Like Arjun on the battlefield at Kurukshetra, we stand at the crossroads today in respect of the proxy war unleashed by Pakistan in Kashmir. It would be prudent to reflect on Lord Krishna’s advice which stirred the Pandava warrior to action resulting in ultimate victory. Krishna said that winning in the mind is the first step towards becoming triumphant. We too must make up our minds: Do we allow the enemy to continue to hit us and mutilate our Jawans or do we take the offensive way? Conquering our fears must come foremost coupled with strengthening our resolve. Yudhaye Krit Nischaya (Into battle with determination), as Lord Krishna advised Arjun.
Getting down to winning, and not just fighting, comes next. That involves selecting a viable, strategic aim for our efforts. We should aim not just at defeating Pakistan’s designs, causing material and economic damage to them, but also overcoming the insurgency winning the estranged Kashmiris over. Maintenance of the aim involves putting everything into the war effort.
Taking the fight to the enemy, raising his costs and causing attrition, both in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Pakistani mainland must take precedence over everything else. Nobody ever won a war with a purely defensive strategy. Lastly, once having entered into war with fortitude, we must resolve to win at all costs or as Guru Gobind Singh said – ‘Nischaya Kar Apni Jit Karun’ (Will to win). Jai Hind!
Time for Surgical Strike 2.0?
In the wake of the barbarous mutilation of the bodies of two Indian soldiers, some commentators have asked whether it’s time for surgical strike 2.0? In the context of the civilised struggle we’re engaged in, I’d say we need to carry out surgical strike 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 too and keep striking the enemy till he relents. Here I’d like to refer to the Rhodesian Bush War in a purely military perspective without taking a moral or political position. The white Rhodesians and their black allies were surrounded by black states giving shelter to nationalist guerrillas. The former’s strategy was to engage infiltrators in the hinterland in essentially defensive operations which in effect allowed the nationalists to retain the advantage of striking at will. The Rhodesians seized the strategic initiative by launching raids and airstrikes on guerrilla camps in Zambia, Mozambique, Angola and Botswana. This enabled them to dominate their neighbourhood, disrupting the nationalists’ training, supplies, infiltration and even rest and recuperation.
Ultimately, the Rhodesians lost but the causes were political. Militarily, they were able to keep the guerrillas at bay. Pakistan is a different kettle of fish but the lessons of the past are as relevant today - no letting up on offensive action.
Centre for Indian Military History
A long-cherished dream of yours truly to set up an organisation to promote, research and bring military history closer to the masses was realised a few days ago with the inaugural event of the Centre for Indian Military History aided by a dedicated team of knowledgeable enthusiasts. We’ve started with a series of oral history talks on combat experiences of veterans of the tricity with gracious funding from the Regiment of Artillery Association. The aim is to have smaller monthly events building up larger quarterly seminars on battles, campaigns, wars and aspects of military life. All those interested can contact me at any time.
(Please write in with your narratives of war and military life to email@example.com or call/WhatsApp on 093161-35343)