Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations

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Bibliographic Information
Journal Grassroots
Title Impact of Military Wars/Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations
Author(s) Shaikh, Shahzeb, Afshan Iqbal, Asghar Dashti
Volume 53
Issue 1
Year 2019
Pages 113-128
Full Text Crystal Clear mimetype pdf.png
URL Link
Keywords Wars, Kashmir Issue, Pakistan, India
Chicago 16th Shaikh, Shahzeb, Afshan Iqbal, Asghar Dashti. "Impact of Military Wars/Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations." Grassroots 53, no. 1 (2019).
APA 6th Shaikh, S., Iqbal, A., Dashti, A. (2019). Impact of Military Wars/Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations. Grassroots, 53(1).
MHRA Shaikh, Shahzeb, Afshan Iqbal, Asghar Dashti. 2019. 'Impact of Military Wars/Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations', Grassroots, 53.
MLA Shaikh, Shahzeb, Afshan Iqbal, Asghar Dashti. "Impact of Military Wars/Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations." Grassroots 53.1 (2019). Print.
Harvard SHAIKH, S., IQBAL, A., DASHTI, A. 2019. Impact of Military Wars/Conflicts on Pakistan-India Relations. Grassroots, 53.


South Asia and Indian subcontinent have historically been regions of geo-strategic importance. They have been the most sought-after territories for every major World Player in each era. As a result of independence from the British in 1947, Pakistan and India emerged as two sovereign states, however, at loggerheads with each other since their very inception. The two countries have fought four deadly wars (1947-48, 1965 & 1971), including one (Kargil) after attaining the status of nuclear powers. One commonality in all these wars has been the unresolved Kashmir Issue, which remains the sorest point in the Pak-India ties to-date. These wars and many others military conflicts have resulted in the breach of peace for the region causing a much-feared nuclear threat, economic losses, disruption of social and cultural ties etc. For greater world peace, Pakistan and India need to resolve their differences/issues through bilateral negotiations, as war is no solution to any problem. For this purpose, political leadership of both the countries will have to intelligently carve out a plan to achieve the objective of peace and tranquility in the region. Both the countries need to realize that neighbours cannot be wished away. Peace in South Asia is synonymous to peace in the world.


The study aims at revisiting various wars/military conflicts between Pakistan and India right from the Independence Eve and the impact on their bilateral relations. Efforts have been made to bring out a balanced and true picture of events which changed power equation in the Sub-continent which has had impact on South Asia and in the World over the years.


The Indian Sub-Continent and South Asia have historically been regions of great strategic importance in every era. They have witnessed the rise and fall of many great powers such as Mangols, Turkish, and British etc. The region is versatile in the sense it houses many countries, cultures, languages and traditions. Majority of the South Asian races stems from the following: Mongloid races which range from China; Aryans, who entered the Indian Subcontinent from the north-west and spread southwards and Eastwards; and the Dravidians (Maude, 1996). The region was primarily under British the region consisting of Pakistan, India, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, and according to few, also Myanmar and Afghanistan. The Hindus and Muslims formed the major portion of the population of the subcontinent. This plurality of society was, in fact, the major source of tension, which eventually led to the partition and the end of the British Raj. In fact, the tensions never ended even after partition; rather it was a beginning of another story of the strained neighbourhood. In the immediate aftermath of partition, the on-going communal warfare reached to a height. The slaughter of the migrants on both sides of the great divide mounted with each passing day. The issues primarily included mass migration, religious differences, geographical division, and distribution of resources, water disputes and of course, the accession territory of Jammu & Kashmir in the Indian Union. It can be safely argued that the British failed to manage a peaceful and politically acceptable Partition to all the parties of the sub-continent (Cohen, 2004).


In the form of Kashmir, the world has witnessed one of the longest disputes, which ignited right from the time of Independence of Pakistan and India in 1947. Both the countries have fought successive wars due to the valley of Kashmir resulting in antagonism on both sides. Both the countries continue to pay a heavy price in terms of their socio-economic problems resulting in human misery. Beginning with the 1947-8 war and leading to various wars and other conflicting issues, all of them are directly related to Kashmir (Ahmad, 2009). It continues to be the most enduring and intractable problem between the two countries to date. It is, however, pertinent to note that Pakistan’s interest in Kashmir is multidimensional viz. ideological, economic and geo-strategic.

