Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.

New Take on Second Kashmir War

Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.

By Inderjit Badhwar

Military historian and author Shiv Kunal Verma has just released his own take on the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 in a best-selling book—1965: A Western Sunrise. Major Agha H Amin, a retired Pakistani military officer writes his critical review of Verma’s book: “This is a very interesting new addition to books on 1965 war. The writer gives very interesting background details to each relevant person or subject.”

And it is even more relevant today in light of the escalation of tensions once again along the Line of Control with Pakistan.

Although there have been several earlier books and studies in this particular conflict, Verma’s advantage lies in his being both a historian as well as a journalist who has covered conflicts live and has excellent sources within the military establishment cutting across army, navy and air force. Verma answered several questions about his new book in response to a request sent to him by India Legal.

But first, a brief background to the conflict that will put the questions and answers that follow, in a clearer perspective:

On August 5, 1965, between 26,000 and 33,000 Pakistani soldiers crossed the Line of Control dressed as Kashmiri locals headed for various areas within Kashmir and set the stage for what has now come to be called the Second Kashmir War—another attempt by Pakistan to grab the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir through military means. Indian forces, tipped off by the local populace, crossed the ceasefire line on August 15. A massive armed conflict raged on the sub-continent for the next six months threatening not only the regional balance of power but also the geopolitical stability of South Asia.

The result of Sino-India Conflict of 1962, in which the Indians suffered humiliating defeats, encouraged Pakistan to attack and try and decimate what it thought was a weakened and demoralised Indian army. Pakistan’s bravado also emanated from a renewed military self-confidence: A modernised Army, to which USA had contributed substantially, added to her confidence. By 1965, she had been able to acquire an edge over India in armour, artillery and air-power. This sense of superiority prompted Pakistan to plan aggression on Kashmir in 1965. It was a three-phased programme. In the first phase, the Indian capacity to react was tested in the Rann of Kutch. In the second phase, trouble was fomented in Kashmir to weaken the Indian hold. In the third phase, an attempt was made to bottle up the Indian Army in Kashmir by sealing the supply line in Chhamb-Jaurian sector of Jammu.

According to the official website of the Indian Army, Pakistan suffered heavily in men and material in spite of her superiority in arms and equipment. It is estimated that the Pakistan Army lost 5,988 soldiers and many more were wounded. India lost 2,735 men and 8,225 were wounded. Indian tank losses were 80 as against 475 of Pakistan.

Finally, a ceasefire was agreed upon with effect from September 23, 1965, with UN efforts. The Tashkent Declaration and the subsequent agreement between the two countries led to the disengagement of forces and their withdrawal to positions occupied by them before August 5, 1965. This restored peace in the sub-continent for some time.

Defense analysts and journalists argue even today about who ultimately won decisively. In fact, the 1965 war witnessed some of the largest tank battles since World War II. At the beginning of the war, the Pakistani Army had both a numerical advantage in tanks, as well as better equipment. The consensus is that India came out on top.

According to the Library of Congress Country Studies conducted by the Federal Research Division of the United States: “The war was militarily inconclusive; each side held prisoners and some territory belonging to the other. Losses were relatively heavy on the Pakistani side, twenty aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops. Pakistan’s army had been able to withstand Indian pressure, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan. Most Pakistanis, schooled in the belief of their own martial prowess, refused to accept the possibility of their country’s military defeat by “Hindu India” and were, instead, quick to blame their failure to attain their military aims on what they considered to be the ineptitude of Ayub Khan and his government.”

Former New York Times reporter Arif Jamal wrote in his book Shadow War: “This time, India’s victory was nearly total: India accepted cease-fire only after it had occupied 740 square miles though Pakistan had made marginal gains of 210 square miles of territory. Despite the obvious strength of the Indian wins, both countries claim to have been victorious.”

Devin T Hagerty wrote in his book South Asia In World Politics: “The invading Indian forces outfought their Pakistani counterparts and halted their attack on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. By the time United Nations intervened on September 22, Pakistan had suffered a clear defeat.”

