Military & Aerospace

1965 War: Ceasefire and Tashkent Agreement
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The Secretary General of the United Nations, U. Thant, had been endeavouring ever since the Pakistani infiltration started into Jammu and ‘Kashmir on August 5, to bring the fighting to an end and to have the Ceasefire Line respected by both sides. In his Report to the Security Council on September 3, he stated that on the advice of General Nimmo, the Chief Military Observer, he summoned the representatives of both sides separately.

He asked the Pakistani representative to convey to his Government, his “very serious concern about the situation that was developing in Kashmir, involving the crossing of the CFL from the Pakistan side by numbers of armed men and their attacks on military positions on the Indian side of the line, and also his strong appeal that the CFL be observed”. He asked the Indian representative to convey to his Government, “my urgent appeal for restraint as regards any retaliatory action from their side”. Subsequently, the Secretary General reported that he was unable to get necessary assurance from Pakistan, but received an assurance from the Indian representative’ that India would act with restraint and respect the CFL, if Pakistan did so.

He indicated in his Report that if a summary of CFL infractions was published, it would clearly put the blame on Pakistan. On September 1, the Secretary General publicly appealed for peace. Presidents Nasser of UAR and Tito of Yugoslavia also appealed for a ceasefire on September 3. All the elected Members of the Security Council appealed for a ceasefire on September 4. On September 8, the Security Council called for withdrawal of all the armed personnel back to the positions held by them before August 5. It may be mentioned that it was the first time that the United States and Soviet Union voted together on such an important Issue affecting war and peace.

The Indian representative, G. Parthasarathy, explained that the Kashmir issue remained alive because the Security Council refused to face the fact of aggression by Pakistan, and clarified that the political status of Kashmir was not negotiable. The Indian Prime Minister wanted certain essential pre-conditions to be fulfilled for a ceasefire, namely, acceptable guarantees from Pakistan that all infiltrators and military personnel would be withdrawn from Indian Kashmir and that no further attacks will be made.

He clarified that “we cannot go from one ceasefire to another without our being satisfied that Pakistan will not repeat its acts of violation and aggression in the future”. On the other hand, President Ayub Khan contended that the so-called freedom fighters were not raiders but sons of the soil and harped on non-implementation of the UN Resolution (on Plebiscite) in Kashmir!

U. Thant made personal visits to Rawalpindi and New Delhi during the period September 9-12, in his efforts to bring about a ceasefire. The Pakistan Government, having accepted that her forces had crossed into Indian territory, announced that for a ceasefire, she wanted certain Conditions to be fulfilled. These were, the complete withdrawal of all Indian and Pakistani forces from Kashmir, establishment of a United Nation’s force drawn from the Afro-Asian Nations to maintain security in the State pending a Plebiscite, and a Plebiscite to be held within three month. To this, Prime Minister Shastri stated that “not one of these conditions is acceptable to India”. He said that “Pakistan talks glibly of a Plebiscite in Kashmir, while it is not prepared to have a free election in its own country……… How would Pakistan like a Plebiscite in the Pakhtoon area to find out whether it wishes to remain a part of Pakistan? How would Pakistan like a Plebiscite in East Bengal to find out whether the people of East Bengal want to be ruled from Rawalpindi?” India was, however, prepared to accept an unconditional ceasefire which would restore the status-quo-ante.

The Secretary General found the Indian attitude to be more amenable. U. Thant wrote to both sides, suggesting a ceasefire at 6.30 p.m. on September 14. India requested for an extension of the time by 24 hours and accepted the proposal. However, Shastri stated that the ceasefire would apply to uniformed soldiers and that India would be free to deal with the infiltrators who were still within her territory. Pakistan, in its reply, continued to harp on her three point demand As the Secretary General could not accept any pre-condition from either side, the truce could not be achieved Prime Minister Shastri told the Parliament on September 16 that in the talks with U. Thant, “India made it clear that we were fully determined to maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India of which the State of Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part. From this resolve we could never be deflected, no matter what the pressure or the threat these were not conditions attached to our acceptance of the cease fire, but were meant to be a clear and unequivocal reiteration of our stand in regard to these matters.”

During this period, the Chinese tried to put pressure on India. On September 8, a formal Note was sent to India, accusing her of violating the Sikkim border and to halt provocations. Their statement accusing India of aggression said, “Indian aggression against anyone of its neighbours concerns all of its neighbours.” Again on September 17, China accused India of maintaining 56 military installations on the Tibetan side of the Sikkim-Tibetan border and demanded their dismantling. Otherwise, they warned that, “Indian Government must bear responsibility for all the grave consequences arising there from”.

They also said that thirteen representations to the Indian Government about 300 incursions into the Chinese territory had been ignored; and demanded return of four Tibetans, 800 Sheep and 59 Yaks allegedly abducted from Tibet! India in its reply, stated that strict instructions against any border; transgressions were issued to the Indian Army and that these were fully observed. India also’ conveyed that it would accept joint inspection of the border facilities. Expressing the hope that China would not take advantage of the situation, Shastri told the House, “the might of China will not deter us from defending our territorial integrity.” Subsequently, it was learnt that the Americans administered a strong warning to China, “to stay out of the Indo-Pakistan Conflict.”

U. Thant suggested to the Security Council on September 16 to invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, permitting the Council to use military and economic force, if necessary, to ensure an end to the fighting. Apparently, U. Thant felt that considerable pressure was necessary to obtain compliance of Pakistan to the ceasefire resolution. However, the Council did not agree to this.

