Trial and Triumph

World War II (1939-45)

The professionalism of the alumni of the Academy was put to test in 1939, just a few years after the founding of the Academy, when Britain declared war against Nazi Germany and other Axis Powers. The success of the Indian forces mostly led by the Indian Officers was in the best traditions of bravery and courage. British Forces of Indian origin fought the War in Europe, Africa and the Far East. Second Lt PS Bhagat was honoured with Victoria Cross, the highest British decoration for showing exemplary courage and leadership in the Italian campaign. It was a moment of pride and great honour for an Indian Officer and also a glowing tribute to the traditions of the Academy.

 

Kashmir War (1947- 48)

On the eve of Independence, with the intention of wresting Kashmir forcibly from India, raiders & razakars supported actively by the Pakistani regular Army invaded Kashmir. At the request of Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of J & K, the Indian Army moved into the valley to protect the people of Kashmir from the vandals. A handful of soldiers far less in strength than the invaders, led by their officers fought bravely and repulsed the invaders. Many of the alumni of the Academy who participated in the Kashmir War were decorated for their courage, bravery and leadership. A grateful nation honoured Maj Som Nath Sharma with the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.

 

Chinese Aggression (1962)

China attacked the Himalayan frontiers of the country in 1962. The Indian Army was caught unaware and being ill-prepared to counter the Chinese offensive suffered heavy losses. In the face of the most challenging circumstances, Indian Army was overwhelmed by the Chinese Forces many times over; but the Indian soldiers protected the frontiers with sheer grit and courage that has become part of a legend. A bitter lesson was learnt in 1962. India vowed to equip the armed forces and enhance military preparedness at all times. Even under adverse weather & resource constraint, the alumni of IMA acquitted themselves gallantly and earned laurels.

 

Indo-Pak War (1965)

In 1965, equipped with weapons supplied by USA and factorising the 1962 episode, Pakistan launched a surprise attack first in Kutch in April and later in the Chhamb-Jaurian sector with a view to wrest Kashmir by force. In response, the Indian forces led by Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh (an alumnus of IMA), the Army Commander of Indian Ground Forces in the Western Sector, successfully thwarted the ingress and moved swiftly into the Pakistan territory inflicting heavy losses and were about to capture Lahore and Sialkot when the cease fire was ordered. The famed Patton Tanks and the US supplied jet fighters fell like nine pins before a determined Indian defence forces.

 

Bangladesh War (1971)

In 1971, the large scale reprisal and atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistani Army in Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) forced a large number of Bangladeshis to take refuge in India. It was a calculated strategy by the Pakistan Government to create a situation for carrying out military intervention and avenge the defeat of 1965. The refugee crisis in India blew out of proportion with millions of them crossing over everyday. The diplomatic overtures failed to bring respite to the worsening situation. Meanwhile, Pakistan attacked Indian installations with air power and forced India to enter into war in the Western Sector. In response, the Indian forces moved into the territories of

Pakistan in the East and West led by officers from the front and inflicted heavy losses. The Pak strategy backfired; the dream of annexing Kashmir remained a distant dream. India registered a comprehensive victory by completely occupying the erstwhile East Pakistan and taking 90,000 prisoners of war. Subsequently, East Pakistan renamed as Bangladesh was liberated by India and assumed an independent identity. The crushing defeat of Pakistani forces in the Eastern Sector was replicated in the Western Sector as well. Lt Gen JS Aurora and Lt Gen GG Bewoor, alumni of the Academy, became household names. The Bangladesh War marked an unambiguous victory for India under the overall command of Gen SHFJ Manekshaw, an alumnus of the first Regular Course (The Pioneers) of IMA; he was promoted to the emeritus rank of Field Marshal.

 

Operation Vijay (1999)

In the history of independent India, the battle of (1999) will be remembered as the fiercest and the most valiant of operations conducted by the Indian Army. Operation Vijay which was launched on 26 May 1999 concluded on the morning of 18 July 1999 with the restoration of the sanctity of the Line of Control. This was undoubtedly a watershed from any strategic perspective. The battle will not only be written in golden letters in the annals of the Indian Army's history, but will also be remembered in the military history of the world as one of the toughest battles fought and won in one of the most treacherous mountain terrains, where courage and bravery displayed by the officers and men in olive gree made the ultimate difference. The battle of Monte Casino fought during the Second World War, said to be one of the toughest of mountain warfares, appears to be dwarfed before Operation. For their sustained display of courage of the most conspicuous kind, a large number of gallantry awards were won by the alumni of the Academy in pursuit of ‘Valour and Wisdom’, the motto of the Academy. It was also the first war in the full glare of media. Young alumni of the Academy like Capt Vikram Batra, Lt Manoj Kumar Pandey, Capt Anuj Nayyar, Maj Rajesh Singh Adhikari, Maj Vivek Gupta, Maj Padmapani Acharya, Capt N Kengurujay, Lt Keishing Clifford Nongrum, and Maj Sonum Wangchuk became household names and icons for the younger generations.

 

Peace Keeping Missions

Even outside India, the alumni of IMA have won accolades in peacekeeping efforts in Indo China, Korea, Gaza, Lebanon, Congo, Balkans, Somalia, and recently in Angola under the aegis of the UN. The contributions made by Capt GS Salaria stand tall among other luminaries. He was awarded PVC posthumously in recognition of his gallant actions shown while serving with the UN Peace Keeping Forces in Congo.

The success of Indian Forces in peacekeeping missions under the UN has been recognized the world over. The Indian Forces have also been pressed to service to support legal Government. in India’s immediate neighbourhood namely Sri Lanka and Maldives against militancy and insurgency. These assignments were not only difficult but also sensitive which the alumni of the Academy have performed creditably well.