A little before the Chinese Premier landed in India, one of our politicians namely Mulayam Singh Yadav stirred up an old Ghost. Yadav stressed that India needs to be vigilant as China may attack India soon. Perhaps it was rhetoric but the fact remains that 1962 cannot be easily forgotten.

Our Agong, after retirement went for a round-the-world cruise. During a stopover in Manila, our ambassador arranged for a visit to Malacanyang Palace. When the Agong’s limosine arrived at the palace gate, Marcos ordered the car to stop and the Agong had to walk up the driveway to the palace. Our ambassador was aghast and protested. Finally Marcos relented and a great insult to Malaysia was averted.

Milkha Singh was born in the Punjab into a farmer’s family. Jobs in those days were at a premium and Milk like many Sikhs from the Punjab joined the Army Admit Card. Not many know that Milkha Singh was born in Pakistan in 1935 and had the mortification of seeing both his parents being butchered before his eyes during the 1947 partition riots.

Pakistan launched the 1947 Kashmir operation with a view to annex the state to Pakistan. In the fall of 1947 the raiders reached Srinagar airfield and it was not clear whether the tribal’s had over run the airfield. The Indian government having received the instrument of accession signed by the Maharajah Hari Singh ordered the Indian armed forces into the valley. One DC 3 with 28 troops of the Sikh regiment flew into Srinagar at a tie m when the rebels were nearing the airfield. The battle thus commenced as the Sikh regiment faced the tribal’s led by regular Pakistan Army officers.

This was the first occasion when an entire German army under field marshal Von Paulas surrendered after bitter hand to hand fighting to the Russians. 93,000 German soldiers were taken POW and Winston Churchill referred to this battle ‘as the beginning of the end of the third Reich’. This in my view was the crucial battle that sounded the death of the German Army, for after this defeat the German army just could not recoup its losses and it was a one way downslide to defeat. Much of the reasons for this defeat must lie with Hitler who refused to allow Paulas to break out and ordered him to fight to the end. It was a glorious victory of Russian arms.

Rajiv Gandhi. He was the elder brother of Sanjay Gandhi and after his death was inducted into the Congress party. He was initially reluctant to enter politics, but later relented and was prime minister from 1984-89.

An analysis shows that the Sikhs fought with tremendous bravery but without following the principles of war the Sikh army could not press home their advantage. They were defeated. Subsequent battles at Aliwal, Sabraon and Chillianwala (second Anglo Sikh war) met with the same fate. The generalship was poor and there appeared to be a surprising lack of will among the top echelons of the Sikh army to defeat the British. Planning so essential in a campaign was conspicuously absent. Thus one of the fundamental principles of war was conspicuously ignored.

The Raksha Mantri and the present Army chief have to clean the mess. The army is too precious an organization and its morale cannot be allowed to suffer. Thus the only recourse is to convene a court martial for General Deepak Kapoor. There is no other way.