Defence Reporter

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Sam Manekshaw, the general who told Indira when Indian Army wasn’t ready for a war

New Delhi, June 27, 2019: Perhaps no military general in the history of independent India has ever captured the national imagination in the way Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw did.

Updated:Sunday, June 30, 2019, 10:29

Sam Manekshaw, the general who told Indira when Indian Army wasn’t ready for a warNew Delhi, June 27, 2019: Perhaps no military general in the history of independent India has ever captured the national imagination in the way Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw did.

One of the chief architects of India’s 1971 victory against Pakistan, Manekshaw is most famously remembered for bluntly telling Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that the Indian Army wasn’t ready for war in April 1971.

Saying that his job was to fight to win, he asked for a few months’ time — a request which Gandhi, to her credit, accepted. True to his word, when the India-Pakistan war finally broke out in December 1971, Manekshaw delivered India one of its swiftest and most remarkable military victories.

As is true for any legendary figure, anecdotes of Manekshaw’s ingenuity, valour and wit abound. Most are largely true even if few details may have been added over time through errors of communication or to enhance the mythology around him.

Once, for instance, Manekshaw invited the members of the Pay Commission when he heard of a planned cut in the soldiers’ uniform allowance, it was reported. He then asked the members, “Now gentlemen, you tell me, who would obey my orders if I was dressed in a crumpled dhoti and kurta”. This settled the debate.

Source: India Today

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