other countries, our soldiers are much more dedicated. They
can go to any extent to protect their motherland," opines
the former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen
VN Sharma (Retd) in an interview to VK
Joshi on the occasion of Armoured Corps Day.
General, what has been
the contribution of the Armoured Corps to the Indian Army?
The Armoured Corps is an
integral part of any army. No army can fight unless infantry
and artillery is backed by armoured corps. Earlier, Cavalry
used to be the deciding factor in a war. But today a good
commander of armoured corps can force the enemy to make a
In 1947, just after
independence, when Kashmir war began, infantry etc were
airdropped. They improved the conditions of the roads. The
capturing of Zojila Pass owed much to the presence of 7
Cavalry of the Armoured Corps. At a height of 13,000 ft the
presence of tanks surprised the enemy. Our troops captured
Rajouri and many other areas with the help of Central India
Horse and 7 Cavalry. In 1962, war against China was fought
without tanks as they could not be sent to such heights. This
war was fought by infantry and artillery alone. In this war,
Armoured Corps did not participate. But in 1965 war, in the
plain lands of Punjab, Armoured Corps played a significant
role. In fact, during all conflicts which took place in the
plains, the necessity of Armoured Corps was felt. In 1971 war,
Armoured Corps played a vital role in J & K region, West
Punjab and East Pakistan.
Gen, how do you rate our
Armoured Corps vis-a-vis other countries?
The training and
life-style of our Armoured Corps is an ideal for the army. The
training is very tough and, in the field, officers and jawans
work together. This is the real strength. Compared to other
countries, our soldiers are much more dedicated. They can go
to any extent to protect their motherland. Kargil has been an
apt testimony to this. Well, due to financial constraints we
may be lagging behind in equipment as compared to France, UK,
USA and Germany but our real strength is our soldiers. As
regards to training, we adopted the British system and with
time we have improved upon it. Perhaps, today we are better
than British army so far as training is concerned.
In the changing
battelfield scenario where wars are fought with new
technology, missiles and laser guided weapons, what remains
the role of the Armoured Corps?
Well, the future battles
would have a nuclear backdrop. Armoured Corps can easily
attack on cross-country battlefield and nuclear battlefields.
Mobility coupled with striking capability keeps Armoured Corps
in an advantageous position. I think, in future, tanks would
become accessary for infantry and artillery also. During
attacks, engineers, medical staff, signallers, supporting arms
and supplies would go in every territory along with infantry.
For their protection tanks are inevitable.
So, in near future tanks
will play a pivotal role?
People are thinking that
in future one will sit in an AC room, press a switch and
destroy the enemy. But I donít think so. If you want to win
a war you have to send infantry and artillery to the front and
only then can the enemy territory be captured. Pressing a
switch from a distance wonít help.
What is your message for
serving and retired personnel of the Corps?
I would like to tell them that donít
think there would not be war any longer. They should not think
that in case of a war intelligence or government would inform
them. I advise that they should always remain alert and
prepared. I would advise the officers to read the laws and
constitution because in case of any enemy attack or internal
conflict one should know what exactly is to be done. Moreover,
officers should always be ready to make any kind of sacrifice.
This would surely motivate the jawans. One should always keep
in mind that our countryís constitution and laws are our