Indian Military Academy Stars: Chiefs of Army Staff who Led Indian War Efforts

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General VP Malik have the distinction of getting trained at the prestigious Indian Military Academy and serving the country as the Chiefs of the Army Staff. Here, we present interesting facts about these legends.

Indian Military Academy (IMA), Deharadun is the officer training academy of Indian Army. For the aspirants of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Combined Defence Services (CDS) exams, getting trained at the IMA is a dream.

Indian Military Academy Stars Manekshaw VP Malik

Since its establishment over eight decades ago, the Academy has produced many war heroes. Among them, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General Ved Prakash Malik are the most notable as they led India’s war efforts as the Chiefs of the Army Staff.

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For the benefit of aspirants, we are providing some interesting facts about these two legends:

10 Interesting Facts about Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

1. He was the 8th Chief of the Army Staff in independent India. He served in this position for about four years between 1969 and 1973.

2. Despite that he had got the distinction in the Cambridge Board’s School Certificate Examination, his father didn’t allow him to go to London for studies saying that he was too young to stay abroad on his own.

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3. Infuriated, he rebelled and gave the entrance examination for enrollment into the Indian Military Academy. And, he got selected into the first batch of 40 selected cadets on October 1, 1932 in the IMA.

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4. Coincidentally, the first batch of the IMA, called “The Pioneers”, produced three future chiefs - Manekshaw (India), Smith Dun (Burma) and Muhammad Musa (Pakistan).

5. During World War II, Manekshaw served as the Captain of the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment in Burma in 1942. During the war, he fought against the Japanese Army. For his bravery, he was conferred with the Military Cross, which is a rare distinction.

6. Interestingly, his father, like the son, served in the British Indian Army as a Captain in the Army Medical Corps during the World War I.

7. Manekshaw’s the most important moment in life is – Indo-Pak war of 1971. He led India’s war efforts from the front as the Chief of the Army Staff and was instrumental in planning, execution and conclusion of the war successfully.

8. For instance, when the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked Manekshaw be ready for a war in early 1971, he replied that - "If we go to war right now, I can guarantee you 100% defeat. Shall I send in my resignation?" Further, he suggested that December is the right time for war as it would ensure that Chinese troops won’t be able to reach India due to the snowy situation along the Himalayas. Likewise, when Indira Gandhi asked him to go to Dhaka and accept the surrender of Pakistani forces, he declined. And, said that the honour should go to the Indian Army Commander in the East, Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora.

9. After the end of war, the Prime Minister decided to promote Manekshaw to the rank of Field Marshal. Subsequently, he was conferred with the rank at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. With this, he became the first Indian army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal.

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10. Apart from the Field Marshal honour, he was awarded with many civilian honours and military decorations, including, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, General Service Medal, Indian Indpendence Medal and India Service Medal.

Last but not the least, during his tenure as the Chief of the Army Staff, he developed the Indian Army into an efficient instrument of war. He said to be instrumental in stopping the implementation of reservations in the army. Though he was Parsi, a minority group in India, Mankeshaw felt that implementing reservations may compromise the ethos of the army.

5 interesting facts about Ved Prakash Malik

1. He was the 19th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. He was in the office between 30 September 1997 and 30 September 2000.

2. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla as well as the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

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3. Operation Vijay, the war with Pakistan in Kargil Sector in 1999, was the moment of this career. As the Chief of the Army Staff, he coordinated and oversaw the planning and execution of the entire Operation and successfully defeated the neighbor.

4. As the Deputy Director General of Military Operations between 1987 and 1990, he planned and executed two international operations of Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Sri Lanka (Operation WInd) and Maldives (Operation Cactus).

5. He wrote many  books, including, Kargil: From Surprise to Victory, India’s Military Conflicts and Diplomac: An inside view of Decision Making, Operation Cactus: Drama in the Maldives and Defence Planning: Problems and Prospects.

Since its inception in 1932, the Indian Military Academy has produced many Gentleman Cadets who defended who stood up for the country in times of crisis. We wish all the aspirants of NDA and CDS exams get inspired by the achievements of Field Marshal Maneshaw and Ved Prakash Malik and do big for the country.

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