No one has written till date about the Pakistan army in detail as also why the Kargil intrusion took place? Col. Saigal has highlighted that we have professional Generals like Sagat Singh and others who were responsible for the formation of Bangladesh. For the first time, a chapter is being included on Sam Manekshaw and analysis of 1971 war in the west is being done.
The book explodes the myth of stalemate in the western sector, which was largely responsible for Pakistan having miscalculated Indian strength in Kargil. There would have been no intrusion in Kargil sector, had 1971 war with Pakistan been fought professionally in the western sector also?
The public or the media need to know much about the wars. It takes time for the truth to be revealed. However, we need to know about the wars soon after it is over. Why has the truth been hidden so far, what has been the truth, why the war in the west has been inconclusive are the questions which need to be pondered over.
Col. Saigal has tried to show in the book that had the war been fought properly in the western sector also, just as it was fought in the east, we would have had no problem with Pakistan e.g. the Kargil intrusion/skirmishes/cross border firing etc. It has been politics at the higher echelons about which little is known which has been largely responsible for Kargil affair-a point which needs to be studied by all concerned who have got national security at heart.
Col. Saigal joined Artillery after training in the Indian Military Academy in the first post- independence regular course. Selected for the Air Observation Pilots course and a graduate of the Staff College, Wellington, and Senior Officers course, Mhow (MP), he participated in wars with China (about which he wrote the book "The Unfought War of 1962"), and Pakistan. After commanding a mountain regiment in NEFA, he held important appointments on the staff dealing with operations, intelligence and logistics, while posted on eastern and western borders as a senior officer. A widely travelled officer, he has been to the east, middle-east and the western world, where he did not see the poverty of the kind prevailing in his country.
He resigned from the army in 1975 and has been publishing "Defence Seminar" magazine and writing books on wars/defence subjects. Known to be professionally oriented, Col. Saigal has been interested in flying, reading, writing and meditation ever since his early retirement from the army.
During the 1971 Indo-Pak War, I was the senior staff officer in I Corps Artillery Brigade and was required to manage the Corps Artillery.
Being a fortunate soldier I had participated in the earlier wars against China and Pakistan in 1962 and 1965 respectively, the experience of which have been memorable. I left the Army prematurely in 1975. At that time I had five books about the wars and allied matters in outline, prepared during my leave.
The first book I wrote was "The Unfought War of 1962".This book created a furore in the country when I laid the fact of the war before the public at large. The book was reviewed by all the leading newspapers and magazines. In 1962 war I had participated as Offg. Brigade Major and Deputy Assistant Adjutant & Quarter Master General in Brigade Headquarters. We would have beaten the Chinese in battles war had we used all the arms and equipment including tanks, artillery, etc we had in the war. Some one did not allow us to use them and we left without fighting a proper war. The present book deals with the Indo-Pak 1971 War which would have been a final war had the political leadership played their role wisely and delineated the boundary properly. We had captured over 93,000 prisoners of war of the Pakistan Army and Pakistan became two states with the formation of Bangladesh after the war. It was during the regime of a General that it became two states. Will the recent change and the war cries in Pakistan split it further under the present General's leadership is a matter of question which must be coming in the mind of thinkers in Pakistan, as some vested interests will not allow them to form a confederation.
This book is an effort to show that how we could have come to decision earlier had we properly impressed upon Pakistan so that they would not have entered our territory, which they did in Kargil. In 1971 lndo-Pak War we were defensive in the West while we were striking in the East. Once the war in the East was over, we could have dictated such terms so that no further war, as happened in Kargil, should have taken place.
The book gives an account of the 1971 Indo-Pak War in I Corp area as I saw. The story of the growth of Indian Army and the Pakistan Army have been given out so that the psychological build-up of the two armies can be gone through by the readers properly to enable the public to understand why Pakistan is itching for a war, while India is trying for tranquillity and peace with Pakistan, which has been misunderstood by them. Under no circumstances can Pakistan equate with India as far as the space and strength factors are concerned as I have enumerated in the book. However, for reasons not known we were not able to arrive .it a conclusion in the 1971 War in the West although wt' had all tilt' resources in terms of armour, infantry and artillery to do so. We lacked the right leadership like the one given in the East.
Pakistan had been split into two mainly because of its Generals who had not fought the war professionally and not given the Bangladesh its legitimate and. rightful dues. There was military leadership with strong views but had not paid proper attention to the grievances of the people.
The military regime had adopted the offensive measures to supress the legitimate rights of the people in East Pakistan and as a result they were forced to come to India as refugees. This had resulted in tremendous problems for India and ultimately we were forced to re-settle the refugees in Bangladesh after the same was formed out of erstwhile Pakistan.
Today, Pakistan is an isolated country with military leadership. We are also aware that corruption both in the civil and military seems to be eating the vitals of that country. There is no doubt that civil set up is more corrupt but we have to make sure that Pakistan survives as one unit in the interest of our and their country because further split will weaken the polity and we may have other problems at hand.
