We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Why did India release all Pakistani Soldiers captured during Indo Pak War 1965. As India captured thousands of Pakistani Soldiers Why did Indian Govt. Release all?
That was because of the Peace treaty which was signed between the two nations, moderated by Soviet Union.
Following were the figures for losses of both nations:
India: 3000 men killed or captured by Pakistanis (Neutral). 8200 men Killed or captured by Pakistanis (Pakistani claims). Indian admission is not available.
Pakistan: 3800 men killed or captured by Indians (Neutral). 5259 men killed or captured by Indians (Indian claims) . Pakistani admission is not available.
As you can see, both sides held prisoners of each other, which can be assumed to be more or less the same figure (If we disregard the claims of both sides and entertain only the neutral claims). Since the war was over, it was imperative for both nations to reach a treaty to end hostilities and repatriate the prisoners.
What you say is true, India had captured presumably thousands of Pakistani soldiers. What you fail to note however, Pakistan had also taken presumably thousands of Indian soldiers prisoners.
Through mediation of Soviet Premier, Alexei Kosygin, leaders and delegates of both nations met in Tashkent, Uzbek SSR, USSR. A peace treaty, Tashkent Declaration was signed by the two belligerent nations.
In that treaty, it was agreed in clause VII:
The Prime Minister of India and the President of Pakistan have agreed that they give instructions to their respective authorities to carry out the repatriation of the prisoners of war.
Also as hinted by Siddant Kumar, both Pakistan and India were parties to Geneva Convention (Fourth one since 1950s) which states in Article 133:
ART. 133. - Internment shall cease as soon as possible after the close of hostilities.
So that's why Indians released Pakistani prisoners because:
- They wanted their own prisoners back and Pakistan wasn't going to release Indians unless India released Pakistani prisoners too.
- The war was over. There was no point in holding the Prisoners for either side.
- Repatriation of POWs is a standard practice when negotiating a peace treaty after a war.
- Both India and Pakistan were obligated by their legal duties as defined in Geneva Convention of 1949 to repatriate the PoWs after the conflict had ended.
Why should we remember the 1965 India-Pakistan war?
Fifty years have passed, since the Indian Army, taken by surprise by Pakistani infiltrators, fought back to finally get the better of eventual military exchanges. The war, fought across both the Line of Control and the international border, saw India capture larger tracts of Pakistani territory and attain a military advantage.
An analysis of the 1965 Indo-Pak war from a strategic perspective remains relevant for a number of reasons. This is facilitated by a reasonably long period of fifty years, which provide an opportunity to objectively assess its significance, with the proverbial benefit of hindsight.
It was a mere three years prior to the war in 1965 that India had been defeated by the Chinese in 1962. This was not merely a military defeat, but also a serious blow to the pride of the country and its armed forces. Despite this setback, the soldiers and their leaders did not display any adverse sign of the debacle against Pakistan. The Indian soldier excelled despite fearful odds.
The war threw up a number of outstanding tactical victories, as well as individual stories of bravery. This is best illustrated by the valour displayed in bloody battles like Haji Pir, Dograi and Asal Uttar. At Haji Pir, the armed forces launched one of the finest attacks, deep into Pakistani territory to capture the pass. Major Ranjt Singh Dayal, who led this force, became a household name. The battle of Dograi, is unique in the annals of Indian military history, wherein 3 JAT, the battalion that was involved, captured the same objective twice, despite erroneously being asked to fall back after the first victory. Asal Uttar is often referred to as "Patton Nagar". It witnessed the destruction of nearly 100 Pakistani tanks on the battlefield. As a result of a number of similar victories, by the end of the war, the armed forces had not only buried the defeat against China, they had also chartered the course for building upon their hard fought victories. This finally became evident during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
An Indian patrol walks in the Haji Pir pass sector of Kashmir region.
It is a commonly held belief that India has always held a clear edge in the conventional military sphere against Pakistan. This was certainly the case immediately after independence, however, after the mid fifties, Pakistan embarked on a concerted path to modernise its forces, in the garb of aligning against communism. This saw it receive high end military hardware from the US. In reality, its preparations were clearly aimed at India, as the events of 1965 proved. After the 1962 war, when the US provided India with military hardware, Pakistan, established a special relationship with China, the very country, US had armed it against. India was also disadvantaged during the process of raising new formations after the 1962 war, as most of these were not in a state of preparedness to fight a war. The sudden increase in size had also diluted its professional edge. Pakistan realised these limitations and decided to strike at a time that it considered most advantageous. Therefore, purely from the perspective of military hardware and readiness, Pakistan had a clear edge in 1965. The Indian response and achievements must be seen from this perspective and were therefore all the more commendable.
Despite some of the notable successes in the face of odds, the war brought home certain important military realities that remain relevant fifty years later as well. Here are five factors, which emerge as the lessons that the armed forces must build upon.
First, each service fought its individual battles, with limited cohesion in the planning or execution of the war effort. While there has been better coordination achieved over the years, a lot needs to be done to ensure that unity of effort is achieved through the seamless integration of the armed forces.
Second, the war exposed limitations in the intelligence capability of the country and the armed forces. This has been a recurrent weakness repeatedly exposed thereafter as well. There is a case for investing far more than is presently the case to enhance the capacity of military intelligence as well as internal and external national intelligence agencies.
Third, the war brought home the reality that military capability cannot be created in a short span of time. The efforts that began after the 1962 war, were inadequate to create the kind of military edge needed to retain conventional military superiority against Pakistan. This is equally relevant in the present context.
