Manekshaw and Army’s finest hour

  • Mandeep Singh bajwa, None
  • Updated: May 11, 2014 10:51 IST

Having had enough time to prepare, train and equip itself for war thanks to Manekshaw’s shrewd leadership the Indian Army launched its allout offensive into East Pakistan on 4th December 1971.

The Chief himself kept a firm grip on his army throughout the operations without unduly interfering in subordinate commanders’ work letting them get on with the job. In Chhamb, before the war for instance, he ordered that a firmer defensive posture be adopted before embarking upon the planned offensive, advice which saved the day when Pakistan launched its strongest attack of the war in that sector.

In Jaisalmer he made vigorous though unsuccessful efforts to spur the divisional commander into moving decisively against enemy formations routed by air action and destroy them. Seeing the potential of IV Corps’ daring thrust towards Dhaka, something which had not been planned for, he gave the corps commander, General Sagat Singh his head a decision which hastened the Pakistani collapse. The political leadership which had sagely left the military alone in planning and conducting the war were kept fully informed on a daily basis.

As planned the eastern offensives bypassed main enemy centres of resistance saving time and lives. In the West, our successful holding action produced local gains as well as degrading Pakistan’s war waging potential. As the Indian forces approached Dhaka, Manekshaw’s well though-out psychological operations rattled the beleaguered Pakistanis compelling them to surrender. It was a remarkable achievement! Manekshaw’s diligent, detailed planning, preparation of his forces, charismatic, motivational leadership and vision had carried the day. It was the country’s and the Indian armed forces’ finest hour! The field marshal’s baton presented to Manekshaw by a grateful nation was a fitting tribute to his stirring leadership and his soldiers’ valour.


General John George the communicative MD of the Ex-servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) has in a widely circulated email spelt out the procedures for treatment at the organisation’s empanelled hospitals.

The guiding principles are that an ECHS beneficiary requiring treatment, whether as an outpatient or inpatient should in the first case report to the nearest polyclinic for necessary processing.

As far as possible, treatment should be availed of in an ECHS empanelled hospital to avoid any financial burden being placed on the veteran, If admission is required veterans should proceed to the empanelled hospital only once the officer incharge of the polyclinic has confirmed the availability of a bed in the concerned hospital. If the empanelled hospital demands any cash from the beneficiary, this should be brought to the notice of the polyclinic and the MD, ECHS for necessary action at their end. If the beneficiary wants any planned treatment to be carried out in a non-empanelled hospital for any reason, then the diagnosis of the treating doctor along with an estimate of the cost, due approval of the service specialist and MD, ECHS needs to be obtained before the treatment commences.

The nearest polyclinic should be informed within 48 hours so that the necessary emergency information report can be initiated and processed. Conditions that can be considered as emergencies have already been elaborated upon in the policy letters uploaded on the ECHS website

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