MANOHAR PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS
|Number of Pages||392 Pages|
The Battle of Chhamb is considered to be the bloodiest and most intense and decisive battle of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War. Pakistan had amassed a very large and formidable force under 23 Infantry Division for their offensive.
Having tasted success in this sector in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, this time, with a much larger force, Pakistan hoped to capture the strategically important town of Akhnur. On the other hand, the Indian, 10 Infantry Division‘s task was changed as many as four times in the run up to the war – from a purely Covering Troops action between the Cease Fire Line (CFL) and the permanent defences well to the rear, to an offensive task, then into a ‘Forward Poise’ and finally to adopt a defensive postur. This final change of plan, literally at the eleventh hour, had a profound bearing on the conduct of the battle.
Just as it was preparing to launch major counter-attacks, the sudden declaration of the unilateral ceasefire by India, robbed the division of an opportunity to recapture lost territory. Nor was it taken back during the Shimla negotiations when India held 92,000 Pakistani PoWs in captivity and had the bargaining upper hand. The Battle holds many lessons for India even today and requires reading not only for members of the defence forces, but for anybody who is interested in South Asian history.