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A Serious Business

Maroof Raza

By Lt. Gen. V.K. Sood and Pravin Sawhney
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2003, pp. 196, Rs. 280.00


It was once said that “war was too serious a business to be left to Generals”. But after reading this book by Lt. Gen. V.K. Sood and Pravin Sawhney, I am convinced; it is even more dangerous, when matters of war and peace are left to India’s incompetent politicians! When India mobilized its armed forces for a possible war against Pakistan following the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, many of us had expected a few surgical strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan to convey the message that India’s patience with Pakistan’s sponsorship of cross border terrorism had finally run out. But nothing happened, except considerable speculation at various levels. And then as the general mobilization of India’s armed forces continued unabated, there was talk of a full scale war, with Pakistan threatening a nuclear response that sent alarm bells ringing in Washington and other western capitals. And then, despite the then army Chief General Padmanabhan’s statement (that must have been made after due political approval) following Kaluchak massacre in May 2002 that “the time had come for India to act”, nothing happened. Military mobilization was complete and the media had gone through the paces of how various operational scenarios could possibly unfold in the event of an India Pakistan war, but even then, nothing happened. The book explains in detail why India was unable to catch the bull by its horns.   Few books in recent memory have gone into such detail about the respective military capabilities of India and Pakistan, the equipment that either side possess and a detailed and logical analysis of what is truly the fighting potential of either country. For those that follow the subject of India Pakistan relations, this book provides most of the answers that would otherwise be almost impossible to get. The experience of both the authors is certainly one reason for the details that the book carries. General Sood is a former Vice Chief of the Indian Army and has enormous experience of command and staff appointments at every level, while Pravin Sawhney is a former Indian Army Major, a one time print journalist, then a research scholar and is now with the Janes International Defense Review, one of the world’s most respected military publications. Between them, they have therefore produced a book that South Block would rather not have seen in print, and GHQ ...

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