An interactive session on the topic ‘Imphal: The last battle of the Japanese Empire’, was held Saturday on the second day of Military Literature Festival, brought out several significant aspects of World War-II fought at the Indian land. The session was moderated by Maj Gen AP Singh and the participants included Col (Retd) Dr. Robert Lyman, and Brig (Retd) Allan Mallinson, Arambam Agamba Singh and Pushpindar Singh.Maj Gen AP Singh revealed the strategic reasons behind the Japanese attack on India. He said that Japan wanted to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ with this invasion. Actually, Japanese aimed to defeat British forces in Burma and isolated China. They also wanted to foster revolt in India to fall of the British. Japanese forces had objective to capture Imphal and breakthrough to Brahmaputra valley cut of Northern Burma. He said this battle had change the course of Burma campaign.Col (Retd) Dr. Robert Lyman said that the Battle of Imphal fought in the region around the city of Imphal from March until July 1944. In March 1943, the Japanese command in Burma had been reorganized and a new headquarters, Burma Area Army, was created under Lieutenant-General Masakazu Kawabe. Lieutenant-General Renya Mutaguchi was appointed to command the 15th Army, which was responsible for the central part of the front facing Imphal and Assam. From the moment he took command in July 1943, Mutaguchi forcefully advocated an invasion of India. Japanese armies invade India, but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses, many Japanese soldiers’ deaths resulting from starvation, disease and exhaustion suffered during their retreat.
Brig (Retd) Allan Mallinson highlighted the unique share of military heritage between British and India. He said that in 1944, the Indian Army stopped the Japanese advance into India in its tracks, and wrote a chapter of military history in letters of gold. He said that this battle was unique because on the both side Indian soldiers were fighting. The aim of Indian National Army was to free India from British rule and it formed an alliance with the Empire of Japan in the latter's campaign in the Southeast Asian theatre of WWII.Pointing out the decisive contribution of the Air Forces in the battle of Imphal, Pushpinder Singh said that without support from the air, the Battle of Imphal would have been very hard to win. Undoubtedly, without the contribution of the Royal Air Force and the Indian Air Force the outcome of the battle could well have been very different. He further said that in 1944, the Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh, an icon of India's military history, had led a squadron against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign, flying close air support missions during the crucial Imphal Campaign and later assisted the advance of the Allied Forces to Yangoon. In recognition of his feat, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on the spot by the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia.During the discussion Arambam Agamba Singh shared the information about the typical imperial Japanese solider fighting techniques and organized structure. He also threw light on the U Go offensive or Operation C, of Japanese army against forces of the British Empire.