Forgotten lessons from 1971

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by A.V., Jan 3, 2011.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Feb 16, 2009
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    Moscow, russia
    For the post-1990’s generation, ‘Vijay Diwas’ is synonymous with 26th July. That day in 1999, brave Indian soldiers evicted the last of Pakistani intruders from the peaks in Kargil-Drass-Batalik areas of Jammu and Kashmir. The hard-earned victory remains fresh in our memory thanks to the extensive television coverage of what was essentially a Corps level battle. By contrast, the original Vijay Diwas--16 December- - commemorat ing the 1971 war with Pakistan has receded from the collective consciousness of the nation’s memory despite the fact that 1971 was a turning point in the Indian sub-continent’s history. To begin with, it remains Independent India’s greatest military triumph to date.

    The victory had come with deliberate planning and by achieving total synergy among the three armed forces. Second, it had come just nine years after the politico-military debacle against in the winter of 1962. But more signifcantly, it so far remains the only example in the post-World War II era when a new nation was created by force of arms. And yet, India hardly celebrates the original Vijay Diwas except for ritualistic tributes. Which is a pity. The 1971 military campaign was, what experts call, a “textbook” war. It was fought with a clear-cut political objective backed by a well-planned and executed military strategy. But more than anything else, it was a ‘just’ war. Indira Gandhi had built international opinion in India’s favour; she also had the sagacity to accept military judgement in delaying the war by over nine months. The civilian-military interface displayed in 1971 was unprecedented and so was the synergy and coordination between Army, Navy and Air Force. Sadly, India’s rising stock post-1971 as a regional superpower has been frittered away in the intervening 38 years due to lack of clear strategic vision at the highest levels of political and military leadership. Today, India’s military preparedness and strategic thinking is dangerously close to the situation prevalent in the decade before the 1962 debacle. In the pursuit of high economic growth Indian planners have deliberately or otherwise neglected to build force capabilities and have developed a ‘safety-frst’ mindset.

    The failure to effectively respond to Pakistan’s 20-year proxy war has severely dented India’s image and credibility as a rising military superpower. Unless the economic gains are translated into usable military power, India will end up like post-World War II Germany and Japan--economic giants without equally powerful military capabilities. Four decades after the 1971 war, India is more vulnerable than ever before. Unless a new RMA builds powerful military capability that can act as a compelling deterrent and unless India’s leadership develops a mindset that is willing to use force for national interest, India will remain a marginal regional player with ambitions to become a global force without the wherewithal to enforce its will on international stage.

    Both the military and political leadership does not have to look for inspiration elsewhere. A close study of the decade between 1962 and 1971 will gives enough insight on how recovered from the national humiliation in the high to alter the map of the subcontinent in 1971. Otherwise, as a nation we will be condemned to repeat history because fail to learn from it.
    By Nitin A. Gokhale
  3. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2010
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    wait for a silly politician to say that there is no reason to celebrate the victory,sometimes i wonder do they have brains this illiterate cvnts do they even know what's the price the soldiers pay to make us win.

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