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Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, also known as the Second Kashmir War, was the culmination of a series of skirmishes that occurred between April 1965 and September 1965 between India and Pakistan. The war was the second fought between India and Pakistan over the region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947. The war lasted five weeks, resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides and ended in a United Nations (UN) mandated ceasefire. It is generally accepted that the war began following the failure of Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar which was designed to infiltrate and invade Jammu and Kashmir.
Much of the war was fought by the countries' land forces in the region of Kashmir and along the International Border (IB) between India and Pakistan. This war saw the largest amassing of troops in Kashmir, a number that was overshadowed only during the 2001-2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan. Most of the war was fought on land by each country's infantry and armored units, with substantial backing from their air forces. Many details of this war, like those of most Indo-Pakistani Wars, remain unclear and riddled with media biases.

Pre-war escalation
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. Though the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh was integrated into India, its borders, especially in the marshlands to the west were ambiguous. This gave rise to a dispute between Pakistan and India. On March 20 1965, and again in April 1965, fighting broke out between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch. Initially involving the border police from both nations, the disputed area soon witnessed intermittent skirmishes between the countries' armed forces. In June the same year, British Prime Minister Harold Wilson successfully persuaded both countries to end hostilities and set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute. The verdict, which came later in 1968, saw Pakistan gaining 350 square miles (900 km²) of the Rann of Kutch, as against its original claim of 3500 sq miles.[6]
After its successes in the Rann of Kutch, Pakistan, under the leadership of General Ayub Khan, is said to have believed that the Indian Army was unable to defend itself against a quick military campaign in the disputed territory of Kashmir, following a loss to China in 1962.[7] Pakistan believed that the population of Kashmir was generally discontented with Indian rule and that a resistance movement could be ignited by a few infiltrating saboteurs. This was codenamed Operation Gibraltar.[8] However, the Pakistani infiltrators were soon discovered, aided primarily by the local Kashmiris themselves and the entire operation ended in a complete disaster.
For its part, Pakistan claimed to have been concerned by the attempts of India to absorb Kashmir - a state that Pakistan claims as "disputed", into the Indian union by way Articles 356 and 357 of the Indian Constitution allowing the President of India to declare President's Rule in the disputed state.
The war
On August 15, 1965, Indian forces crossed the ceasefire line and launched an attack on Pakistan administered Kashmir. Pakistani reports cite this attack as unprovoked.[9] Indian reports cite the attack as a response to the massive armed infiltrations by Pakistan.[10] Initially, the Indian Army met with considerable success in the northern sector (Kashmir). After launching a prolonged artillery barrage against Pakistan, India was able to capture three important mountain positions. However, by the end of the month both sides were on even footing as Pakistan had made progress in areas such as Tithwal, Uri and Punch and India had gains in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (sometime referred as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), having captured the Haji Pir Pass eight kilometers inside Pakistani territory.[11] Following the failure of Operation Gibraltar, that resulted in territorial gains and rapid Indian advances in Kashmir, Pakistan launched a bold counter attack on September 1, 1965 to reclaim vital posts in Kashmir lost to India. This attack, called "Operation Grand Slam" was intended to capture the vital town of Akhnoor in Jammu and thus sever communications and cut off supply routes to Indian troops. Attacking with an overwhelming ratio of troops and technically superior tanks, Pakistan was on the verge of springing a surprise against Indian forces, who were caught unprepared and suffered heavy losses.[11] India then called in its air force to target the Pakistani attack in the southern sector. The next day, Pakistan retaliated, initialising its air force to retaliate against Indian forces and air bases in both Kashmir and Punjab. But Operation Grand Slam failed to achieve its aim as the Pakistan Army was unable to capture the town. This became one of the turning points in the war, as India decided to relieve pressure on its troops in Kashmir by attacking Pakistan further south.
India crossed the International Border (IB) on the Western front on September 6, marking an official beginning of the war.[9] On September 6, the 15th Infantry Division of the Indian Army, under World War II veteran Major General Prasad battled a massive counterattack by Pakistan near the west bank of the Ichhogil Canal (BRB Canal), which was a de facto border of India and Pakistan. The General's entourage itself was ambushed and he was forced to flee his vehicle. A second, this time successful, attempt to cross over the Ichhogil Canal was made through the bridge in the village of Barki, just east of Lahore. This brought the Indian Army within the range of Lahore International Airport, and as result the United States requested a temporary ceasefire to allow it to evacuate its citizens in Lahore. One unit of the Jat regiment, 3 Jat had also crossed the Ichogil canal and captured[12] the town of Batapore (Jallo Mur to Pakistan) on the west side of the canal, threatening Lahore on the very start of the war.
The same day, a counter offensive consisting of an armored division and infantry division supported by Pakistan Air Force Sabres rained down on the Indian 15th Division forcing it to withdraw to its starting point. Although 3 Jat suffered minimal casualties, the bulk of the damage being taken by Ammunition and stores vehicles, the higher commanders however, had no information of 3 Jat's capture of Batapore and misleading information led to the command to withdraw from Batapore and Dograi to Ghosal-Dial. This move brought extreme disappointment[13] to Lt-Col Desmond Hayde, CO of 3 Jat. Dograi was eventually recaptured by 3 Jat on 21 September, for the second time but after a much harder battle due to Pakistani reinforcements.

On the days following September 9, both nations' premiere formations were routed in unequal battles. India's 1st Armored Division, labelled the "pride of the Indian Army", launched an offensive towards Sialkot. The Division divided itself into two prongs and came under heavy Pakistani tank fire at Taroah and was forced to withdraw. Similarly, Pakistan's pride, the 1st Armored Division, pushed an offensive towards Khemkaran with the intent to capture Amritsar (a major city in Punjab, India) and the bridge on River Beas to Jalandhar. The Pakistani 1st Armored Division never made it past Khem Karan and by the end of September 10 lay disintegrated under the defences of the Indian 4th Mountain Division at what is now known as the Battle of Asal Uttar (Real Answer). The area became known as 'Patton Nagar' (Patton Town) as Pakistan lost/abandoned nearly 100 tanks mostly Patton tanks obtained from the United States.

