India will face limited wars: book

The cover of Military History of India written by Uma Prasad Thapliyal. (Courtesy: Amazon.in)

India may not face a full-scale war in the future but it will have to fight "limited wars" that is "short in duration, limited in area, highly mechanised and intense in nature", a military historian has said in his latest book.

In the book 'Military History of India', former Director (History Division) in Ministry of Defence Uma Prasad Thapliyal says the country would require an "entirely new kind of preparedness and unconventional deployment of forces".

The 80-year-old veteran military historian, who retired in 1996, says there is "little likelihood" of India being subjected to a conventional war like the one that happened in 1962 o 1965 or 1971. "But there is a great possibility of India confronting a limited war of the kind faced in Kargil in 1999," he says.

Other than limited wars, he identifies "unabating insurgency" as another cause of concern and wants the setting up of a "very special force, trained to eat soup with a knife" to suppress violence with an "iron hand".

Thapliyal said the "wound" in Jammu and Kashmir, which is facing Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, is crying for "some surgical intervention" and those "hoodlums" who chant "Pakistan Zindabad", hurl stones on army and "flying Pakistan flags" in Srinagar "should be put behind bars or forced to leave the state".

Commenting on the evolution of Indian armed forces post-independence, he says the military has faced several challenges since 1947 with one of the first being the "Pakistan-engineered tribal invasion" in Kashmir and sought to blame Jawaharlal Nehru government for its "abject neglect" of armed forces that led to India-China war.

"Subsequently, the forces suffered neglect under new dispensation which was committed to non-alignment and 'panchseel' (principles). India was awakened from its decade-long slumber in 1959 when China intruded into Indian territory in NEFA and Ladhak, and a beginning was made to modernise and augment the strength of armed forces," he says.

"But this delayed effort could not bridge the years of abject neglect and the Indian Army suffered a defeat...The debacle of 1962 sounded a wake-up call for India. All efforts were no directed towards strengthening the armed forces. These preparations enabled India to successfully retaliate against the Pakistani aggression in 1965 and 1971," says Thapliyal.

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