The whole story is finished and available as e-book and paperbacks on links provided below. You can read first 10 chapters and excerpts from two more describing the two-front war on the links at end of this post. Total number of words is 1.43 lakh in 37 chapters, of which last 7-8 chapters with 64k words cover combat.
- Amazon US link with paperback option: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HHKF752
- Amazon India link with e-book : https://amzn.to/3zQOnAh
SYNOPSIS: Kaalkut is a military thriller which tells a story about India dealing with provocations from two enemy nations China and Pakistan. Both neighbours have tried their best to make life tough for Indians by waging wars, land grabs, creating and supporting terrorist groups, economic sabotage, threat of nuclear annihilation among a few other things. Most of the time, Indian actions have been quite passive but there have been a few occasions when India has hit back hard using various tools of statecraft and military.
Many of the events in story are based on real life incidents and a few are completely imaginary. As far as weapon systems are concerned, I’ve taken some liberties with a few facts like numbers, deployment dates etc., but their capabilities as described in the story are more or less close to what most reliable sources claim to be. I don’t want to write something which claims 400% victory to India against all odds by virtue of vastly superior tactics, secret super weapons or stupid enemy. My previous attempts (Flames & Arrows and Pinaka) were a bit like this and I was not really satisfied with both. So just hoping that 3rd one will be better.
This post is an index post for all the chapters in the story. I’ll keep on adding entries in this post as new chapters are written. As of now, I have managed to write a basic outline of the book and I plan to publish a new chapter on a weekly basis or may be faster. But as is the case with such writing attempts, there will be some corrections and updates which will be mentioned here. Feedback, critique and corrections are always welcome.
As of September 2021, the total number of words are around 1.4 lakh words in 40+ chapters and is too big to be published on this website. Additionally, it may need another part to explore a few important points , but that’s something for the future. A lot of stuff published here has been rewritten too. So instead of posting rest of the chapters one by one, I’ll be releasing it as an e-book here or on some other website.
A two-front war between India on one side and China and Pakistan on the other has been a hot topic for strategy makers, think tanks, internet forums and many other platforms for a long time. India has fought several wars and limited conflicts with Pakistan, China and Portugal, in addition to bloody warfare against various groups like LTTE in Sri Lanka. We are also fighting against several Islamic and communist groups, most of them sponsored by our enemy nations.
We are surrounded by two belligerent nuclear powers, both of which lay claims over vast tracts of Indian territory. Yet, Indian military issues hardly ever receive any attention unless there is a televised war or some small conflict in the news. The fact of the matter remains that India may be forced to fight a war at any time with little or no warning. The scale, timeline, reasons and events may differ from what is described in this book, but war is a possibility we cannot and should not ignore.
I first wrote something similar in 2011, titled Flames & Arrows, which was roughly 70 thousand words long, and then a shorter story titled Pinaka, which described a cross-border raid three years later. At the time, it was just something I did for fun, writing a few hundred words daily for 2–3 posts a week on Bharat Rakshak Forum. I had read a few similar stories from other members and thought of it as a way to contribute something of my own.
Fast forward to 2020, I had quite a bit of time due to the lockdown and I wanted to write something again. But I also realised the shortcomings in my knowledge of military units and tactics, which led me to spend months reading about the topic. It resulted in a series of long posts about the Order of Battle (ORBAT) of Pakistan and China. I wanted to include all that information in this book, but it’d have made it much longer and most casual readers wouldn’t pay any attention to it anyway. The articles are linked at the end of this section for interested readers. The details on the website are not complete and if I have time and energy, I may collate and process them for a proper e-book sometime in the future.
Coming back to the topic, I have tried to explain significant details about military units, their weapons, usage and deployment without making it too technical. Popular authors like Tom Clancy and Frederick Forsyth write interesting books that have minute details about certain weapon systems and how one or two exceptionally clever people manage to win the whole war using very innovative tactics. It makes for great fiction and entertaining books and movies, but doesn’t work well if you are trying to be realistic.
War is a lot more complicated, bloody and unglamorous business fought by lakhs or even crores of people in their own ways. However, I am certainly not a better writer than these two and not everything I wrote is 100% realistic. All that I’ve done is write a fictional war story that is reasonably realistic with details about events leading up to it, the thought process of the people involved, and how it could be fought with the resources available to each side. The details about the Indian armed forces are available from official sources only and I’ve not used anything more detailed than what is absolutely required. Some of the air and naval battles described here have been simulated in Command Modern Operations (a wargaming software/game) and I’ve uploaded a few videos on YouTube.
Yet, there will inevitably be some mistakes due to my ignorance and laziness. I hope that the readers will be able to ignore them and enjoy the story.
