The war began on August 1, 1965 and was ended on September 22, 1965.


Along with the attainment of freedom from the British, the Indian subcontinent (the part which was under the British rule) was partitioned into two independent nations- India and Pakistan. India was formed as a secular nation and Pakistan was a Muslim nation from the beginning. India was geographically larger in size, had a greater population and was superior to Pakistan on economic and military sides.

Political causes for the war:

The war fought over Kashmir and started without any official declaration. The terms between the two nations had been worsening through the years after independence. India, after being defeated in a war against China in 1962, was in a week state with military. And this was exactly what Pakisan wanted to make use of. They believed that the Indian army would be unable to defend against a quick military attack in Kashmir. Pakistan expected the support of the public in Kashmir as well, since it was generally believed that the people were unhappy under the Indian rule there. But India, with all its force wanted Kashmir to be its integral part.

How the war began and was fought:

It was Pakistan who started the fighting. It is genarally believed that the frustration due to the failure of the Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate Kashmir, is the primary reason for this.

The initial fightings broke out in the Rann of Kach, a sparsely inhabited region along India's Gujarat boarder with Pakistan. In August fighting spread to Kashmir and to the Punjab, and in September Pakistani and Indian troops crossed the partition line between the two countries and launched air and land attacks on each other's cities, mostly in the ones near the border.

As I said earlier, India was a superior military power. Statistics later revealed that India had used only 14% of its frontline ammunition, compared to Pakistan's 80% and they had twice the number of tanks as Pakistan had.

Anyway, it's said that Pakistan's army was able to withstand Indian pressure initially, but a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan. Most Pakistanis, refused to accept the possibility of their country's military defeat by "Hindu India" and were quick to blame president Ayub Khan and his government for the failure.

If it was internal pressures on the goverment and heavy military damage for the Pakistanis, what mattered to India mostly was external pressures.

After threats of intervention by China had been successfully opposed by the United States and Britain, Pakistan and India agreed to a UN-sponsored cease-fire and withdrew to the pre-war border lines.

After the war

Overall, the war was militarily inconclusive. Each side held prisoners and territories belonging to the other. Though there were heavy losses on both sides, the damage on the Pakistani side was relatively bigger.They lost twenty aircrafts, 200 tanks and 3,800 soldiers. Also, the Pakistani economy, which was on a rise in the beginning of the 60's saw a great downfall because of the war.

Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri of India and President Ayub Khan of Pakistan met in Tashkent, USSR (now in Uzbekistan), in Jan 1966, and signed an agreement pledging continued negotiations and respect for the cease-fire conditions. After the Tashkent Declaration another period of relative peace began.

Visit the The Kashmir Dispute and India - Pakistan war of 1971 nodes to continue reading on the topic.

The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 is also the name of an aviation history book written by PVS Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopra. The book deals mainly with the role played by the Indian Air Force during the war.
Published by Manohar Books, New Delhi

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