Recalling the background of the war, it is pertinent to mention that at the eve of the partition of the subcontinent, the Princely states of the subcontinent were given an option under the Indian Independence Act 1947 to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. The State of Kashmir with a Hindu Maharaja and having predominantly Muslim majority population was always going to be a tricky question. While the geographical and religious elements seemed feasible for the accession of Kashmir to Pakistan, it would have weakened the personal position of Maharaja to accede to a Muslim country. Nevertheless, he appreciated Kashmir’s natural inclination towards Pakistan and signed a ‘Standstill Agreement’ with her. India did not sign the same (Hasan, 1966). By this time, the situation in Kashmir had gotten worsened with Muslims showcasing their support and allegiance to Pakistan. By October 1947, another incident happened whereby tribesman from NWFP started to move into Kashmir. India accused Pakistan of not containing this movement of tribesman. Taking notice of this penetration, the Maharaja reached out to India for assistance. Maharaja apparently had no choice but to accede to India on 27th October 1947 under clear conditions if he wanted Indian support (Ibid). Upon the accession of Kashmir to India, the Indian Army entered the valley against the ‘raiders’ to establish law and order in the territory and to resist the imminent threat to Srinagar. These were the reasons put forward by India to the British Prime Minister, Mr. Atlee that was clearly by denounced by Pakistan. The war really began came into momentum when the Indian Army took the better of the tribesman forcing Pakistan Army to enter the situation. This Pakistani support came into the scene due to the plight of Muslims, which evoked strong sympathy in Pakistan (Sattar, 2010). Many military conflicts occurred in various sectors. However, by the end of 1948 of Indian Forces had been successful in grabbing great’s part of Kashmir and Pakistani forces influence prevailed in some parts (Rashdi, 1988).

The matter was referred the United Nations Security in 1948 which provided for an immediate ceasefire between Pakistan and India, minimum Indian army presence in the territory to assist the civil formation and holding a plebiscite to decide the future of Kashmir. The matter still remains unsettled.

Chopra (1990) argues that Indo-Pak conflict of 1947 was devised by the colonial rulers and their front-men in the Subcontinent who perhaps intended to weaken the newly created Sovereign stated, which also has some evidence on record viz. Visit of Montgomery and Mountbatten to discuss the future British defence of North India. Mountbatten had series of long talks with Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. After his visit, the demand for independence gained momentum. Indian Commander-in-Chief Gen. Roy Bucher kept in constant touch with Pakistan C-in-C Gen Gracey during the war period and fought ‘our’ wars in a friendly ‘spirit’. Burke (1973) noted that Mahajan, Prime Minister of Kashmir, who later on became Chief Justice of India later, revealed that he was promised military aid by India whenever needed in 1947.

Discussing further towards the solution of Kashmir, the Kashmir dispute itself was and remains very simple. And, it also its solution according to Sattar (2010): the implementation of UN resolution for the free plebiscite. Hence, Chakrabarti (2012) argued that the Kashmir issue has been grossly mishandled. The fact that the aspirations of local people have not been taken into account and Indian highhandedness paved way for an uprising of the 1980s and 1990s against India. Amnesty International also notices severe human rights violation in Kashmir.

The Kashmir war brought about a few major elements in Pakistan’s way of dealing with international and local affairs. All the positives and negatives of the Kashmir dispute are relevant to the development of the Pakistan Army (Cloughley, 2000). Chengappa (2004) rightly notes that Pakistan policy on Kashmir was well acknowledged in the post-cold war era environment as the principle of determination gained momentum and led to the creation of new states like the Czech Republic, Croatia etc. in Eastern Europe (Ibid.). However, successive years had to tell that it was the beginning of a never-ending series antagonism between the two countries with imminent wars and military conflicts.