Fourth, the refusal of military and civilian authorities to share the reality of wars and war fighting with the country has led to misinformation and misgivings which are great for sustaining myths, but not objective analysis. The recent initiative to document wars is a step in the right direction, though it should ideally be accompanied by declassification of records to enable scholars to enlarge the debate.
Fifth, war termination is a reflection of a country's long term strategic assessment of its desired objectives. The aftermath of the 1965 war clearly exposed weaknesses in this regard. It also reinforced the country's adhoc strategic culture. This remains a weakness, with inadequate investment in developing strategic insight amongst leaders, both military and civilian alike.
As the country celebrates the achievements of the 1965 Indo-Pak war, a simultaneous attempt must be made to ensure that weaknesses if any must be addressed so that the country and its armed forces are prepared to successfully achieve national objectives.
History of Conflict in India and Pakistan
The history between India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, is inextricably linked. The countries have fought a series of wars since gaining their independence from Great Britain in 1947, largely over the Kashmir region, to which both countries lay claim.
India became a nuclear power in 1974, and Pakistan became a nuclear power in 1998.
Neither country has used nuclear weapons in conflict, but many experts fear that the ongoing crisis could escalate beyond conventional weapons use.
Here is a brief history of the conflict between the two countries.
August 1947: Following the end of British rule, British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan. The provincial division was based on Hindu and Muslim majorities, which caused mass migration for those that did not live in the majorities. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in communal violence resulting in an atmosphere of hostility that has remained for decades. The Jammu and Kashmir regions have been disputed since partition, with Pakistan and India both claiming ownership.
October 1947 – January 1949: The first Indo-Pakistani war began following an invasion of Kashmir by armed tribesmen from Pakistan. Kashmir turned to India for military assistance and in return agreed to hand over powers of defense, communication and foreign affairs, acceding to India. A ceasefire was arranged on Jan. 1, 1949 and a ceasefire line was established – now called the Line of Control.
August 1965: The second Indo-Pakistani war was sparked by a series of clashes across the India-Pakistani border. Hostilities broke out in August when Pakistani soldiers crossed the Line of Control into Indian-administered Kashmir in an attempt to start an insurgency against India (Operation Gibraltar). The war ended in January 1966 when officials from India and Pakistan signed a declaration affirming their commitment to peace.
December 1971: When India and Pakistan became their own countries, Pakistan was split into two parts – East Pakistan and West Pakistan. The third Indo-Pakistani war took place when Pakistan erupted into civil war, pitting West Pakistan against East Pakistan, who demanded independence. Millions of east Pakistanis fled to India, and quickly the West Pakistani army surrendered. East Pakistan earned independence on Dec. 6, 1971 and changed its name to Bangladesh.
May 1974: India successfully tested its first nuclear weapon, code named “Operation Smiling Buddha.” It took place on the army base Pokhran Test Range, close to its border with Pakistan.
July 1989: Armed resistance against Indian rule began in Kashmir when Muslim parties complained that the 1987 elections were rigged against them. Some citizens demanded independence while others wanted a union with Pakistan. Pakistan supported the movement, calling for the issue to be resolved by the United Nations. India called for Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism. Since 1989, several new radical Islamist groups have emerged, shifting the movement from a nationalistic and secularist one to an Islamic one. The insurgency has continued until present day.
May 1998: India and Pakistan both conducted nuclear tests. India’s underground nuclear test was conducted near its border with Pakistan. In response, Pakistan conducted six tests. The international community condemned India and Pakistan for the testing, and urged the two nations to stop their nuclear weapons programs.
May 1998: India adopted a No First Use (NFU) policy, meaning the state would not use nuclear weapons unless it was attacked with a nuclear weapon first. Despite questions around the policy, India remains faithful to the NFU doctrine.
May 1999: After nearly 30 years, India launched air strikes against Pakistani-backed forces that had entered Indian-administered Kashmir. As fighting increased toward a direct conflict between the two nuclear states, Pakistan’s troops were put on high alert. At least 38,000 people fled their homes on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control.
December 2001: Five armed terrorists entered the Indian Parliament building and opened fire, killing nine people. India blamed Pakistani-backed Kashmiri militants for the attack, which led to a massive buildup of troops along with Indo-Pakistani border.
February 2007: Blasts in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express killed 68 people, most of them Pakistani nationals. The train was created in 1994 as a goodwill measure to help families who were separated during the 1947 India-Pakistan partition. This came at a time when relations were improving between India and Pakistan.
November 2008: Ten Pakistani men associated with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba stormed various buildings in Mumbai and killed 164 people using automatic weapons and grenades. Only one of the 10 gunmen survived, and was executed in 2012.
February 2019: Pakistani-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out a suicide car bomb attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir which resulted in the deaths of over 40 members of India’s paramilitary forces. India retaliated with air strikes across the Line of Control, and Pakistan shot down an Indian aircraft and captured a pilot. These actions significantly increased tensions between the two nuclear states but two days later, the Indian pilot was released and tensions relaxed.
August 2019: In a controversial and unexpected move, the Indian government revoked Article 370 which grants Indian-administered Kashmir autonomy. Article 370 gave Kashmir the rights to its own “constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws” regarding residency, property ownership, and fundamental rights. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi argued that the Article needed to be scrapped in order to put Kashmir on the same footing as the rest of India. Pakistan stayed relatively silent following this decision but did highlight the violence Kashmiris have experienced since August.
India, Pakistan and the 1971 War POWs
Indian POWs from the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 remain a sore point in bilateral relations.
