New book narrates first-hand account of Kargil War

Gripping accounts from the battle front during the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan to capture the magnificent Tiger Hill have been recounted in a new book.

New Delhi: Gripping accounts from the battle front during the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan to capture the magnificent Tiger Hill have been recounted in a new book which was launched at Manekshaw Centre here on Monday.

Penned by Lieutenant General Mohinder Puri, the book titled 'Kargil: Turning the Tide' is a first-hand narrative of the operations of 8 Mountain Division, which was tasked to evict the enemy from the Drass-Mushkoh Sector during Operation Vijay.

Puri who headed the 8 Mountain Division was responsible for spearheading the Army's offensive in the Kargil sector which restored the sanctity of the Line of Control by capturing Tololing, Tiger Hill and Point 4875. "Lots of books have been written about the Kargil War and most of them are hearsay.

There are only two authentic books I can mention, one is General Puri's and I will take credit for the second one," General V P Malik, who had inaugurated the event, said. Malik himself had authored a book titled "Kargil - From Surprise To Victory" in 2006 on the same subject.

"While I have dealt with the war at a macro level, General Puri's book talks about the several battles fought. After all, there is no war without these battles," he said. A fast-paced read, the book captures the emotions and sentiments of a soldier, the apprehensions and fears of the leaders, and finally the joy and ecstasy of victory.

"I have gone through the book and it is a good read. It brings out vividly the emotions of the soldiers before they went into the battle, during the battle and after the battle has ended," Malik said. With stories about several close quarters, hand to hand battles fought in challenging and hostile environment of the perilous rugged high altitude terrain, inclement weather and an entrenched enemy, Puri's work is a moving tale of fortitude, valour and exemplary junior leadership.

"We had to put the division through an advanced state of acclimatisation so that they could get on to the fight without any problem," Puri said.

According to the author, India suffered very high casualties in the successive battles that were fought during the war with 268 killed and over 818 soldiers wounded. "We suffered very heavy casualties but what was most commendable was that the ratio of the officer to man casualty was 1 officer to 12 men," he said.

Indian soldiers from the division, who had fought and laid their lives for the country, were honoured with a rich haul of gallantry awards that included 3 Param Vir Chakras, 8 Mahavir Chakras and 42 Vir Chakras.

The book that covers a wide spectrum of the event - from attacks at platoon level to issues impinging on national security - also serves as a document of immense relevance to military professionals. 

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