The war was heading for a stalemate, with both nations holding territory of the other. The Indian army suffered 3,000 battlefield deaths, while Pakistan suffered no less than 3,800. The Indian army was in possession of 710 mile² (1,840 km²) of Pakistani territory and the Pakistan army held 210 mile² (545 km²) of Indian territory, mostly in Chumb in the northern sector.
The war saw the Indian Air Force and the Pakistani Air Force being involved in full scale combat for the first time since independence. Though the two forces had previously faced off in the First Kashmir War during the late 1940s, it was limited in scale compared to the '65 conflict.

Both countries hold highly contradictory claims on combat losses during the war and hardly any neutral sources have thoroughly verified the claims of both countries' claim. PAF claimed it had shot down 104 IAF planes losing only 19 in the process. India meanwhile officially stated that 35 IAF planes were lost while shooting down 73 PAF aircraft. According to Indian figures, the overall attrition rate was 2.16% for Pakistan Air Force and 1.49% for IAF.[14] India also pointed that despite PAF claims of losing only a squadron of combat craft, Pakistan had been seeking urgent help from Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and China, for additional aircraft within 10 days of the war.[15]

Pakistan's main strike force comprised the U.S. made F-86 Sabre jets, which claimed a fair share of Indian planes, though remaining vulnerable to the dimunitive Folland Gnat, nicknamed "Sabre Slayer".[16] The F-104 Starfighter of the PAF was by far the fastest fighter plane operating in the subcontinent at that time. On the other hand, the Indian Air Force relied largely on the Hawker Hunter for attacks. Unlike the PAF whose planes largely consisted of American craft, IAF flew an assortment of planes from Vampires to Mysteres, many of which were outdated in comparison to PAF planes, with even the Hunters and Gnats being outmatched by the Sabres and Starfighters.[17]Some of the fiercest dogfights occurred over Sargodha which was PAF's main base housing the bulk of its planes; IAF planes attacked the base but PAF was able to repulse the attacks. PAF responded by attacking Indian bases with some success, especially in air to ground attacks but were soon forced to back off, in order to provide cover for its ground troops elsewhere. In one incident, the Gujarat Chief Minister, Balawant Rai Mehta's civilian craft was shot down by PAF Sabres inside Indian territory, killing him and the crew. By the end of the war, neither the numerically larger IAF, nor the PAF which possessed a qualitative advantage,[18][19] achieved air superiority.

Tank battles
The 1965 war witnessed some of the largest Tank Battles since World War II. The Pakistani Army had both numerical advantage in tanks as well as better equipment in the form of the venerable Patton Tank.[20] Pakistani armour comprised largely of Patton tanks, which were superior to the M4 Sherman tanks possessed by Indian Army. Even the Sherman tanks on the Indian side were no match for the Pakistani Sherman because the latter were equipped with 90mm guns compared to the 75mm guns on the former. Despite the qualitative edge of Pakistani armour,[18] it was however, outfought on the battlefield by India's armour which made progress into the Lahore-Sialkot sector whilst halting Pakistan's counteroffensive on Amritsar.[21]

[edit] Naval hostilities
The navies of both India and Pakistan played no prominent role in the war of 1965, although Pakistani accounts dispute this.[22] On September 7, a flotilla of the Pakistani Navy carried out a small scale bombardment of the coastal Indian town and radar station of Dwarka, which was 200 miles (300 km) south of the Pakistani port of Karachi. Codenamed Operation Dwarka, it however, did not fulfill its primary objectives and there was no immediate retaliatory response from India. Later, the Indian fleet from Bombay sailed to Dwarka to patrol off that area to deter further bombardment. Nonetheless, foreign authors have noted that the "insignificant bombardment"[23] of the town was a "limited engagement, with no strategic value."[22]

According to some Pakistani sources, one maiden submarine, PNS Ghazi allegedly kept the Indian Navy's aircraft carrier INS Vikrant besieged in Bombay throughout the war. Indian sources claim that it was not their intention to get into a naval conflict with Pakistan, but to restrict the war to a land-based conflict.[24] Moreover, the ship was under refit in dry dock at that time and not even deployed. Even Pakistani defence writers have discounted claims that the Indian Navy was bottled up in harbour due to a single submarine, instead stating that 75% of the Indian Navy was under maintenance in harbour.[25]

Further south towards Bombay, there were reports of underwater attacks by the Indian Navy against what they suspected were American-supplied Pakistani submarines, but this was never confirmed.

A number of covert operations were launched by the Pakistan Army to infiltrate Indian airbases and sabotage them.[26] The SSG (Special Services Group) commandos were parachuted into enemy territory and, according to the then Chief of Army Staff General Musa Khan, about 135 commandos were airdropped at three airfields. Given that the Indian targets (Halwara, Pathankot and Adampur) were deep into enemy territory only 22 commandos made it back alive and the stealth operation proved ineffective. Of those remaining, 93 were taken prisoner, and 20 were killed in encounters with the army, police or the civilians[27] The daring attempt proved to be an "unmitigated disaster"[26] with one of the Commanders of the operations, Major Khalid Butt being taken Prisoner. Despite the failed mission, Pakistan sources claim that it had impacted some of the planned Indian operations, as the 14 Indian Division was diverted to hunt for paratroopers, the next morning the PAF found the road filled with transport and destroyed many transport vehicles.[28] The reason for this failure is attributed to the fact that they were not provided maps, proper briefing and worst of all with no planning or preparation[29] In response to this India announced rewards for any Pakistani spies or paratroopers.[30] Meanwhile, in Pakistan, there was a scare that India had retaliated with its own covert ops by sending commandos deep into Pakistan territory,[29] but this was later found to be unfounded.[31]

India and Pakistan hold widely divergent claims on the damage they have inflicted on each other and the amount of damage suffered by them. The following summarizes each nation's claims.