The Indian government is coming under pressure to lobby Pakistan for the release of 54 missing prisoners of war, held since the 1971 conflict. While 90,000 Pakistani troops were captured by the Indian Army at the end of the war, and then released as part of the Simla peace agreement, 54 Indian soldiers, officers and pilots continued to be held by Pakistan.
Four and a half decades on, two British human rights lawyers are taking a case to the Supreme Court in Delhi on behalf of the missing men’s families. Successive Indian governments have done little to recover their missing military personnel – perhaps for fear of rocking an already fragile relationship between the two countries. The families are now hoping the Supreme Court judge will rule that the case be handed over for independent arbitration by the International Courts of Justice, a body backed by the United Nations Security Council.
The families have approached both the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross in their four-and-a-half decade campaign, but neither body was able to offer assistance.
Pakistan completely denied holding the prisoners until 1989, when then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto finally told visiting Indian officials that the men were in custody. Years later, Pervez Musharraf would go back on this, formally denying their existence while he was in office. Long periods of denial, with occasional but short-lived reversals in admitting culpability, have made the job of Indian officials lobbying for release much harder. The prisoners are believed to have been discussed at the latest meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, Russia.
There is compelling evidence to suggest the men were captured alive.
In 1972, Time Magazine published a photo showing one of the men behind bars in Pakistan. His family believed he had been killed the year before, but instantly recognized him.
Get briefed on the story of the week, and developing stories to watch across the Asia-Pacific.
The same year, a photo of another captured infantry officer was published by a local paper. It appeared to have been taken inside a Pakistani prison and smuggled out.
In her biography of Benazir Bhutto, British historian Victoria Schoffield reported that a Pakistani lawyer had been told that Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore was housing Indian prisoners of war “from the 1971 conflict.” They could be heard screaming from behind a wall, according to an eyewitness account from within the prison.
Pakistani media outlets have also alluded to the men’s existence. The shooting down of Wing Commander Hersern Gill’s Mig 21 on December 13, 1971 was followed that day by a radio broadcast, in which a military spokesperson claimed that an “ace Indian pilot” had been captured. Gill had led a four-plane sortie into Pakistani territory, but the planes had missed their targets. Returning to Indian airspace, Gill suddenly turned back to take another run, alone.
Once back in Pakistani territory, and closing in on his target, he was shot down by ground fire, but according to Indian Air Force sources, he may have managed to glide to a safe landing. Shortly after that, he appears to have been captured.
An American general, Chuck Yeager, also revealed in an autobiography that during the 1971 war, he had personally interviewed Indian pilots captured by the Pakistanis. The airmen were of particular interest to the Americans because, at the height of the Cold War, the men had attended training in Russia and were flying Soviet designed and manufactured aircraft.
The families also claim that on the only two occasions when the Pakistani authorities have allowed them to visit Pakistani jails, prison guards privately attested to the men being alive – before more senior Pakistani officials ushered the relatives away.
One family member speaking to The Diplomat described these tours as “a sham,” saying they were carefully stage managed. The family member suspected the prisoners had been moved so as not to be discovered. A separate testimony from a released prisoner-of-war describes the prisoners being moved regularly between seven separate prisons, while another witness claims the men were at one point held in secret cells under Bahawalnagar Airport.
Behind Closed Doors
It took until 1978 for the Indian authorities to finally publish a list of the missing. The approach of the government since has generally been to negotiate behind closed doors and make limited announcements to the media.
A letter from the Indian ambassador in Islamabad, dated March 1984 and seen by The Diplomat, advises a family member: “We have to continue our efforts in a discrete fashion because any premature publicity can harm our overall cause.” Further memos circulated by the Islamabad embassy, also seen by The Diplomat, claim high-level conversations have taken place privately on a number of occasions, always instigated by Indian officials, but the Pakistani government continues to officially deny the men’s existence, making progress difficult. A memo between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her ambassador in Islamabad suggests the matter was being discussed behind closed doors, yet it is hard to know how seriously the Indians were actually pushing for release, as the minutes were private.
Still, the families remain disappointed with the Indian government’s performance.
“They should have been released when the 90,000 Pakistanis were released,” says Rajwant Kaur, sister of one of the missing. She remembers her brother flying low over their house close by to the military airfield, and him dropping her at the airport as she flew to meet her new husband in the United Kingdom. That was the last time she saw him. He had volunteered to do a third operational tour. “He didn’t need to go again,” Kaur remembers. “I’m very angry at the Indian government,” she adds, claiming they simply “hadn’t bothered” to secure the release of their own men when hostilities ended.
Analysts have mixed views on what impact the Supreme Court case could have on relations — currently overshadowed by terror attacks, and the release on bail of a Taliban leader thought to have orchestrated the deadly Mumbai shootings. Last month, Khalistani separatists launched a terrorist attack in Punjab province, with many Indians believing the attacks were supported by the Pakistani intelligence services.
Harsh Pant, a leading scholar in international relations at Kings College London’s India Institute, sees the missing prisoners of war as an opportunity for reconciliation.
“The relationship has been in limbo for a long time, and there is now an appetite both from Prime Ministers Modi and Sharif to try and move things forward. The PoWs case probably won’t change realities on the ground too much, but it could change public perceptions of the talks and help build confidence,” he argues, adding that Pakistan had probably held back the prisoners as political leverage. “It’s a humanitarian case, so it’s very unseemly of both governments.”
