The webinar – ‘The Battle of Basantar – Indian Offensive Thwarts Enemy Plans’ was organised by the School of Military Affairs, Strategy and Logistics (SMASL) at Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat to mark the fiftieth anniversary 12 months of one of the fiercest battles fought on the Western entrance in 1971. Three war veterans, who fought the battle as younger officers, shared their experiences from the battlefield and heroic adventures inside Pakistan. The Battle of Basantar or the Battle of Barapind was one of crucial battles fought as half of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
Brig V Mahalingam (Retd), who was a Wartime Adjutant, 16 MADRAS, shared that his battalion despatched out patrols to the world of operations to collect useful info. “They were also tasked to establish a bridgehead across the Basantar river (a river that flows in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh) and hold on to it till December 17. When the enemy attacked us, our Armour had not been inducted. But our 106-mm RCL guns did the job and what a fine job they did!” he mentioned proudly.
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RCL (Recoilless Launcher), is a light-weight, transportable, anti-tank weapon comparable in type and look to a rocket launcher however used to fireplace artillery shells.
Brig Mahalingam additionally shared that in the direction of the top of the counterattack, their battalion needed to resort handy-to-hand preventing to drive away from the enemy who was making an attempt to counterattack our positions.
Brig Brijendra Singh’s adventures on the battlefield have been simply as engrossing. He instructed the viewers how his battalion (17 Poona Horse) crossed the International Border and obtained inside Pakistan on the evening of December 5 and 6 by about 15-odd km and a complete of 48 Pakistani tanks have been destroyed in a couple of hours. “It was a furious tank-vs-tank battle. The Pakistani armour was so badly mauled that no further counter-attacks came,” Brig Singh (Retd) contended.
Col Satvinder Singh Cheema (Retd) shared how his Battalion, the three Grenadiers, was tasked to open the battlefront of 54 Infantry Division from Samba (near Jammu). “We captured a few of the enemies and their tanks. I was then ordered to mount tanks of my squadron and advance until we hit the first minefield in enemy territory. Later we were tasked to establish a bridgehead across river Basantar, around 20 Kilometers inside Pakistan”.
The awe-inspiring narrations have been adopted by a dialogue with the viewers.
Col Deepak Joshi (Retd), Director i/c SMASL, instructed TOI, that the School has been organising webinars to mark the Golden Jubilee Year of India’s victory over Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh in December 1971.
On the traces of the webinar, TOI additionally spoke to military veterans for his or her view in regards to the battle.
Bangalore-based Lt Col Pavithran Rajan (Retd) instructed TOI: “This battle was defined by outstanding leadership and heroism in the face of overwhelming odds. The importance of the better-trained man behind the machine triumphing over superior weaponry is the greatest take away of the battle.”
Lt Gen A B Shivane (Retd), Former 1 Corps Commander and Senior Advisor, Defence Research and Studies (DRaS) known as the Battle of Basantar an epic battle of braveness, valour and sacrifice, epitomising the very best spirit of soldiering on either side. “While Major Hoshiar Singh and 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal (posthumously) have been awarded the very best gallantry award – The ParamVir Chakra; Lt Col Akram Raja of Pakistan Army was additionally awarded the second-highest gallantry award based mostly on a notice of his gallantry written by his Indian counterpart Lt Col VP Airy of 3 Grenadiers”, the General instructed TOI.
Kanchana Ramanujam, Webinar Moderator, and Assistant Professor, SMASL mentioned: “So far, SMASL has organised five webinars covering various battles of 1971. The school is committed to making the next generation aware of the glorious military legacy they have inherited, through Veterans who fought the War, winning victory for the nation and glory for their regiments.”
Divya Malhotra, Assistant Professor, SMASL, instructed TOI that though the battles are nicely-documented in written literature, gripping first-hand accounts by the war veterans themselves carry a distinct power and enthusiasm to the intense topic of Military History.
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