Former GOC-in-C Western and Central Commands, Lt Gen AK Gautama passed away earlier this week in Coorg where he was living for past several years. He was cremated with full military honours with a contingent of the Madras Regiment providing the military detail for his funeral.
Lt Gen Gautama had taken over as Western Army Commander from Lt Gen RK Gulati in April 1995. He had been serving as Central Army Commander prior to this appointment. He remained as Western Army Commander till October 1996 when he retired. He was succeeded by Lt Gen HB Kala.
Commissioned in June 1958 in 16th Light Cavalry, Lt Gen Gautama briefly commanded the regiment from May 1974 to October 1974 at Patiala. He served as Brigade Major of 202 Mountain Brigade from 1974 to 1976. He took over command of 81 Armoured Regiment and was Commandant of the regiment from December 1976 to January 1981. He also commanded 34 Armoured Brigade at Babina from January 1985 to May 1987. He went on to serve as GOC 29 Infantry Division and then GOC 33 Corps. He was GOC-in-C Central Command from April 1994 to April 1995.
Veterans Signals officer turns 100
Maj Gen MS Dhillon (retd) of the Corps of Signals settled in the city recently turned 100 and was felicitated by the Signals officers posted in Command HQs Western Command. The veteran was presented with flowers and a cake was cut with officers and jawans of the Corps of Signals in attendance. In a similar event, officers and jawans of Army Service Corps (ASC) celebrated the birthday of Havildar KK Gopalkrishnan Nair in Thiruvananthpuram who also turned 100. He was presented a memento from DG Supplies and Transport on the occasion.
The three services have been felicitating their veterans on achieving the milestone of 100 years age for quite some time now which undoubtedly gladdens the hearts of the former soldiers.
When Nehru announced 1962 ceasefire in Parliament
The 60th anniversary of the Sino-Indian war of 1962 went largely unobserved in the country. Apart from some isolated ceremonies conducted by the Army at war memorials in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, there was no event held either at the national war memorial in New Delhi or at the various command war memorials of the Army across the country.
Be that as it may, it is worthwhile to re-visit how the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, announced the Chinese ceasefire to the Lok Sabh on November 21, 1962. Archived proceedings of the Lok Sabha of those fateful days show that the PM told the Lok Sabha that the government of India has learnt about the Chinese ceasefire from a radio announcement made by the government of People’s Republic of China.
Nehru added that as per the broadcast, the Chinese would be withdrawing from the areas held by them with effect from December 1. He further informed the parliament that this was a unilateral announcement and that no official intimation had been received by the Indian government. He went on to say that the matter will be given consideration once an official communication is received and that the official position of India was that situation should be restored to what it was prior to September 8, 1962.
On November 22, 1962 Nehru again informed Lok Sabha that no firing that taken place between Indian and Chinese forces since the previous night. He repeated the same statement on November 23 too and said that there had been no Chinese advances on any front after their announcement of ceasefire. Following the PMs announcements there was some discussion by members of Lok Sabha on need to beware of Chinese trickery while one member from Assam, Hem Barua, opined that the Chinese were in no position to continue fighting due to their economic conditions but they had humiliated India in South East Asia. There was also comment on the conduct of a Deputy Commissioner in Assam who allegedly ran away from his station with one MP (Tribid Kumar Chaudhuri) asking for his suspension and court martial while another (Frank Anthony) said “he should have been shot”.