Indian claims[32] Pakistani claims[33] Independent Sources[7][34]
Casualties - - 2763 Indian soldiers, 3800 Pakistani soldiers
Combat flying effort 4073+ combat sorties 2279 combat sorties
Aircraft lost 35 IAF (official), 73 PAF.Other sources[35] based on the Official Indian Armed Forces History[36] put actual IAF losses at 71 including 19 accidents (non combat sortie rate is not known) and PAF's combat losses alone at 43. 19 PAF, 104 IAF 20 PAF, Pakistan claims India rejected neutral arbitration,[37] India retorts that the neutral arbitration by John Fricker was nothing but a commissioned work. (Singh, Pushpindar (1991). Fiza ya, Psyche of the Pakistan Air Force. Himalayan Books. ISBN 81-7002-038-7. )
Aerial victories 17 + 3 (post war) 30 -
Tanks destroyed 128 Indian tanks,[38] 152 Pakistani tanks captured, 150 Pakistani tanks destroyed.[38] Officially 471 Pakistani tanks destroyed and 38 captured[39] 165 Pakistan tanks[40] 200 Pakistani tanks
Land area won 1,500 mi2 (2,400 km2) of Pakistani territory 2,000 mi² (3,000 km²) of Indian territory India held 710 mi² (1,840 km²) of Pakistani territory and Pakistan held 210 mi² (545 km²) of Indian territory

There have been only a few neutral assessments of the damages of the war, some of the neutral assessments are mentioned below:-

According to the United States Library of Congress Country Studies:
The war was militarily inconclusive; each side held prisoners and some territory belonging to the other. Losses were relatively heavy--on the Pakistani side, twenty aircraft, 200 tanks, and 3,800 troops. Pakistan's army had been able to withstand Indian pressure, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan. Most Pakistanis, schooled in the belief of their own martial prowess, refused to accept the possibility of their country's military defeat by "Hindu India" and were, instead, quick to blame their failure to attain their military aims on what they considered to be the ineptitude of Ayub Khan and his government..[41]

TIME magazine analyzing the conflict,[42] reported that India held 690 Mi2 of Pakistan territory while Pakistan held 250 Mi2 of Indian territory in Kashmir and Rajasthan, but had lost half its armour.
Cut off from U.S. and British arms supplies, denied Russian aid, and severely mauled by the larger Indian armed forces, Pakistan could continue the fight only by teaming up with Red China and turning its back on the U.N. ... India, by contrast, is still the big gainer in the war. Shastri had united the nation as never before.

An excerpt from Stanley Wolpert's India,[43] summarizing the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, is as follows:
In three weeks the second IndoPak War ended in what appeared to be a draw when the embargo placed by Washington on U.S. ammunition and replacements for both armies forced cessation of conflict before either side won a clear victory. India, however, was in a position to inflict grave damage to, if not capture, Pakistan's capital of the Punjab when the cease-fire was called, and controlled Kashmir's strategic Uri-Poonch bulge, much to Ayub's chagrin.

Dennis Kux's "India and the United States estranged democracies" also provides a summary of the war.[44]
Although both sides lost heavily in men and materiel, and neither gained a decisive military advantage, India had the better of the war. New Delhi achieved its basic goal of thwarting Pakistan's attempt to seize Kashmir by force. Pakistan gained nothing from a conflict which it had instigated.

On September 22, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations. The war ended the following day. The Soviet Union, led by Premier Alexey Kosygin, brokered a ceasefire in Tashkent (now in Uzbekistan), where Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan signed an agreement to withdraw to pre-August lines no later than February 25, 1966. The ceasefire though, was criticized by many hardliners and laymen alike in Pakistan who, relying solely on official reports and Pakistani media, believed that the leadership had surrendered military gains. Pakistan State's reports had suggested that their military was performing admirably in the war - which they blamed as being initiated by India - and thus the Tashkent Declaration was seen as having forfeited the gains.[45] Some recent books published by Pakistani authors, including one by ex-ISI chief titled "The Myth of 1965 Victory",[46] allegedly exposed such Pakistani fabrications about the war, but were bought out by Pakistan Army to prevent its sale because it was "too sensitive".[47][48]

India reported a number of ceasefire violations by Pakistan besides the expected exchange of small arms and artillery fire. India charged Pakistan with 585 violations in 34 days, while Pakistan countered with accusations of 450 incidents by India.[49] India reported that Pakistan utilized the ceasefire to intrude and capture an Indian village of Chananwalla in the Fazilka sector. This was recaptured by Indian troops on 25 December. On October 10, a B-57 Canberra on loan to the PAF was damaged by 3 SA-2 missiles fired from the IAF base at Ambala. Pakistan claims that the pilot, S/L Rashid Meer flew the aircraft back but given that it suffered further damage when the nose wheel did not extend[50] while landing, the aircraft is a possible write off. Another Pakistani Army Auster was shot down on 16 December, killing one Pak Army Captain. Yet again, on 2 February 1967, an AOP was shot down by IAF Hunters.

The ceasefire ensured a six year period of relative peace between the two neighboring rivals before war broke out once again in 1971.

Indian miscalculations
Strategic miscalculations by both nations ensured that the result of this war remained a stalemate. The Indian Army failed to recognize the presence of heavy Pakistani artillery and armaments in Chumb and suffered significant losses as a result. The "Official History of the 1965 War", drafted by the Ministry of Defence of India 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 Security Council was pressing for a ceasefire, the Indian Prime Minister asked the commanding Gen. Chaudhuri if India could possibly win the war, were he to hold off accepting the ceasefire for a while longer. The general replied that most of India's frontline ammunition had been used up and the Indian Army had suffered considerable tank loss.