- AAA Anti Aircraft Artillery
- AAM Air to Air Missile
- AD Air Defence
- AEW&C Airborne Early Warning & Control
- ALG Advanced Landing Ground
- ALCM Air Launched Cruise Missile
- APC Armoured Personnel Carrier
- ARM Anti Radiation Missile
- AShM Anti SHip Missile
- AWACS Airborne Warning And Control System
- BARCAP BARrier Combat Air Patrol
- BVR Beyond Visual Range
- CAB Combined Arms Brigade (China)
- CAP Combat Air Patrol
- CAS Close Air Support
- CCP Chinese Communist Party
- CMC Central Military Commission (China)
- COMINT Communications Intelligence
- ECM Electronic Counter Measures
- ELINT ELectronic INTelligence
- EW Electronic Warfare
- FAC Forward Air Controller
- GA Group Army (China)
- GLCM Ground Launched Cruise Missile
- HUD Heads Up Display
- HUMINT HUMan INTelligence
- IA Indian Army
- IAF Indian Air Force
- IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle
- IN Indian Navy
- IB Intelligence Bureau (India)
- IR InfraRed
- ISI Inter Services Intelligence (Pakistan)
- ISR Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance
- MANPADS Man Portable Air Defence System
- MBRL Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher
- MBT Main Battle Tank
- MRSAM Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (India)
- ORBAT ORder Of BATtle
- PA Pakistan Army
- PAF Pakistan Air Force
- PN Pakistan Navy
- PLA People’s Liberation Army (China)
- PLAAF People’s Liberation Army Air Force (China)
- PLAN People’s Liberation Army Navy (China)
- RAPID Reorganised Army Plains Infantry Division (India)
- RAW Research & Analysis Wing (India)
- RWR Radar Warning Receiver
- SAM Surface to Air Missile
- SF Special Forces
- SFF Special Frontier Force (India)
- SPH Self Propelled Howitzers
- SSBN Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (submarine)
- SSN Ship Submersible Nuclear (attack submarine)
- TC Theater Command
- TEL Transporter Erector Launcher
- UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
- WLR Weapon Locating Radar
- WSO Weapons System Operator
- WTC Western Theater Command (China)
- WVR Within Visual Range
Following are the basic structures of most Indian and Pakistani infantry units.
Unit Commanding Officer & Number of Troops
- 1 Section – NCO/Havaldar. 10 troops
- 1 Platoon – Captain/JCO. 3-4 sections, 30-40 troops in total.
- 1 Company – Captain/Major. 3-5 platoons, 90-120 troops in total.
- 1 Battalion – Colonel. 5-6 companies, 900-1000 troops in total
- 1 Brigade – Brigadier. 3 battalions, 3000 combat troops plus support.
- 1 Division – Major General. 3-4 Brigades. 12000-15000 troops plus support.
- 1 Corps – Lieutenant General. 2-4 Divisions
Indian tank regiments have 45 tanks while Pakistanis have 42.
Chinese have shifted to a different structure as explained in ORBAT links provided at the end. This is a small introduction about their Combined Arms Brigades. Each such brigade has 5000-6000 soldiers and 112 tanks in 8/9 battalions
- 3-4 Combined Arms Battalions each with 2 tank companies, 2 mechanised infantry companies and 1 artillery company
- 1 Artillery Battalion
- 1 Air Defense Battalion
- 1 Combat Support Battalion
- 1 Logistic Support Battalion
- 1 Reconnaissance Battalion
- 1 Guard & Service Company
Each tank company has 14 tanks in 3 platoons of 4 tanks each plus 2 tanks for command and control
- Angad Bisht, Prime Minister. Good at managing people and tough situations. Resolute politician.
- General Mohit Sharma, Chief of Defence Staff. A former Para SF commando. Cerebral soldier and strategist.
- Ajay Dhumal, National Security Advisor. Formerly worked in RAW in numerous overseas assignments. Highly intelligent and thinks outside the box.
- Maadhvan Kamat, Defence Minister. Soft spoken, knowledgeable and competent at his job.
- Piyush Vajpayee, External Affairs Minister Charismatic and scholarly.
- Rajat Sudarshan, Home Minister. Hard working, sincere and short tempered.
- General Gopal Gurunath. Chief of Army Staff. Great commander and dedicated professional.
- Air Chief Marshal Laxman Mathur. Chief of Air Staff. Resourceful planner and quick thinker.
- Admiral Jayant Suman. Chief of Naval Staff. Aggressive sailor, likes a challenge.
- Yang Wix, President. Ruthless, cunning and willing to do anything to achieve his objectives.
- Gen Lin Duo. A powerful PLA officer with contacts and stake in high tech communications industry
- Lt General Yin Hongwen. Competent and pragmatic commander of Chinese Western Theater Command land forces.
- General Xu Qiling. Commander of Chinese Western Theater Command. Clever and ambitious.
- Senior Colonel Li Qiaoming. Assigned as Chinese liaison officer with Pakistani armed forces. Close to Qiling.
- Major General Ma Xiaotian. Commander of Chinese air offensive
- Rear Admiral Ye Fir. Commander of Chinese naval offensive
- General Abid Sohail, Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan. Corrupt yet clever enough to know when to wage wars and when to avoid them.
- Lt Gen Khalid Iqbal. CO of Pak Army X Corps. Ambitious, ruthless and scheming.
- Lt General Khalid Mahmud. Vice Chief of Army, Pakistan. Dangerous when pushed against the wall.
- Maj Gen Qasim Rizvi, Senior officer in Pakistani nuclear command. Honest career soldier.
- Uttam Maharaj, Prime Minister. Canny politician, quick to change sides and open to ideological compromises for power.
- Padam Giri, Cunning politician & middleman who likes to play all sides.
- Rear Admiral Phạm Van, Navy. Highly intelligent officer, good with warfare as well as strategy.
- Le Minh Huong, Defence Minister.