‘Pregnant With Dereliction’
Raoof Hasan, executive president of the Regional Peace Institute in Islamabad, which conducts civil society diplomacy efforts between the two countries, was damning of both governments, saying the virtual silence over four and a half decades was “pregnant with dereliction.” He argued the Indian government had failed in their duty to retrieve the personnel, but is skeptical that even with an International Court of Justice ruling, the case would move forward, saying Pakistan had already shown itself willing to “violate international norms.”
“Any new outcomes would be hugely embarrassing for both nevertheless the best course remains back-channel efforts,” Hasan told The Diplomat, adding that his organization would now be offering its support to try and broker a deal.
“Taking the case to the International Court of Justice is a good idea,” says Zubair Ghouri, a Pakistan security analyst and author of The Media-Terrorism Symbiosis: A Case Study of the Mumbai Attacks. Like Hasan, Ghouri believes that “with recent events, this is not an issue that could be brought up in front-line diplomacy, but it could still be sorted out via back channels.”
“The 1971 war is still taken very seriously,” Ghouri explains. “Simla was a humiliating agreement Pakistan was forced to sign. If there is any truth to the PoW claims, the Pakistani government may be engaged.”
Maroof Raza, editor of Fauji India magazine and a leading Indian defense analyst, says the release of the prisoners would be “a great humanitarian gesture” by Pakistan, but believes it would not help improve relations — thanks to bad blood over the Kargil War and Mumbai attacks.
“To improve any relations,” Raza told The Diplomat, the Pakistani polity has to “show definite intent in containing cross-border terrorism by its so-called non-state actors.”
Key witnesses giving evidence to the Supreme Court trial, who can’t be named for legal reasons, told The Diplomat they have already been approached by Indian military personnel offering bribes to withdraw their testimony. Another relative claims that former Army comrades had warned her to “drop it, they’re dead – time to move on.” Though the Indian government has been reticent for diplomatic reasons, there may have been military errors made leading to the men’s capture which current or retired soldiers want covered up.
Though no date has been firmly set, the case is expected to proceed later this month.
Alastair Sloan is a London-based journalist focused on human rights and injustice. You can follow him on Twitter @AlastairSloan.
India left at least 15 PoWs in Pakistani jails, gave up on them as ‘sacrifice’: New book27 Sqn played a crucial role in blunting the PAF’s attack on Halwara on 6 Sep 1965 | By special arrangement
New Delhi: At least 15 Indian prisoners of war (PoWs) from the 1965 and 1971 wars were left to their fate in Pakistan by the Indian military and multiple governments, a new book by journalist Chander Suta Dogra has revealed.
The book, titled ‘Missing in Action: The prisoners who did not come back’, details the struggles and confusion surrounding these soldiers, and says the Indian establishment gave up on these PoWs as “collateral damage” of war, or a “sacrifice” at the shrine of bilateralism.
While India officially lists 54 PoWs in Pakistani jails, the book reveals that the government has always believed the correct figure to be between 12 and 15.
Pakistan has always said it doesn’t have any PoWs, but declassified records of India’s Ministry of External Affairs show that in a meeting of the two countries’ foreign secretaries at Murree in May 1984, Pakistan admitted that it has ‘security prisoners’ with names similar to some of the missing soldiers.
“Security prisoners” is a euphemism for spies, and has been used to distort names of prisoners in captivity to escape scrutiny, since PoWs are governed under the Geneva Conventions.
India not all innocent
While Dogra brings the focus back on Indian PoWs, she also states that the Indian state is not all innocent either. One section of the book reveals that there could’ve been at least 18 Pakistani PoWs in Indian jails at one point of time, without any recourse to get back home.
Both countries challenge the number of missing soldiers from the other side held in their custody. But they cannot deny the fact of their long incarceration, which goes against international law and the Third Geneva Convention (1949), the book states.
It also mentions how the Indian government views its own soldiers in enemy captivity, and the limits it has set to secure their release.
“Time and again, the government has stressed that it can do nothing more than ‘pressing Pakistan to release the missing defence personnel’. What this means is that it will not take the issue beyond the fruitless confines of bilateral talks, because the fear of third-party intervention in Indo-Pakistani relations has dictated India’s foreign policy towards Pakistan since the 1971 war,” Dogra writes.
“The Shimla Agreement cemented bilateralism as a means of resolving disputes and Indian diplomats, groomed in a culture that wants to punch Pakistan whenever possible, did not believe in ever relenting on any issue that could benefit Pakistan,” the book adds.
The case of Major A.K. Suri
One of the poignant 1971 cases that the book brings out is that of Major A.K. Suri, Quartermaster of 5 Assam Regiment.
It was this case that actually led to the issue of PoWs hitting the headlines, with his father R.S. Suri leading the search for his son and others.
“He had just been promoted as a major earlier that year, and a letter from home informed him that his family had found him a girl. Marriage was on the cards. It was in this happy state of mind that, on 5 December, the young Ashok took charge of a small convoy of three vehicles containing arms, ammunition and rations for the front line, where his battalion was defending the Munnawar and Darh crossings over the river Tawi against a Pakistani attack,” the book says.
The official account states that at around 1600 hours, east of the Chhamb bridge, Suri came under heavy shelling and received a wound on his head while sitting in his jeep. He was immediately taken to the advanced dressing station at Khour, near Jammu, by his driver, and by evening, had been evacuated to 310 Field Hospital at Jourian in an unconscious state, where he breathed his last.
But the senior Suri did not believe a word of this account when it was first presented to him on 21 January 1972, because by then, he had begun to suspect that the truth was entirely different.
