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Srilanka Misadventure: India's Military Peace-Keeping Campaign 1987-1990

Gautam Das (Author) M.K. Gupta-Ray (Author)
Synopsis Twenty years ago, starting from the night of 29 July 1987, India hurriedly deployed the Indian Army in Sri Lanka. This book provides an in-depth look at the Indian military deployment and operations in Sri Lanka from July 1987 to March 1990, which was independent India's first major foreign-policy determined overseas campaign, and which turned into modern India's longest war to date. It has been India's most intense period of interaction with the island of Sri Lanka after the mythological Ramayana and the much-later invasion of the island by raja karikala Chola, the Chola king of Tamil Nadu, in about 100 CE. Unlike those two well-known military campaigns, however, the modern endeavour by the Indian state failed, or more charitably, was unable to attain its stated politico-military objectives. Why did India's foreign -policy venture fail? This book has the answers. it provides the necessary background to the Indian internal and Sri Lankan political situation and its perceived ramifications and implications for India, which led to the highest-level political decision-making in India and Sri Lanka. The military deployment and its tasking, both envisaged and as they actually became later, and the operations themselves, form the core of the book. Insights into the LTTE's operational direction by its supreme leader Vellupillai Piabakaran are provided through the interviews given by him. The actual narration of the dramatic military events as they unfolded are given, both by vivid first-person accounts by some of the key participants, as well as summarized from the vast literature now available on the subject.
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About the authors

Gautam Das

Gautam Das was in the Indian Army from 1968 to 1991. An Infantry officer to the 11th Gorkha Rifles, he has served on all of India?s major borders in regimental service with his own battalion, as well as with the Assam Rifles and the Special Frontier Force. He has also dealt with both border defence and border management of the General Staff of an infantry division, an Army Corps, and a regional Command HQ in widely-separated parts of the country.

M.K. Gupta-Ray

Mrinal K. Gupta-Ray was in the Indian Army from 1968 to 1999, and was an infantry officer of the Sikh Regiment. He was in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War in the operations in the Tangdhar sector of the Kashmir Valley across the Turmari gali, capturing Pakistani posts in the East Lipa Valley and the Kaiyan Bowl. He commanded troops in anti-terrorist operations in the Kashmir Valley. In October 1987 he physically commanded 16 SIKH in the initial IPKF operations in the Jaffna area of Sri Lanka, capturing Jaffna town from the LTTE in fierce fighting.  

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Reviews 5in total
Shashwat - Army top brass exposed Jan, 01, 1970

The book starts with Gautam Das writing the Army top brass in service during 1987 behaved like amateurs, including then army chief Late Gen K Sundarji. Nothing can be more summarising than this. In fact the same was evident even on the field in context with LT Col M K Gupta Ray's writing on thwe 41 Inf Brigade COmmander, Brig Manjit Singh. Despite moving in armoured cars like a coward fearing for his life, he got himself a MVC or Maha Vir Chakra - the second highest gallantary award in the country. His achievement - to force soldiers fight under broad day light without providing adequate logistical support to the troops. Instead of appreciating the 16 Sikh and 14 Raj Rif for clearing LTTE bastion Jaffna Fort, he "punished" the soldiers for their valour by making them sit under hot sun. No wonder inspite of winning a MVC, he was asked to go home. A very well written piece, though sometimes repetitive interms of lessons learnt. Col Gupta Ray should have restricted himself upto the lessons from command and control failure at the ground level. While Gen Sardeshpande, by virtue of his rank was justified commenting on the entire polirtical decision making and the reactions by army top brass. People Gen Kalkat and Dipender Singh also should have been involved in getting their comments.

S. BHARDWAJ - Enlightning Jan, 01, 1970

Reading this book was an experience in it self. The authors have written it in such a way that one can visualise each word, para, chapter and the entire book clearly. Though the subject of this book is IPKF vs LTTE; The essential essence is the plight of any foreign army fighting for causes not close to there hearts that too in a foreign land . This book clearly depicts that how a soldier suffers for the political games there leaders play! This book is incredible, so grab a copy and enjoy.

Bibliographic information

Title Srilanka Misadventure: India's Military Peace-Keeping Campaign 1987-1990
Format Hardcover
Date published: 06.11.2008
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788124113639
length 344p., References; Appendices; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.