Right after Pakistan became a Republic, she remained under successive Martial Laws. Kashmir issue took a backseat for a while as discontinuance of democracy and economic sufferings made people demand to do away from emotional issues like Kashmir (Chopra, 1990). It was this time that Gen. Ayub Khan took over the reigns of the country by a military coup in 1958. This military era brought Pakistan closer to the US and thus militarism rose in the country (Ibid.). Pacts of CENTO and SEATO are examples of such Government stances. However, resentment with India continued this time because of an issue ranging back from the British era. The Princely State of Kutch and British Indian province of Sindh had dispute over the Rann (desert). After the partition, Kutch acceded to India and Sindh joined Pakistan. It was in April 1965 that Pakistan and India again came at the brink of a war. The issue was that of Rann of Kutch, a swampy area, marking the southern border of the two countries and separating them in the Arabian Sea. It is worth noting that the territory was never of much importance for both the sides. Nevertheless, both sides put forward their claim on the territory. Diplomatic efforts began from 1956 to resolve the issue on a bilateral level. When these efforts did not bear fruit, the situation aggravated at the borders where both the countries came into direct conflict. The Kutch encounter was brief, Pakistan apparently getting the better of the Indian forces. It made PM Shastri quote on April 29, 1965 that if fighting continued, The Army will decide its own strategy and deploy its manpower and equipment in the way it deems fit. This statement was perceived by many as an open threat to capture Lahore. The international community, taking note of the gravity of the situation came forth for a détente between India & Pakistan. The US President Johnson had no moral standing to convince parties not to fight after cancelling the US visits of President Ayub Khan and PM Shastri. Moscow although remained neutral in the case and urged the parties to ease tensions, however, she was still perceived by Pakistan as tilted towards India. In this situation, UK PM Harold Wilson took upon himself to convince the archrivals to come to a peaceful solution of the dispute in July 1965 (Burke, 1973). It was decided the matter be referred to an international tribunal. Pakistani nominated Iranian diplomat Nasrolla Entezam while India nominated Yugoslav diplomat/judge, Ales Bebler. Gunnar Legergren of Sweden was appointed as Chairman of the tribunal. This truce made PM Shashtri labeled as a betrayer back home (Chopra, 1990). The award was declared in 1968 thereby giving 90% area to India and the remaining to Pakistan. However, Pakistan remained advantageous as it got high ground areas (bets) while India received mostly swampy and low-lying areas. India’s knack of involving international organizations for adjudication of its bilateral issues made her suffer a massive loss. She should learn to resolve her bilateral issue, bilaterally (Ibid).

For Pakistan things were positive. From the Rann of Kutch, Pakistan discovered certain weaknesses of Indian armed forces (Ziring, 2003). The apparent success of the Pakistan Army with Indian Forces in the Rann of Kutch area fostered Ayub Khan’s rising faith in his army’s inherent strength. Flatters further amplified his confidence (Khan, 1979). Kutch conflict had two effects. One, India wanted to settle a score with Pakistan, two, Pakistan in result got overconfident, which within 5 months proved to another step towards war as the Kashmir issue once again detonated (Sattar, 2010). One interesting aspect of the clash as reported is that weapons used by both Pakistan and India were supplied by the US.


After the truce in June 1965, it was hoped that the peace and tranquility would prevail between the neighbours. However, it was not so. Kutch War paved way for the yet another war whereby Pakistan feared that India intended to merge Kashmir into the Indian Union. In the Kutch war, Pakistan definitely came heavy on India (Stoessinger, 1978). Moves like the arrest of President Abdullah, adoption of Constitution Amendment Bill by the Kashmir Legislative Assembly regarding the appointment of Governor by the President of India etc. gave rise to the tension with Pakistan and also within Kashmir where public risings were ignited. Sada-e-Kashmir (Voice of Kashmir) came forth to raise the voices of the locals for a Kashmir revolutionary movement. India alleged the radio service was being operated from Pakistan (Burke, 1973). Hence, the tension was high and PM Shastri was under immense pressure to avenge the Kutch defeat. Pakistan, on the other hand, emphasized on coming out with a solution of Kashmir problem.


