Chandigarh| Dec, 11 : Former J&K Governor NN Vohra on Sunday urged experts to contribute to the current and future thinking about warfare, the kind of threats emerging in the region and beyond and how the country’s defence services should prepare to meet the future contingencies.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of the fifth edition of the Military Literature Festival, which was held virtually. The event was inaugurated by Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Vohra said, “An element of the festival focuses on the geopolitics of the region, the emerging threats and what India as a nation and our military need to do to prepare for future contingencies?” The focus of the festival this year is the golden jubilee of the victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
The festival’s pattern, he said, had remained broadly the same since its inception, with military experts paying tributes to war heroes, discussing past campaigns and then focusing on the current threats to the nation from land, sea and air frontiers, besides holding serious discussions on books on these subjects. Stating that this year was also the golden jubilee of the victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, the former Governor said, “War is a question of life and death and a question of honour for the countries as well as the officers and men who fight for the security, integrity and unity of their country.” Vohra expressed sincere condolences on the passing away of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other service personnel in a helicopter crash on December 8.
He said he had known General Rawat for many years and had consultations with him several times on matters of national security when he was the J&K Governor and General Rawat was the Army Chief. Lt Gen Nav K Khanduri, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, attributed the Indian victory in 1971 to the bold leadership, careful operational planning and execution and the courage and valour of soldiers.
Lieutenant General TS Shergill (retd), Chairman of the Military Literature Festival Association, gave an overview of the prevailing situation in 1971 and highlighted various challenges on the eastern as well as the western front and discussed the doctrinal approach to the war.
Former diplomats Satinder Lambah and Aftab Seth, both of whom were foreign service officers during the 1971 war, discussed the political situation prevailing in East Pakistan as well as India’s foreign policy initiatives and challenges in the run-up to the war. The victory of Sheikh Rahman of the Awami League in 1971 elections was a turning point in the history of the subcontinent and the subsequent dissolution of the General Assembly was the beginning of the breakup of Pakistan, they said.
Brigadier PK Ghosh, a Vir Chakra recipient who was a Captain with the Para Brigade during the war and carried out covert missions behind enemy lines; Major Chanderkant Singh, a Vir Chakra recipient with 4 Guards who was involved in infiltrations and other operations; Brigadier OS Goraya, a gunner who has authored books on the war; and Sarabjit Singh, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who served the Special Service Bureau (SSB); recounted their experience of operations undertaken between April and November 1971.The SSB was tasked with the requisition of weapons not traceable to India and training of Bangladeshi recruits for the liberation of East Pakistan. Different units of the Army were involved in training and supporting Bangladesh’s Mukti Bahini fighters and carrying out special missions.