New Delhi, May 20 (ANI) Earlier this week, a leading weekly magazine published a special issue focussing on the 1965 India-Pakistan War with the title "India's Forgotten War".
The occasion was the fiftieth anniversary of the war.
President Ayub Khan, then a favourite with the Western powers as Pakistan was an ally in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, was keen that before India builds up the strength of its armed forces, it should take action to acquire Kashmir. As an ally of the Western Powers, Pakistan had received Patton Tanks, F-104 Star Fighters, Sabres and B-57 bombers.
In the summer of 1965, Pakistan had a trial run by invading the Rann of Kutch. I was then a public relations officer in the Directorate of Public Relations of the Ministry of Defence, and was asked to cover the operations in Kutch. Before the Indian Army could mobilise troops, a cease fire was brought about through the intervention of then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
The cease fire came into being on the day Major Sunderj was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and became the commanding officer of the Mahar Regiment located in the Rann of Kutch.
Ayub Khan and his advisors apparently had hoped that India would shift army formations from north to south, and that he would have a free run in invading Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan then sent infiltrators to Kashmir hoping that the people of the State would rise in its favour. Instead, people gave information of the infiltrators to units of the Indian Army. During the operations that followed, the Indian Army was able to capture key passes that gave ingress to the infiltrators, particularly the Haji Pir Pass in Kashmir.
Impatient, the Pakistan Army attacked Chamb Jaurian on September 1. Titled Operation Grand Slam' Pakistan tried to sever the Indian jugular in Chamb, and was close to succeeding in their objective. The Indian Air Force, which counter-attacked, lost a number of aircraft.
At this critical juncture, India took the initiative at the strategic level through its bold political decision to extend the conflict across the international border in Punjab, which compelled Pakistan to hold its forces at Chamb Jaurian. The decision was taken by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Defence Minister Yeshwantrao Balwantrao Chavan, who had replaced Krishna Menon after the 1962 debacle. According to records, Y.B. Chavan recorded in minutes on September 4, that the decision to launch an attack on Pakistan across the international border in Punjab was a desperate move and carried high risks. "The step will change the complexion of the entire situation. If we fail - and I cannot imagine it - the nation fails. ". The nation won.