While tensions were high, and amidst regular armed conflicts at the ceasefire line in Kashmir, it was reportedly alleged that armed personnel from Azad Kashmir had infiltrated into Indian-held Kashmir to revolt against India. Pakistan labeled these warriors as ‘Freedom Fighters’ and denied having any connection with them. They were tribesman who wanted to save their people from Indian cruelties. There are mixed reviews on whether international media labeled Pakistan for this supporting these warriors. The report to the UN Secretary Council said that their identity could not be verified. Alastair Lamb also wrote that it was nowhere proven that the warriors were Pakistani army personnel.

While it is reportedly true that Pakistan did, in fact, expect the guerrilla action to achieve positive results against India. The assumptions for ‘Operation Gilbraltar’ were in fact very wishful. They were: People in Kashmir would rise up to support guerrillas, a large scale Indian offensive against Azad Kashmir was unlikely and the possibility of attack across the International Border could be ruled. Unfortunately all failed. While it was true that goodwill for Pakistan existed in Kashmir. But matching it with the feeling of resentment against India and mobilize a proper military operation was unrealistic (Sattar, 2010). The Washington Post also noted the same. It is also reported that Gen (R) Muhammad Musa in his book titled “My Version: India & Pakistan” frankly admits that Maj. Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik induced the Government into taking advantage of the troubled situation in Kashmir for the liberation of Kashmir. However, the main reason for the failure of Operation Gibraltar can be attributed to the conduct of the undisciplined tribesman who got involved in loot and plunders before they even reached Srinagar and moved away from their real target –the liberation of Jammu & Kashmir from India (Faruqi, 2018).


As military offensives had begun, Pakistan came forth Operation Grand Slam, under the command of Brig. Akhtar Hussain Malik. It was a counter move to the Indian offensive at several important points along ceasefire line Azad Kashmir. It main was to capture the strategically important Akhnoor Bridge and seal Munawar gap in Jammu & Kashmir. The operation was launched on September 1, 1965. Pakistan did pretty well until the change of command of 12 Infantry Division occurred. Change of command from Maj Gen Akhtar Hussain Malik to Maj Gen. Yahya Khan had far reaching effects on the operation in a purely negative way (Chaudhry, 1977). The GHQ inquired Yahya Khan if he could take Akhnur or not. Had Yahya acted the bold he could have taken Akhnur to implement the final phase of operation? Indians were defensive and on the run. It is thought that change of command had to do with the curtailing the scope of Operation Grand Slam, which was so well conceived. Due to this delay and confusion, India attacked the next morning from Punjab and did everything to destroy Pakistan. However, when they failed, they attempted to cover by announcing that their objective was to destroy Pakistan Army. Their claim was absurd. In fact, there was a need for Pakistan to a ceasefire (Ibid). It can be easily said that Grand slam was a daring plan, which caught Indians by complete surprise (Tufail, 2006).


On September 5, 1965, India launched an air offensive near Amritsar, first one outside Kashmir. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) replied in a befitting manner. On the ground, Pakistani forces crossed the ceasefire line and occupied two Indian posts in Chamb area of Kashmir. Pakistan also occupied Jaurian near Akhnoor. The fight continued on three fronts from September 6 until September 23, 1965. India threatened to take Lahore followed by an attack on Sialkot. Rajistan was the third front. Fabulous performance of Air Force, Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy halted Indian thrust. Neither side achieved any decisive breakthrough. Pak made marginally larger territorial gains (Sattar, 2010). Gen. Muhammad Musa seemed to be the content Commander of his force. Gen Chaudhry also admitted that Pakistan was not knocked out.

The UN interfered for a ceasefire agreement. The ceasefire happened, however, allegations regarding cross-border attacks from each side continued to appear on media. It was Soviet Premier who took upon himself to invite and persuaded both the parties to Tashkent for a conference. A document was signed with three major commitments viz. ceasefire, withdrawal of forces to pre-August 5 position, and amicable resolution of Kashmir Issue. Hence, Kashmir was not resolved. Critically speaking, neither did the agreement provide for mediation of a third party in future Pak-India talks not it abstained Pakistan from raising the issue at the UN (Ali, 2001). It was interesting to note that a Communist nation managed a truce between two Bourgeoisie countries.

