1965 Indo-Pak War: Who won ?


This year is the 50th anniversary of 1965 war. And interestingly both countries are celebrating it as a victory for them. Many intellectuals are taking neutral position on the outcomes of war and claiming that no body actually won. I do agree that more or less it was a stale mate but I see Indian victory in it.

Though war should not take place as this is the time for great misery for people and also have a long lasting effect on the society at large. But here we are discussing a matter of fact.

In any war strategic objectives are well defined. It is well know and also commented by various experts, both by Pakistani Generals and neutral experts, that Pakistan was an agressor through the Operation Gibraltar and Operation GrandSlam. Pakistan was taking advantage of weak India after 1962 debacle. During Operation Gibraltar it sent around 30,000 infiltrators into Jammu and Kashmir, the operation was covert offensive. Their main objective was to free the Kashmir. India retaliated and also opened the Punjab front for taking offensive positions which saw the biggest tank battles after second World War. The main objective of Indian army was to deny the strategic objectives of Pakistani Army which is to capture Kashmir.

“At the end of the war, this is what the tally looked like:
— India won 1,920 sqkm of territory; Pakistan won 540 sqkm
— 2,862 Indian soldiers were killed; Pakistan lost 5,800 soldiers
— India lost 97 tanks; 450 Pakistani tanks were destroyed or captured”

1965 war

Haji Pir pass was captured by India which was considered as an important strategic location. India also captured some area in Sialkot and also reached close to Lahore city in Punjab. On the other hand Pakistan managed to capture some regions in Rajasthan and also came very close to Akhnoor in Jammu. Akhnoor was a major lifeline for logistical support for Jammu infantry division. As we can see the Pakistan’s territorial conquest was mainly in desert areas whereas India captured fertile region of Punjab.

Retired American diplomat Dennis Kux: “Although both sides lost heavily in men and material, and neither gained a decisive military advantage, India had the better of the war. Delhi achieved its basic goal of thwarting Pakistan’s attempt to seize Kashmir by force. Pakistan gained nothing from a conflict which it had instigated.”

English historian John Keay: “The war lasted barely a month. Pakistan made gains in the Rajasthan desert but its main push against India’s Jammu-Srinagar road link was repulsed and Indian tanks advanced to within a sight of Lahore. Both sides claimed victory but India had most to celebrate.”

American author Stanley Wolpert: “The war ended in what appeared to be a draw when the embargo placed by Washington on US 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 ceasefire was called, and controlled Kashmir’s strategic Uri-Poonch bulge, much to [Pakistani president] Ayub’s chagrin.”

The main celebrating point for Pakistan is that their army secured Lahore and Sialkot successfully. But is it not being hypocritical as these places were very much secure even before war as the agressor was Pakistan himself.

Now it is well known that the mission of Pakistani Army was a failure and Indian Army retaliated aggressively. The war was ended after stale mate though some areas were captured by both armies in adversaries’ territories. Many neutral assessments are claiming India’s upper hand in time of cease fire also. As a result Tashkent Declaration took place.

So whose strategic objectives were met !! Clearly its India’s.


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