This Day in History (22-Sep-1965) – End of second Indo-Pak war

The second Indo-Pakistani conflict was also fought over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war. The war began in August 5, 1965 and was ended Sept 22, 1965. The war was initiated by Pakistan who since the defeat of India by China in 1962 had come to believe that Indian military would be unable or unwilling to defend against a quick military campaign in Kashmir, and because the Pakistani government was becoming increasingly alarmed by Indian efforts to integrate Kashmir within India. There was also a perception that there was widespread popular support within for Pakistani rule and that the Kashmiri people were disatisfied with Indian rule.

After Pakistan was successful in the Rann of Kutch earlier in 1965, Ayub Khan was pressured by the hawks in his cabinet (led by Z.A. Bhutto) and the army to infiltrate the ceasefire line in Kashmir. It was boasted at the time that one Pakistani soldier was equal to four Indian soldiers and so on. On August 5, 1965, 33,000 Pakistani soldiers crossed the Line of Control dressed as Kashmiri locals headed for various areas within Kashmir. Indian forces, tipped off by the local populace, crossed the cease fire line on August 15.

The initial battles between India and Pakistan were contained within Kashmir involving both infantry and armor units with each country’s air force playing major roles. It was not until early Sept. when Pakistani forces attacked Ackhnur that the Indians escalated the conflict by attacking targets within Pakistan itself, forcing the Pakistani forces to disengage from Ackhnur to counter Indian attacks. Unfortunately the battle was indecisive. By Sept 22 both sides had agreed to a UN mandated cease-fire ending the war that had by that point reached a stalemate. Negotiations in Tashkent concluded in January 1966, with both sides giving up territorial claims, withdrawing their armies from the disputed territory.

Overall, 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.



This Day in History (30-Jun-1965) – Cease-fire was agreed under UN auspices between India and Pakistan, who signed treaty to stop the war at Rann of Kutch

Other than Kashmir, there was another border dispute between India and Pakistan, this being the Rann of Kutch. The Rann of Kutch is endowed with unique geographical features. During a part of every year, the Rann is a dry, salt desert and for the remaining part it is flooded with water, the depth of which varies from a few feet to a few yards. How and where this water comes from has not been determined yet. The probable reason might be the Saraswati, a great river rising from the Himalayan watershed, symbolically the most important during the Vedic period, is believed to have flowed south and west through present day Haryana-Punjab, Rajasthan, and southern Pakistan to exit through what is now the Rann of Kutch marshland. The Saraswati River has long since disappeared, probably due to geological changes.

It is this strange geographical nature of the Rann which had become a controversial issue between India and Pakistan. India maintained that the Rann is land and claimed it as Indian territory; while Pakistan stated that it was a marine feature and laid claim to the northern half of the Rann. The area was admitted by both sides to be in dispute at the time of the Indo-Pakistani border negotiations of 1960. In January 1965, Pakistani guards began patrolling areas which were controlled by India, which eventually led to attacks by both countries on each other in April. This disputed area soon saw sporadic skirmishes between both countries. In June 1965, Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister of Britain successfully persuaded both countries to end this dispute and set up a tribunal for the same. The verdict of the tribunal saw Pakistan get 330 square miles of the Rann of Kutch against the 3500 square miles they had originally claimed. On June 30th 1965, a ceasefire was agreed between India and Pakistan under UN auspices who signed a treaty to stop the war at the Rann of Kutch.

However Pakistan judged the pro-Pak US response in war and moved ahead crossing LOC in Kashmir in August leading to 1965 Indo-Pak war.