It was found later that only 14% of India's frontline ammunition had been fired and India still held twice the number of tanks than Pakistan did. By this time, the Pakistani Army itself had used close to 80% of its ammunition. Air Chief Marshal (retd) P.C. Lal, who was the Vice Chief of Air Staff during the conflict, points to the lack of coordination between the 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 Chaudhari, did not specify a role for the Indian Air Force in the order of battle. This attitude of Gen. Chaudhari was referred to by ACM Lal as the "Supremo Syndrome", a patronizing attitude sometimes attributed to the Indian army towards the other branches of the Indian Military.[51]

Pakistani miscalculations

The Pakistani Army's failures started from the drawing board itself, with the supposition that a generally discontent Kashmiri people would rise to the occasion and revolt against their Indian rulers, bringing about a swift and decisive surrender of Kashmir. For whatever reason, the Kashmiri people did not revolt, and on the contrary provided the Indian Army with enough information for them to learn of Operation Gibraltar and the fact that the Army was battling not insurgents, as they had initially supposed, but Pakistani Army regulars. The Pakistani army failed to recognize that the Indian policy makers would attack the southern sector and open up the theater of conflict. Pakistan was forced to dedicate troops to the southern sector to protect Sialkot and Lahore instead of penetrating into Kashmir.

"Operation Grand Slam", which was launched by Pakistan to capture Akhnoor, a town north-east of Jammu and a key region for communications between Kashmir and the rest of India, was also a failure. Many Pakistani critics have criticized the Ayub Khan administration for being indecisive during Operation Grand Slam. They claim that the operation failed because Ayub Khan knew the importance of Akhnur to India (having called it India's "jugular vein") and did not want to capture it and drive the two nations into an all out war. Despite progress made in Akhnur, General Ayub Khan for some inexplicable reason relieved the commanding Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik of charge and replaced him with Gen. Yahya Khan. A 24 hour lull ensued, which allowed the Indian army to regroup in Akhnur and oppose a lackluster attack headed by General Yahya Khan. "The enemy came to our rescue", asserted the Indian Chief of Staff of the Western Command. Later, Akhtar Hussain Malik accused Ayub Khan for planning Operation Gibraltar which was doomed to fail and for relieving him of his command at a crucial moment in the war and threatened to expose the truth about the war and the army's failure, though he later dropped the idea for fear of being banned.[52]

Some authors have noted that Pakistan might have been emboldened by a war game - conducted in March 1965 at the Institute of Defence Analysis, USA - that concluded that in the event of a war, Pakistan would win.[53][54] Other authors like Stephen Philip Cohen, have consistently viewed that Pakistan Army "acquired an exaggerated view of the weakness of both India and the Indian military... the 1965 war was a shock".[55] Pakistani Air Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of PAF during the war, Nur Khan later said that the Pakistan Army, and not India, was to be blamed for starting the war.[56][57] However propaganda in Pakistan about the war continued; the war was not rationally analyzed in Pakistan,[58][59] with most of the blame being heaped on the leadership and little importance given to intelligence failures that persisted until the debacle of the 1971 war, when Pakistan was comprehensively defeated and dismembered by India, leading to the creation of Bangladesh.

Involvement of other nations

The United States of America, which was the primary supplier of arms and ammunitions to both nations (especially Pakistan), placed a military embargo. The US was alarmed that weapons given to fight communism had been used by its allies to fight each other. This was a major blow to Pakistan, as much of its military hardware was supplied by the US, and it is believed to have contributed to the Pakistani decision that its forces could not sustain the fighting much beyond mid-September.[60] Following the US decision, other NATO allies (including the UK) stopped military supplies to both nations. Both before and during the war, China had been a strong ally of Pakistan and had constantly threatened India, with whom it had fought a war in 1962. There were also reports of Chinese troop movements on the Indian border to support Pakistan.[61] This was one of the reasons why India chose to accept the ceasefire, since it believed that it could not sustain a war on two fronts. While India's Non Aligned Movement stand saw few nations coming to its aid, Pakistan received help from other Islamic nations from Asia including Turkey and Iran. Other Islamic countries like Indonesia too extended aid to Pakistan. The USSR was more neutral than most other nations during the war and even invited both nations to host talks in Tashkent.

Consequences of the war


The war had created a tense state of affairs in its aftermath. Though the war was indecisive, Pakistan suffered much heavier material and personnel casualties compared to India. Many war historians believe that had the war continued, with growing losses and decreasing supplies, Pakistan would have been eventually defeated. India's decision to declare ceasefire with Pakistan caused some outrage among the Indian populace, who believed they had the upper hand. Both India and Pakistan increased their defense spending and the Cold War politics had taken roots in the subcontinent. The Indian Military, which was already undergoing rapid expansions, made improvements in command and control to address some shortcomings. Partly as a result of the inefficient information gathering, India established the Research and Analysis Wing for external espionage and intelligence. India viewed the American policy during the war as biased, since Pakistan had started the war but the US did little to restrain Pakistan.[62] India slowly started aligning with the Soviet Union both politically and militarily. This would be cemented formally years later before the Bangladesh Liberation War. In light of the previous war against the Chinese, the performance in this war was viewed as a "politico-strategic" victory in India. The Indian premier, Shastri was hailed as a hero in New Delhi.[63]


Many Pakistanis rated the performance of their military positively. September 6 is celebrated as 'Defence Day' in Pakistan in commemoration of the successful defence of Sialkot against the Indian army. Pakistani Air Force's performance was seen in much better light compared to that of the ground troops. The myth of a mobile, hard hitting Pakistan Army was badly dented in the war as critical breakthroughs were not made.[64] Several Pakistani writers criticized the military's ill-founded belief that their "Martial Race" of soldiers could defeat India in the war.[65][66] Moreover, the end game left a lot to desire as Pakistan had lost more ground than gained and more importantly did not achieve the goal of occupying Kashmir, which has been viewed by many impartial observers as a defeat for Pakistan.[67][68][69] Many high ranking Pakistani officials and military experts later criticized the faulty planning in Operation Gibraltar that ultimately led to the war. The Tashkent declaration was further seen as a raw deal in Pakistan though few citizens realised the gravity of the situation that existed at the end of the war. Under the advice of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan's then foreign minister, Ayub Khan had raised very high expectations among the people of Pakistan about the superiority - if not invincibility - of its armed forces,[70] but Pakistan's inability to attain its military aims during the war, created a political liability on Ayub.[71] The defeat of its Kashmiri ambitions in the war led to the army's invincibility being challenged by an increasingly vocal opposition.[72] And with the war creating a huge financial burden, Pakistan's economy which had witnessed rapid progress in the early 60s, took a severe beating.[73][74]