“Within the last one month, he had received four contradictory pieces of information about his son’s death. On 11 December, a telegram reached him from the army headquarters informing him that his son was wounded in action on 5 December. Six days later, two more telegrams from 5 Assam reached him via the chief telecommunications officer in Jalandhar,” the book states.
“The first said, ‘Your son Maj. A.K. Puri expired on 15 December.’ The second one said, ‘Your son Maj. A.K. Suri expired on 5 December.’ It was all very baffling. To make things worse, the commanding officer (CO) of 5 Assam, Lieutenant Colonel A.S. Malhi, wrote to him on 9 January 1972, saying that Maj. Suri’s death became known to him only on 7 December, and he had immediately informed the army headquarters about it. But the message from the headquarters had said that Ashok was wounded, not dead.”
R.S. Suri then began writing letters, hundreds of them, to scores of people in India and across the world in years to come.
On 1 January 1972, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi shot off signed letters to the next of kin of those believed killed in the war, expressing her sympathy and offering schemes for their benefit. The senior Suri received one too.
“Turmoil raged within him as he quietly filed away the letter. The family despaired at the incompetence and irresponsibility with which 5 Assam evaded a direct explanation and spent several days in helpless agony. Then, a couple of Suri’s friends rang to provide him with the first indication that his suspicion about his son being alive could be true. They had heard the popular programme Punjabi Durbar on Pakistan Radio, on 7 January 1972 at 1530 hours, in which one Maj. Mohinder Singh was heard saying, ‘I, Maj. Mohinder Singh of Hoshiarpur, Maj. A.K. Suri of Faridabad and one more major were captured at Chamb on 5 December. We are well. Anyone listening to this may tell our parents that we are okay,’” the book states.
Making matter worse, Captain S.R. Dass, adjutant of 5 Assam, rang the doorbell of the Suri household in the middle of January 1972. He had brought a few personal belongings of the young major, the sight of which quickly dissipated the cheer of the last few days.
“Ashok’s trunk was brought with broken locks and there was no inventory of the articles. Dass handed over a purse containing Rs 199.80 and a size 7 steel helmet with the name of one 2nd/Lt M.K. Charaj written on it. ‘This is not Ashok’s helmet. It is too small to fit his head,’ cried his mother, as she rummaged in vain for her son’s uniform and other clothes in the box,” the book states.
“The family wanted to see Ashok’s bloodstained helmet—they were told he had a head wound—with his name on it. There was no sign of the gold ring, the black field watch or the identity disc either. As they all sat down to tea around Dass, it was he who told the bewildered family that contrary to what Hathwal said, Ashok did not reach the frontline with the convoy of rations and ammunition on 5 December—the unit had waited till 11 p.m. that night for him to arrive.
“When there was no sign of him, it was Dass who finally brought the ammunition from another depot the next day. Ashok’s mother wanted to know what had happened to his convoy. Dass did not know. Why were the unit officers giving contradictory stories? Nobody seemed to have any answers. It is important to note that equipment used by soldiers who die in action is not given to their families as a rule, only their personal articles are,” it states.
Dogra writes that a military mind who has studied the details of Maj. Suri’s case forwarded a plausible hypothesis for his unit’s evasive conduct.
“One possibility is, Maj. Suri may have strayed far enough to be captured before the official breakout of hostilities between India and Pakistan and this needed a cover up. It would also explain Lt. Col. Malhi’s reluctance to face Suri (The CO had refused to meet father on December 20). The shoddy treatment meted out to Suri by 5 Assam is at variance with army ethos, more so the infantry, which is extremely protective and respectful of the families of its casualties,” Dogra writes.
“The reluctance of a CO to meet with the parent of his fallen officer is inexplicable. ‘It is likely that the CO realized that Maj. Suri had gone missing due to errors made at his end if the truth ever came out, his own leadership and performance would be questioned.
“This looks like a typical cover-up, which escaped scrutiny in the confusion that ensued in the weeks and months after the war,’ the officer postulates. If one accepts this hypothesis, then everything falls into place,” the book states.
Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.
Britain and Soviet Confrontation
Confidential – The Commander of the Military Intelligence Service Gen. Pyotr Ivashutin.
“The Soviet Intelligence has reported that the English operative connection has come nearer to territorial India, water led by an aircraft carrier “Eagle” [On December 10]. For helping friendly India, Soviet government has directed a group of ships under the command of contr-admiral V. Kruglyakov.”
Vladimir Kruglyakov, the former (1970-1975) Commander of the 10th Operative Battle Group (Pacific Fleet) remembers:
“I was ordered by the Chief Commander to track the British Navy’s advancement, I positioned our battleships in the Bay of Bengal and watched for the British carrier “Eagle”.
But Soviet Union didn’t have enough force to resist if they encountered the British Carrier. Therefore, to support the existing Soviet fleet in the Bay of Bengal, Soviet cruisers, destroyers and nuclear submarines, equipped with anti ship missiles, were sent from Vladivostok.
In reaction English Navy retreated and went South to Madagascar.
Soon the news of American carrier Enterprise and USS Tripoli’s advancement towards Indian water came.
V. Kruglyakov “ I had obtained the order from the commander-in-chief not to allow the advancement of the American fleet to the military bases of India”
We encircled them and aimed the missiles at the ‘Enterprise’. We had blocked their way and didn’t allow them to head anywhere, neither to Karachi, nor to Chittagong or Dhaka”.
