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An Exclusive Glimpse into the Life of ‘Gobind’

Embark on a journey with Gobind by Harinder Sikka, a story filled with love, loyalty, and tough choices. Born in poverty, Gobind rises through the ranks of the Indian Navy, but his success is shadowed by unfulfilled promises and unresolved love. When faced with a new challenge and a tempting encounter in Russia, Gobind must choose between duty and desire.

 

Read this exclusive excerpt to get a glimpse into the early life of Gobind and taste the thrill of a love story, a saga of passion, and human endurance all wrapped in one!

 

Gobind
Gobind || Harinder Sikka

***

As the sun emerged from the distant horizon, the fields too began changing colour. The rapidly strengthening sun rays turned brighter with every passing minute, turning the dark and dense looking crops into a lush green landscape. Tiny golden-yellow flowers on top of the crops looked as if each plant had been knighted with a golden crown by mother nature. All kinds of birds emerged from their deep slumber and filled the atmosphere with a burst of chirpy sounds.
The entire village was soon bathed in different hues. Not to be left behind, the animals too began walking around their territories, marking, urinating on every pole, tree and bush. The farmers too began making a beeline on the snake-like thin track to their respective fields. Their farming tools hung from their shoulders like weapons saddled on the shoulders of soldiers enroute to the battlefield. Nature in its full glory was like a beacon of peace, love and tranquility all round.

 

Gargling and spitting the water out, Ranjit Singh accepted from his wife an old piece of cloth that was once a garment, re-stitched to serve as a face napkin. While handing it back to Amrita, he looked at her inquiringly, ‘Where’s Gobind?’

 

‘Oh, he has already left for the fields. Says he will come back in three hours and go to school afterwards,’ she replied.

 

The cloth napkin slipped out of Ranjit’s hand and fell on the wet floor between them.

 

‘Which fields?’ he asked, his face filled with shock and surprise.

 

‘To work in Bihari Lal’s field. Before leaving home, he told me that he wished to earn while he studied. I couldn’t stop him. He just left without discussing it further.’

 

Ranjit was speechless. His young, school-going teenage son had taken a decision to work part-time, without even consulting his father.

 

‘I don’t know what to make of all this. Working part time isn’t wrong. In fact, I am happy for this will inculcate discipline in him. But all of a sudden? I will ask Bihari ji what’s he up to.’

 

Amrita bent down to pick the cloth from the floor. Then, flapping it in the air repeatedly, she tried to remove the excess water it had absorbed from the wet floor and flung it on the clothesline to dry. She turned towards her husband and looked straight into his eyes. ‘Maybe we should leave him alone. Let him discover himself. He didn’t sleep well. He even sat up on the cot in the middle of night to say his prayers. He was unsettled last night after your stern talk. But he looked different this morning and very charged up when I met him, before he left quickly. There’s this visible change in him that I have never seen before. I am happy and worried.’

 

‘Prayer? Gobind? And how do you know he has changed?’ Ranjit’s face was now filled with confusion.

 

‘Because I am his mother.’

 

Ranjit’s eyes followed Amrita as she went inside the room. Then, wiping his hands on the cloth napkin that Amrita had just hung, he turned his attention outside. He lifted himself up on his toes and looked in the direction of the large haveli with vast green fields where his son was supposed to be working. His eyes scanned the horizon but couldn’t see Gobind. Turning back, he walked inside to find Amrita standing at the entrance, watching her husband.

 

‘Please stop worrying. You’ll get late for work. Get ready; I will get your breakfast. Your tiffin is also ready. Please don’t forget to take it along.’

 

Amrita’s affection-filled instructions relaxed Ranjit to some extent. Stepping into the room, he sat down on the floor while Amrita served him breakfast. It was the same food that he had eaten last night. He ate in silence. But his mind was racing in many directions while Amrita rotated the hand-held fan on its swivel. Before leaving home for work, he stood before the lord’s picture hung on the wall, joined his palms and murmured so softly that even his own ears couldn’t hear his own words.

 

‘With your permission, dear lord, I wish to go to work. It’s a new day, an amazing one at that. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Only you, dear Guru Gobind, can help my son, Gobind.’

 

***

Get your copy of Gobind by Harinder Sikka wherever books are sold.

14 Books About the Indian Armed Forces that Demand Your Attention!

Step into the world of heroism and sacrifice of the Indian Armed forces. From the untold stories of soldiers in the 1971 war to the daring anti-terror operations, these tales capture the courage of Indian forces. Join us in honoring the spirit of our brave defenders this Army Day.

