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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.

10 Must-Read Books to Know More About the Indian Armed Forces

Explore the incredible stories of valor, sacrifice, and heroism with this curated collection of books celebrating the Indian Armed Forces. From 1971’s historic clashes to modern-day acts of bravery, get ready to be inspired and awestruck by the true accounts of the heroes who went above and beyond to defend our great nation.

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’.

 

1971 Charge of the Gorkhas
1971 Charge of the Gorkhas

On the fiftieth anniversary of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, revisit its battlefields through stories of bravehearts from the army, navy and air force who fought for a cause that meant more to them than their own lives

1971 is a deeply researched collection of true stories of extraordinary human grit and courage that shows you a side to war that few military histories do.

 

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.

 

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

Bipin: The Man behind the Uniform is the story of the NDA cadet who was relegated in the third term for not being able to do a mandatory jump into the swimming pool; of the young Second Lieutenant who was tricked into losing his ID card at the Amritsar railway station by a 5/11 Gorkha Rifles officer posing as his sahayak; of 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; of the Army Chief who decided India would retaliate immediately and openly to every act of cross-border terrorism; of the Chief of Defence Staff who was happiest dancing the jhamre with his Gorkha troops.

 

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.

 

Operation Payback
Operation Payback || Aditi Mathur Kumar

Operation Payback is a thrilling novel about a Veer Nari who proves that she indeed is a yoddah and a hero. This is a story about bravery, about the true meaning of heroism and about making the most of this life even when you thought it has been unfair to you.

 

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 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.

‘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…)
India's Most Fearless Footer (1).jpg

9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Pakistani Army

The military is one of the vital organs of the state. However, in Pakistan, the military plays a far more deep-rooted role in the politics of the country, and dominates all other institutions.
Ayesha Siddiqa, in her extensively-researched book, Military Inc. aims to explain the role of personal economic stakes in commercial ventures as a driver of the armed forces’ political ambitions.
Pakistan’s military runs a huge commercial empire. Here are nine facts that will give you a glimpse of the military’s involvement in the various institutions of the country:
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Find out more about the army’s involvement in Pakistan’s economy in Ayesha Siddiqa’s Military Inc.
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