LUCKNOW: Continuing with another session as part of the second edition of Military Literature Festival, the panelists on Saturday spoke on Operation Pawan and IPKF in Sri Lanka, in reference with three books – ‘Valiant Deeds, Undying Memories’, ‘How The Wind Blew’ and ‘Valiant Were Their Deeds’.
The panelists of the session, titled ‘32 Deadly Months In The Current History of India: IPKF In Sri Lanka’, included author Rakesh Sidhu, Lt Col Atul Kochar, Col Ranbir Singh Bhadauria, Brig SP Sharma, Maj Gen Arjun Muthanna and Manoj Chanan.
‘Operation Pawan’ was the code name of the operation by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to take control of Jaffna from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1987 to enforce the disarmament of LTTE as part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.
In the operation that lasted about three weeks, IPKF took control of Jaffna peninsula from LTTE, something that the Sri Lankan Army had tried but failed to do. Supported by Indian Army tanks, helicopter gunships and heavy artillery, IPKF routed the LTTE at the cost of 214 soldiers and officers. The book ‘Valiant were their deeds’ covers IPKF veterans telling stories and personal accounts from their time in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka in 1987-90.
The panelists also spoke on the strategies of LTTE and IPKF during Operation Pawan. “IPKF, according to the rules of engagement, were forbidden to use heavy artillery unless necessary to minimise civilian casualty. LTTE, on the other hand, was prepared with mines, snipers atop the houses and treetops, improvised explosive devices, switches for which were camouflaged,” said Maj Gen Muthanna.
About 350 troops laid down their lives while at least 1,100 were wounded in the operation. From December 1987 to March 1990, the IPKF carried out a classic counter-insurgency campaign, with an overall strength of 100,000 troops.





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