Nowhere Man
Nowhere Man || Shivalik Bakshi

Capt. Kamal Bakshi fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak War and went missing after the Battle of Chhamb–the bloodiest battle of 1971. Although no one from his battalion had seen him get killed, no one had been able to locate his body. And so, the military declared him ‘Missing, Believed Killed’–the ambiguous status assigned to soldiers when their death cannot be confirmed.
However, six years after the war, the Indian government changed its mind. The Ministry of External Affairs announced in Parliament that Indian intelligence agencies have reason to believe that Pakistan had not been truthful when it handed over the list of Indian POWs in its custody. It went on to state the names of at least forty Indian soldiers still believed to be in Pakistani custody and one of the names was Kamal Bakshi’s.
This book has been written by his nephew Shivalik Bakshi. It is his story, recreated from his letters, diaries, recollections of those who crossed paths with him and published accounts of the Battle of Chhamb.

 

Beyond Fear
Beyond Fear || Ian Cardozo

The stories featured in Major General Ian Cardozo’s book Beyond Fear, inform the reader that fear is not exceptional. It is common to all human beings. The question is: Do we face fear or run away from it? Through these thirteen stories, he reveals to the reader how military personnel conquer fear. He calls it ‘biting the bullet’.

 

India's Most Fearless 3
India’s Most Fearless 3 || Shiv Aroor, Rahul Singh

India’s Most Fearless 3 features ten true stories of extraordinary courage and fearlessness, providing glimpses of the heroism Indian soldiers have displayed in unthinkably hostile conditions and under grave provocation.

 

Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye
Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye || Lt Gen KJS ‘Tiny’ Dhillon

Anecdotal, candid and evocative, Kitne Ghazi Aaye, Kitne Ghazi Gaye brings to light the true stories from Lt Gen. K.J.S ‘Tiny’ Dhillon (Retd)’s life. It focuses on the personal, professional and, most importantly, family life of a soldier in the Army, and will not only provide an insight into the trials and tribulations he faced but will also inspire a wide spectrum of readers, especially young defence aspirants.

 

India's Most Fearless
India’s Most Fearless || Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh

The men who hunted down terrorists in a magical
Kashmir forest where day turned to night. The Army major who led the legendary September 2016 surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC. A Navy officer who sailed into a treacherous port to rescue hundreds from an exploding war. A bleeding Air Force pilot who found himself flying a jet that had become a screaming fireball. An e xclusive first-hand account of the 2020 Galwan clash.

 

Naam Namak Nishan
Naam Namak Nishan The Ultimate Indian Armed Forces Quiz Book

Do you know why the Indian Navy counts ‘One, Two, Six’ instead of ‘One, Two, Three’ while doing group tasks?
Or that the Intelligence Bureau was set up in response to an assassination?
Or that a Frenchman who had served three nations before turning thirty eventually rose to become the most powerful general of the Marathas?
Or that an army man gave his name to the highest mountain without ever having set foot on it?

Find out the answers to these and more as a team of quizzer-doctors from the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) Pune takes you on a journey across 250 questions, exploring trivia that connects the Indian Armed Forces to topics ranging from mythology, history and art to geography, fashion and sport.

 

India's Most Fearless 2
India’s Most Fearless 2 || Shiv Aroor, Rahul Singh

Untold accounts of the biggest recent anti-terror operations

First-hand reports of the most riveting anti-terror encounters in the wake of the 2016 surgical strikes, the men who hunted terrorists in a magical Kashmir forest where day turns to night, a pair of young Navy men who gave their all to save their entire submarine crew, the Air Force commando who wouldn’t sleep until he had avenged his buddies, the tax babu who found his soul in a terrifying Special Forces assault on Pakistani terrorists, and many more.

 

Crime, Grime and Gumption
Crime, Grime and Gumption || O.P. Singh

From the dusty plains of Gaya, Bihar, to the swampy and terror-infested wetlands of Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, Crime, Grime and Gumption is an honest and hard-hitting account of law enforcement and governance in the Hindi belt of India. As the ‘policewallah’ gives you a peek into the world of the khaki in this memoir, you will be left thirsting for more.