In his book National Identity and Geopolitical Visions, Gertjan Dijkink writes: “The superior Indian forces, however, won a decisive victory and the army could have even marched on into Pakistani territory had external pressure not forced both combatants to cease their war efforts.”

An excerpt from Stanley Wolpert’s India, summarising the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965, says: “In three weeks the second Indo-Pak War ended in what appeared to be a draw when the embargo placed by Washington on U.S. ammunition and replacements for both armies forced cessation of conflict before either side won a clear victory. India, however, was in a position to inflict grave damage to, if not capture, Pakistan’s capital of the Punjab when the cease-fire was called, and controlled Kashmir’s strategic Uri-Poonch bulge, much to Ayub’s {Pakistani leader General  Ayub Khan} chagrin.”

Here are the answers from author Shiv Kunal Verma to questions from India Legal:

What inspired you to write a book on this war theatre which most Indians as well as the world believe had little or no significance for the geo-political future of the subcontinent?

A. After India’s virtual non-performance in 1962 against the Communist Chinese, the one equation that began to change dramatically was the relationship between Pakistan and the PRC. President Ayub Khan, having jumped into bed with the Americans in the mid-1950s, was quick to realise that the bread may taste better if it buttered on both ends and the love affair with the Chinese started. By ceding the Shaksgam Valley to the PRC, the relationship was further strengthened. My book highlights the fact that Operation Gibraltar was actually the brainchild of Mao Zedong, who had a great impact on Bhutto, the then foreign minister of Pakistan. Zulfikar Bhutto then bypassed Ayub and encouraged Major General Malik, GOC 12 Division, to start dreaming big. 1965 was always going to be India’s acid test!

The books have been David Davidar’s idea right from the start. Aleph has quite a stable of outstanding writers and it’s a privilege to be counted amongst them. I also had an exceptional editor in Pujitha Krishnan, with whom I have now worked on three books (Courage & Conviction: Gen VK Singh; 1962: The War That Wasn’t and now 1965: A Western Sunrise). If you also count The Long Road to Siachen (Rupa & Co) then that’s four books in all so far under their combined banner.

As a military historian, how would you rate the significance of the 1965 conflict as compared to conflicts in 1947-48, 1962, 1971 and the Kargil War of 1999?

A. Every war is obviously different, even if the drumbeats are much the same. The scale on which 1965 was fought numbs the mind. Few people realise it even now but it was the Indian Navy which set the ball rolling by conducting an exercise off the Kathiawar Coast. Given Bhutto’s own family history (his father was the prime minister of Junagadh in 1947) INS Vikrant-borne Sea Hawks and Alizes in the region off Badin would have given him a few sleepless nights. Then the Kanjarkot incident happened and it was the ideal opportunity for General Musa (the Pakistani chief) to test out the new doctrines that had been put in place with the arrival of US equipment post-SEATO and the CENTO Agreements. The spotlight then shifted to Kargil; then Op Ablaze saw complete mobilisation, followed by Op Gibraltar. Caught on the back foot, the Indians then hit back and took Haji Pir and the Kishenganga bulges, Pakistan then launched Op Grand Slam aimed at over running Chhamb-Jaurian and cutting off Akhnur, followed by the immediate air battles; then the push forward in the Lahore and Sialkot sectors—Dograi, Barki, Khem Karan… plus also the Rajasthan Sector. It was phenomenal stuff followed by the damp squib of Tashkent!

Did this war have any real winners or losers in terms of territory, manpower, prestige and regional standing?

A. Unfortunately, we tend to look at a war much like we think back on a cricket match—runs scored, wickets taken, aircraft downed, tanks shot up, number of men killed, square miles held, etc. Fact is, nations go to war with a clear cut objective, and if that aim is met, you’ve won, otherwise it’s a meaningless exercise with a lot of misery and pain attached. In 1962, the Chinese wanted to occupy certain areas and stamp their authority on our psyche and they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Three years later, despite being flush with US weaponry and the tacit support of China and I would even add the British to the list, Pakistan failed to make any headway in any of the sectors. In the Rann of Kutch where they held every geographical advantage over the Indians, they went to town claiming a huge victory. Trouble with propaganda is that sooner or later, you start believing it yourself. Reality then creeps up and bites you on your backside.

