Thursday, 17 December 2015

1965 Indo Pak War Let’s learn a lesson from history, Umer Ali

1965 Indo Pak War Let’s learn a lesson from history, Umer Ali 
 September 6, 2015 · 
“The border remains alive and active due to the frequency of ceasefire violations and infiltration bids by our western neighbor,” said Indian Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag. “In that context, we are acutely aware that the swift, short nature of future wars is likely to offer limited warning time,” he added.

“Our forces crushed the Indian dreams of occupying Lahore back in 1965 and will do the same in future,” Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif responded.
Dr Samar Mubarak, a renowned Pakistani scientist, while talking to a TV Channel said, “Pakistan can wipe out entire India from the subcontinent in few seconds.”

These statements came in the backdrop of failed talks between the National Security Advisers of both neighboring countries. Days after the cancelation of the dialogue, heavy shelling across the LoC started, resulting in nine civilians dead and 50 wounded.
Irony of these incidents is the month of September, when 50 years ago, in 1965, Pakistan and India went to a 17-day long war.

As the hyper-nationalism and so-called patriotism reaches its hysterical peak in Pakistan, we need to discuss the events that led to the ’65 war and why it is important for us to don’t repeat the mistakes again.

While growing up, studying history from textbooks, one tends to believe that India attacked Pakistan at night as Pakistan was totally unprepared for the war, but the Army fought valiantly and Indians being cowards, were pushed back. This is the official discourse of the ’65 war being taught in the textbooks.

Ask a Pakistani, who recently graduated from college and there is only 1% chance that he would know about Operation Gibraltar and Operation Grand Slam.

Described by SSG Colonel SG Mehdi as ‘childish, so bizarre as to be unacceptable to logical, competent, professionally sound military persons anywhere in the world’, Operation Gibraltar was set into motion on July 24 1965, when Pakistan Army sent the ‘Mujahedeen’ and its regular commandoes in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Disguised as locals, their aim was to fuel an uprising in Kashmir that would weaken the Indian position and forced it to dialogue table, without risking full-fledged war.

Historians argue if the reason was peculiar planning or bad execution but their opinion is unanimous about the outcome – it was an utter failure.

After the Pakistani infiltrators were recognized, Indian troops started countering them. They launched offensive on the insurgent bases in Azad Kashmir. To ensure the safety of Muzaffarabad and target Akhnur, the life line of Indian Army, Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam on September 1, 1965. With few initial gains, the operation turned into another failure when Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik, who was commanding the forces was replaced with Major General Yayha Khan. This left Army cadres confused and the progress of operation was stalled, giving Indian Army a chance to recover. The fighting continued until September 6 when seeing no sign of progress, Indian Army attacked the sectors across Punjab, forcing Pakistan to stop its thrust in Kashmir.

With no objective achieved, Grand Slam, too turned out to be a failure.
Coming back to the textbook narratives, our children are taught that India attacked Pakistan covertly, without warning. ’65 war is seen totally as an Indian offensive against Pakistan, which is the sheer morphing of the historical facts.

The idea is instilled in the minds that Hindus were coward and Pakistanis, with lesser resources but a strong ‘faith in God’, countered them successfully, which again is not true. Major (retd.) A. H. Amin, a Pakistani military historian wrote in a series of columns that Pakistan Army had the overall superiority of 6 to 1 over Indian tanks and Artillery.
Although it was a tactical draw between India and Pakistan, analysis of the events show that Pakistan lost it. Neither did it achieve the objectives of Operation Gibraltar, nor did Operation Grand Slam succeed.

So, instead of marveling over the supposed victory, let’s promise to educate our people about the reality. Let’s enlighten them with the unaltered historical facts. Let them decide if the pursued events resulted in the victory of Pakistan or not, instead over shoving our opinion on them.

More importantly, let’s not get carried away with our patriotism to become a war-monger. Let’s discourage any statements or moves by the government, threatening war.
Let’s learn a lesson from the history.
About the author: Umer is a journalism student who reads and writes about Pakistan and its history. He aspires to see a tolerant and progressive Pakistan. He tweets here.

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