 

Cyber Encounter

Cyber Encounters delves deep into this nebulous cyberspace, to bring twelve fascinating accounts of cybercrime. Ashok Kumar, DGP, Uttarakhand Police and a veteran in the systematic fight against cybercrime in the state, and OP Manocha, an ex-DRDO scientist, unfold a specific type of cybercrime in each tale, based on a true story. Packed with information on the crime, its investigation and the apprehending of the criminals, this illuminating insider account is a must-read.

A General Reminisces
A General Reminisces || Satish Dua

The son of a modest famer, Nazir tried his hand at carpet weaving, a traditional Kashmiri craft, as a young boy. Teenagers those days heard strident voices, fiery speeches, and more than occasional gunfire. Some were scared, some swayed. Nazir strayed on the wrong side as a teenager, starting with running errands for terrorist groups to more. Fortunately for him, Ikhwan, a rehabilitation programme that allowed young Kashmiri men to convert from militancy and work with the Indian Army, was started just then.

 

The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories
The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories || Rachna Bisht Rawat

21 riveting stories from the battlefield about how India’s highest military honour was won
The Brave takes you to the hearts and minds of India’s bravest soldiers, all of whom won the Param Vir Chakra, India’s greatest military honour. With access to the Army, families and comrades-in-arms of the soldiers, Rachna Bisht Rawat paints the most vivid portrait of these men and their extraordinary deeds.

 

Kargil
Kargil || Rachna Bisht Rawat

Kargil takes you into the treacherous mountains where some of Indian Army’s bloodiest battles were fought. Interviewing war survivors and martyrs’ families, Rachna Bisht Rawat tells stories of extraordinary human courage, of not just men in uniform but also those who loved them the most. With its gritty stories of incomparable bravery, Kargil is a tribute to the 527 young braves who gave up their lives for us-and the many who were ready to do it too.

 

Shoot. Dive. Fly
Shoot. Dive. Fly || Rachana Bisht Rawat

The book aims to introduce teenagers to the armed forces, unveiling both the perils-the rigours and the challenges-and the perks-the thrill and the adventure-of a career in uniform. Ballroom dancing, flying fighter planes, detonating bombs, skinning and eating snakes in times of dire need and everything else in between-there’s nothing our officers can’t do!

 

India's Secret War
India’s Secret War || Ushinor Majumdar

With access to classified records and through exhaustive interviews with surviving veterans, award-winning investigative reporter Ushinor Majumdar has crafted this first comprehensive historical account of the BSF’s role in the Bangladesh liberation war, which changed the course of South Asian history.

The Chief of Defence Staff who inherited dignity

People who serve in the army are revered by us all. They fight for our security and uphold the country’s peace by staying away from their families, living in tough conditions and often, even by sacrificing their lives for the nation. But there are a few men who are remembered through generations for the decisions they made, the work they did and the way they interacted with people around them. And one such man is Bipin Rawat.

Rawat is famously known to be the Army Chief who decided India would retaliate immediately and openly to every act of cross-border terrorism. But, he’s also known as the man who was once the Major with a leg in plaster who was carried up to his company post on the Pakistan border because he insisted on joining his men for Dusshera celebrations under direct enemy observation.

Here’s an excerpt from the extraordinary life of Bipin Rawat who was happiest dancing the jhamre with this Gorkha Troops. Here, author Rachna Bisht interviews General Sharma, who reveals how Bipin Rawat received a priceless dignity from his parents.

Bipin: The Man Behind the Uniformby Rachna Bisht Rawat
Bipin: The Man Behind the Uniform || Rachna Bisht Rawat

‘Gen. Laxman Rawat was a great man,’ he says. ‘Both he and Mrs Sushila Rawat had great honour and integrity, and were almost saintly in their attitude towards life. I have served with many Generals but never felt anyone coming close to them in my entire career.’

Gen. Sharma says he never saw Gen. Rawat lose his temper. ‘He was calm, collected, focused, dedicated to his work and had an uprightness that had passed down to Bipin as well. Bipin had imbibed the culture of his parents. He displayed exactly the same moral character as his father.’

Gen. Sharma says that in the following years, when he worked closely with Bipin Rawat, he often saw reflections of the father in the son. ‘In matters of honour and integrity, Bipin was the same as his parents. They would treat anyone who approached them with respect and so would Bipin. Even when he was Vice Chief and later Chief, with a dozen important issues playing on his mind, there was never an instance of anyone having to wait for taking an appointment with him. If someone wanted to meet him, he was always available. We never heard from his office, “Chief busy hain.”’

