Srinagar: In 1987, Indian army carried out Operation Brasstacks, ostensibly a military exercise but in reality preparations for a war against Pakistan, former commander-in-chief of the army’s Western Command Lt Gen. PN Hoon said on Saturday at the launch of his book, The Untold Truth.
“I have written about operations I have been part of and no one else knows about till today,” Hindustan Times quoted Hoon as saying.
In the chapter 9 of the book, the author has written that the Indian army began moving to the western border carrying live ammunition and the citizens were told that it was an exercise.
“Brasstacks was no military exercise, it was a plan to build up a situation for a fourth war with Pakistan. And what is even more shocking is that then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was not aware of these plans of a war.”
The author said that it was General Sundarji’s (the then chief of army staff) and minister of state for defence Arun Singh’s plan to provoke Pakistan “into launching an offensive in Kashmir”.
“… an attack on Kashmir would be an attack on India and in the garb of the exercise that India was already conducting, India would go into a full-fledged war with Pakistan,” reads the chapter.
Lt Gen Hoon said that it was during a dinner party on January 15, 1987, (Army Day) that Gandhi came to know about the exercise.
“Rajiv Gandhi asked me, ‘How is the western front?’ To this I replied, ‘Mr Prime Minister, sir, The western army is in fine fettle and very soon I shall be past our battle stations and will give you Sindh on one side and Lahore (Pakistan) on the other,” Hoon said.
“Rajiv was totally aghast and visibly angered. He left the party immediately. The PM did not want to go into a war. Hence, on January 20, Sundarji, pleaded me to stop moving forward,”he added.
When asked as to why Arun Singh and Sundarji would want a war while keeping the PM in the dark, Lt Gen Hoon said: “It was a power game. Sundarji wanted to become a Field Marshal and Arun Singh wanted to become the Prime Minister.”