Of course, like every war, this war had economic and political consequences. Development programs had to be modified. Finally, it is also alleged that Pak-India war of 1965 was a prime effort by Pakistan to grab Kashmir It is also alleged that Operation Grand Slam was launched because Operation Gibraltar failed to achieve its objectives (Chopra, 1990).


After the 1965 War, the government came under severe criticism as people realized that military governments have not done much good for the country. The rise of militarism had increased much after military pacts with the US. Economy and development were also under shambles. People now look up to democracy to prevail. As Ayub Khan’s Government fell in 1969, it was only handed over another military dictator, Gen. Yahya, who considering the gravity of the political situation, announced certain education and labour policies and promised to transfer of power to a democratic government through free and transparent General Elections. However, only future knew that these elections would turn out to be disastrous for Pakistan. Moshaver (1991) rightly observes that in 1971, Pakistan fought two wars viz. internal (civil) and external.


To respect the chronology, it will be reasonable to discuss the causes and effects of the civil war first. It is a well-known fact apart from religion, there was not much common between East & West Pakistan. Coggin (1971) went on to argue that the only bonds, which kept the two wings of this Muslim nation together, were Islam and Pakistan International Airlines. It is interesting to note that this fragile union did manage to survive until 1971 in the presence of a hostile neighbour. The Union had problems right from its beginning. However, things also couldn't get smooth owning to the early demise of M.A. Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan and assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. There were many reasons for this debacle, which unfortunately were pretty much mishandled. But, let us also accept for a fact that India did play an important role in manipulating and causing mistrust amongst the East Pakistanis against their countrymen in the West Wing. Let us analyze the major reasons for this unfortunate dismemberment. First and foremost was the unequal distribution of economic resources between the two wings. They accused West Pakistanis of economic exploitation. It was alleged that the majority of Government and Army Officers came from West Pakistan. Jahan (1972) argues that the major portion of civil bureaucracy and Army top brass was dominated by Punjabis and to an extent people from NWFP. These people, although in minority, had become the elites of the country and framers for economic, foreign and development policies. Burke (1973) put forward three reasons for this apparent dominance of East Pakistan in public affairs. One, US military assistance to West Pakistan dominated Army, two, the One Unit factor, and three, principle of parity between the two wings in the 1956 and 1962 Constitutions. Afrasiab (2016), however, refutes these claims. He argues that in the 23 years of the union, many personalities of East Pakistan occupied key positions such as Khawaja Nazimuddin (Governor General), M. Ali Bogra (PM), Huseyn Shaheed Suharwardy (PM), Iskandar Mirza (President). We won't count Gen. Ayub Khan as a leader as he was not a democratic figure. With regard to job opportunities, there was only one ICS Officer from East Pakistan in 1947. East Pakistanis were in a considerable ratio in public service, much greater than Sindh or Balochistan. Many irrigation projects and Mongla port in Bangladesh, Steels Mills, Dhaka Railway Station & Adamjee Jute Mill were built in Pakistan time. Hence, it cannot be out rightly said that there was no development in infrastructure, health, education, social and employment sector.

The language was also a major issue whereby people East Pakistan were upset on making Urdu as the national language. There was resentment amongst the East wing as people demanded that since they were in majority, Bengali be also made as the national language (Jahan, 1972). Nayar (2012) also agrees that the language issue became a uniting point for resentment against West Pakistan. Afrasiab (2016) clarifies a few points on this issue. First, there was a general impression that like Bengali was widely spoken in East Pakistan, it was also the case in the West Wing. This is incorrect. In fact, like people in Bengal speak Bengali, people in the provinces of (West) Pakistan, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjabi, N.W.F.P (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) speak Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi and Pashtu respectively which are entirely language and unique in their own ways. Hence, since Urdu was widely understood in both the wings, so the decision came by. Furthermore, Urdu was closely related to Arabic, the language of the Holy Quran. It is stressed that if Quaid-e-Azam on his visit to Dhaka in 1947 had accepted the demands of making the Bengali language as the national language, similar demands would have been made by the other province which would create many problems.

