1965: A WESTERN SUNRISE
Longlisted | Book Awards 2022 | English Non-fiction
1965: A WESTERN SUNRISE
In 1965, while India was still licking its wounds from the disastrous war against the Chinese in 1962, the belligerent Pakistanis decided to wrest Kashmir from India. They launched their first military probes into the Rann of Kutch between February and May; India responded. By the end of July, India gave in to the dictates of the UN and stood down the troops it had mobilized in response to the Rann of Kutch skirmishes. Pakistan then launched its masterstroke—Operation Gibraltar—in Kashmir in August. Nearly 12,000 trained mujahids were covertly deployed in multiple groups. Confident that they had superior armour, better fighter planes, and better submarines than India, the Pakistanis expected that in the event of an expanded war, the Indians would collapse. However, India repulsed the attack. Pakistan then launched Operation Grand Slam in September 1965 in Chhamb and Jaurian. With the two air forces getting involved almost immediately, the armed skirmishes turned into full-scale war.
The Indian armed forces acquitted themselves admirably despite the on-the-fly reorganization of forces, lack of intelligence, obsolete equipment, and lacklustre military leadership. What could have ended in victory instead culminated in a stalemate. The conflict ended when the Tashkent Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and President Ayub Khan on 10 January 1966, agreeing to observe the ceasefire lines and withdraw armed personnel to positions that they had held before 5 August 1965.
Starting with the wounds of Partition and the disagreements over Kashmir, and based on the author’s research of the terrain, and numerous interviews with soldiers, officers, bureaucrats, and others who had a first-hand view of the conflict, 1965: A Western Sunrise is the definitive account of the 1965 war between India and Pakistan.
Having set the benchmark in the 1990s for films on all the three services, Shiv Kunal Verma has had a unique ringside view of matters military. His coverage of the Kargil War and the films on the National Defence Academy (The Standard Bearers) and the Indian Military Academy (The Making of a Warrior) are considered classics. His illustrated books include Tamil Nadu and the highly acclaimed work—The Northeast Trilogy—which has also been published as a large format book. The Long Road to Siachen: The Question Why and 1962: The War That Wasn’t are considered among the most authoritative works in the Indian military history genre.