The Soviet ships had small range rockets (only upto 300 KM). Therefore, to hold the opponent under the range, commanders ran risks of going as near to the enemy as possible.
“The Chief Commander had ordered me to lift the submarines and bring them to the surface so that it can be pictured by the American spy satellites or can be seen by the American Navy!’ It was done to demonstrate, that we had all the needed things in Indian Ocean, including the nuclear submarines. I had lifted them, and they recognized it. Then, we intercepted the American communication. The commander of the Carrier Battle Group was then the counter-admiral Dimon Gordon. He sent the report to the 7th American Fleet Commander: ‘Sir, we are too late. There are Russian nuclear submarines here, and a big collection of battleships’.
Americans returned and couldn’t do anything. Soviet Union had also threatened China that, if they ever opened a front against India on its border, they will receive a tough response from North.
The Untold Story: How Kennedy came to India's aid in 1962
The story of the 1962 war with China has all the elements of a dramatic historical event.
Nehru's handling of the crisis and panic reactions were in marked contrast to the cool and confident Kennedy.
The generous and prompt response by JFK made him an icon in India. But the US State Department, under pressure from Pakistan and with British support, scuttled the chances of a more lasting India-US alliance, say Colonel Anil Athale (retd).
F or most Indians, the dominant memory of India-United States relations continues to be the presence of the USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal during the 1971 Bangladesh war.
During the 1962 border conflict, it was the US that came to India's rescue and there were plans to send the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier to the Bay of Bengal to support India against a possible Chinese invasion.
Many of my generation remember vividly how then American President John F Kennedy had become one of the most popular figures in India -- so much so that most paan shops, (the true barometer of public opinion in India) routinely had Kennedy's photograph alongside the familiar one of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi.
The Sino-Indian border conflict coincided with the Cuban Missile Crisis and was largely ignored in the world media. Yet today, in retrospect, this remains a major issue in the politics of Asia while the Cuban Missile Crisis is of academic value after the demise of the Soviet Union.
The future world will bear a heavy impact of this military clash between the two Asian giants. The Sino-Indian clash sounded a virtual death knell for the Communist movement in India, till then the best organised political party after the Indian National Congress.
If Communism was to triumph in India, the history of the Cold War era may well have ended very differently.
In November 1963 when Kennedy was assassinated, he was genuinely mourned by millions of Indians. He was seen by many Indians as the great big hope for the future of mankind. Aside from his obvious personal charisma, the influence Kennedy wielded in India had much to do with the policies his administration followed vis a vis India.
It was one period in the history of otherwise difficult India-US relations when the Indians regarded the US as their friend. The prompt and generous American response to Indian needs at the time of military reverses against the Chinese in October/November 1962, had a deep impact on the Indian psyche.
President Kennedy was preoccupied in dealing with the Cuban crisis and he left it to then US ambassador Professor John Kenneth Galbraith to handle the situation, supporting him to the hilt.
When the Indian situation became particularly desperate, US Air Force squadrons in the Philippines were alerted through its contacts in Warsaw, the US conveyed its resolve to the Chinese to come to India's assistance.
C-130 Hercules aircraft carried out drops of arms and ammunition supplies as well as essential clothing to Indian soldiers on the battlefront.
Indian national morale had hit rock bottom on November 18, 1962 when news of further reverses reached New Delhi. The Indians felt isolated, vulnerable and betrayed, when even the 'friends' of India took ambivalent positions.
On October 25, 1962, when war with the United States was potentially imminent, the Soviet newspaper Pravda published a front-page article that put the entire blame for the 1962 war with China on India.
The article called the McMahon line, which New Delhi accepted, 'notorious', 'the result of British imperialism', and legally invalid.
Pravda also accused India of being incited by imperialists and being the main ringleaders of the conflict. The Soviet Union's hostile attitude contrasted with President Kennedy's generous help to India in its hour of need. This made a deep impression on the Indians.
Professor Galbraith, speaking to me in 2003, recalled the sea change that had occurred in Indian attitude towards the Americans. American aircraft regularly landed in Delhi and carried out photo missions over the Indo-Tibet border.
These aerial photographs were of great value since India had no maps of the areas of conflict. Then US assistant secretary of state Roger Hilsman, himself a veteran of the Burma campaign in World War II, personally coordinated the aid effort.
The Chinese declared a 'unilateral cease-fire' on November 21, 1962 and announced that it would withdraw from captured territory of Arunachal Pradesh. It is true the Chinese had over extended their lines of communication and would have found it difficult to maintain themselves on the Himalayan foothills.
But it is equally possible that the threat of USAF intervention as well as the threat to China conveyed in Warsaw played a major role in the Chinese decision.
The India-US honeymoon barely lasted a year or so. According to Galbraith, old imperialists warhorses like Duncan Syndys and Louis Mountbatten played a major role in making India drift away from the West.
No sooner had the fighting ended, Pakistan, with tacit British support, demanded that India 'solve' the Kashmir issue.
There was talk of 'joint' control over the Kashmir valley. It seemed that India was prepared to concede some ground in Kashmir, but Pakistan insisted on not just the valley, but also the Doda-Kishtwar districts as essential to control the water sources of major rivers.
Once Nehru became aware of these designs, the Indians hardened their position on Kashmir. Free from the immediate threat of the Cuban crisis, the Soviet Union also modified its position. It was almost back to square one, as far as India-US relations were concerned.
But there were some enduring legacies of this brief honeymoon. Under Biju Patnaik's stewardship, Indian intelligence established close relations with the Central Intelligence Agency for support of Tibetan resistance.