Pakistan was taken aback by the lack of support by the United States, an ally with whom the country had signed an Agreement of Cooperation. The United States declared its neutrality in the war by cutting off military supplies to both sides.[7] After the war, Pakistan would increasingly look towards China as a major source of military hardware and political support. Another negative consequence of the war was the growing resentment against the Pakistani government in East Pakistan. Bengali leaders accused the government for not providing adequate security for East Pakistan during the conflict, even though large sums of money were taken from the east to finance the war for Kashmir.[75] In fact despite some PAF attacks being launched from East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) during the war, India did not retaliate in that sector,[76] although East Pakistan was defended only by a two-infantry brigade division (14 Division) without any tank support.[77] Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was apprehensive of this situation, and the need for greater autonomy for the east led to another war between India and Pakistan in 1971..
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: “Pakistan has one of the best, most combat ready air forces in the world. They have to because their neighbour to the east is huge, and the two nations have a long history of hostilities. For Indian war planners, Pakistan Air Force is their worst fear. Pakistani pilots are respected throughout the world, especially the Islamic world, because they know how to fly and fight.

On one or two occasions, I had the opportunity to talk with Pakistani instructor pilots who had served in Iraq. These discussions did not give me great cause to worry. The Russian domination of training prevented the Pakistanis from having any real influence on the Iraqi aircrew training program.

Still, there had to be a few Iraqi pilots who had observed and listened to their mentors from France and Pakistan and the useless guidance of their inept leaders. It was those few I was concerned about – the ones with great situational awareness and good eyesight who had figured out how to effectively use their aircraft and weapons to defend their nation. General Chuck Horner (Retd) and Tom Clancy

General Chuck commanded the US and allied air assets during Desert shield and desert storm, and was responsible for the design and execution of one of the most devastating air campaigns in the history. He also served as Commander 9th Air Force, Commander US Central Command Air Forces, and Commander in chief, Space Com. Book: Every Man a Tiger)”.

PAF – Quality If Not Quantity: “Another way in which the PAF satisfies the imbalance with regard to numbers viz a viz IAF is through pursuit of excellence with regard to its combat echelons. Paradoxically, though, that pursuit is by its very nature an expensive procedure and there is a high wastage rate as pilots progress through the training system, with individuals being weeded out all the way along the line. The end result is felt to be well worth the expense involved, however, and personal observations have certainly convinced the author that the average PAF pilot is almost certainly possessed of superior skills when compared with, say, an average American pilot. As to those, who are rated above average, they compare favourably to the very best in a host of western air arms. Standard of accuracy appear comparable to those of the west and may surpass them, one F-6 pilot of No. 15 Squadron having recently put 20 out of 25 shells through a banner in four successive passes. The author can vouch for this having inspected the banner at Kamra and even more remarkably, the pilot responsible for this impressive shooting was a ‘first tourist’.”

(Lindsay Peacock. Journal: Air International, Vol 41. No 5)

Yeager: “When we arrived in Pakistan in 1971, the political situation between the Pakistanis and Indians was really tense over Bangladesh, or East Pakistan, as it was known in those days, and Russia was backing India with tremendous amounts of new airplanes and tanks. The U.S. and China were backing the Pakistanis. My job was military advisor to the Pakistani Air Force, headed by Air Marshal Rahim Khan, who had been trained in Britain by the Royal Air Force, and was the first Pakistani pilot to exceed the speed of sound. He took me around to their different fighter groups and I met their pilots, who knew me and were really pleased that I was there. They had about five hundred airplanes, more than half of them Sabres and 104 Starfighters, a few B-57 bombers, and about a hundred Chinese MiG-19s. They were really good, aggressive dogfighters and proficient in gunnery and air combat tactics. I was damned impressed. Those guys just lived and breathed flying.

The Pakistanis whipped their [Indians’] asses in the sky, but it was the other way around in the ground war. The air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis scored a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing thirty-four airplanes of their own. I’m certain about the figures because I went out several times a day in a chopper and counted the wrecks below. I counted wrecks on Pakistani soil, documented them by serial number, identified the components such as engines, rocket pods, and new equipment on newer planes like the Soviet SU-7 fighter-bomber and the MiG-21 J, their latest supersonic fighter. The Pakistani army would cart off these items for me, and when the war ended, it took two big American Air Force cargo lifters to carry all those parts back to the States for analysis by our intelligence division.

I did not get involved in the actual combat because that would have been too touchy, but I did fly around and pick up shot-down Indian pilots and take them back to prisoner-of-war camps for questioning. I interviewed them about the equipment they had been flying and the tactics their Soviet advisers taught them to use. I wore a uniform or flying suit all the time, and it was amusing when those Indians saw my nametag and asked, “Are you the Yeager who broke the sound barrier?” They could not believe I was in Pakistan or understand what I was doing there. I told them, “I’m the American Defence Rep here. That’s what I’m doing.” The PAF remains the only foreign air force in the world to have received Chuck Yeager’s admiration – a recommendation which the PAF is proud of. (Source: PIADS) General (Retd) Chuck Yeager (USAF), Book: Yeager, the Autobiography)

The 1965 Indo- Pakistan War: “The Partition of 1947 signalled the end of the British Empire in India, and the establishment of two independent states, India and Pakistan. They took opposite sides over Kashmir’s struggle for independence in 1947-49, and although open war was averted, India lost 6000 men in the conflict. India annexed Kashmir in Jan 1957 and there followed a long period of tension with Pakistan. Armed clashes in the Rann of Kutch in western India during Jan 1965 and Pakistan’s recruitment of a ‘Free Kashmir’ guerrilla army finally erupted into open warfare in Aug 1965.

