This is an explosive and insightful account of Pakistan`s proxy War in J&K in general and the counter-Terrorist (CT) Operations in the grim and forbidding killing fields of Kishtwar, in particular. The author is most eminently qualified to write about these operations due to his extensive combat experience. He commanded a Company in CT operations in Punjab. He then commanded his battalion in fierce skirmishes on the LC in Kargil. He went on to command a Brigade in intense CT operations in Kishtwar and this book is the detailed account of those grim operations. He then moved on to command the Reputed Romeo Force Division in concerted CT operations in the volatile Rajouri & Punch districts of J&K. In between these tenures, the officer served in the prestigious Military Operations Directorate at Delhi. Thus he not only personally led these high risk operations in the field but also oversaw their planning at the apex level.
Few people would be better qualified than him to write about these grim struggles in J&K. He not only provides the doctrinal overview for these operations but goes on to give a blow by blow account of these campaigns and some of the debates and decision-dilemmas they generated. He highlights one very painful and largely blanked out aspect of these operations-the horrible ethnic cleansining of the Kashmiri Pandits from the valley and how it was blanked out from the media.
Subsequently, to stall talks of the Owen-Dixon Plan to partition Kashmir along the Chenab Valley, the ISI deliberately attempted another ethnic cleansing of the Dogras from Kishtwar. He recounts the grim struggle to protect the population from such genocidal attacks and the strenuous attempts made to prevent their large scale exodus to Himachal. It was a grim and very taxing struggle but the Indian Army succeeded at last in deterring such attacks. He questions the conspiracy of silence that did not permit us to publicise the genocidal actions of the ISI in J&K. Like the Serbs, they deserve to be tried for this ethnic cleansing.
The most valuable part of this book is the authors reflections on the lessons learnt. He raises a debate on some seminal issues. Should the Indian Army continue to treat Internal Security as a secondary task to be best avoided? The Chinese Army treats it as one of its tasks on par with conventional operations. He questions the British era principle of Minimal force in the context of the rising lethality of such operations and explores the new concept of Proportional Force. He takes a detailed look at the future and forecasts that the Demographic youth bulge could lead to a vast increase in Internal armed conflict in India. Maoism is just the trailor of this lethal conflict. The road ahead is grim and full of challenges. This book is a classic by a scholar warrior who was directly and intimately involved in these operations and is a must for not only the military professionals but equally the laymen alike. By turns racy and analytical, this is an unputdownable book on par with Frank Kitson`s Classic.
Author: Maj Gen (Dr) G D Bakshi
Features: HB, PP