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Officially at Peace

Shankar Roychowdhury (Author)
Synopsis Down a flagstoned corridor in New Delhi’s South Block, which houses the top echelons of Indian government, lies the office of the Chief of Army Staff. Crisply turned-out-guards flank a well-worn door. Beyond is a large, spare office that it takes a lifetime of experience to achieve. General Shankar Roychowdhury was installed in the office on 22 November 1994. He took charge at a time of mounting challenges and stretched resources. For while the country was officially at peace, as the account of his years in command is ironically titled, the truth was that the army was continually on call, as it had been since independence, in one trouble spot or the other. Nation at peace, army at war’ reflected more truly the position, as the army manned tense borders, including a contentious line of control in as forbidding a battle zone as Siachen, and countered the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency in the north east, besides assisting the civil authorities in law and order situations elsewhere. The army’s role in such a scenario forms the core of General Roychowdhury’s narrative. In addition, he examines other issues of great relevance. One is the security environment of the country, seen clearly and with great perspicacity. Another is the sensitive matter of interface between the army and the political and bureaucratic establishment. For, as he says, the army has carried out its duties to the best of its abilities, and given the nature of its task—protecting the nation—cannot, unlike, say, a sporting team on the playing field, afford to fail. The integrity of the country, far from being a platitude, is a reality brought home to the soldiers every day, and it is for the powers that be to ensure that they, for their part, are more supportive and understanding of the role the army plays. As General Roychowdhury says with candour, far too often are issues that directly impact on the army’s efficiency and morale bound up in red tape, or snarled in quibbles over fine points of duties and responsibilities.
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About the author

Shankar Roychowdhury

General Shankar Roychowdhury, PVSM (Retd.) was born in Calcutta on 6 September 1937. Educated at St. Xavier’s School, Calcutta, Allen Memorial School and St. George’s College, Mussoorie, he entered the Joint Services Wing of the Armed Services in 1953 as a cadet. He was commissioned into the 20th Lancers of the Armoured Corps from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, in1957. In a career which spanned over forty years, he saw action at Chamb-jaurian in 1965, and in Jessore and Khulna during the 1971 war. General Roychowdhury was Chief of Army Staff from November 1994 until September 1997. He is now a member of the Rajya Sabha, as a consensus candidate from West Bengal.

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Bibliographic information

Title Officially at Peace
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0670885851
length x+326p.