The ground forces of the two countries appeared to be evenly matched, and their respective offensives (although involving approximately 6000 casualties on each side) were indecisive. The Pakistan Air Force, however, emerged with great credit from its conflict with the Indian Air Force, destroying 22 IAF aircraft in air-to-air combat for the loss of only eight of its own – a remarkable achievement considering that the PAF faced odds of nearly four to one. During the conflict, India and Pakistan came under strong international pressure to end the war, and arms supplies to both sides were cut off by Britain and the US. A ceasefire imposed by the UN Security Council then reduced the conflict to a series of sporadic minor clashes, and the national leaders were persuaded to attend a peace conference at Tashkent in Jan 1966. Their decision to renounce the use of force finally ended the war”.

Anthony Robinson, former staff of the RAF Museum, Hendon and now a free lance Military aviation writer. Book: Elite Forces of the World)

Combat over the Indian Subcontinent: “In Sep 1965 a festering border dispute between India and Pakistan erupted into full scale war. The Indian possessed the larger air force numerically, composed mainly of British and French types- Hawker Hunter, Folland Gnat and Dassault Mystere fighters, Dassault Ouragons fighter-bombers and English electric Canberra bombers. The smaller but highly trained Pakistan Air Force was equipped in large part with F-86F Sabers, plus a few F-104 Starfighters. Fighting lasted little more than two weeks, but during that time, Pakistan gained a definite ascendancy in the air. It was the well proven Sabers that emerged with honours, being credited with all but five of the 36 victories claimed. The Indians claimed 73 victories – undoubtedly a considerable overestimate – for an admitted loss of 35.”

Christopher Sivores, Book: Air Aces)

Fiza’ya: Psyche of the Pakistan Air Force: (Pushpinder Singh, Ravi Rikhye, Peter Steinemann. Book: Fiza’ya: Psyche of the Pakistan Air Force)

“This is the first definitive account of a relatively small but fascinating air arm, the Pakistan Air Force. Hitherto either casually studied or written up in propaganda fashion, the PAF has needed a detailed analysis of how a developing country with limited resources can nonetheless produce a first class air force.

The Pakistan Fiza’ya (Pakistan Air Force) plays a role in the psyche of its nation unmatched by any air force in the world except that by the Israeli Air Force. The PAF’s motto, loosely translated from the Persian, is ‘Lord of All I Survey’. It calls itself “The Pride of the Nation’, and it is exactly that. Much smaller than India in geographical size and population, Pakistan sees itself as a beleaguered state between India to the East and the Soviet Union/Afghanistan to the West. Since it can never match numbers with India, much in the same way as Israel cannot match numbers with the Arabs; it has always emphasised quality, and projected itself as the Gallant Few against the eastern hordes of many. The mystique of the air warrior, the last jousting knight, the only surviving gladiator on the field of modem war, has been effectively utilised by Pakistan as its symbol of defiance against vastly larger enemies.

The PAF gets the best and the brightest of the country’s young men and it is given clear preference in the matter of equipment. In 1981, for example, Pakistan paid $1.2 billion for 40 F-16s. By comparison, the entire first five year (1982-87) FMS package from the United States totalled $1.6 billion, of which $0.5 billion was used to cover the shortfalls in the F-16 funding. In other words, virtually half of all military equipment purchased from the US during this period went on one single purchase of fighter aircraft for the PAF.

Had the US been willing to supply an Airborne Warning and Control System to Pakistan in the second package (1987-92), along with additional F-16s again the PAF would have gotten half or more of the total sum? Because the nation spends so much of its precious resources on the PAF, it expects a great deal in return”.

On Eagles’ Wings: “He was a formidable fellow and I was glad that he was Pakistani and not Egyptian”.

Israel Air Force chief Ezer Weizmann writing about PAF chief Nur Khan in his autobiography, On Eagles’ Wings

World Air Power Journal, Vol 6 Summer 1991: Pakistan Air Force, “One of Asia’s most competent air arms…”

Pakistan’s Professionals: “Overall the PAF is a highly professional air force and this is reflected in its high standards of instruction and flying training.”

Steve Bond, commenting about PAF’s flying training program Journal: Air Forces Monthly, May 1990.

Air Forces Monthly: An article in the May 1993 issue (pages 46-47) of Air Forces Monthly, a reputable UK-based air defence magazine, written by a Russian aviation writer, Sergey Vekhov, for the first time in public, provided a first-hand account about the PAF’s pilots:

“As an air defence analyst, I am fully aware that the Pakistan Air Force ranks today as one of the best air forces in the world and that the PAF Combat Commanders’ School (CCS) in Sargodha has been ranked as the best GCI/pilot and fighter tactics and weapons school in the world”. As one senior US defence analyst commented to me in 1992, “It leaves Topgun (the US Naval Air Station in Miramar, California) far behind”.

Article in the May 1993 issue (pages 46-47 by Sergey Vekhov)

Jane’s International Defence (Jun 24, 1998): “Although outnumbered by IAF, PAF has at least one qualitative edge over its rival: Pilot Training. The calibre of Pakistani instructors is acknowledged by numerous air forces, and US Navy pilots considered them to be highly ‘professionals’ during exercises flying off the USS Constellation (as co-pilots). The IAF is in an unfortunate position, it lacks an advanced training (and multi-role combat aircraft).

During 1965 War, India’s General Chaudhry ordered his troops to march on Sialkot and Lahore – jauntily inviting his officers to join him for drinks that evening in Lahore Gymkhana. He did not reckon on the Pakistani troops.

“The first Indian regiment that found itself face to face with Pakistanis didn’t get clobbered,” said a report in Washington DC, America. “They just turned and ran, leaving all of their equipment, artillery supplies and even extra clothing and supplies behind”.

