War and Social Upheval: Second Indo-Pakistani War (1965)

Figure 1.--The Second Indo-Pakistani War like the First War was fought ovr Kashmir, although the fighting was mot confinded to Kashmir. The captiion of the wire service photograpoh here read, "Kashmir refugees: A Moslem woman and her child wait for food and help in a refugee camp outside of Muzaffarabd, capital of Asad, Kashmir. Thousands of Moslems have fled or been driven from Indian-held Kashmor, near the ceasefire line, since the start of the Indo-Pakitani War. Many tell tales of shootings and attrocities by Indian soldiers and Indian militiamen. All are headed for the safety of refugee camps set up in Pakistani Territory where they receive medical care, food and warm clothing." The photograph is dated October 16 after the ceasefire was implemented.

Kashmir was important to India, for Pakistan it was an obsession, their primary international policy goal. Pakistan and the United States signed a Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA) (1964). The United States was primarily concerned with acquiring Ciold War allies to resist the Soviets and Communism in Asia. The Pakistanis were less concerned with the cold War and primarily focused on Kashmir and India. India had seized most of Kashmir at the time of independence and after the first Indo-Pakistani War (1947), a cease firse had held. This did not mean that Pakistani commotment to gain contril of KJasjmir had abated. The Indian Army's poor performance in the Himalayas against China (1962-63) as well as Indian progress in integrating Kashmir were both factors in Pakistani calculations. The security agreement with the United States provided Pskistan access to modern arms, including tanks, as well as some hope the United Sttes would back it. The Pakistanis pledged to not use the arms obtained aginst India, but this provision of the MDA could be muddeled if India coild be made to look like the agressor. Pakistan thus with new American weaponry began preparaions for a Second Indo-Pakistani War. The chose to begin in the desolate Rann of Kutch along the Arabian Sea coastal border areas (January 1965). The Pakistanis began aggresive patroling. Actual fighting broke out on a small scale (April 1965). The Pakistanis had two objectives. First to see how the United States would react to a violation of the mutual defene agreement. Second to draw Indian armor away from Khashmir and the north. British Primeminister Harold Wilson helped to negotite a ceasfire. After this hawks in the Pakistani Army as well as key officials (led by Z.A. Bhutto) pressured cautious Preimeminister Ayub Khan to move on Khasmir. The Primeminister was acused of cowardice, Senior Pakistani Army comanders convinced themselves that one Pakistani soldier was worth four Indian soldiers. Pakistan broke the ceasefire in Kashmir and without any formal declaration of war, the new Pakistani tanks and a force of about 30,000 men outfitted as Kashmiri rebels drove into Kashmir (August 5). They heded for the major cities. The Pakistanis calculated that the largely Muslim Kashmiri population would rise up to support them. The local response, however, was muted. Indian forces, lerted by the local populace, crossed the cease fire line (August 15). Infantry and armor fought engagements throughout Kashmir, but not yet outside the province. The Pakistani plan to quickly seize the province failed. Each country also committed their air forces. It was Pakistan that decided to widen the War. Pakistani forces attacked Ackhnur (early-September). The Indians decided to escalated the conflict by attacking targets within Pakistan itself. This is what Ayub Khan had feared. The Indian Army decided not to fight the Pakistani's just in Kashmir whre it was difficult to deploy their forces. Instead they launched a massive invasion of West Pakistan proper. The Pakistanis were forced to pull units out of Kashmir to resist the massive Indian offensive further south. The climatic engagement of the war occurred in the Sialkot region. Some 400-600 tanks fought a massive battle. The battle, however, was indecisive. A U.N. mandated ceasefire was arranged. Both sides quickly agreed, in part because the fighting was stalemated, The Pakistanis not only misjudged India's reaction, but also American reaction. The United States concluded that Pakistan had launched the war, declared itself neutral and refused to come to Pakistan's assistance under the terms of the 1964 MDA. The Americans also cut iff arms deliveries. The Pakistanis saw this as a betrayal. Given the country's dependance on American weapons, this meant that they coukd not fight an extended War. and in any long war if attritiin with India, Pakistan would lose. Fighting ended (September 22). Several Muslim countries supported Pakistan (Indonesia and Iran) as well as China supported Pakistan politically. The Soviets helped negotiate the ceasefire arrangement. The Soviet post-Khrushchev leadership, rather than stroingly backing India with which it had close relations declared itself neutral. The Soviets offered their good offices at Tashkent, leading to an armistice. The Tashkent Declaration restored the status quo ante belum (January 1966).


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Created: 6:49 AM 6/27/2012
Last updated: 6:49 AM 6/27/2012