Mumbai: 70 years ago, on this day, India had its tryst with destiny when it attained its Independence from the shackles of the British Raj. The day is special for all Indians and it also gives a sense of pride to fellow countrymen.
As citizens remember the contributions of those, who laid down their lives for the freedom struggle, and also for the ones, who are at the war footing to ensure we are safe, Deccan Chronicle spoke to retired Indian Army Major General Gagandeep Bakshi.
GD Bakshi is from the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles.
Sharing his message for the nation on the 70th Independence Day, Bakshi said, “The nation must remember those who laid down their lives and gave their today for our tomorrow.”
When asked about his first major on-battle experience at Kargil in 1999, Bakshi said the war was thrilling as well as transformative. “Our greatest moment was when we were having massive fire exchange with the 29 Baluch Regiment of Pakistan Army in the area of Kaksar,” he added.
“We used our Artillery Regiments' 175/24 Gun in direct shooting role, along with 2 x Anti-tank Guns and 2 x Anti-aircraft (AAC) Guns. The Pakistani posts were downed and we forced Pakistanis to show white flags - begging for ceasefire. They never misbehaved thereafter. We were on Cloud Nine thereafter,” Bakshi said further.
Giving his opinion on the incessant ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), Bakshi – a veteran of many skirmishes on the border and of counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab – said, “Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson that it will not forget in a hurry”.
General Bakshi also lauded the government for the recent surgical strike and said, “This (surgical strike) was long overdue and must not be a one-off. This must be continued.”
Commenting on the ongoing Sikkim standoff, the Army veteran said, “The Doklam plateau is of core strategic interest for India as well as Bhutan. Should China complete its road construction there, they can bring up Artillery Guns that can target the Siliguri corridor, the Bhutanese capital city of Thimpu and the airport of Paro. This is non-negotiable.”
When asked if the Army is prepared for a war with China, as the neighbouring country is unwilling to back-off, General Bakshi said, “We do not want war, but if forced, we can give the Chinese a bloody nose. There is no need for us therefore, to back down or be diffident.”
General Bakshi also pointed out that the Indian Army needs to modernise its equipment, especially Medium Artillery and Light Helicopters with night fighting capabilities.
However, the Army veteran concluded, “War is not the solution to all problems.”
Major Bakshi is presenting a documentary on the occasion of Independence Day on EPIC channel and said it is vital for him as it reminds us of the super sacrifice of super heroes....