1965 Indo-Pak War in a Nutshell | By Tasneem Shafiq


1965 Indo-Pak War in a Nutshell

The second conflict between Pakistan and India over the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmirwas the 1965 war.It marks the ultimate sacrifice of Pakistan military which ensured that a superior invading force was decisively stopped from taking key cities like Lahore.The international politics of the Cold War affected the nature of the conflict.

The war began following Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against illegal rule by India. The five-week war caused thousands of casualties on both sides.India attacked across the international border on September 6th and a full-scale war broke out which concluded with a ceasefire on September 22nd.

When a country goes to war, it is important that politico-military objectives are well defined and once defined these must be pursued vigorously.Pakistan with relatively small armed forces and limited resources had indeed given adequate response to the enemy on all fronts including air, land and sea.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) also played a significant role in this war, which was the first time that the air forces of both states were facing each other. PAF pilots displayed remarkable skills despite its smaller size and its best example was that of Squadron Leader M.M. Alam, who shot down five Indian fighter planes.

On 7th September in 1965 Pakistan Navy, under the guidance of Commodore S. M. Anwar, attacked the Indian naval radar station that was set up on the coast of Dwarka in India, which is approximately 320km to the south-east of Karachi Port. The operation was successful and it boosted the morale of our soldiers and the nation as a whole.

During this war, 1617 sq. miles of territory was occupied by Pakistan as compared to 446 sq. miles of Pakistan’s open and undefended territory occupied by India. In this war the Pakistan Army captured 20 Indian officers, 19 junior Indian Commissioned Officers and 569 other ranks.The second Pakistan-India war reached stalemate. Itdid not resolve the Kashmir dispute, but it engaged the United States and the Soviet Union in ways that had important implications for subsequent superpower involvement in the region.

International Media Coverage of 1965 War

International media that covered the 17-day war between Pakistan and India in 1965 in their reports had admitted India’s dominance over Pakistan despite huge military force and resources. Various correspondents of Foreign print media wrote that they had never seen a more confident and victorious group of soldiers than those fighting for Pakistan,in news stories and editorials.

Correspondent of American Broadcasting Corporation Roy Meloni reported that India was claiming all-out victory, but he did not find any trace of it. LausunMeloyal, Kuala Lumpur reported that Indian pilots are inferior to Pakistani pilots and Indian officers’ leadership has been generally deplorable. Though India has a population of 400 million as compared to Pakistan’s100 million, Pakistan has faced the aggression of India with bravery and has achieved brilliant victories.

Time Magazine correspondent Louis Kanaracknowledged that Pakistan Armed Forces are fearless and brave. Correspondent of the Guardian Peter Preston mentioned in his story that Pakistan morally and physically had won the air battle against Indians. “The Indians had no sense of purpose. The Pakistanis were defending their own country and willingly taking greater risk.”

Daily Express, London, Donald Seaman, “4 Indian divisions and 1armored division fought nonstop battle with 2 Pakistani divisions and 1 armored division. India’s plan was to swing around Sialkot, take Lahore and cut west Pakistan in two and bring it on its knees for which India launched 30,000 troops against 9,000 Pakistani troops. Outnumbered three to one, Pakistanis beat Indians to a standstill and were about to mount a counter-attack in last six hours before the ceasefire when they were stopped on political grounds”.

Even India appreciated the performance of Pakistan during war. Times of India reported, “It is clear from the fury with which Pakistan is fighting on all fronts that it has not been easy for the Indian army to advance into Pakistani territory”.Newsweek, Frank Melville also reported, “Despite the bombings, the morale among the Pakistani jawans remained extremely high. Their coolness and toughness under fire have paid dividends”.

Top of the News, Washington reported, “The first Indian regiment that found itself face to face with the Pakistanis didn’t get clobbered. They just turned and ran, leaving all their equipment, artillery supplies and even extra clothing and supplies behind”.Al-Gamhoriya (Cairo) Mohammad Odah stated, “Indian military had wanted to avenge their defeat at the hands of China in 1962. It wanted to restore their prestige among Indian masses, settle Kashmir problem with force, but Pakistan Army had frustrated all these designs. Neither Lahore nor any part of Pakistan surrendered to India.”

An interesting disclosure was made in the ‘New York Times by the paper’s United Nations correspondent, Drew Middleton. He stated: in India’s case, there is little question in the minds of the officials that the US will be able to maintain increasingly close relations. If nothing else, the conflict demonstrated that India was dependent upon the West for diplomatic military and economic support and could not stand alone against Pakistan.

The ‘Guardian’ correspondent Peter Preston wrote,“The people of Pakistan are brave; adding that comparisons between ‘fearless Pakistanis and half-hearted Indians carry more than propaganda weight.” Preston added;“It isn’t bravado, the Pakistani mood of unthinking, almost childish courage, sense of outrage and ancient enmities is a formidable mixture”.

Correspondent inter-alia in the influential ‘Statist’, wrote under the caption ‘Pakistan Counts the Cost’, says: “During this war, India and Pakistan consumed military hardware worth more than the amount needed to build Aswan Dam. But the greater part of these losses — Army, Navy and Air Force — were on the Indian side, as a result of superior training of Pakistan’s armed forces”.

“Against twenty-one Indian Divisions they had only seven. Covering this inferiority Pakistanis gave proof of extraordinary mobility and showed themselves capable of using their limited resources economically” reported by Le Figaro, Paris.

Pakistan is home to brave warriors and the nation is indebted to our Shaheeds and Ghazis who have carved a path for generations to follow so that if and when the time comes, every single citizen will stand hand-in-hand to defend their homeland against any enemy.Pakistan’s ground kills of aircraft or tanks were confirmed only when filmed or flames were seen. The figures are, 40 aircraft destroyed in air combat, including Hunters and Gnats, 38 aircraft destroyed on the ground in daylight attacks on Indian bases.

The ceasefire was accepted by Pakistan and India in September 1965. But the ceasefire was not enough to resolve the status of Kashmir, and both sides accepted the Soviet Union as a third-party mediator. A declaration of formal cessation of hostilities was signed by the presidents of both Pakistan (General Ayub Khan) and India(Lal Bahadur Shastri). Peace between the two countries was negotiated under Soviet auspices in Tashkent on January 10th, 1966.

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