Delegation from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Command and Staff Course (AFCSC)

Delegation from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Command and Staff Course (AFCSC)

Report on the Visit of Delegation from Royal Brunei Armed Forces
Command and Staff College Course to USI on 12 May 2015

 

Introduction

A 34 member delegation from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Command and Staff Course (AFCSC) 2015 visited USI on 12 May 2015. The delegation, led by Lieutenant Colonel (U) Mohamad Sallehin bin Mohamad Taib, RABF Acting Commandant of the Defence Academy comprised three members of the Directing Staff (one each from Brunei, Singapore and the United Kingdom) and 30 student officers (Australia – 1, Bangladesh – 1, China – 1, India – 1 , Indonesia – 2, Malaysia – 1, New Zealand – 1, Oman – 2, Philippines – 1, Singapore – 1, Thailand – 1, the UK – 1 and the USA – 1). Two presentations were given to the visiting delegation as under :-

(a)  Retracing India-China Disputes by Ambassador RS Kalha, IFS (Retd)

(b)  A Strategic and Operational Analysis of the Indo-Pak War of 1971 by Lt Gen KK Khanna, PVSM, AVSM and Bar (Retd).

Welcome Remarks by Officiating Director, USI

Maj Gen PJS Sandhu (Retd), Officiating Director, USI welcomed the delegation and gave a brief presentation on USI. Thereafter, he introduced the two speakers; namely, Ambassador RS Kalha, IFS (Retd), a former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and Lt Gen KK Khanna, PVSM, AVSM and Bar (Retd), and invited the panelists to make their presentations.

Presentation by Ambassador RS Kalha, IFS (Retd)

The presentation by Ambassador Kalha on “Retracing India-China Disputes” dealt with the dispute from 1947 onwards because it was only after Independence that India could begin negotiations with China to meet India’s strategic interests. Prior to that, Britain always kept her own imperial interests paramount while dealing with China. However, post-World War II, India’s Independence and Partition (into India-Pakistan) on 15 Aug 1947 and emergence of Peoples Republic of China on 01 Oct 1949 as a strong state had a profound effect on the strategic balance in Asia. This was the start point of adversarial relations between India-China in the post-colonial era.

       Ambassador Kalha analysed the India-China dispute by explaining the terms : boundaries, border and frontier; the post-Second World War ‘International Scene’ in Asia and the status of Tibet as an Independent state. Thereafter, he talked about the beginning of the dispute in the 1954-59 period, attempts at settlement (1959-62), the 1962 conflict and the thaw in the relations beginning with PM Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to China in 1998. He outlined various ‘Agreements’ and confidence building measures that had been put in place to maintain peace and tranquility on the borders. In the end he dwelt on, “Why there had been no settlement so far?”

Presentation by Lt Gen KK Khanna, PVSM, AVSM and Bar (Retd)

The presentation by Lt Gen KK Khanna, PVSM, AVSM and Bar (Retd) covered the subject “Strategic and Operational Analysis of Indo-Pak War of 1971” under four heads : National Aims of Pakistan and India; Strategies evolved to achieve them; Utilisation of the armed forces to achieve the military aims, and Lessons. The various operations, during the period from 03 Dec 1971 upto 16 Dec 1971, in the erstwhile East Pakistan and on the Western Front were explained with well-marked sketches and maps.He gave a macro view of the operations in each of the sectors. Gen Khanna highlighted some important “Lessons” during his analysis of the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

Interactive Session

During the interactive session, a number of questions were raised on both the subjects. Main questions and responses are given below :-

(a) Why had there been no border settlement so far? What were the factors impacting the same? This was responded to by Ambassador Kalha in some detail.

(b)  The Chinese officer mentioned that the PLA had unilaterally withdrawn. What was India’s assessment of the same? This was responded to by Maj Gen Sandhu, quoting from historical documents. Chinese has withdrawn only in NEFA and not in Ladakh, where their strategic aims lay. They continue to occupy the areas in Aksai Chin which they had captured in 1962, till date.

(c)  Was there a zone of neutrality in main disputed areas? It was explained by Ambassador Kalha that there was no neutral zone but mechanisms had been put in place to defuse the situation in case of stand offs.

(d)  In the context of 1971 War – were any deep operations conducted by either side? This was responded to by Lt Gen Khanna. He explained the Indian concept of operations of bypassing main opposition centres and continuing operations in depth. He also highlighted the airborne operations carried out by a parachute battalion at Tangail and the crossing of Meghna River by heliborne forces to bring about the collapse of Pak forces in erstwhile East Pakistan and the capture of Dacca.

(e)  There was also a question about logistics build-up in the Eastern Theatre which was responded to by Gen Khanna.

Conclusion

Lt Col (U) Mohamad Sallehin bin Mohamad Taib, Acting Commandant RBAF Defence Academy, thanked the USI for organising their visit and the two distinguished speakers for their excellent presentations. Maj Gen PJS Sandhu, Officiating Director, USI thanked the delegation for their visit to USI and hoped that such visits would become a regular feature. The visit ended with presentation of mementoes by Lt Col Taib to USI and by Maj Gen Sandhu to Royal Brunei (AFCSC) 2015. Three copies of the latest Issue of the USI Journal were also presented to the visiting delegation. 

 
 
 
 
 

Report compiled by Lt Col BS Varma, Assistant Director at USI.

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