Coming to the election process, the first General Elections were held in December 1970 whereby Awami League (AL) of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman had a landslide victory in East Pakistan. Pakistan People’s Party of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was second to AL. However, things were not right between both the wings. AL and PPP were at loggerhead with each other. Mujib’s famous Six-Points demanded complete autonomy, paramilitary forces, currencies, trade accounts and taxation to the run affairs of East Pakistan. Owing to Mujib’s strong inclination towards East Pakistan, East Pakistani leaders decided to work on West Pakistan level. Burke (1973) rightly observes that according to West Pakistan’s leadership, acceptance of Mujib’s Six-Point scheme meant the virtual dissolution of Pakistan. Mujib’s apparent taking of power perplexed Gen. Yahya as he postponed the National Assembly Session in Dhaka on March 3, 1971 session. On March 10, 1971, he invited all the leaders of the newly elected assembly to meet him at Dhaka. Mujib rejected this proposal for the reason that the army is shooting down innocent people in Dhaka. Mujib launched a non-violent non-cooperation movement, which had a further pressure on the Government. Jahan (1972) noted that the whole of East Pakistan Administration responded to this call for non-cooperation. Gen. Yahya rescheduled the National Assembly Session for March 26, 1971. However, the events turned out to be worse than expected. Gen. Yahya flew back to Islamabad and upon his return; he blamed Mujib for acts of treason and order the Army to crush the Awami League movement. Hence, began the civil war, which transformed into a liberation movement for an independent Bangladesh. Pakistan was broken on March 25, 1971. It was just a matter of time when it would happen in real (Chopra, 1990). While political situation worsened in Pakistan, Pakistan-India ties also became strained as India felt some security threats. First, the immediate aftermath of the civil war resulted in mass exodus of the refugees to India Second, during the 1965 War, Pak army concentration in the East was less? By 1971, the Pak Army had been large enough to launch military action on Both East and West fronts. This created a security problem for India (Sisson & Rose, 1991).


Why did India prefer war with Pakistan? The answer to this question is two-fold: economic and defence. On the economic front, India was caught up with the issue of mass migration of refugees flooding in after the East Pakistan civil war. India couldn't afford this much cost of keeping up the migrants. Hence, PM Indira Gandhi used her diplomatic channels and pressure groups for a separate state in East Pakistan which would undermine Pakistan’s power and provide a homeland for the migrants. Military means meant a war with Pakistan was still cheaper than housing and feeding the immigrants. On the defence front, mass migration was itself a security issue. Besides, the year 1971 also proved to be a military disaster for Pakistan but it resulted in the consolidation of her military assets on the western front which was a big concern for Indian national security (Paul, 2005). By this time, it was evident that India was extending assistance to Mukti Bahini rather covertly.

