Indo-pak Wars- A Brief Overview

June 16th, 2006  

Topic: Indo-pak Wars- A Brief Overview

First Indo-Pak war (1947-49)The first war between the two neighbours broke out soon after their independence in 1947. Armed Pathans from the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan entered the territory of Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir, who was yet undecided on the issue of accession to either India or Pakistan. Indian military help was sought by the Maharaja to fend off the invasion. Forces arrived on October 27, after the Maharaja decided on accession of Kashmir to Indian Union.
Despite early successes, the Indian Army suffered a setback in December because of logistical problems. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) troops forced Indian army to retreat from the border areas. Following spring, the Indian side mounted another offensive to recapture some of the ground that it had lost.
As the conflict escalated, the India realised the war could not be ended unless Pakistani support to occupied Kashmir forces was stopped. Accordingly, India filed a compliant against Pakistan at the United Nations on December 31, 1948, despite some opposition from within the Cabinet.
In August, the UN Commission for India and Pakistan called for an end to hostilities with a truce, to be followed by a referendum for self-determination among Kashmiris. Both the parties agreed to the UN resolution. The UN Security Council eventually brought about a ceasefire between Pakistani and Indian troops on January 1, 1949.
In all, 1,500 soldiers died on each side during the war, which left about 30 per cent of Kashmir-including areas of Gilgat, Hunza, Nagar, and Baltistan-under Pakistani control.

Second Indo-Pak war (August 5 - Sept 23, 1965)
The war of 1965 was perhaps one of the most intense wars the two neighbours ever fought. It was also the one that exposed weaknesses in the India's military prowess. Pakistan attacked India in operation code named Gibraltar on August 5, 1965. After initial skirmishes, the first major engagement between the two sides took place on August 14. Following initial advances by India in the northern sector, Pakistani forces moved concentrations near Tithwal, Uri, and Poonch. In a powerful retaliation Indian troops advanced into occupied Kashmir and captured strategic Haji Pir Pass, eight kilometers inside Pakistani territory.
Pakistan then launched Operation Grandslam to take the Akhnoor bridge and cut off the lifeline of supplies to southwest Kashmir. On September 1, Pakistani attack in the southern sector in Punjab inflicted heavy losses on Indian forces. On September 2, India called in air support, which was retaliated by Pakistani air strikes in Kashmir and Punjab.
The war was at a point of stalemate when the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on September 20 that called for a ceasefire. New Delhi and Islamabad accepted the ceasefire, and the war ended on September 23. Indian troops suffered 3,000 casualties, while the Pakistani suffered 3,800. Almost thousand tanks, on either side, were engaged in the war. At the end of it Pakistan lost an estimated 300 tanks, India's losses were 128 tanks.
In the aftermath of the war, Soviet-brokered Tashkent Declaration was signed on January 10, 1966.
Third Indo-Pak war (1971)
The 1971 Indo-Pak war initially started as a civil war in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) as a result of political oppression by the ruling elite of West Pakistan. The revolt began in 1970, when after the general election Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was thrown behind bars.
Pakistani Army cracked down in Bangladesh, killing civilians. Over 80 lakh refugees entered India. Indian government repeatedly appealed to the international community, but failing to elicit any response, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided to help Bengali freedom fighters liberate East Pakistan in April 1971.
Pakistan Air Force in East Pakistan responded by attacking suspected Mukti Bahini camps located inside Indian territory in West Bengal. On December 3, Pakistan Air Force struck Indian airfields in northern India. By midnight, India was officially at war with Pakistan.
In one of the swiftest military campaigns in recent history, India liberated Bangladesh in two weeks, taking 93,000 Prisoner of Wars.
On July 2, 1972, India and Pakistan signed the Simla Pact, agreeing to respect the Line of Control until the issue is finally resolved.
Kargil War (1999)
Kargil was one of the brutish wars fought between the two countries at the frozen heights of Himalayas. Infiltrators in the Batalik sector were first discovered by Indian Army patrols on May 8, 1999. The intruders, comprising mostly Pak Army regulars, along with a sprinkling of Mujahideen, were specially trained and equipped by Pakistan in 40 staging camps near the Line of Control (LoC).
The troops were trained and concentrated at Gultari, Faranshat, Shaqma, Olthingthang, Marol and Kharmang in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), prior to being inducted across the LoC. They had been equipped by Pakistan with medium machine guns, heavy mortars and sophisticated small arms to fight, duly supported by Artillery, with snow mobiles and aviation helicopters for maintenance and sustenance. For protection against air threat they had Stinger missiles.
On May 31, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said it was a "war-like situation" in Kargil and on June 6, the Army launched Operation Vijay, a major offensive in Kargil and Drass sectors. These were accompanied by air strikes. The objective was to keep the crucial Srinagar-Leh highway free from any Pakistani threat.
Three days later, the Army captured the crucial Tololing peak. Vajpayee visited Kargil while US President Bill Clinton urged Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to pull out off Kargil. By July 11, Pakistani infiltrators started retreating from Kargil as India recaptured key peaks at Batalik and set a deadline of July 16 for total withdrawal. On July 12, Sharif announced the pullout on the television and proposed talks with Vajpayee.
Operation Vijay was declared a Victory.

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