Ghanshyam Katoch

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  • Lieutenant General Ghanshyam Singh Katoch, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd.) is an Associate Member of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and an elected member of the Executive Council of the United Services Institute of India (USI).

    The People Next Door: The Curious History of India’s Relations with Pakistan, by T.C.A. Raghavan

    ‘The People Next Door’ is the name of a 1968 television (TV) series made into a 1970 Hollywood movie, a 1996 TV film, a 2008 novel, again a 2016 TV film, and, in the case of the book being reviewed, a non-fiction historical book. When we spend time in observing neighbours, the act has a voyeuristic feel.

    October-December 2018

    Mission Overseas: Daring Operations by the Indian Military, by Sushant Singh

    Military history has four main genres. The first is the ‘official’ military history, or a military historian’s narrative. It is a narration of facts given as accurately as possible, written in an academic manner with maps and sketches. These are difficult to follow by non-military readers and, for that reason, are almost never read by them. The second category are reminiscences (autobiographies or biographies) of those who took part in wars—mostly in important and commanding positions.

    July-September 2018

    Keeping India Safe: The Dilemma of Internal Security, by Vappala Balachandran

    The hedgehog’s or the porcupine’s dilemma is a metaphor about the challenges of coexistence. It describes a situation in which a group of hedgehogs seek to move close to one another to share the heat and survive in freezing weather. However, they must remain apart because they cannot avoid hurting one another with their sharp quills. Though they all share the intention of a close reciprocal relationship, this may not occur, for reasons they cannot avoid. Eventually they settle into an ideal distance, where they can derive some benefit yet not hurt each other.

    April-June 2018

    Military Change: Survival of the Most Adaptable

    The Greek philosopher Thucydides famously stated the proximate words: ‘The only constant [in life] is change’. (Even the most stable isotope, Tellerium-128, changes; it will decay to half its mass in 2.2 septillion years!) Change, therefore, is inevitable and takes place in every animate and inanimate thing and becomes necessary to remain relevant in the environment that one lives in. If your enemy changes his way of fighting and you do not, then a dysfunction in countering your enemy is inevitable.

    April 2017