The war began on Dec 3, 1971, in the west before extending to the east. Gen. Aurora was leading Indian Eastern Command while Maj. Gen. Candeth led the Western Command. On Dec 4, 1971, Pakistani troops reached Jaiselmer but India defended the Longewala in Rajastan. India was successful in taking Basantar in the Punjab-Jammu sector. On Dec 8, 1971, Indian navy attacked the port city of Karachi in Operation Python. Indian missile boat Vinash and two frigates – Talwar & Trishul attacked Karachi Harbour. Many commercial ships caught fire as a result. Indian ships also attacked the country’s oil and ammunition reserves, warehouses and workshops. Merchant shipping was put to on hold, which caused massive economic losses. Pakistan lost its submarine, Ghazi. Pakistan avenged this by shooting down Indian INS Khukri, in the Arabian Sea. Pakistan seemed more vulnerable in the Eastern front as its three-division were facing Indian’s Eastern Command and three Mukti Bahini brigades (also backed by India). Indian’s numerical strength was remarkable. All corps and paratroopers performed. Air Force was tremendous. PAF was denied refueling in Ceylon due to PM Indira Gandhi’s pressure (Tripathi, 2016). The 14-day war ended with Gen. Niazi’s surrender on December 16, 1971, an event, which redrew the map of Asia and a new nation; Bangladesh was born (Chopra, 1990). Chopra (1998) also agrees that the power structure of Sub-continent was changed. Regarding the duration of war, Afrasiab (2016) argues that India had launched a full-scale attack on East Pakistan on November 21, 1971, which makes it a 4-week war. Purpose of mentioning this short duration was to boost Indian images as a great power that apparently crushed Pakistan in a mere two weeks. In fact, Sisson & Ross (1991) also observe that India began to aid Bengali rebels since April 1971 and launched consecutive attacks on Pakistan from November 21-25, 1971, by land and air”. Afriasab (2016) also interestingly notes that every year on November 21, the Government of Bangladesh observes the ‘Armed Forces Day’ to pay homage to the armed forces, which fought against West Pakistan, and to the ‘friendly countries’ (most obviously India) for their assistance in the Liberation War. Indira Gandhi’s diplomatic efforts also paved for a successful war as she travelled around the globe to plead the case of Bangladesh by showcasing Pakistani ‘atrocities’ over East Pakistanis (Tripathi, 2016).

Why did Pakistan disintegrate? India’s covert involvement initially and overt invasion later. The East Pakistan debacle was product of a combination of economic, political, linguistic and external factors causing an enormously high level of East Pakistan alienation from Islamabad but the climax was reached when power wasn't transferred to the winners of 1970 elections (Cheema, 2002). Niazi (1998) seconds the thought and asserts that it was the consistent policy of every regime to deprive East Pakistan of decision-making and resources. Had 1970 election been accepted, Pakistan would not have been broken. However, Afriasab (2016) argues that there were serious concerns over Mujib’s covert association with India for a separate homeland. He could not be trusted.

And what happened to the Two Nation Theory? Burke (1973) rightly argues that the theory stays intact. The emergence of two Muslim majority sovereign states is a testimony to that. Like every other war, this war caused much loss to both the sides. However, Pakistan was much under pressure. It was time for democracy to be back in although for a shorter while as Bhutto remained PM until his assassination in 1977 and another Martial law regime ruled till 1987.

The Simla Agreement (1972) was an effort to ease the tensions between Pakistan and India. However, it was a different outing for Bhutto this time. Ali (2001) observes that in Tashkent (1965), both the sides were on equal terms. However, in Simla, Bhutto had a lower bargaining capacity while Gandhi had all the cards. She further argues that India was acting very arrogant after apparent victory in the war of 1971, therefore, she didn't come to the negotiable table for goodwill. In fact, there were two major reasons. First, International opinion regarding India’s illegal intervention in East Pakistan sent negative vibes all across. Second, Moscow was not in favour of the continuation of the war.

It was this time that the international community realized that Kashmir and other related hostilities were bilateral issues of Pakistan & India and began staying away from them. United Nations Organization (UNO) had also acted on the same course (Schofield, 2010).


From May to July 1999, Pakistan & India fought another war at Kargil. It was a large-scale conflict between the two countries. Dixit (2002) argues that it was not a skirmish or a marginal intrusion. It was a war. Kargil occupies an important geostrategic with regard to security of Kashmir, Ladakh and Siachin for India. It may also be noted that Siachin Glacier dispute remained a sore point in Pakistan-India relations from 1978 to 1984, and, resulted in many military conflicts whereby India occupied around 1000 sq. miles of territory. It is worth-noting that Siachen is considered the loftiest battlefield where both the countries have stationed specialized battalions on high alert ever since. Hence, according to Ahmed & Bashir (2004), Siachin has the potential to cause a major war which can carry a nuclear dimension. They label Kargil war in 1999, a limited war and an extension of Siachin conflict.

