War with Pakistan
Lal Bahadur Shastri
War with Pakistan
Shastris greatest moment came when he led India in the 1965 Indo Pak War.Laying claim to half the Kutch peninsula, the Pakistani army skirmished with Indian forces in August, 1965. In his report to the Lok Sabha on the confrontation in Kutch, Shastri stated.In the utilization of our limited resources, we have always given primacy to plans and projects for economic development. It would, therefore, be obvious for anyone who is prepared to look at things objectively that India can have no possible interest in provoking border incidents or in building up an atmosphere of strife... In these circumstances, the duty of Government is quite clear and this duty will be discharged fully and effectively... We would prefer to live in poverty for as long as necessary but we shall not allow our freedom to be subverted.
Under a scheme proposed in June 1965 by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Pakistan obtained 10%, in place of their original claim of 50% of the territory. But Pakistans aggressive intentions were also focused on Kashmir. When armed infiltrators from Pakistan began entering the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Shastri made it clear to Pakistan that force would be met with force. In September 1965, major incursions of militants and Pakistani soldiers began, hoping not only to break down the government but incite a sympathetic revolt. The revolt did not happen, and India sent its forces across the Ceasefire Line (now Line of Control) and threatened Pakistan by crossing the International Border near Lahore as war broke out on a general scale. Massive tank battles occurred in the Punjab, and while the Pakistani forces made some gains, Indian forces captured the key post at Haji Pir, in Kashmir, and brought the Pakistani city of Lahore under artillery and mortar fire.
On 17 September 1965, while the Indo Pak war was on, India received a letter from China alleging that the Indian army had set up army equipment in Chinese territory, and India would face Chinas wrath, unless the equipment was pulled down. In spite of the threat of aggression from China, Shastri declared Chinas allegation is untrue. If China attacks India it is our firm resolve to fight for our freedom. The might of China will not deter us from defending our territorial integrity. The Chinese did not respond, but the Indo Pak war resulted in some 34,000 casualties on each side and significant loss of material.The Indo Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations mandated ceasefire. By that time, India had inflicted a crushing defeat on Pakistan. In a broadcast to the nation on the day the of ceasefire, Shastri stated.While the conflict between the armed forces of the two countries has come to an end, the more important thing for the United Nations and all those who stand for peace is to bring to an end the deeper conflict.... How can this be brought about? In our view, the only answer lies in peaceful coexistence. India has stood for the principle of coexistence and championed it all over the world. Peaceful coexistence is possible among nations no matter how deep the differences between them, how far apart they are in their political and economic systems, no matter how intense the issues that divide them. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Shastri visited many countries including Russia, Yugoslavia, England, Canada, Nepal, Egypt and Burma. Incidentally en route to the Non Alliance Conference in Cairo he met the Pakistan President Ayub Khan at Karachi Airport during fuel refilling in 1964. After the declaration of ceasefire with Pakistan in 1965, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organized by Alexei Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration.