General Studies Paper 1 (World History): 1965 India-Pakistan War

1965 War

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Syllabus: General Studies Paper 1 (World History)


Under what circumstances was the war of 1965 with Pakistan fought? How did it affect India? Discuss.



The 1965 war between India and Pakistan, also known as the Second Kashmir War, was the culmination of a series of skirmishes that occurred between April 1965 and September 1965. The clash did not resolve this dispute, but it did engage the United States and the Soviet Union in ways that would have important implications for subsequent superpower involvement in the region.


Circumstances which led to 1965 war:

  • Since Independence, both nations were in contention over several issues, primarily on border disputes. Kashmir was a major divisive issue between both the nations, but other border disputes existed, most notably over the Rann of Kutch, a barren region in the Indian state of Gujarat. 
  • The reason for these skirmishes are directly tied to Pakistan and Operation Gibraltar, their attempt to secretly put forces in the disputed Kashmir region which resulted in India escalating the situation to full blown war.
  • In an attempt to harass India, Pakistan began launching patrols into Indian-controlled territory in 1965 before shortly escalating to attacks on border posts by both sides. 
  • Britain intervened in June of 1965 with Prime Minister Harold Wilson convincing both sides to cease their hostilities and allow for a tribunal to settle the various disputes. 
  • During this tribunal, Pakistan made some progress in Rann of Kutch which reinvigorated the Pakistani Army and gave the new breath to ideas of destabilizing the Kashmir.
  • The successes in Rann of Kutch gave new vigor to Pakistan’s efforts against India and Indian Army in a lightning campaign across the Kashmir, much like how China defeated India in 1962.
  • It was during this defeat that Pakistan generated the idea for Operation Gibraltar, believing that the population of the Kashmir was intolerant of Indian rule.
  • Pakistan launched Operation Gibraltar in an attempt to stir up resistance and potentially start a movement that would seek to remove India from Kashmir. 
  • When 26,000 – 33,000 Pakistani soldiers crossed into the Kashmir dressed as locals in August of 1965, they were immediately reported by local Kashmiri to Indian forces who promptly crossed the ceasefire line and launched a full scale offensive against Pakistan, kick starting the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.

Effect on India:

  • Tashkent Declaration- It was a peace agreement signed between India and Pakistan to give effect to ceasefire.
  • Establishment of RAW- India established Research and Analysis Wing for external espionage and intelligence to avoid such incidents in future.
  • Enhanced tri-service co-ordination- India focused on enhancing communication and coordination within and among the tri-services of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Modernization of army- Post war, India took it upon itself to re-organize its armed forces as well as modernize its weaponry, the effect of which can be clearly seen in the 1971 victory.
  • Changed foreign policy- United States and United Kingdom refused to supply India with sophisticated weaponry which strained the relations between the West and India. It distanced itself from Western powers and developed close relations with the Soviet Union.



The war could not resolve the Kashmir resolve, which continues till date and is a major factor behind strained Indi-Pakistan relations.  War of 1965, proved that India can defeat Pakistan in a conventional war, and henceforth Pakistan resorted to Unconventional or terror war on India.


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