In fact, on what was to be the last day of their lives, Gen. and Mrs Rawat were leaving their house for the airport when the recently retired Subedar Major of 5/11 GR dropped by to meet them. Despite being in a hurry, the couple stopped to talk to the SM and his wife, and took out time for a photograph as well. That remains the last picture of the couple.

Just like his father, Bipin also genuinely cared about people. ‘There were instances when Bipin would be crossing a Defence Security Corps soldier on duty and would just stop by for a moment to ask, “Haan, kya haal hai bacche? Sab theek hai (Yes, how are you, kid? Everything all right)?” A soldier limping by would catch his attention. “Kya ho gaya, langda ke kyun chal raha hai (What happened? Why are you limping)?” he would ask, genuinely concerned about the welfare of the men serving with him.

 

He also did not make any unnecessary demands on anyone. He would never want to disturb a senior officer on his visits, always insisting that even a soldier or a youngster could be detailed to brief him or accompany him on official assignments. He firmly believed in being accessible and letting everyone have an opportunity to speak and interact with him. He was as much a soldier’s Chief as he was an officer’s. These were the qualities he had learnt from his parents, both of whom were extremely grounded people,’ says Gen. Sharma.

 

Intrigued to read more? Get a copy of Rachna Bisht Rawat’s Bipin: The Man Behind The Uniform.

5 Reasons Why Army Life is Good Life

Life of an Army official as we know is one of hardship, and their turbulent affair with unknown danger and hazards is something not unheard of. Rachna Bisht Rawat’s Shoot.Dive.Fly presents a multidimensional picture of Army officials and their life. She debunks the  myth that an Army officer is a man with a gun who lives on the borders of the country, cut off from the rest of civilization, and waiting for war to begin. What we don’t know is that life can be amazing for an Army official too.
Here are 5 reasons which elaborate why Army is amazing
When you get to fly around

Motivation and encouragement all the way

Lieutenant Mohammad Haseeb Khan’s message to those considering a career in the Army

The recognition that Army offered her

Army Life offers you to defy gender norms and touch the sky

Get to know more about the Army life and its thrilling experience in Rachna Bisht Rawat’s book Shoot Dive Fly

‘Shoot. Dive. Fly’, Foreword by M.S. Dhoni

Rachna Bisht Rawat’s ‘Shoot. Dive. Fly’ aims to introduce teenagers to the armed forces and what it is like to have a career in the forces. The book is a collection of twenty-one nail-biting stories of adventure and thrill of a career in uniform. The book also has army personnel talk about what the armed forces have taught them.
Here’s the foreword by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ex-Indian cricket team captain.
My dear friends,
It gives me great pleasure to write the foreword for Shoot. Dive. Fly. The Indian Army is one of the most respectable and exciting careers our country offers young people and it surprises me that the Army faces a shortage of officers year after year. This is probably because most of us do not know what an amazing variety of jobs it offers. Perhaps this is also because Army officers are not permitted to talk to the media and so we never get to hear about the amazing things they do.
I compliment the Army on giving Rachna Bisht Rawat access to young serving officers to share with us the experiences of the fascinating jobs they do.
This book will help bust the false belief that an Army officer is a man with a gun who lives on the borders of the country, cut off from the rest of civilization, waiting for a war to begin, which might sound like a boring job to a lot of teenagers. They do that, of course, and we are very proud of them for it, but that’s not the whole truth. Army officers do a lot of other things too that most teens want from a career. The Army has engineers, doctors, helicopter pilots, drone fliers, cyber warriors, Olympians, Everest summiteers, skydivers, sailors, marathon runners, shooters—and yes, even cricketers—and a host of other professionals that we often don’t get to hear about. These are men and women who are all trained for combat but they work in their particular fields with all the support of the Indian Army to reach the top. You, too, can choose one of these opportunities and get paid to be trained and excel in your dream job. Not many, if any, industries or institutions give you this freedom. And how do I know all this? Because I happen to be an officer in the Indian Territorial Army too.
I am sure you will enjoy reading the real-life stories of young officers who went beyond the ordinary to reach great heights. This book includes the story of Colonel Ivan J. Crasto, SC, who climbed down a rope from a hovering helicopter to rescue all ten tourists trapped on board a trolley hanging from a snapped wire. It also tells of Colonel Rajesh Unnikrishnan who climbed down forty feet into a dark, gaping borewell to rescue a small child who had fallen in. In these pages, you will meet Colonel Sameer Singh Bisht, SM, whose gun jammed in an encounter with Kashmiri terrorists but he managed to keep his nerve and emerge victorious. You will read of young mountaineer Major Deepika Rathore, who has climbed the mighty Mount Everest twice and of my fellow paratrooper Major Sandesh Kadam, who jumped out of a plane at 8,500 feet to find that both his main and emergency parachutes would not open. How did he land alive and undamaged in spirit to the extent that he is raring to recover completely and go back to his duty, you might ask? To know that, you will need to read this book, and/or join the Army.
I shall sign off by wishing you the best in whatever career you choose. When I am old and sitting in front of the TV watching some of you play cricket for India, or some of you do amazing things that the news channels report, I shall smile and applaud for you—just like you do for me, when I hit a six or take a catch. I shall be proud of all of you. Go on and do your best in life. But do consider wearing the uniform once before you make a final choice. I did!
Jai Hind! Jai Hind ki Sena!
Lieutenant Colonel Mahendra Singh Dhoni