The second and more troubling inheritance is that India deliberately did not develop alternative land routes (via Manali and the Rohatang pass) to Ladakh as its claim over the Kashmir valley was based on the need to keep the Srinagar-Leh route open.
Sadly, this mindset and sheer inertia in the establishment continued even after 1972 when the Sino-US equations changed.
We woke up to the alternative route for Ladakh only after the 1999 Kargil adventure by Pakistan. This is in spite of the historical fact that in August/September 1948 the bulk of reinforcements to Leh traveled there by the Manali route.
On October 16, 1964, China carried out a nuclear test. The US was then keen that India should follow suit. The seeds of the Indian nuclear weapons programme were sown then with the Americans not averse to the Indian efforts.
Another hardly acknowledged policy change was the Indian attitude to the then ongoing conflict in South East Asia (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). Indian criticism of American actions became muted. India also provided logistical help to the Americans.
As far as China was concerned, from 1962 onwards, India was no longer following 'non alignment'. But such is the veil of secrecy that these issues are seldom discussed openly even though 50 years have gone by.
The story of 1962 has all the elements of a dramatic historical event. There is the fact of intriguing coincidence of major events of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Chinese actions.
Nehru's handling of the crisis and panic reactions were in marked contrast to the cool and confident Kennedy. The generous and prompt response by JFK made him an icon in India. But the US State Department, under pressure from Pakistan and with British support, scuttled the chances of an India-US alliance.
The story of six rounds of talks over Kashmir between India and Pakistan, held in 1963, tell a story that keeps getting repeated even in the 21st century. The American flip-flop over Af-Pak, its double standards on terrorism and the familiar British mollycoddling of Pakistan, are themes that reoccur in the present.
Colonel Anil Athale (retd) is co-author of the official history of the India-China War was a fellow at the Kennedy Centre in 2003.
India Pakistan Relations
Here are all the major conflicts between India & Pakistan that have taken place until now. The tables give the overview and each of the events has been expounded further in this article. Find all of the major events in chronological timeline of India Pakistan Relations below.
|7th May 2020||India included POK in the weather forecast|
|5th August 2020||Abrogation of Article 370 and 35A|
|February 26, 2019||Balakot Air Strike|
|February 14, 2019||Pulwama Attack|
|May 29, 2018||India and Pakistan agreed to implement the ceasefire.|
|September 18, 2016||Uri Attack|
|September 29, 2016||Surgical Strike|
|2002||India Pak on the verge of attack|
|1990||India and Pakistan were at the brink of war.|
|1971||Bangladeshi War of Liberation|
|1947||Partition of Dominion of India into two |
democracies India and Pakistan.
The mystery of India's 'missing 54' soldiers
They are called "the missing 54" - Indian soldiers forgotten in the fog of past wars with Pakistan, and who appear to have slipped through the cracks of the rival neighbours' troubled history.
India and Pakistan have twice gone to war over territory in the disputed region of Kashmir - in 1947-48 and in 1965. Then, in 1971, Pakistan lost a 13-day war to India, resulting in its eastern half - separated from the rest of the country by more than 1,600km (990 miles) of India - emerging as the sovereign nation of Bangladesh.
India believes the 54 soldiers went missing in action and are held in Pakistani prisons. But more than four decades after they disappeared, there's no clarity over their numbers and fate.
Last July, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government told parliament there were 83 Indian soldiers, including the "missing 54", in Pakistan's custody. The rest are possibly soldiers who "strayed across the border" or were captured for alleged espionage. Pakistan has consistently denied holding any Indian prisoners of war.
Chander Suta Dogra, a senior Indian journalist, has researched the story of the missing 54 for several years. She has spoken to retired army officers, bureaucrats and relatives of the soldiers and also accessed letters, newspaper clippings, memoirs, diary entries, photographs and declassified records of India's foreign ministry. Missing in Action: The prisoners who never came back, her meticulously-researched new book, tries to answer the key question: what happened to these men?
Anything really, as Ms Dogra's research shows.
Were these men actually killed in action? Does India have evidence to prove they were being held in Pakistan? Were they singled out for indefinite detention in Pakistan to be used as future bargaining chips?
Were some of them - as many officers in Pakistan believe - Indian intelligence agents caught for spying? Were they tortured brutally after being caught in Pakistan in contravention of the Geneva Convention - international law governing warfare - making it too difficult or embarrassing for the country to repatriate them? Were some of the missing soldiers killed soon after they were captured?
And why did the Indian government bizarrely "admit" that 15 of the 54 had been "confirmed killed" in two affidavits, submitted to a local court in the early 1990s in response to a petition on missing soldiers? And if that is the case, why does the government today insist that all 54 are still missing?
"It is clear that the government knew some of the missing men were actually dead. Then why did they retain their names on the list? Quite clearly, there is deliberate obfuscation and the government owes it to not just to the relatives of the soldiers, but the people of India to come clean," says Ms Dogra.
The brother of one of the missing soldiers told me the government had failed in its job.
"In the euphoria over the war victories, we just forgot these soldiers," he said. "I blame successive governments and the defence establishment for their complete apathy. We even wanted a third party to mediate and get to the truth about these soldiers, but India did not agree to it."
Yet, this is only part of the story.
Ms Dogra has unearthed some stories which suggest that some of the "missing 54" were reportedly alive in Pakistani prisons even after the wars ended.
The family of a wireless operator who went missing in the 1965 war, for example, was told by the Indian army in August 1966 that he was dead. But, between 1974 and the early 1980s, three Indian prisoners who were returned by Pakistan told authorities and the family of the missing soldier that he was still alive. Still, nothing happened.
