Who won the 1965 Indo-Pak war? Fifty years on, at the launch of former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s book, it was all about cross-border bonhomie.
Present at the launch here on Wednesday was Amarinder’s Pakistani friend Aroosa Alam along with her sister, besides former troop leader of Pakistan’s 25 cavalry Major Shamshad Ali Khan, who livened up the discussion on the Captain’s book, ‘The Monsoon War: Young officers reminisce’, with his anecdotes, criticism and also some rare praise for the Indian army.
“I see a lot of love in the audience. If you ask me about the 1965 war, I would say there was no need to fight it,” Khan said. Drawing a comparison between Indian and Pakistani warfare, he said Indian tanks did not move without the infantry, while the Pakistani ones attacked without bothering about the infantry.
“Your (Indian) commanders were more bothered about troop casualties, it was not the consideration in Pakistan. But on some counts, I considered the Indian army’s performance as good. The Indian troop commander took fast action and showed initiative, which is very important during war,” Khan added.
Former chief of army staff Gen Ved Prakash Malik (retd), who was the chief guest at the launch, said the book was very objectively written with details and viewpoints of both sides of the border.
“Who won the war depends on the government’s political aim. The aim was to defend Kashmir, which was achieved. But it is not just during war that the military and political leadership of a country should have a dialogue but also in peace time. The problem continues and I hope it will be sorted out,” Malik said.
Interestingly, with a majority of Congress MLAs turning up for the event, it became a show of strength for the Captain, who is likely to be brought back at the helm of the Punjab Congress.
Despite Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s recent show of unity, state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa was not present. As the discussion on the book drew to a close, Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar got up to tell the gathering that the Captain would not be available to write another book till 2022, hinting at the 2017 assembly elections and Amarinder as the next CM. “He can write many more books after that,” Jakhar said amid applause from the audience.