I have been a journalist now for twenty years, ‘reported American Broadcasting Corporation’s Roy Maloni, “and want to go on record that I have never seen a more confident and victorious group of soldiers than those fighting for Pakistan, right now.

“India is claiming all-out victory. I have not been able to find any trace of it. All I can see are troops, tanks and other war material rolling in a steady towards the front … These Muslims of Pakistan are natural fighters and they ask for no quarter and they give none. In any war, such as the one going on between India and Pakistan right now, the propaganda claims on either side are likely to be startling. But if I have to take bet today, my money would be on the Pakistan side. “

The London Daily Mirror reported, “There is a smell of death in the burning Pakistan sun. For it was here that India’s attacking forces came to a dead stop. “During the night they threw in every reinforcement they could find. But wave after wave of attacks were repulsed by the Pakistani troops.”

“India”, said the London Daily Times “is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one in size of armed forces.” In Times reporter Louis Karrer wrote, “Who can defeat a nation which knows how to play hide and seek with death“.

“… I will never forget the smile full of nerve the conducting army officers gave me. This smile told me how fearless and brave are the Pakistani young men. “Playing with fire to these men — from the “jawan” to the General Officer Commanding — was like children playing with marbles in the streets.

“I asked the GOC how it was that despite a small number Pakistanis were overpowering the Indians? He looked at me, smiled and said: “if courage, bravery and patriotism were purchasable commodities, then India would have got them with American aid.”

“Pakistan has been able to gain complete command of the air by literally knocking the Indian planes out of the skies, if they had not already run away.”

Sunday Times London, Sep 19, 1965: “Indian pilots are inferior to Pakistani pilots and Indian officers’ leadership has been generally deplorable. India is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one three to one in size of armed forces.”

“Pakistan’s success in the air means that she has been able to redeploy her relatively small army — professionally among the best in Asia — with impunity, plugging gaps in the long front in the face of each Indian thrust”.

Patrick Seale, “The Observer, London”, Sep 12, 1965: “By all accounts the courage displayed by the Pakistan Air Force pilots is reminiscent of the bravery of the few young and dedicated pilots who saved this country from Nazi invaders in the critical Battle of Britain during the last war”.

Roy Meloni, American Broadcasting Corporation, Sep 15, 1965: “India is claiming all out victory. I have not been able to find any trace of it. All I can see are troops, tanks and other war material rolling in a steady stream towards the front.”

“If the Indian Air Force is so victorious, why has it not tried to halt this flow? The answer is that it has been knocked from the skies by Pakistani planes. “

“Pakistan claims to have destroyed something like 1/3rd the Indian Air Force, and foreign observers, who are in a position to know say that Pakistani pilots have claimed even higher kills than this; but the Pakistani Air Force has been scrupulously honest in evaluating these claims. Pakistan Air Force is claiming credit for only those killings that can be checked from other sources.”

Peter Preston, “The Guardian, London” – Sep 24, 1965: “One thing I am convinced of is that Pakistan morally and even physically won the air battle against immense odds. “

“Although the Air Force gladly gives most credit to the Army, this is perhaps over-generous. India with roughly five times greater air-power expected an easy air-superiority. Her total failure to attain it may be seen retrospectively as a vital, possibly the most vital, of the whole conflict.”

“Nur Khan is an alert, incisive man of 41, who seems even less. For six years he was on secondment and responsible for running Pakistan’s civil air-line, which, in a country where ‘now’ means sometime and ‘sometime’ means never, is a model of efficiency. He talks without the jargon of a press relations officer. He does not quibble about figures. Immediately one has confidence in what he says.”

“His estimates proffered diffidently but with as much photographic evidence as possible speak for themselves. Indian and Pakistani losses, he thinks, are in something like a ratio of ten to one.”

“Yet, the quality of equipment, Nur insists, is less important than flying ability and determination. The Indians have no sense of purpose. The Pakistanis were defending their own country and willingly taking greater risks. ‘The average bomber crew flew 15 to 20 sorties. My difficulty was restraining them, not pushing them on.‘ “

“This is more than nationalistic pride. Talk to the pilots and you get the same intense story.”

Everett G. Martin, General Editor, Newsweek, Sep 20, 1965: “One point particularly noted by military observers is that the Indians in their first advances, the Indians did not use air power effectively to support their troops. In contrast, the Pakistanis, with sophisticated timing, swooped in on Ambala airfield and destroyed some 25 Indian planes just after they had landed and were sitting on the ground out of fuel and powerless to escape (NOTE: PAF has not claimed any IAF aircraft during its attacks on Ambala due to non-availability of concrete evidence of damage in night bombing.)

“By the end of the week, in fact, it was clear that the Pakistanis were more than holding their own. “

Indonesian Herald, Sep 11, 1965: “India’s barbarity is mounting in fury as the Indian army and Air Force, severely mauled, are showing signs of demoralisation. The huge losses suffered by the Indian Armed Forces during the last 12 days of fighting could not be kept from the Indian public and in retaliation, the Indian armed forces are indulging in the most barbaric methods.”

“The Chief of Indian Air Force could no longer ensure the safety of Indian air space. A well known Indian journalist, Mr Frank Moraes, in a talk from All-India radio, also admitted that IAF had suffered severe losses and it was no use hiding the fact and India should be prepared for more losses“.

AFP Correspondent, Reporting on Sep 9, 1965: “Pakistani forces thrusting six miles deep into Indian territory the south-east of Lahore have checked the Indian offensive launched on Sep 6 against the capital of West Pakistan.

Pakistani infantry supported by armour and guns were today entrenched six miles east of the Indian border, and well beyond Indian town of Khem Karan, the capture of which last week forced Indian tanks and men to make a hasty retreat.

From Khem Karan, an evergreen village now deserted by its 15,000 people, a 40-mile road leads directly to Amritsar, holy capital of India’s restive Sikhs. And a Pakistani offensive along that road could threaten the rear of Indian forces still facing Lahore from East Punjab.