 

‘We Don’t Really Know Fear’: ‘India’s Most Fearless’: An Excerpt

The Army major who led the legendary September 2016 surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC; a soldier who killed 11 terrorists in 10 days; a Navy officer who sailed into a treacherous port to rescue hundreds from an exploding war; a bleeding Air Force pilot who found himself flying a jet that had become a screaming fireball . . .
India’s Most Fearless is a collection of their own accounts or of those who were with them in their final moments.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book ‘We Don’t Really Know Fear’ :The September 2016 Surgical Strikes in PoK
—-
Uri, Jammu and Kashmir 18 September 2016

Final checks on the AK-47 rifles. Final checks on the stacks of ammunition magazines and grenades stuffed into olive-green knapsacks. The 4 men shoved fistfuls of almonds into their mouths, chewing quickly in the darkness and swallowing. Small, light and packed with a burst of energy, mountain almonds are as much a staple for terrorist infiltrators as their weapons are. The high-protein mouthfuls would have to sustain the 4 men for the next 8 hours.
At least 8 hours.
Dressed in deceptive Indian Army combat fatigues, and shaven clean to blend in, the 4 emerged from their concealed launch point below a ridgeline overlooking a stunning expanse of frontier territory. In total darkness, they trekked for 1 km down to the powerfully guarded premises of the Indian Army’s Uri Brigade in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector, on the LoC.
The 4 men knew their mission was not particularly extraordinary. Indian military facilities had been attacked by Pakistani terrorists before. In fact, just 8 months earlier, in January 2016, an identical number of terrorists had infiltrated the Indian Air Force’s base in Pathankot, where they had managed to kill 7 security personnel before being eliminated.
But there was something these men did not know. What they were about to do would change India like nothing else had in the past quarter century. It would compel India across a military point of no return that it had resisted until then.
Above all, it would awaken a monster that Pakistan had been arrogantly certain would remain in eternal slumber.
Infiltrating the Army camp at Uri before sunrise, the  4 men crept forward with an unusual sense of familiarity. Their Pakistani handlers had clearly ‘war-gamed’ the attack with maps and models of the camp. Wasting no time in familiarizing themselves with the camp’s layout, they headed straight for a group of tents where the soldiers were sleeping.
By the time the sun was fully up and Special Forces (SF) commandos had been diverted to Uri as reinforcements,  17 Indian soldiers lost their lives. Two more would die later in hospital.
In a valley that has steadily numbed India with uninterrupted spillage of blood, the Uri terror ambush was special. Other than the horrifying scale of casualties the 4 terrorists managed to achieve, it was the hubris of the Uri attack that ignited unprecedented anger. It had come while families still mourned those who had died defending the Pathankot Air Force base only 8 months before.
Like the 4 terrorists, Pakistan was probably confident that India’s ensuing wrath would be confined to public outrage and diplomatic condemnations, a standardized matrix of responses that it had learnt to handle with mastery. But Pakistan did make 1 devastating miscalculation. India was about to use precisely its reputation for inaction to exact a hitherto unthinkable revenge.
As blanket coverage of the Uri attack took over television news and the Internet on the morning of 18 September, a chill descended upon India’s Raisina Hill in Delhi. Emergency meetings were held in the most secret ‘war rooms’ of the security establishment, one of them presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
It was at this meeting that the Indian leadership secretly took 2 major decisions: (1) the Indian military would take the fight to the enemy this time to deliver a brutal response to the Uri attack; (2) the country’s ministers, including Modi himself, would play their parts to perpetuate and amplify India’s reputation for inaction until such a time when the response had been delivered. An elaborate, carefully crafted political masquerade would thus begin the following morning.
Meanwhile, 800 km away and high up in the Himalayas, a young Indian Army SF officer sat grimly in front of a small television in his barracks. Uri was his area. His hunting ground. Away on a special 2-month mission to the Siachen Glacier with a small team of men from his unit, the calm of  Maj. Mike Tango’s demeanour belied the fury that consumed him within. He watched familiar pictures from the Uri Army camp flicker on the screen in front of him. And just as the Indian government was about to decide on an unprecedented course of action, a prescient warning rang in the Major’s mind.