Apart from soldiers who lost their lives, were there any other commanders who emerged as war heroes in terms of tactical, planning, execution and standing?

A. My books look at the war from the Indian perspective but today one has a fair idea of what happened on the Pakistani side as well. The few heroes that did emerge were the commanding officers and some of the younger officers. Frankly, though General Harbaksh Singh had his moments, the entire top brass was a miserable failure. With the benefit of hindsight, we can analyse what went wrong, etc, but by and large, the top leadership in 1965 was nearly as bad as the leadership in 1962. The Indians not even getting to the Ichhogil Canal, except for Dograi and Barki in the Bari Doab, and failing to get past Chawinda in the Rachna Doab tells its own story. The complete lack of cohesion between the IAF and the Army bordered on the criminal.

Did the two warring sides start out with any military or strategic positioning?

A. Before the 1965 war, the main threat from the Pakistanis seemed to stem from the then state-of-the-art Patton tanks—both the M47 and M48s—and the F-86 Sabre Jets and F-104 Starfighters that were equipped with fancy stuff like the Sidewinder Missiles, etc. There was also a lot of emphasis on mechanised forces, and as I said before, new doctrines of warfare that were being put into place. However, what actually saved the day for Pakistan was the quantity of artillery guns at their disposal. The Pakistani defensive system, especially in the Lahore sector, that was built around the Ichhogil Canal, also stood the test. Anyone looking at the map of the Punjab will realise that armoured operations would sooner or later get compartmentalised and that is what happened, especially since the Indian commanders preferred to fight a war of attrition.

Was this a testing time for any new weaponry and did it prepare both sides for the 1971 war?

A. Having fought a war of attrition, the Indians then had the Pakistanis on the ropes. General J N Chaudhuri, the Army chief, then came up with the crowning blunder of his career when he told Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri that India was running low on ammunition when in reality not even 15% had been expended as against Pakistan which had shot off close to 85% of its stock. Why Chaudhuri chose to duck when he should have gone to the jugular, only god and he knows. Had the conflict continued, Pakistan’s war-making ability would have been severely dented and who knows, maybe the millions who lost their lives in East Pakistan six years later may have been spared what was nothing but a ruthless genocide. But then these are the “ifs” and “buts” of history…

How many years did you spend researching this conflict and what kind of research was involved and how would you rate this latest book in comparison to your previous books?

A. Research is an ongoing thing, especially when it comes to conflicts and these are of interest to you. 1965 took two years to write, while the maps and accumulation of photos also took a fair amount of time. How does one rate one book against another? You simply cannot, for each work has its own dynamics and while you’re bent double over it, your entire being is focused on that period of time. But yes, 1962 was a difficult book to write and I guess it really set the tone. 1965, in many ways, was just a continuation of the same story. I also think a lot of the research for my earlier films also helped, for a lot of people who had fought in the 1965 war were close family friends, if not part of one’s extended family in the Army. It’s been a long journey—but a satisfying one. 

Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.

News Update

What’s the Hurry?

By Shivanand Pandit A...

How to Sell Bitcoin? Best Crypto Exchanges

The majority of users need to cash out cryptocurrency. Most traders sell Bitcoins through exchanges and exchanges. This method is most often chosen primarily for its speed, convenience, and safety. Now an increasing number of people have become owners of cryptocurrencies....

Can You Day Trade Crypto on Robinhood- What to Consider

Robinhood allows you to trade US stocks without commissions, and there are no fees for withdrawals or inactivity. In addition, it provides a user-friendly mobile trading platform and web interface. So, we believe that this crypto broker definitely deserves your attention.....

Charting a New Course

By Sanjay Raman Sinha ...
Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.