Sangati Jogwar

News Highlights

  • Sam Manekshaw in an old interview said that he was asked to stay away during the 1965 war.
  • He also revealed how political instructions forced him to change his plan during India Pakistan war.

Sam Manekshaw was the first Field Marshal of independent India who brought glory to the Indian Army and taught it to fight with courage, determination and without compromising on its principles. Born a Parsi, he always considered himself a Gorkha because he was from the Gorkha Rifle Regiment and hence called himself Bahadur.

He was a part of the Indian Army for around four decades and served in various positions finally reaching the Field Marshal level. From December 3, 1971, to December 16, 1971, when the India and Pakistan war was fought, more than 93,000 Pakistani soldiers and supporters were forced to surrender to India. It was during this time that East Pakistan became independent and thus Bangladesh was born.

In an interview recorded more than two decades ago, Sam Manekshaw had candidly talked about India Pakistan, and the Indo-China war and slammed those supporting the stand of Pakistan. Incidentally, in the same interview, the Field Marshal had also discussed the repercussions of political interventions on the Armed Forces.

He said, “In 1962 when the India-China war took place, Krishna Menon was the Defense Minister. It was for the first time in India that the army faced interventions from political people. At that time General Thapa who led the Indian Army did not have the moral courage to stand up. So when Pandit Nehru said China had come, throw them out, Thapa could not say that my force was not ready. Otherwise army would not have lost.”

During the 1965 war, Sam Manekshaw was not allowed to do anything. He was asked by his seniors to keep out of it. And till his death, Manekshaw regretted this fact. During the India-Pakistan war, he had planned to enter Pakistan but due to political pressure, he had to change his plans in the last few days.

He said, "We were not weak but my plans were offensive. However due to political pressures later on it became defensive. Otherwise Indian army was all set to invade Pakistan but had to step back."