‘We knew the balloon had gone up. This wasn’t a small incident. There was no question of sitting silent. This was beyond breaking point,’ he says.
As second-in-command, or 2IC, of an elite Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), or the Para-SF as it is called,  Maj. Tango had spent a decade of his 13 service years in J&K.  He had been part of over 20 successful antiterror operations. And yet, the morning of 18 September had sent a knife through the officer’s heart. He could not wait to get back to the rest of his unit deployed in and around where the terrorists had struck.
Upon receiving the call from Udhampur that he had been expecting, from his unit’s Commanding Officer, or CO,  Maj. Tango gathered his men immediately for a quick return to the Valley. The team reached Dras that same night of  18 September—a date the men would never forget.
The next morning, as they began their journey to Srinagar, things were already in motion in Delhi. The first minister to make a statement was former Army Chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, who, after the traditional condemnations, made a remarkably generous appeal in the circumstances—he said that India could not act on emotion. It would be a critical spark to the success of the masquerade, followed shortly thereafter by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who declared that the sacrifice of the Uri soldiers would not go in vain. Speaking to the Army in Srinagar, Parrikar sounded a familiar note, asking the Army to take ‘firm action’, but not specifying what such action needed to be. This was standard-issue Bharat Sarkaar (Indian Government) response after a terror attack.
However, to ensure that the government’s messaging was not so measured as to rouse suspicion, junior ministers were tasked with adding some fire to the proceedings. That crucial bit was deftly served up by Manohar Parrikar’s junior minister, Subhash Bhamre, who declared that the time had come ‘to hit back’.
Two more top-level meetings took place on 19 September— one chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who had cancelled his visit to Russia, and the other by Prime Minister Modi at the PMO. Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh, who had dashed to the Kashmir valley just hours after the previous day’s attack, had been conveyed the government’s clear political directive. He arrived in Srinagar with the green signal that the SF had so far only ever dreamt about: permission to plan and execute a retaliatory strike with the government’s full backing.
Over the next 24 hours, the Army would draw up a devastating revenge plan, with options for the government leadership to choose from.
The Army routinely simulates attacks on enemy territory during combat exercises and as preparation for possible hostilities. But as the COs of the 2 SF units (one of them being Maj. Tango’s unit) began listing their options, they knew that history was being written then and there.
On 20 September, just as Maj. Tango and his team arrived in Srinagar, the Army’s Northern Commander, or GOC-in-C  of the Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command,  Lt. Gen. Deependra Singh Hooda, had in his hands a final list of mission options and was preparing to present them to the government in Delhi through encrypted channels. The options were presented with remarkable detail.
‘We just needed clearance. In the SF, we are war-ready at all times. When we are not in operations, we are preparing for them. There’s a purpose behind everything we do,’  Maj. Tango says.
At the Army Headquarters in Delhi, the mood was expectedly sombre, but focused. Aided by a team that had been galvanized by the attack, Vice Chief of the Army Staff (later Chief) Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat was steeped in the planning phase, bringing decades of infantry training to what would be the most decisive operation he would help oversee. What happened on 18 September was personal for Lt. Gen. Rawat. As a young Captain, he had commanded a Gorkha Rifles company in Uri in the early 1980s and had gone on to command a brigade in one of the most restive parts of the Kashmir valley. He would return years later as a Major General to command the  Baramulla-based 19 Division. As he focused on the unprecedented plans on his table, Lt. Gen. Rawat had no way of knowing that a few months later, his experience in J&K and his crucial role in planning India’s response to Uri would be high on the government’s mind when it entrusted him with leadership of one of the largest armies in the world.
(Continued…)
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