NEW DELHI: Praising the leadership of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and the Kashmiris for thwarting Pakistan's invasion in 1965, Vice President Hamid Ansari today said the war was a costly military and political misadventure for the neighbouring country.
Ansari said the golden jubilee commemoration of the 1965 Indo-Pak war was a befitting tribute to the gallantry and sacrifice of our soldiers.
The genesis of events which led to war lay in Pakistan's "obduracy and the fallacious belief" in its establishment that it could use force to alter the geography and political realities of the sub-continent, he said, addressing a tri-services seminar to commemorate the golden jubilee of the 1965 India-Pakistan War.
The Vice President said in the final analysis, the war was a costly military and political misadventure for Pakistan.
The failure was camouflaged, he said, adding that even the announcement of ceasefire was described as 'fire bandi' rather than 'jang bandi'.
"Even though our forces were taken by surprise by this menacing move, they fought back strongly and Pakistan's plans soon lay in ruins. The political leadership, led by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, responded with vigour and
determination," Ansari said.
Pakistan, which has always claimed its victory in the war even though it faced numerous losses, set in motion its stratagem on August 5, 1965 under the name 'Operation Gibraltar'.
It involved infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir by trained "irregulars" assisted and guided by its armed forces.
Its mission was to carry out wide-spread acts of sabotage and arson and also to garner local support leading to the proclamation of a war of liberation and a 'Revolutionary Council', Ansari said.
He added its objective, according to a credible Pakistani account, was to "defreeze the Kashmir problem, weaken Indian resolve, and bring her to the conference table without provoking a general war".
"The effort failed because the people of Kashmir chose to resist it; instead, they informed the local police and our security forces about their location, movement and intentions," he said.
Failure of 'Operation Gibraltar' forced Pakistan to activate the second phase of its plan.
This consisted of a direct attack on September 1, 1965 by Pakistani army on Indian forces along the Chamb-Akhnoor-Jurian salient with the aim of taking the strategic town of Akhnoor where the international border ran into the cease fire line.
The aim was to sever the main communication link between India and the Kashmir valley.
Ansari spoke about various diplomatic manoeuvres undertaken by Pakistan, Russia, US and China besides the UN which finally led to the Tashkent Agreement of January 10, 1966.
"A view subsequently emerged that while the Agreement brought the war to an end, it denied India the political advantage of its military successes because of pressure from the major powers and UN. Ironically, public reaction in Pakistan was similar, although for different considerations," the Vice President said.
He said in a wider political perspective, some general conclusions that impact on decisions to initiate hostilities may be drawn.
"In the first place, purely bilateral wars are unlikely in our times. The decision to initiate hostilities may be an autonomous one; thereafter, however, all warlike conflicts tend to draw in concerned and interested players. The end of the conflict, therefore, can rarely be calculated with any degree of precision," Ansari said.
The Vice President noted that the 1965 war was a medium-scale, limited conflict which was inflicted on India.
He also recalled a "pertinent observation" by historian Paul Kennedy.
Referred to the conundrum that has confronted strategists down the ages, Ansari quoted Kennedy as saying ,"To be a Great Power demands a flourishing economic base. Yet by going to war, or by devoting a large share of the nation's 'manufacturing power' to expenditures upon unproductive' armaments, one runs the risk of eroding the national economic base, especially vis-a-vis states which are concentrating a greater share of their income upon investment for long-term growth". The Vice President did no elaborate on this.