Experts have repeatedly affirmed that the military debacle of 1962 is directly attributable to the failure of the Higher Defence Management. If the Indian leadership of 1947 had the resolve to establish the Higher Defence Organisation (HDO) through a Cabinet resolution within weeks of gaining independence, what went wrong in the first fifteen years?
The Kargil episode was another sad reminder of the state of affairs, as brought out by the Kargil Review Committee and the Group of Ministers’ (GoM’s) report on Reforming the National Security System. This book dwells in detail on various reforms undertaken since Kargil and surveys the shortcomings that continue to plague defence decision-making in India. Almost a decade after the submission of the GoM’s report, the book is an aide memoire of the fact that the time has arrived to take a fresh look at higher defence and analyse where we stand now. Exploring the past and discovering the genesis of Indian Defence Management since the Vedic Age, the book covers a large ground in analysing the role of HDO during the inter-state conflicts since independence, issues in defence planning, post-Kargil reforms, functioning of the Chiefs of Staffs Committee, the CDS impasse and the functioning of the National Security Mechanism.
Besides being a rich source of information to students of history, politics and military science, the book will be of immense value to policy-makers, defence personnel and even the general public whose stability and prosperity are indirectly impinged upon a strong military driven by a robust HDO.
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