The book, “THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: The Conflict and its Global Impact” was released at Kota House in the presence of a large gathering of dignitaries. Published by Pentagon Press, and written by celebrated author, Ajay Singh, the book provides a comprehensive account of the war – tracing its course from the preliminary days, to the battles of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and the Ukrainian counter-offensive which turned the tables. It also peeks into the crystal ball to see different scenarios in which the war could eventually end, including a grim ‘Armageddon Scenario’, in which the author paints a chillingly realistic scenario of a Russian nuclear attack that triggers off a series of events which plunges the world – including China – into World War III.
The launch received a series of glowing complimentary messages – including from the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen Anil Chauhan, and the former Naval Chief, Admiral Karmbir Singh. The unveiling of the book and the keynote address was done by Gen Ata Hasnain, who spoke on the need to imbibe its lessons for our own doctrines, especially with our relations with China and our own actions along the LAC and LOC.
Ambassador Anil Trigunayat gave a clear insight on how the war would impact world power equations, and how India’s own geo-political standing could be enhanced in the future. General Raj Shukla, former Commander of the Indian Army Training Command, spoke at length on the impact of the war on India and how its lessons in tactics, equipment, strategy and doctrines need to be studied and absorbed.
There is no doubt that the book has provided an original and fresh insight about this war. For the first time, the complete story of the war – including the backdrop that led to it – comes out clearly and concisely. Ajay Singh has provided a very readable and interesting account, and the team of writers – Generals P R Shankar, Raj Shukla and Jagatbir Singh, Air Marshal Anil Chopra, and Commodore Anil Jai Singh have provided insights in select areas of expertise – including the Air and Naval war – which is often ignored. A valuable ‘Western Perspective’ is provided by Jason Hall, from London.
When asked about the parallels between this war and India’s 1971 campaign, Ajay Singh felt the crucial element was the flawed timing of the Russian offensive – in February when the ground was slushy and unsuitable for large-scale operations. Had one of Putin’s generals advised him to postpone the attack – as General Manekshaw advised Mrs Gandhi to postpone our own offensive from April to November when we would be better prepared – the story would have been different. Also had the Russians not got bogged down in clearing cities, and bypassed them like the Indian army did in its advance to Dacca, their offensive would have made better headway.
He also felt that the war was unlikely to end soon. A likely end-state would be the solidifying of the front along the line of the Dnieper River in the South and the Donetsk River in the East. This line could well become the Line of Contact between Russia and Ukraine – and ipso facto between Russia and Europe – which like the LOC between India and Pakistan would simmer indefinitely and keep erupting from time to time. This conflict could well become an interminable ‘frozen conflict’. The predictions made of the war, in the book, seem quite plausible and it remains to be seen how they would pan out. But, as was brought out, perhaps the likely pause in this winter could be used to work out some form of negotiated peace – a armistice or a ceasefire, maybe. India could play a major role in that.