War in High Himalaya

War in High Himalaya

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The circumstances attending the disastrous campaign that followed the Chinese invasion of India's Himalayan borders have never been clearly understood. Even today, some three decades after the ceasefire of November 1962, very little official information has been made available to the public or the press about that brief but traumatic episode. The present memoir is therefore all the more welcome, not only because it comes from the pen of one who is an established writer and commentator on military affairs but also because, as Director of Military Operations at Army Headquarters during that fateful period, he both witnessed and took part in the processes through which government policies were formulated and the decision taken to go to war against the Chinese, in circumstances that must have indicated inevitable catastrophe. General Palit describes with refreshing candour the ad hoc nature of the decision-making apparatus at prime ministerial and cabinet levels, the lack of any semblance of coordinated staff analyses, the over-reach of government into the responsibilities of the military, and the quiescence of the latter in permitting it. He is uninhibited in recording facts as he saw them and the opinions he held at the time, though always careful to distinguish between that and hind-sight rationalization. While commenting on the actions of others the author is also frankly and disarmingly self-critical. In an attempt to explain the historical causes for the almost total lack of inter-face between the government and the military, a leitmotiv that runs through the narrative, the author has made an interesting analysis of the ethos of the Indian Army as it has developed during the British-Indian period, an inheritance from the colonial past that remained unchanged despite forty-five years of independence. In a fascinating postscript the author demonstrates that this malfunctioning of the government's national security system continues to the present day.... my wife from attending a course on interior design in London, and my daughter home from boarding school in Sanawar. ... famous) Bharatpur duck shoots in the Ghana preserve - at which we were, gratefully, permanently on the guest list.

Title:War in High Himalaya
Author:D. K. Palit
Publisher:C. HURST & CO. PUBLISHERS - 1991-01-01


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