On September 20, the Security Council adopted a third resolution, demanding a ceasefire on the morning of September 22 and subsequent withdrawal of all armed personnel to the positions held on August S. The Council also expressed willingness to consider the steps to be taken to assist towards a settlement of the political problem. Concurrently, the Council called on all States to refrain from any action which might aggravate the situation in the area.

This was obviously a warning to China. India accepted the ceasefire but made it clear that it did not accept proposals regarding political settlement. Bhutto, the Pakistani Foreign Minister, threatened in the Security Council, “we will wage a war for thousand years”; but in the end accepted the ceasefire. He warned that Pakistan would withdraw from the international organization, if the Security Council does not exert its full force “behind an equitable and honourable settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.

Quite obviously, at this point of time, the military situation compelled Pakistan to accept the ceasefire and restoration of status quo ante. After the serious reverse in the battles in the Khemkaran and Chawinda areas and the considerable attrition that she suffered of her military might, Pakistan had no option, but to accept the UN Resolution. It has also to be remembered that military, and economic assistance to both countries had been stopped since the beginning or the hostilities. Thus, at 3.30 a.m. on September 23 (I.S.T) the ceasefire came into effect. As for the Chinese, on September 22, they announced that the Indians had complied with their demands for dismantling the disputed military structures!

After the ceasefire came into effect on September 23, both sides started consolidating existing positions, which is of course understandable in the initial stages. However, Pakistan committed contain serious violations across the line, obviously with a view to capturing as much territory as possible, to compensate for the territory that she had lost in Punjab, so that at the negotiating table later, she would not be in a disadvantageous position. On the night of September 23/24, Pakistani troops launched a battalion attack with tanks In the Fazilka area. In the Rajasthan desert which was held thinly by the Indians, the Pakistanis launched several attack and. captured a large amount of territory (most of the 4100 square kilometers which she claimed).

This was corroborated, not only by intercepts of Pakistani signals directing their troops to capture maximum possible. Territory, but also by physical observation by United Nations Observers on November 19′ when they saw Pakistani tanks in action. In Jammu and Kashmir also, Pakistanis continued with infiltration, raids, artillery fire and even battalion sized attacks in many areas across the ceasefire line, forcing India to take defensive measures. Apart from all these, a large number of infiltrators continue4 to operate inside Jammu and Kashmir, in certain pockets. The Security Council took siri6us note of these violations and called for strict observance of the ceasefire and for restoration of status-quo-ante. It was however; clear that unless something concrete was don done, the ceasefire may not hold.

Earlier, while the ceasefire negotiations were going on September 19, the Soviet Union had invited India and Pakistan to meet in Soviet Union for discussions. Again, on November 21, the Soviet Union renewed her suggestion’ for such a meeting at Tashkent. This move was also supported by the. United States. Both sides accepted the invitation and a summit Conference opened on January 4, 1966 between Shastri, and Ayub. The Soviet Prime Minister Kosygin initially wanted the two leaders to hold bilateral discussions and stated that He would only come into the picture if his help was required by the parties concerned: At the outset, both sides adopted firm attitudes, in support of their postures. Ayub insisted on a political settlement of Kashmir. Shastri declined to negotiate on the political future of Kashmir, but wanted a No War Agreement. Pakistan reiterated that such an Agreement was not possible without settling the fundamental issue of Kashmir. India reiterated that while she was prepared to talk about any subject including Kashmir, there was no question of negotiating its future. As the Conference appeared to get bogged down, Kosygin stepped in and used all the diplomatic skills under his command over a period of time, to get the two leaders to agree for implementation of the ceasefire proposals and arrive on a basis for further bilateral discussions on the various issues involved. Ultimately, an Agreement, known as the “Tashkent Declaration” was signed on January 10, 1966.

The Declaration envisaged “all armed personnel of the two countries shall be withdrawn not later than February 25, 1966 to the positions they held prior to August 5, 1965, and both sides shall observe the ceasefire terms on the Ceasefire Line”.

Prisoners of war were to be repatriated promptly. Normal diplomatic relations were to be re-established and measures for restoring economic and cultural relations were to be discussed. Both sides agreed to continue meetings at the highest and at other levels on matters of direct concern to both countries. Both recognized the need to setup joint India-Pakistan bodies. Both the leaders agreed to abondon the use of force and to base their relations “on the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of each, other”. They also agreed, to create good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan in accordance with the UN Charter.

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The Declaration further said, “they consider that the interests of peace in their region and particularly in the Indo-Pakistani Sub-continent and, indeed the interests of the peoples of India and Pakistan, were not served by the continuance of tensions between the two countries”. It was against this background that Jammu and Kashmir was discussed, and each of the sides set forth its respective position. A copy of the Tashkent Agreement is at Appendix (click here).

In the early hours of January 11, Prime Minister Shastri died of a heart attack, in Tashkent. He was succeeded as Prime Minister, by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, in a smooth change over. Though diminutive in height and perhaps unimpressive to the Pakistanis, Shastri proved to be a sagacious statesman and a courageous leader, who served his country with credit.

Soon after the Tashkent Agreement, the military commanders of both sides met and resolved among themselves the various problems concerning the implementation. Disengagement of troops was completed by January 30 and withdrawal of all forces to pre-war positions had been completed by February 25.

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