is right, and learn to place Service before Self.
Our Generals blame the Government and bureaucrats for all shortcomings in the Army. Without disputing that, we need to first eradicate our own weaknesses. The seniors must develop courage of conviction to stand for what is right, and learn to place Service before Self.In fact they know what to do. All they have to do is to simply practice what they peach.
I do not favour resignations. I recommend firm conviction and determination to fight for what is our right without bothering about post retirement employment. Even if the Government does not employ the Chiefs, they would earn much more respect from the million plus Army, than they do now.
Having attended all the ‘career courses’ considered essential for higher command, it is clear to methe present system of education, selection, training for higher ranks throws up mediocre generals and the standard is declining rapidly. The complete system needs overhaul urgently in the interest of our great Army.