The month of October this year marks the com 1962. This war of one month has been analysed by all categories of people. Depending upon an individual’s proclivity and area of expertise, the focus has varied from observations at strategic levels, bearing in mind the bigger picture to a purely political analysis or a tactical analysis of the battles in various sectors. The general impression of the public which persists till date is that the country was humiliated and the political leadership of the country, at that point of time, brought upon this humiliation on an ill-prepared and ill-equipped Army which was called upon to throw out the aggressor by a Prime Minister who was out of touch with reality and who had neglected the defence preparedness of the country since independence and had demoralised the Service Chiefs. To top it, all there was a Defence Minister whose egotistic temperament far exceeded his management skills. His interference - set the senior leadership of the Army because the Generals put in charge were incompetent for the assignments given to them.
Air Power which may have made a material difference was not used. While the present Air Chief, with hindsight intelligence, has made a reference to this as per media reports, I have always wondered why the Army and the Air Chiefs in 1962 did not insist upon the use of air power as professionals. The reluctance to use air power was evident even in the run up to the Kargil War in 1999 where the conditionality of political clearance was put forth by the IAF, after receiving the Army’s request, instead of obtaining it and getting on with the job. What was the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) doing?
Wars are national undertakings and should be fought with all resources at the disposal of the nation, hence it is obvious that even the highest military leadership did not acquit themselves with honour in 1962 and were browbeaten by a shortsighted and highly conceited political leadership, who chose to take the advice of the Intelligence Bureau Chief over the Service Chiefs.
Single service planning and execution of operations has been the bane of Indian armed forces with the exception of 1971 war with Pakistan where, due to the personalities involved, joint planning led to a spectacular success. Should we continue on the basis that in the next war, the Service Chiefs will shed their turf differences and come together to plan and execute the operations jointly? The sooner we put institutional mechanisms into place which provide political leadership (Cabinet Committee on Security) by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Service Chiefs, in peace and in war, and implement the appointment of a CDS or a permanent Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, as recom- mended by the Naresh Chandra Committee, the better it would be for the defence of the nation. Mandatory service in joint staff appointments by - tion of key operational commands are also vital requirements for the future. Political directives are essential to achieve this state.
An article by the former Army Chief, General V.P. Malik has been included to provide a backdrop to what went wrong in 1962. An overview of the type of challenge we are likely to confront in the future, as far as China is concerned, is offered by an article on “China’s Military Modernisation” by Dr Monika Chansoria.
This issue also carries the interview of the Director General Information Services. The Indian Army aspires to be a network-centric force in the near future and so we have tried to understand how near is the acquisition of this capability. Additionally, there are articles on “Conceptualising Future Wars”, “Siachen Dispute”, “Soldier Modernisation”, “Battle Management System” and “Indian Army in Disaster Management”.