Centre to commemorate 50th anniversary of Indo-Pak war

Last Updated 26 August 2015, 19:53 IST

The NDA government is set to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the 1965 India-Pakistan war claiming a victory, ignoring the generally accepted historical account of the 15-day battle ending in a draw.

Also it is often argued India lost the military gains on the diplomatic table as it gave away several strategic gains to Pakistan. Half a century after the war, the NDA government has undertaken a campaign to push the victory claims.

At least two new books on the Army and Air Force accounts of 1965 are coming out shortly each narrating in detail how Indian armed forces overshadowed the Pakistanis. The defence ministry’s official history has a different take on the outcome.

“With proper planning, preparation, strategic and tactical execution of the war, the Indians could have crippled the Pakistan forces, instead of just mauling them,” it says in the concluding chapter.

“Many lessons were learnt by the Indian Armed Forces from the Indo-Pak war of 1965 as could be seen later during the Bangladesh war of 1971. Many of the earlier deficiencies were by then taken care of,” adds the official history. Both India and Pakistan claimed victory.

“The consensus of informed foreign opinion was that the conflict resulted in a draw. In terms of equipment, military circles in Washington concluded, on the basis of post-war information, that Pakistan lost 200 tanks, with another 150 put out of action but recoverable. India, by this assessment, lost between 175 and 190, with another 200 temporarily out of commission,” wrote military historian Russell Brines in his book titled The Indo-Pakistani Conflict.

On the Air Force, India was estimated to have lost 65 to 70 planes, whereas Pakistan that employed fewer of its planes, lost 20. IAF admitted it had to fight the war with obsolete aircraft and faced limitations due to lack of intelligence, radar cover, surface to air missiles and operational training.

“The IAF imbibed the lessons learnt from the 1965 war in full earnest, which resulted in telling successes in the 1971 India-Pakistan war and 1999 Kargil conflict,” says an IAF official.

The victory celebrations would begin on August 28 with the President Pranab Mukherjee laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in the India Gate. On September 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will do the same when IAF's Su-30 MKI and Jaguar fighters and attack helicopters will fly over the India Gate. 

(Published 26 August 2015, 19:53 IST)

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