Chandigarh, December 8, 2017: The Bofors guns played a critical role in India’s victory in the Kargil war, and the 1971 war was won because of the immaculate planning by the Air Force in coordination with the ground forces.
These insights emerged from various panel discussions during the Military Literature Festival at the Lake Club here on Friday.
The Bofors guns, which were used for the first time as direct fire role weapon in the Kargil war, inflicted huge casualties on the enemy Pakistan forces and were instrumental in helping Indian soldiers regain territory and eventually win the war, according to Lt. Gen. Mohinder Puri.
Participating in the discussion on `Kargil War 1999’, Lt Gen. Puri, then GOC 8 Mountain Division, said the Kargil incursion might have been brilliantly conceived by then Pakistani President General Musharraf but they failed to plan its logical conclusion effectively.
Taking part in the discussion, Brigadier Davinder Singh, whose Brigade moved into Battalik sector on 8th of May, 1999, to flush out intruders, termed the high altitude terrain limitations as the biggest challenge the forces had to face. Lauding the role played by the Indian Air Force in the operations, he said the war could not have been won but for the help from the Air Warriors.
Moderating the discussion Air Commander Vinod Patney, who was then AOC WAC, said when the war broke out “our hands were tied from behind and our feet shackled, but the fact that we still won would rankle Pakistan for all times.” Underlining the need to deliberate upon the historical aspect of a war like Kargil on society, Lt. Gen. S H Kulkarni stressed on the importance of investing even more in actionable intelligence to minimise the casualties.
In another session on the 'Use of Air Power in the 1971 War', Air Marshal Vinod Patney said Pakistan paid dearly for Gen. Yahya Khan's misadventure, and added that war was imminent for nine months prior to its actual commencement and India used this to its advantage.
Taking part in the discussion, Air Marshal RS Bedi said the Indian Air Force kept up the momentum all through the War and Pakistan's resolve fizzled out on the first day itself.
Underlining the role of the Air Force in the War, Air Marshal Bharat Kumar said besides providing air defence to Army, the Indians concentrated on damaging and disrupting supply routes of the enemy by targeting oil refineries in Karachi and Balochistan. Oil centres of Pakistan kept boiling for several days after the Indian Air Force hit them, he added.
Punjab Governor VPS Badnore and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh also participated in various sessions at the festival. While the Governor joined the discussion on `Defensive Battles of Rajasthan’, the Chief Minister took part in 'Military Inspection by Vir Sanghvi- An Interactive session with military Historians and Authors', as well as the panel on 'First Kashmir War 1947 – 48'.
Other sessions included 'Counter Insurgency Operations in Jammu and Kashmir', 'Strategic Perspective – China', 'IPKF in Sri Lanka', 'Role of Indian Armed Forces in World War II', 'Military Heroes', '1857 – First War of Independence', 'Shape & Contours of the Indian Navy of the future', 'Indian Military and Society', 'The Joys & Dilemmas of Being a Military Family', 'Counter Insurgency Operations in the North-Eastern states'.