A book that explores 1965 war heroics

The war ended 56 years ago on this day

September 23, 2021 07:08 pm | Updated 07:08 pm IST - Hyderabad

September 23 is a golden day in Indian military history when the Indian Army decisively won the 1965 war turning the defensive position into an offensive stance and hunting the hunters mercilessly.

The war on record is inconclusive though, as the Indian Army was asked to stand off when they were just 13 km away from Lahore with the ceasefire announced, but not before inflicting serious damages to Pakistan defence forces that were better equipped and better prepared, being the aggressors.

“The strategy of this battle is known world over and serves as a lesson plan for a lot of war colleges around the world, but we Indians do not know about it,” says Sonnia Singh, author of “The Turning Points 1965 War” that gives a refreshing insight into the war victories through short stories format and personal details.

The daughter of Brigadier Surinder Singh, who was part of the war, says each story highlights the point of no return wherein the position of a seeming defeat of India was turned into a victory, thanks to the grit of our soldiers and the strategic planning of the military commanders.

Amongst the most interesting chapters of the book include ‘Champions of the Cerulean Skies’ where the might of the Air Force came into play with daredevil tactics while ‘The Conqueror of Haji Pir’ is a tribute to Maj. Ranjit Dayal’s unbelievable bravado for the capture of the Haji Pir Pass. The audacious capture of Dograi, twice by Lieutenant Colonel Desmond Hayde, the spectacular annihilation of Pakistan’s sophisticated Patton tanks (Supplied by the US) at the tide-turning point in Khemkaran reflected in the ‘Battle of Assal Uttar’, and the audacious attack by the Indian Air Force on the pride of the Pakistan Air Force - Sargodha Air base is narrated in ‘Good Morning Sargodha.’

The author also explores the factors that led to the loss of initial victories gained due to differences in opinion of the commanders apart from the situation turned due to the foresight and courage of Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh and the bravado by the Marshall of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh. The IAF participated in a war for the first time.

“The book also recognises the valour and the expertise of the enemy where applicable as India honours all Heroes,” she says, adding that the present generation must understand how India fought its wars.

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