During the hostilities, India had appealed to friendly countries for assistance who responded generously. Britain and the United States were the major contributors. After the cease-fire, the two countries agreed to supply, in a phased programme over the next three years, small — arms and other equipment for refurbishing the Army – mainly non-combat equipment and stores for the mountain divisions.
While accepting this aid, the Indian Government took steps for the establishment of an infrastructure within the country for the manufacture of such equipment. The Western powers were not alone in supplying arms and equipment to India. She had earlier bought some transport planes from the Soviets and had entered into a contract with them for the supply of MiG-21 fighter aircraft and for their manufacture within the country.
After the UN-sponsored cease-fire had come into effect on 1 January 1949, Pakistan had not complied with the terms of the cease-fire agreement. Also, Pakistans leaders had taken every opportunity to declare their determination to annex Kashmir, whatever the means
An important step towards streamlining the field command set-up was the creation of Central Command, with Headquarters at Lucknow. Simultaneously, the Headquarters of Eastern Command was moved to Calcutta, nearer its area of responsibility. The change relieved this operational command of a good deal of administrative work connected with static units and installations located in Central India.
Several measures were adopted to ensure the development of the Army on scientific lines and to improve its effectiveness. Among these may be mentioned the reorganization at Army Headquarters, the expansion and strengthening of the Military Intelligence Directorate, the setting up of a Directorate of Combat Development and the introduction of a Commando Course for officers.7
Surface and air communications were improved, and ordnance factories were modernized and expanded. To cater for the officer requirements of an Academy, the Officers’ Training School and the Army Cadet College were expanded. The capacity of the High Altitude Warfare School was also enlarged and steps were taken to impart intensive jungle warfare training to units committed to the defence of the North-East region.
A major change that occurred as a result of the reorganization of the Army was the cutting down of its ‘tail’ to strengthen its ‘teeth’. Speaking of the change, Chaudhuri says: “I exiled all superfluous units from our Order of Battle”. To rebuild morale, Chaudhuri travelled extensively and spoke to the men. He would, at every opportunity, tell them “that there was a big black mark on their faces, which water alone won’t wash out and there was only one thing that could wash it out–blood”.8
India’s relations with Pakistan came up for discussion while negotiations were under way with the United States and Britain for the supply of arms and equipment. The two countries suggested a rapprochement between India and Pakistan. There could be no doubt that friendship between the two neighbours would enable them to face external threats more effectively. However, the main hurdle in the way of amity was Pakistan’s attitude towards Jammu & Kashmir. Pakistan had supported the tribal invasion of the state in 1947 and had later sent her regular forces to fight Indian troops engaged in expelling the invader.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir being Indian territory by virtue of its accession, the Indian Government protested vigorously that Pakistan had no right to negotiate regarding territory that did not belong legally to her.
After the UN-sponsored cease-fire had come into effect on 1 January 1949, Pakistan had not complied with the terms of the cease-fire agreement. Also, Pakistan’s leaders had taken every opportunity to declare their determination to annex Kashmir, whatever the means.
Despite all this, India agreed to discuss the question. Several meetings were held between 27 December 1962 and 16 May 1963. However, Pakistan rejected every proposal put forward by India to resolve the dispute and it became clear that she wanted India to present Kashmir to her on a platter.
The failure of the talks led to a worsening of the relations between the two countries. The Hazratbal incident of December 1963 set off serious riots in Srinagar.9 There was a chain reaction in East Pakistan and later in Calcutta. Many lives were lost and a two-way flight of refugees began. It was estimated that about 700,000 crossed from (East) Pakistan to India in the first nine months of 1964.10
There had been a shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy for some years. As the reader is aware, she had entered into two US-sponsored military pacts – SEATO and CENTO – in the mid-fifties. The aim of these alliances was the containment of communist power in the region. However, towards the close of 1959, Pakistan changed her stance and began to woo China, one of the countries against which these alliances had been directed.
The shift came in the wake of the border dispute between India and China; the reason was obvious. In the years that followed, the two countries came closer to each other, though this was initially looked upon with disfavour by the United States.11 Agreements for trade and cultural relations were followed by large-scale military supplies to Pakistan. These included tanks and aircraft.
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Chinese Sinkiang have a 480-kilometre common border. Early Chinese maps showed a large portion of the Pakistan-occupied territory as theirs. On 23 October 1959, President Ayub Khan of Pakistan announced that his country intended to negotiate an agreement with China in respect of this border. China, however, ignored this overture till January 1961, when she agreed to discuss the question.
