Symposium on ‘Golden Jubilee of Indo-Pak Conflict 1965’
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A symposium, commemorating India’s first definitive military victory against Pakistan in 1965, was held by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 11 September 2015. Military analysts, historians, and war veterans, among other distinguished participants, analysed the causes and consequences of a war that Pakistan thrust upon India soon after India’s China war debacle in 1962, ostensibly with the objective of wresting Kashmir from her. Notwithstanding odds were heavily stacked against India, the Indian military did a marvelous job by giving a most befitting reply to the Pakistani misadventures. Not only did the Indian military throttle the Pakistani advances in Chamb and Akhnoor sectors, they also opened up new fronts in Punjab, taking the Pakistanis by complete surprise. Pakistan was outwitted, outflanked and outfought in almost every theatre where the battle was fought. Compared to India, Pakistan suffered more causalities and lost more territory and tanks.

General NC Vij, former COAS and the VIF’s present Director in his opening remarks held that Pakistan has been misleading the world that it was they who won the war in 1965, apparently taking advantage of India’s reticence to claim a well-deserved victory. Others who spoke after him duly supported General Vij’s stance on the grounds that even though the war ended in a stalemate, there were considerable gains for India. Most importantly, it provided an opportunity to the Indian armed forces to recoup after the 1962 debacle. Analysts went so far as to suggest the most telling impact of the 1965 war could be seen a few years later when the two countries fought their next major war in 1971, resulting in the break-up of Pakistan.

Following Director’s opening remarks, Nitin Gokhale, author of ‘1965 Turning the Tide: How India won the War’ and Senior Fellow, VIF, gave a bird’s eye view of the prevailing strategic environment leading to the 1965 war, while Lt Gen (retd) Ata Hasnain, former GOC of Srinagar-based 15 Corps gave a riveting account of the fierce ground battles fought between the two armies. The praiseworthy role played by the India Air Force, which helped turn the tide of war in India’s favour, was succinctly brought out by AVM Arjun Subramaniam, Senior Directing Staff (NDC).

Interestingly, the India Navy was not deployed for actives operations during the 1965 war, their role limited to remain stand by and guard the ports and military installations off India’s western coast. VADM (retd) Anup Singh, former Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, who presented a naval account of the 1965 war, said it was a missed opportunity for the Indian Navy. Part of the reason the Indian Navy did not see action in 1965 war the fear of escalation of war at sea. He also said the Indian Navy was mostly deployed in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to ward off a perceived Indonesian threat.

The symposium was made even livelier with the personal accounts of war, shared by three eminent veterans - Lt Gen (retd) RK Sawhney, Maj Gen (retd) Kirpal Singh and Group Captain Dilip Parulkar. Parulkar, a daredevil pilot, survived a Pakistani bullet, made a miraculous landing, and was ready for his next sortie on the next day.

Event Date 
September 11, 2015
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