A summary of The Far Flung Frontiers Biographical account by Major Gen O.S.Kalkat (Retd.) on Kashmir war 1947.

Among the four major wars fought between India and pakistan the first Kashmir war which lasted almost for two years from 1947to 1949 is the least talked about war. The resources are also limited to get some military insight about the war. However during one such research I found a very important book written by an important serving officer of that time.

This is a biographical account but also reveals some interesting information about Kashmir raid by Pakistani tribals in October 1947 and how despite of intelligence info Indian agencies failed to capitalize on inputs and lost 1/3rd of Kashmiri land to pakistani raiders.

The Far flung frontiers was a biographical account of Maj Gen O.S.Kalkat(Retd.) long career as a successful military commander. As an infantry commander he was posted at the far flung frontiers throughout his career and took part in major campaigns in North east , Kashmir , Bangladesh war etc. Here I've tried to a document a summary of his account.

Operations at North east

The General's career covered a broad spectrum, and his role as an infantry battalion commander in the sensitive north-east when tribal insurgency was at its height renders him eminently qualified to hold forth on a problem that is of even greater relevance now.

Bangladesh war

He was also the man in charge of training the Mukti Bahini during the run-up to the Bangladesh operations. The operation was codenamed "Operation Jackpot". The operation was initially commanded by Maj. Gen. Onkar Singh Kalkat. Operation Jackpot proved to be a significant one, since it for the first time debunked Pakistan's claims of stability in East Pakistan. The operation received extensive attention from the international media and helped to generate worldwide publicity for the liberation war.

Operation Gulmarg

Kalkat's book, also, is the only one that contains at least one major revelation that has till now not really been publicised regarding "Operation Gulmarg", the tribal invasion of Kashmir in October 1947 .

Kashmir 1947 tribals
Tribals trained by pakistani army official for raid on Kashmir, October 1947

Gen. Kalkat, then brigade major in the erstwhile Bannu Frontier Brigade Group in Pakistan and waiting for the Partition spoils to be divided up, stumbled across a 'top secret' document giving full details about the invasion plans of pak army disguised as tribals, including the date it was to take place.
At great personal risk, Kalkat evaded the strict surveillance he was under and escaped to New Delhi, where he disclosed his findings to Generals Kulwant Singh and Thapar and defence minister, S. Baldev Singh, three days before Operation Gulmarg was to take place.
The three officials and members of the Intelligence Directorate, however, stubbornly refused to believe his story and no efforts were made to counter the threat. Neither was prime minister Nehru informed. The rest is tragic history: Operation Gulmarg started exactly as Kalkat had predicted and laid the ground for what is the most intractable bone of contention between the two countries - the Kashmir problem.

What Maj Gen Kalkat has revealed in his book ?

Maj Gen Kalkat also reveals some interesting details about Nehru's reaction to the blunder when it came to his notice. On October 24, two days after the invasion, Kalkat was sent for by Nehru who asked him to relate the full details in the presence of Baldev Singh and General Thapar.
According to Kalkat's version, Nehru was so enraged at the two for having disbelieved an officer in a responsible position that he gave vent to his frustration and anger by flinging two glass paperweights at the two gentlemen after shouting at them for their blunder!
Kalkat's account charges that the British were behind Operation Gulmarg with the object of destabilising the country. The top secret document he intercepted was signed by General Frank Messervey, commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army and addressed to Kalkat's commanding officer, also a Britisher.


Gen. Kalkat’s book has important lessons for the future military commanders about understanding and dealing with the problem of insurgency in border areas. He has, for instance, some interesting observations to make on the problems of counter-insurgency strategy in the north-east.
In his opinion, and experience, "Intelligence agencies are numerous and lack coordination and unity of purpose. These are neither integrated nor geared to meet our immediate requirements,an unhealthy rivalry exists and the agents make money for the same information from more than one agency” .

Intelligence being the main key to counter-insurgency operations, the units of the security forces are faced with the problem of organising their own intelligence in large measure
According to Kalkat, What follows should be a "battle of the mind" rather than one of force - an opinion that is difficult to argue against.

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