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The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Volume 2

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Volume 2 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2023 Title The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Volume 2
Author Ravi Rikhye Publisher Helion
Published 2023 ISBN 9781914059346
Format 86 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


Ravi Rikhye resumes his succinct study of The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 with Volume 2: “Showdown in the North-West” – 47th in Helion’s burgeoning “Asia@War” range.

Available in North America from Casemate, the 86-page chronicle charts western theater combat in provocative introductory notes, seven lavishly illustrated chapters, and four appendices.

Commentary covers battles for Kashmir, Chhamb, and Shakagarh – as well as controversies in the Sialkot sector. Units. Personnel. Plans. Actions. Equipment. Times. Dates. Outcomes. They’re all here.

Helion’s picture-packed volume sports dozens of rare photos. Seventeen color vehicle plates, three aircraft profiles, unit heraldry, and uniform art survey the conflict’s modeling possibilities. And maps, tables, sidebars, endnotes, and references further augment the account.

In December 1971, India’s lightning, 25-day campaign successfully conquered East Pakistan – now Bangladesh.

But Pakistan’s anemic, retaliatory Dec 3 air attacks in the west gave India casus belli to broaden fighting there. Pakistan, Rikhye concludes, “prevaricated and lost the initiative”.

India did, too – depriving it of permanently solving the Kashmir dispute, neutering the Pakistani military threat, potentially, for decades, and curbing superpower interference.

Instead, Rikhye argues that India’s “deeply ingrained pacifism” handicapped both leadership performance and strategic perspective during the war – stunting military initiative and, effectively, ensuring continued conflict between the subcontinent adversaries.

Judge for yourself. Get this intriguing book. Just remember that, like Volume 1, minor gremlins haunt this effort.

Is it, for instance, “Lagwal” or “Lagowal”? A map says one thing; text says another. Or is it “Rimchin”, “Rimchen”, or “Rinchin”? Rikhye employs all three spellings in the space of as many pages. Or have I missed something?


With thanks to Casemate for the review copy!