Written by Rehman Sheikh
“In the Jammu-Sialkot Sector, the Indian Army amassed the largest chunk of its might i.e. 1 Corps consisting of one Armoured Division, two Infantry Divisions and one Mountain Division. However, 1 Corps did not achieve proportionate results. Here again, bad generalship at the corps and the divisional levels, and lack of cooperation among the formations were responsible for their poor showing,” quotes chapter 12 of the Indian official history of the 1965 war.
Indian defeat in 1965 has been attributed to the inefficiency of their military leadership.
On the morning of 6th September when the Indians crossed into the Pakistan territory in the Burki Sector, Indian troops had been assured by their commanders that they would have their breakfast in Lahore. But in the next few days, the Indian Army was to learn that a nation’s spirit should never be taken lightly.
An American Radio Service Journalist Rai Milan writes in his war diary “I want to bring it on record that India is claiming victory but on ground, there is no evidence to support Indian claims. What I see is only destroyed Indian tanks and huge logistic support units rolling towards their forward area. During my long journalistic career spanning over two decades, I have never seen a group of such confident individuals as the victorious Pakistani soldiers fighting against Indians”.
On Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, while analysing the war of 1965 it is written that the invasion of Pakistan by the Indian Army was a strategic blunder. The Indian Army failed to analyse the real potential of Pakistan Army which resulted in their defeat.
The official history of the 1965 War drafted by the Indian Ministry in 1992 was a long-suppressed document that outlined intelligence and strategic blunders by India during the War.
According to the document, on September 22, when the UN Security Council was pressing for a ceasefire, the Indian prime minister (PM) asked General Chaudhry if India could possibly win the war if he delayed accepting the ceasefire for a little while longer. The general replied that most of India’s frontline ammunition had been used up and the Indian Army had suffered tank losses.
It was revealed later that only 14 per cent of India’s frontline ammunition had been fired and India still held twice the number of tanks than Pakistan. By this time the Pakistan Army had used up about to 80 per cent of its ammunition. Air Chief Marshal (r) P.C. Lal, who was the vice chief of air staff during the conflict, points to the lack of coordination between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army. Neither side revealed its battle plans to the other. The battle plans drafted by the Ministry of Defence and General Chaudhry did not specify a role for the IAF in the order of battle.
There are hundreds of other blunders by the Indian Intelligence and their field commanders.
Pakistan Army, with the backing of the entire nation, stood like a cemented wall against Indian onslaught on all fronts. On the Sialkot front, one Indian Infantry, one armoured division and an armoured brigade were repulsed by an infantry division. Fifteen Indian attacks were repulsed only at Chawinda-Philora Sector.
However, India had to face the biggest of humiliations on the Lahore front, where thirteen of their attacks were repulsed. At Kasur, Pakistani forces not only repulsed many Indian attacks but went deep into India and captured a substantial chunk of their territory. The spirited Pakistani nation faced the Indian might boldly and defeated them on all fronts. There have been rare examples of extreme valour and courage in the military history as were witnessed during 1965 both by the Pakistani nation and soldiers.]
Despite numerical superiority, the Indians were humiliated on all fronts at sea, air and ground.
The war that India foisted on Pakistan on September 6, 1965, was the product of several years of constant and deliberate planning in New Delhi. The underlying Indian philosophy behind this aggressive attack on a smaller neighbour Pakistan was to take revenge of the division of India in 1947 and an endeavour to reverse the freedom and independence of the Muslims of Pakistan.
The war that continued with full resolve and determination in the ranks and files of the Pakistani Armed Forces. They proved once and forever, that the valiant Pakistani soldiers backed by a resolute nation were not to be cowed by Indian threats and intimidations.
The author is a defence analyst based in Rawalpindi