The treaty altered the geopolitical situation in the region to Indias disadvantage. It gave China increased influence over the strategic Karakoram Pass and in Hunza”¦
The state of Jammu & Kashmir being Indian territory by virtue of its accession, the Indian Government protested vigorously that Pakistan had no right to negotiate regarding territory that did not belong legally to her. China deferred negotiations for a year thereafter, obviously to avoid giving offence to India. However, when her attempts to settle the border dispute with India (on her own terms) failed, she sought an agreement with Pakistan. Negotiations began in the spring of 1962 and the signing of a treaty was announced on 2 March 1963.
To assuage international opinion, the treaty was made ‘provisional’ and subject to renegotiation after the settlement of the dispute over Kashmir between Pakistan and India’. All the same, the treaty gave China physical possession of territory of great strategic value. She got 6,475 square kilo metres of Hunza lying in Kashmir South of Mintaka Pass. In return, Pakistan was given 1,942 square kilometres of grazing land and salt mines in an area that had been under Chinese occupation.12
The treaty altered the geopolitical situation in the region to India’s disadvantage. It gave China increased influence over the strategic Karakoram Pass and in Hunza she acquired a position deep within Kashmir, from which she could exert military pressure over the rest of the state. The ceded territory brought the Chinese close to the Gilgit airfield, an area from which Pakistan had sent columns to Leh via Skardu and towards Srinagar by way of the Gurais Valley, during the 1947–48 operations. The possibility of China exploiting her position in Hunza for similar moves was a matter of serious concern to India.
The breakdown of negotiations over Kashmir came within weeks of the signing of the Sino-Pak border treaty. The effect of the two events and the turmoil created by the Hazratbal incident brought relations between the two countries to a crisis. Pakistan added to the ill-feeling by mounting a propaganda campaign against India for the measures she was taking to improve her defences.
We have till now not made a mention of the effects of the Chinese invasion on Nehru. To the man who had played a major part in India’s struggle for freedom and had led her through thick and thin after Independence, the events of 1962 brought shock and disillusionment.
However, China’s invasion proved his assessment of that country to be wrong and India suffered a reverse in consequence. His sorrow was great. Some of the non-aligned nations which tried to mediate between China and India failed to show a proper understanding of this country’s case. This deepened his sorrow. All the same, he showed his mettle by refusing to negotiate with China under duress. But 1962 left its mark on Nehru. He was never the same man again; his health failed and he died on 27 May 1964.
In an earlier chapter a parallel was drawn between Ashoka and Nehru. Through his highly moral policy of dharma, Ashoka is accused of having neglected the military and contributing to the downfall of the Great Mauryas. Similarly, the policy of non-alignment and ignoring the requirements of defence brought about the debacle of 1962. Yet, despite these facts, both Ashoka and Nehru are among the greatest figures of Indian history for their incorruptible moral fibre and their cherishing and practising the higher values of life.
- Figures from Red Coats to Olive Green, by V. Longer, pp. 396–7.
- General Thapar was later appointed India’s ambassador to Afghanistan.
- General J.N. Chaudhuri - An Autobiography, told to Colonel B.K. Narayan, p. 174.
- The Untold Story, by Kaul, p. 445.
- Ibid., p. 446.
- Ibid., p. 448.
- Some of the changes at Army Headquarters did not bring the improvement that was expected. Commenting on these, Lieutenant General l.S. Gill (retd), who was Director of Military Operations during the Indo-Pak conflict of 1971 and was later General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command, had this to say: “The abolition of the appointment of the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) and the creation of the appointments of Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) and Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (DCOAS) have had continuing adverse effects on functioning. The intention was to take the load off the COAS but instead it has increased it. Since Operations, Intelligence and Training (and previously Combat Development) are under the VCOAS and the Directorates of Staff Duties and Weapons and Equipment under the DCOAS, the COAS has also to perform the functions of the CGS. I made the Field-Marshal [Manekshaw] and [General] Bewoor understand this, but although they agreed with me they did nothing about it. The Directorate of Combat Development was wound up quite a few years ago. Having taken this idea from the USA we found that we did not know what to do with it”.
- General J.N. Chaudhuri, by Colonel Narayan, p. 178.
- The Hazratbal mosque in Srinagar has a sacred relic of Prophet Mohammad, a hair (bal), which is held in great veneration by the Muslims, and is well-guarded. The riots of December 1963 resulted from the disappearance of the relic under mysterious circumstances. Its subsequent recovery-was as mysterious.
- The Indo-Pakistan Conflict, by Russell Brines, p. 213.
- International relations shift with a change in the interests of nations. A time was to come when the USA would use the good offices of Pakistan for a rapprochement with China.
- The Indo-Pakistan Conflict, by Russell Brines, p. 203.