Is India Better Than Pakistan 1

Biggest tank battle since 1945

Pakistani soldiers in disguise were supposed to instigate an uprising in Kashmir and pave the way for an invasion. The plan failed, but the war with India nonetheless broke out.

Officially, after the 1965 war, there were no winners and no vanquished. If one takes the 50th anniversary celebrations as a yardstick, there is no doubt which country has better memories of the armed forces. A month-long series of festivities has been going on in India since August 28, culminating in a large parade on Delhi's boulevard Rajpath on September 20. Five million francs should be budgeted for the celebrations. On September 7, as every year, Pakistan celebrated “Defense Day” to commemorate the resistance against the “Indian invasion”. But Islamabad did not have any major festivities.

Disguised soldiers

It is difficult to draw a clear assessment of the war. What is certain, however, is that Pakistan did not achieve its goal. In view of the optimism after minor land gains in the southern border area with India and the concern that foreign military aid would soon change the regional balance of power in India's favor, President Muhammad Ayub Khan thought the time was right in the summer of 1965 to turn the Kashmir conflict.

The "Operation Gibraltar" envisaged that thousands of Pakistani soldiers dressed as local civilians should penetrate the ceasefire line into the Kashmir Valley and start a local uprising there. The reaction of the Indian security forces would provide the pretext to rush to the aid of the Kashmiri with regular armed forces and thus create an international readiness for a renegotiation of the Kashmiri question.

The action was discovered on August 5th, the day of the covert invasion. Indian security forces began to take action against the infiltrants, after a few days beyond the ceasefire line. Islamabad then launched the major attack planned in advance. Pakistan's armored units were then superior to Indian ones, especially in Kashmir. Accordingly, the Pakistani army advanced quickly to occupy strategically important crossings in the Himalayas.

Missed war aims

Given the apparent inferiority in Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri gave the order to open a second front in the south. On September 6, Indian troops invaded Pakistani territory from Punjab Province, whereupon Islamabad had to withdraw forces from Kashmir. Fierce fighting developed along the border. At Chawinda, the two armies, each with over 200 tanks, fought the largest tank battle since the end of World War II.

Abroad, the armed conflict was observed with growing concern, also because of the risk that other states would be drawn into the conflict. Relations between Beijing and Delhi remained very tense after the 1962 war. Due to its geographical proximity to the controversial Sino-Indian border area, Beijing would probably not have watched an Indian attack on East Pakistan, the territory of today's Bangladesh, which was still subordinate to Islamabad at the time. The mediation efforts of UN Secretary-General U Thant ultimately culminated with Soviet and American support in a Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire on September 22nd. From the early morning hours of the 23rd the guns fell silent.

Information about profits and losses differ widely in India and Pakistan. Neutral sources indicate that 3,000 to 4,000 soldiers fell on both sides. At the time of the armistice, India held about 1800 and Pakistan occupied 550 square kilometers of enemy territory. The UN resolution called for a withdrawal to the positions before August 5th. However, this did not happen for the time being, also because in the heated mood the armistice was unpopular and there was hardly any willingness to make concessions.

The questions should not be finally clarified until the Tashkent conference in January. Under considerable diplomatic pressure, Pakistan agreed to evacuate the passports it had captured in Kashmir. In addition, the referendum called for by Islamabad on the future of the disputed province was not mentioned in the final document of the conference, the Tashkent Declaration.

Pakistan had not achieved its war goals, but India was able to maintain the status quo that had prevailed since the first war for Kashmir in 1947. This explains why the outcome of the war is usually assessed in favor of India by the neutral side. Prime Minister Shashtri could no longer enjoy his diplomatic success. The night after the statement was signed, he died of a heart attack in Tashkent.

Nuclear armament

In the eyes of some historians, the armed conflict had serious long-term consequences. The feeling of defeat widespread in Pakistan is likely to have strengthened the determination to procure their own nuclear weapons. India had been pursuing a nuclear program since 1964 - at that time mainly with a view to China.

In addition, the war, for example through Islamabad's openly admitted stance of leaving the defense of East Pakistan, i.e. today's Bangladesh, to China, has strengthened the determination of the people there to follow a path independent of Pakistan. The Bangladeshi War of Independence that followed in 1971 not only led to gruesome crimes against the civilian population, but also to the next armed conflict between India and Pakistan.

The conflict over the predominantly Muslim province of Jammu and Kashmir, which was added to Delhi when Pakistan split off from India in 1947, has not yet been resolved. Skirmishes on the armistice line are the order of the day, and there are repeated major confrontations, such as the so-called Kargil War in 1999. There are also terrorist attacks by separatists, who, according to Delhi, are supported by Islamabad.

Despite initial conciliatory gestures towards Pakistan, tensions have tended to rise again since the determined Indian Prime Minister Modi took office. Islamabad regards the current lavish 50th anniversary celebrations as a provocation.