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Monday, July 13, 2015
Centre plans victory carnival to commemorate 1965 war
July 13, 2015 01:16 IST
Signalman checdk up the vital telephone lines which link the various posts with the base in the Rann of Kutch which has been under an unprovoked armed attack by the Pakistan regular armed forces April 29, 1965. PHOTO: THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Jawans manning a machine-gun post waiting to give covering fire to our advancing troops in the Lahore sector. (27/09/1965) Photo: The Hindu Archives
On the anvil are a series of events spreading over a week starting with a seminar and including concerts, a fly past, launch of commemorative stamps and coins.
Days after announcing the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, the government is gearing up to launch a grand “victory carnival” at Rajpath to commemorate 50 years of the 1965 war.
On the anvil are a series of events spreading over a week starting with a seminar and including concerts, a fly past, launch of commemorative stamps and coins. It will culminate with adventure activities on September 20, defence ministry officials said. The highlight is a major exhibition featuring a tableau showcasing the war.
While commemorating the war is essential, the “victory” in that is questionable. Experts and veterans believe it was more of a stalemate than victory as India failed to make any significant strategic gains vis-à-vis Pakistan.
“The consensus among historians is that this war was a stalemate and it will be good if the government enables people to reflect on the importance of the war in recent history,” said Dr. Srinath Raghavan, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. This can be best done “by making all official documents available to the public,” he added.
The celebrations are being planned as a tri-service effort but the war itself was largely an Army show, which made significant gains in Kashmir but lost ground in Rajasthan. The Air Force played a limited role but failed to gain quick air superiority and the Navy hardly played any role.
On the role of the Air Force, Wing Commander Vinod Nebb, a decorated veteran of the 1965 and 1971 wars, said it was the first experience for the Indian Air Force (IAF) where fighters were involved, so “there was lot of learning and excitement.”
We were superior in numbers but not in quality. Air defence was initially very poor, so we had heavy causalities on the ground than in the air,” he added. Another decorated veteran, Major Chandrakant Singh of the 1971 war, said: “Neither the country nor the three services were prepared for the war. We gained some, we lost some.”
Meanwhile, veterans protesting the government’s delay in implementing One Rank, One Pension have pledged not to participate.