The origin of the war dates back to initial times of Independence. This conflict erupted along the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir. Many agreements related to borders were signed between both countries like Cease Fire Line in 1948 and Simla Agreement and Line of Control (LOC) in 1972. All these agreements failed to meet the desired results because India would always violate the terms of such agreements and make them of no value. Dixit (2002) alleges that Kargil plan was formulated in the late 1980s but implemented as Gen. Parvez Musharraf took Charge of the Command of Pakistan Army and without the knowledge of the PM Nawaz Sharif. It is also interesting to note that Gen. Musharraf was the Commander of Forces in the Siachin Conflict. It is also alleged that Pakistan wanted to highlight the Kashmir issue as it was slowing losing its importance.

Interestingly, Kargil proved to be a first military conflict between the two neighbours since they officially went nuclear (Hashim, 2014). The war began on May 3, 1999, when reportedly Pakistan Army entered Kargil area. In essence, there were three phases to war: Pakistan entry to Kargil, Indian response to Pakistan’s entry and battles between both sides. However, it has to be said that Pakistan has not ever had an aggressive policy. She always tries to avoid war. India attacked Nellum Valley on regular basis and for that Pakistan responded and began to attack Dras-Kargil road, which was a major Indian supply line. Pakistan army had conquered Kargil and some posts which came under the dominions of India. Interestingly, the height advantage also went in Pakistan’s favour. It is reported when India launched ‘Operation Vijay’, her only aim was to kick out Pakistani forces motive which Indian army had at that time was to remove, the strategically located Pakistani army posts. Hence, India firstly targeted Tiger Hill with sheer force due to which India managed to recapture some of the important territories. Another clash began in Dras Sector, where India outdid Pakistani Army. The conflict brought about much military causality on both sides. However, India managed to recapture areas like Jubar Heights in Batalik, Tololing in Dras Sector and many other important areas.

The war ended on July 26, 1999 with the intervention of the International community hence the fear of a nuclear war was averted and both sides moved to their pre-war position. The interesting point to note here is that the two countries have never engaged in a proper quarrel due to the nuclear deterrence phenomenon. As such, the Kargil war turned out to be a new strategy in the dictionary of nuclear deterrence. The theory was the use of conventional military action against a nuclear state thinking that the other would bow down in fear of an imminent nuclear action (Haqqani, 2016).

Since Kargil happened just a couple of months after PM Vajpayee’s visit to Pakistan, Mahmood (2000) rightly observes that Kargil violated the spirit of Lahore declaration and Confidence Building Measures (CBM). CBM and diplomatic talks could not improve bilateral relations alone. They may be important for détente but not a substitute for problem solving. Unless major issues are resolved, they alone can’t ensure peace and stability.

Cloughley (2000) sums up the aftermaths of the Kargil war for Pakistan. One, it was an exposed the Pakistan weak national policy, two, damage to already stumbling economy, three, peace process with India was halted, four, isolated Pakistan on international front as it was a diplomatic failure, five, weak civil-military relations,(which led to a martial law the same year) and six, threat of a nuclear war.


War has not borne any fruit to any nation. It is futile especially in today’s era where strategic goals can be achieved through economic imperialism. The study analyzed the major wars/military conflicts between Pakistan-India in a thorough manner. It is divulged that the initial three Pakistan-India conflicts (1947-48, 1965, and 1971) were all characterized by a low level of violence, limited scope, and short duration. The reasons for such wars were British heritage, lack of modern weaponry and doctrinal backwardness. Although, Kargil War also had similar characteristics, however, the factors were different. The nuclear factor on both sides gives a higher level of deterrence to the region. The trigger points leading towards war will be twofold: miscommunication and miscalculation. Such conflicts also generate global concern for the region, particularly as the stakes, have become higher with the launch of the global war on terrorism since the 9/11 incident and its toxic impact in the ‘Af-Pak’ region.

Due unrest between Pakistan & India, approx. 17% of the world population is hostage since so many years. No country in this world can stay in isolation in this age of globalization. Especially, no country can wish away neighbours. Hence, it is in the interest of each country to keep cordial ties with its neighbours and the international community. It’s high time Pakistan-India realized that war is no solution to any problem. It’s only through negotiations; trade and CBMs and intelligent political leadership can Pakistan & India resolve their issues and co-exist which is the need of time and in the better interest of both the nations.


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