We can not win peace if we are not ready for war. There will be no peace until we are willing to stand up to the challenge posed by the enemy. People who arrive at the battlefield fully prepared are more likely to display courage and the well-prepared are more likely to win.
IS WAR AN ART FORM ?
General Sundarji served as the General Officer Commanding, First Armoured Division of Indian Army during 1976 to 1978 and I had served in 55 Medical Battalion of First Armoured Division during that time. He would not let us give an excuse for not being prepared for the combat operations. He would stand next to me to check the expiration dates of the life saving medicines we bring to the battle and very often count the numbers to make sure that we carry enough quantity of each item that is included in our operational plans. Without preparation, no plan could be executed to accomplish its goal. While serving under his Command, I learned the importance of preparing for war. Shortcomings and deficiencies should not be ignored and should never be concealed. Being fully prepared boosts up the level of confidence and keeps up the fighting morale of men. I was fortunate to learn from his experience and his insistence and expectation that people under his command should excel in the art of preparing for war. He was an exceptionally good task master and would not permit any second guessing when he inspected Units to evaluate their battle preparedness. He paid scrupulous attention to every detail and no aspect of preparedness was considered trivial and no shortcoming would escape his attention. Under the leadership and stewardship of General Sundarji( whom I consider as my ‘Guru’) I learned the basic method of preparing for battle. He is described as the scholar General, military genius of India and is well-respected for his professional acumen and candor. He was the first and the only Infantry Officer in the Indian Army till date to command an Armoured Division. My learning experience started upon my posting to the First Armoured Division in 1976 while General Sundarji served as its Commander. In India, the classical literature had always described the use of weapons as an art which like all other branches of learning requires a ” GURU “(Teacher) and the act of preparing for war needs a proper attitude, discipline and application. Modern Warfare is like a Symphony Orchestra where different players come together, work in harmony to provide an alluring musical experience. The actual warfare may provide images of violence but the preparation for war is more of an art form. Just like the practice for a great musical performance, each player should learn the notes, tune the instrument to play the correct notes and synchronize their moves with the rest of the team. My service in the Indian Army had given me the opportunity to master this art of preparing for war and I would consider General Sundarji as a great Master of this Art.
YOU WIN PEACE WHEN YOU ARE READY FOR WAR:
In early 1979, as tensions between India and Pakistan had increased and in response to Pakistan’s military build up and aggressive postures, India had demonstrated its willingness to accept the challenge by moving its fighting forces and conducted a massive operation near the Indo-Pak border in the Thar Desert of the State of Rajasthan. I was deputed to witness this military exercise as an umpire and was asked to report upon the performance of a Medical Battalion. The Battalion was commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and was supervised by an Additional Director of Medical Services, a Colonel. From my experience at the First Armoured Division and the mentor ship of General Sundarji, I had acquired a sharp eye and a passion for details. During the course of the exercise, I had submitted several reports to the Deputy Director of Medical Services at the Head Quarters of the Southern Army Command. I had frank and open discussions with the Officers and the men of the Medical Battalion about aspects of their training and preparedness. I had accurately pointed out their shortcomings in training and their deficiencies in stores and equipment. I was pleased to hear from all of them that they would not mind any hardship or inconvenience and that they would prefer to retrain and improve their battle preparedness. My reports had helped the Unit to identify the areas of weakness and later the Medical Battalion was provided with the necessary retraining.
The robust military response from India at that time in 1979 had forced Pakistan into a retreat and eased tensions between the two countries and averted the possibility of a war. From this experience, I learned that we can win peace when we are prepared for war.
Rudra N. Rebbapragada/ R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.,