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List of Top 8 Books on Indian Army and Armed Forces To Read

Looking for best books on Indian Army? The Indian army is the pride of our motherland. Their sacrifice and valor cannot ever be compared to possibly anything in this entire universe. Just thinking about them fills us with an exponential amount of pride and gratification. Who wouldn’t wish to read about the life stories and struggles of our very own real-life heroes? In this article, we list out the best books on the Indian Military which have been appreciated by readers all over.

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Military history books which outline the operations, bravery, and sacrifices of our soldiers are hard to find. Consequently, military history is one of the least touched upon subjects in Indian non-fiction writing. With this list, we wish to bring to our readers the best books on all three wings of India’s military – the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The listed books are among the best in this genre and are definite must-reads on Indian Army and Armed Forces:

  • India’s Most Fearless
  • The Brave
  • Mission Overseas
  • Kargil
  • War Despatches
  • Watershed 1967
  • Death wasn’t Painful
  • The Garud Strikes

1.      India’s Most Fearless – The Army major who led the legendary September 2016 surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC; a soldier who killed 11 terrorists in 10 days; a Navy officer who sailed into a treacherous port to rescue hundreds from an exploding war; a bleeding Air Force pilot who found himself flying a jet that had become a screaming fireball. Their own accounts or of those who were with them in their final moments. India’s Most Fearless covers fourteen true stories of extraordinary courage and fearlessness, providing a glimpse into the kind of heroism our soldiers display in unthinkably hostile conditions and under grave provocation.

2.      The Brave: Param Vir Chakra Stories–Twenty-one riveting stories about how India’s highest military honor was won. Rachna Bisht Rawat takes us to the heart of war, chronicling the tales of twenty-one of India’s bravest soldiers. Talking to parents, siblings, children, and comrades-in-arms to paint the most vivid character portraits of these men and their conduct in battle and getting unprecedented access to the Indian Army, Rawat has written the ultimate book on the Param Vir Chakra.

3.      Mission Overseas: Daring Operations by the Indian Military – As India becomes a regional and global superpower, its armed forces will be expected to conduct more missions inside foreign countries, as they have in the past. Using never-before-seen secret military reports and eyewitness testimonies of the men on the ground, a former army man and journalist Sushant Singh reconstruct three forgotten Indian operations overseas: In the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Sierra Leone. These action-packed true stories shed light on a previously untold slice of Indian history and the exceptional bravery of Indian soldiers fighting against all odds.

4.      Kargil: From Surprise to Victory – In February 1999, Pakistani Army personnel, disguised as jihadi militants, infiltrated into mountainous Kargil and occupied vital vantage points. Their intrusion triggered a limited war between the world’s newest nuclear states. It was a bitter battle, and one that threw up important lessons for India’s defense preparedness, as also its responses to conflicts such as this. This incisive book by General V. P. Malik, former Chief of the Army Staff, analyses the reasoning behind the Pakistani Army’s moves and tactics and reviews crucial issues such as the extent of intelligence and surveillance failure on the Indian side and the measures necessary to redress these failings. Away from questions of strategy and tactics, however, Kargil is also a reminder of the unalloyed heroism that was on display during those grim weeks, heroism that became a benchmark for valor.

5.      War Despatches: Indo-Pak Conflict 1965 – The conflict was short and limited, packed with intense activity, a major movement, heavy fighting, and crucial decisions. The initiative rested with Pakistan to commence hostilities, which they did with a mix of irregular and regular troops and tactics. This is a story of anticipation, of impending actions, of virtual equality of forces engaged in a savage battle of attrition in which no quarters were given or asked. The author, GOC-in-C Western Command during those fateful days provided an unflappable presence under whose command the Army imposed unacceptable levels of losses on the enemy, first toning down their rhetoric, then their confidence, and lastly their ability to sustain very high levels of material losses. There is very little material or records to draw upon for our military studies of warfare in and around the Indian subcontinent. War Despatches narrates for the first time the inside story through the original despatches field by the Army Commander from the war zone. To maintain the authenticity of the Despatches, the military style of writing has been followed in the text as far as possible.

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6.      Watershed 1967: India’s Forgotten Victory Over China – What happened when India and China last went to battle? Did China win? Wrong, India won. The sole India–China conflict that remains etched in our collective memory is the 1962 war, which India tragically lost. But five years later, in 1967, India and China faced off once again in the heights of Cho La and Nathu La at the Sikkim border. This time, overcoming the odds, India triumphed. The fallout of these forgotten battles was immense. China shied away from actively allying with Pakistan and the US during the 1971 India–Pakistan war. And despite several stand-offs in the half-century since then, Beijing has never again launched a military offensive against India. This incredible book tells us why these battles ushered in an era of peace. Full of thrilling international intrigue and nail-biting battle scenes, this book is based on extensive research and interviews with army officers and soldiers who participated in these historic battles. It aims to rectify a blind spot in history and shine the spotlight on a story of incredible bravery that India should be proud of.

7.      Death wasn’t Painful – Death Wasn’t Painful is a true account of the experiences of a former Indian fighter pilot, who was taken prisoner during the 1971 Indo-Pak/Bangladesh Liberation War. While depicting the intrepid life of fighter pilots in active combat, the book also has an introspective side where it portrays the soldier’s reactions to the terrifying realities of war. The experiences of prisoners of war are finely drawn, as we share the emotions of war—death, alienation, loneliness, and grief. Through heart-warming anecdotes and conversational passages of interactions with Pakistani interrogators, attendants, jailors, and civilians, the book juxtaposes the metaphor of physical battles in the sky with the conflict of minds between two nations.

8.      The Garud Strikes – This is the story of a few good men. The men of the 4th bn Brigade of the Guards (1 Rajput). They were simple, ordinary men, like you and me. But when push came to shove, they rose to the occasion and left an indelible mark on the pages of history. The Garud Strikes is the compelling story of 4 Guards (1 Rajput) and the critical role they played in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, in freeing seventy-five million people from the torturous and bloody clutches of the Pakistani Army. In merely sixteen days, under the inspiring leadership of Lt. Col. Himmeth Singh, 4 Guards (1 Rajput), played a pivotal role in leading India in one of the fastest successful military campaigns of modern times; one which not only led to the creation of Bangladesh but also resulted in the capture of 95,000 Pakistani soldiers. Narrated by Mukul Deva, India’s literary storm trooper, in his inimitable, compelling style, The Garud Strikes is the breathtaking story of the lightning campaign, seen through the eyes of the officers, JCO s, and men of 4 Guards (1 Rajput). As you trudge through the mud and slush of Bangladesh, you will smell the gun smoke, the impact of bullets on flesh, the blood, the fears, and tears, as 4 Guards (1 Rajput) smashed their way through the pride of the Pakistani Army, in their dash for Dacca.

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Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.

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