A special chapter has been included ir, this book on Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and Lt. General Sagat Singh. It was during the Sam Manekshaw's time that the Pakistan has been split in two and the credit for this achievement should have gone to him. Indira Gandhi and jagjivan Ram should have left their memoirs on the subject but they have not been able to do so, for reasons best known to them, as they had ample time and resources. Manekshaw can enlighten us, both about Bangladesh and West Pakistan, at least about the matters pertaining to Armed Forces. Although he did not get along with the Defence Minister, jagjivan Ram, knowing him well he should tell the truth.
Justice has not been done to Lt. Gen Sagat Singh because of lack of interest in defence by writers except for military writers like Maj. Gen. Sukhwant Singh, Maj. Gen. Laxman Singh and Brig. Jagdev Singh in their books on 1971 Indo-Pak War. The press and the media, because of lack of knowledge and other reasons, have not been fair to him and highlighted Lt. Gen. jagjit Singh Arora, who had not much to his credit for the formation of Bangladesh.
The bibliography in this book gives an account of the books consulted including the recent book by Lt. Gen. Jacob "Surrender at Dhaka" about which some mention has been made. The book of Gen. Jacob has raised the curtain on the surrender at Dhaka to some extent but why so late? The present book reveals about the war in the West, which if properly and professionally fought, would have impressed Pakistan that wars with India arc harmful to them. They can further split. The war in Kargil would not have occurred if proper steps had been taken by Indian political leadership and they kept the military informed of the political dialogue of 1971 War.
I am writing this book as a factual story of spliting of Pakistan into two with a hope that the Pakistan's leadership will realise the necessity of holding the Pakistan together. They need to realise that another Sagat Singh might come lip during the war, which I am afraid, will not be good for them or India. It might lead to further splitting of Pakistan.
As history of War is being written, as witnessed by the author, it may be hurting to some. It should be taken in the spirit in which it is written as the, intention is not to hurt people, but tell the truth as the author "saw it. I have been relating the facts as I witnessed them. While in service I used to put them down on paper as per Appendix III of the book.
Soon after I took early retirement from the Army, I wanted to write five books which I had drawn in outline while I was on leave. The first book I wrote was "The Unfought War of 1962 - EFA Debacle" which reveals the truth about the 1962 war for the first time. In the book, I have also mentioned about 1965 and 1971 wars. The book, which was one of the best seller of its time, and was well received and translated into Hindi within a few months and in Marathi and other vernacular languages. The book created a furore in the country when I narrated facts and figures. We could have inflicted severe casualities on the Chinese Army and would have come off better than them in the Kameng sector of EFA. I also did the analysis of 1962 Indo-Chinese War.
I went to the United States of America to impress upon some of their intellectuals the need to leave India alone. I spent sometime with Professor Stephen Cohen, Paul Wallace, James Philip etc., and had seminars regarding the book. A Professor organized my meeting with State Department officials to enable me to do research. For numerous reasons, I could not meet them and returned to India.
To make myself viable and attend to our financial needs, I started a school in Kanpur having spent some time with the legal profession as an Advocate. I also spent some time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's establishment at Mount Abu which gave me an insight into the scriptures of the past, the Transcendental Meditation and its impact on life. By chance, I came to Noida where I lived among a large number of retired and seving officers. I started a magazine "Defence Seminar': the aim of which was to focus on the reduction of expenditure on defence by the South Asian Countries because colossal expenditure on defence was one of the reasons for not eradicating poverty in the South Asian Countries. The effort was also directed towards the foreign agencies who were largely indirectly responsible for the current state of affairs between India and Pakistan. Staying in Noida gave me an opportunity to interact at the United Services Institute .ind the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, the two premier institutions on Defence in India. By virtue of being a member of Authors Guild of India and Indian Society of Authors, I had an opportunity of interacting with a variety of persons, who felt for the country and wanted to know about Defence Forces which are remembered only during the wars.
The interaction with a variety of Armed Forces personnel gave an opportunity to study and analyse the growth of Indian Army in its present shape. My environments may be having some influence on my writing. My grand father from the mother's side was well known Rai Bahadur from Kanpur in legal profession, and was keen to see me in the Civil Services. My grand father from father's side, a Police Officer was keen that I should join the Police Service. My maternal grand father was a well known political figure who also became a member of the Provincial Legislative Body as Sir J.P Srivastava, his contemporary from Kanpur went to the Centre. My father was independent willed and a quiet scholar who did not tow the line of his father-in-law. All these factors influenced me. I had a desire to be forthright and correct in my expression on paper which showed up in my first book which created a controversy. The book was reviewed by Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh in the Indian Express, who was aware of the truth, about NEFA Debacle of 1962 which should not have occurred, had the force stayed back to fight a battle, with Arun Shourie and late Romesh Thapar helping the book.
In this book, I have tried to tell some facts I know about the 1971 lndo-Pak War also, which I am afraid, have not been revealed so far except to limited extent by Major General Sukhwant Singh's books "Liberation of Bangladesh" and "Well on the Western Borders'.
Having seen the Western world and the Eastern & Middle Eastern countries, I can visualise why Indian Sub-continent - the South Asian countries have remained poverty stricken. The Western countries and Eastern countries are hardly spending any amount on their defence, except for China which has remained poor, because of spending a good portion on defence. Most of these countries have grown in their economic and social structure with peace and amity. We hope better sense will prevail in the leaders and the countries of the South Asian region will come to understanding for economic and social growth.
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