As I visited Khem Karan today with the first party of newsmen shown into India by Pakistani officers, evidence of the Indians’ hasty withdrawal lay everywhere in the flat dust blown fields. Intact mortars and American made ammunition, much of which was still crated, for 81 and 120 mm mortars, shells for 90 mm tank guns, rifle cartridges in hundred, stacks of fuel in barrel, had been left behind.

India had sent against Lahore one armoured brigade and two infantry divisions. The initial thrust on Sep 6 carried the Indians two and a half miles deep into Pakistan from Khem Karan and the Pakistanis say they were outnumbered six to one.

The Pakistanis pushed the Indians back at the cost of bitter fighting. One Pakistani armoured unit ran into an Indian armoured regiment, the Ninth Royal Deccan Horse… and no shots were spared. I saw two Indian Sherman tanks on the road to Khem Karan blown clean through, one in the rear and one in the front, each by a single Pakistani shell with the dead crew still inside. Indian dead lay unburied in the fields. An Indian border post was riddled with bullets and shells. This is real war, even though Pakistani infantry are now resting at forward posts, with Indians on the defensive and the main action in the air.

Indian British made Canberra’s, Soviet made MiG-21s and French made Mystere and Ouragons constantly swoop, strafe and bomb from a safe altitude, for Pakistani anti-aircraft units are very much on the alert. On the road from Lahore charred trucks lay twisted wrecks, one of them still aflame. It is war run by cool professionals, with every gun and tank well protected by camouflage nets, every trench where it should be, perfect discipline and very high morale.

Almost every Pakistani officer says, “We are not interested in territorial gains, but we are very keen to give the Indians a hard lesson and we won’t stop short of that”.

BBC Commentary by Charles Douglas Home, Sep 10, 1965: “Man for man, unit for unit, Pakistan’s smaller Army is at a higher standard of training than the Indian Army. The present Indian intention was to scatter Pakistan’s smaller Army by making several other thrusts apart from the main fighting area in the Lahore sector. The intense air activity had prevented the mass movement of Indian troops by air”.

Christian Science Monitor, Sep 10, 1965: “The Pakistan-India conflict, in the Pentagon’s early assessment, pits tighter discipline, a higher morale, better training, and some superior equipment among the Pakistanis against considerably larger Indian Land, Air and Sea Forces.

Washington sources see Pakistan aiming to humiliate India in a short conflict. They judge India as depending on its juggernaut to crush Pakistanis under sheer military weight. Armoured strength between the two forces is about equal but the Pakistani tanks are more modern.”

The ‘New York Times’, Sep 10, 1965: “Pakistan has a somewhat more homogeneous army with less ethnic and religious frictions. Its soldiers have a high reputation for will to fight; and in Mohammad Ayub Khan, the head of state and Sandhurst-trained professional soldier, the army has always had a sympathetic supporter.

Joe McGowan Jr., Washington Post, Sep 10, 1965: “We fought for you last time,” several Pakistanis told me, referring to their wartime service under British command. “But this time it is our war and we shall fight it to the finish”.

‘Top of the News’, Washington, Sep 6-10, 1965: “Nehru was not worried much about aggression when India took Goa. But Shastri has plenty to worry about now, because he is facing penal and disciplinary action by one of the toughest and best trained armies in the world, excellently led, highly organized and totally dedicated. For him he has a motley, disorganized and low-morale force of four times as many men as Pakistan, but they cannot or will not fight. They only beg.

The Pakistan military hardware, including tanks, planes, and ground-warfare equipment of every kind is far superior to that of Indians, and one long time expert of the Indian-Pakistan picture told me this afternoon that in his military opinion, there is little doubt but that the Pakistanis will lick the Indians in the long run, despite the fact that the Indian army outnumbers the Pakistan army four to one.

This expert said, however, that there is great disparity between the qualities of the two armies, not to mention the disparity in equipment. The Indian soldier is soft while the Pakistan soldier is tough and determined. The Indian leadership is vacillating and uncertain, while the Pakistan leadership is well trained, highly talented, and decisive.

The Indian Air Force is somewhat larger than the Pakistan Air Force in numbers of planes, but there is no organizational pattern to the way they have been acquired or to what is on hand. It is a weird conglomeration of all sorts and conditions of aircraft from a variety of countries, even including France and the maintenance problem is staggering, even if adequate maintenance personnel were available. It means a vast stocking of replacement parts (different for virtually every type of plane they have). On the contrary the Pakistan Air Force has been intelligent enough to standardise to a very high degree, thus reducing their maintenance problem to a minimum. And this is vitally important as any war proceeds beyond the very first stages.

Furthermore, it began to develop today that the Indian claims of having shot down large numbers of Pakistan Air Force planes in the first days of conflict were highly exaggerated, and that the Pakistan losses have been virtually nil in this line.

The Indian claims, frankly, were highly suspicious from the beginning because they are notably poor aviators and their equipment is antiquated and not at all a match for the modern jet equipment of the Pakistan Air Force. It just didn’t hold water to anyone who knew the details of the Indian air inventory as against that of Pakistan, that any such victories could have been achieved by the Indians”.

USA – Aviation Week & Space Technology – Dec 1968 issue: “For the PAF, the 1965 War was as climatic as the Israeli victory over the Arabs in 1967. A further similarity was that Indian air power had an approximately 5:1 numerical superiority at the start of the conflict. Unlike the Middle East conflict, the Pakistani air victory was achieved to a large degree by air-to-air combat rather than on ground. But it was as absolute as that attained by Israel”.

Encyclopaedia of Aircraft printed in several countries by Orbis Publications – Volume 5: “Pakistan’s Air Force gained a remarkable victory over India in this brief 22 day war, exploiting its opponent’s weaknesses in an exemplary style – Deeply shaken by reverse, India began an extensive modernisation and training program, meanwhile covering its defeat with effective propaganda
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mdpathan is on a distinguished road

I think analysis needed. go through indian news, BBC, and article.
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