It's not that there have been no efforts to trace the prisoners and bring them home. The two governments have held talks to seek their release. Successive Indian prime ministers have sought to figure out a solution. War veterans on both sides have campaigned for repatriation. It's not even the case that there was no exchange of prisoners between the two sides: India repatriated some 93,000 captured Pakistani soldiers after the 1971 war, and Pakistan sent back more than 600 soldiers.
Two groups of relatives - six people in 1983 and 14 in 2007- carrying photographs and other details of the missing men travelled to Pakistan and visited jails without success. Some of them alleged that Pakistan had stonewalled their efforts to meet the prisoners, something the country denied. During the second visit, the relatives said there was "strong evidence of them being alive and in Pakistan". The Pakistani interior ministry denied this.
"We have repeatedly said that there are no Indian PoWs in Pakistan and we stick by that position," a spokesperson said in 2007.
Ms Dogra says the truth lies in the "grey zone where no one wants to tread".
What is clear is that there is no closure yet for the families of these soldiers.
Take the case of HS Gill, a daredevil air force pilot fondly called "High Speed" Gill by his peers. His plane was shot down over Sindh during the 1971 war. He was 38 when he went missing. His name kept coming up in the lists of missing soldiers that India prepared - and his family believed he would return. He didn't. Three years ago, his wife, a school principal, died of cancer his son took his life in his twenties while the whereabouts of his daughter, according to a family member, are "not known".
"Frankly, I have not given up hope yet," the soldier's brother, Gurbir Singh Gill, told me. "I know he may not be alive. But then we should be told the truth. In absence of the truth you keep hoping that he will come back, don't you?"
The Future of the India-Pakistan Nuclear Rivalry
This month marks 22 years since the nuclearization of India and Pakistan. These last 22 years have seen multiple Indo-Pak crises, each evoking at least some nuclear overtones. In the past year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s August 5, 2019 decision to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A, revoking Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)’s special semi-autonomous status, has brought New Delhi and Islamabad to the crossroads of a permanent state of tension. Kashmiris in Indian-administered J&K are still under restrictions after almost 300 days, and the Line of Control has constantly been on fire.
The most recent Pulwama/Balakot crisis highlighted the evolving nature of India-Pakistan nuclear escalation. India believed that attacking Pakistan across the international boundary would test its resolve and call its nuclear bluff. However, the assumptions upon which India launched the Balakot strikes were flawed and based on its misunderstanding of two new realities: the changing and increasing indigenization of the Kashmir insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir, and a misreading of Pakistan’s response options under Full Spectrum Deterrence. Pakistan’s demonstration of its resolve and credibility in the Pulwama/Balakot crisis likely addressed the second of these misunderstandings and could strengthen deterrence going forward. India’s continued lack of recognition of the changing reality of the Kashmiri freedom struggle, however, remains an issue that could presage continued Indo-Pak crises in the coming years. The result could be escalation, with each side willing to show high resolve and risk acceptance while ascending the escalation ladder.
Changing Nature of Insurgency in Kashmir
India’s continued lack of recognition of the changing reality of the Kashmiri freedom struggle remains an issue that could presage continued Indo-Pak crises in the coming years. The result could be escalation, with each side willing to show high resolve and risk acceptance while ascending the escalation ladder.
On February 14, 2019, in the town of Pulwama in Indian-administered Kashmir, Kashmiri resident Adil Ahmad Dar attacked a convoy of India’s Central Reserve Police Force, killing 40 security personnel. Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) took credit for the attack. After an investigation, Pakistan rejected Indian claims of Pakistani involvement in the attack. The UN designated JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist a few months later while dropping any references to his linkage with the attack. However, going by Jaish’s own social media admissions, the linkage cannot be denied. Azhar had previously been released from Indian custody in 1999 in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. The point to consider is: why do groups like JeM continue to find space in J&K, and why are they successful in recruiting young Kashmiris? For how long will India turn a blind eye to its own structural vulnerabilities in Indian-administered Kashmir and seek an escape in “punishing” Pakistan?
To understand how the nature of insurgency in Kashmir has changed over time, it is important to grasp the difference between the symbolic Kashmir and the strategic Kashmir. From the 1990s onwards until the death of Burhan Wani in 2016, the symbolic Kashmir and the strategic Kashmir remained two separate entities. The symbolic Kashmir is “a place where larger national and sub-national identities are ranged against each other. The conflict in this Kashmir is as much a clash between identities, imagination, and history, as it is a conflict over territory, resources, and peoples.” In the strategic Kashmir, in contrast, “the military establishments on both sides of the border insist that Kashmir is critical to the physical defense of their respective countries.”
In the beginning of the armed insurgency in the Kashmir Valley in the late 80s and early 90s, challenging Indian control provided Pakistan an opportunity to alter the Kashmir status quo. Although Pakistan remained dismissive of its support in financing, arming, and training Kashmiris, scholars have noted that “the deepest roots of the insurgency could be found in India’s domestic affairs Pakistani support for the militants was typically viewed as an important, but secondary factor.” Some other scholars also ascribe “the ferment to the disenchantment of young Kashmiris and increasing receptiveness to radical views when they found their rising educational and social aspirations thwarted and their path to economic and political empowerment blocked or manipulated.”
The indigenization of the Kashmiris’ struggle marked by rising anger and activity against Indian security forces could complicate Indian attempts to point the finger at Pakistan in order to justify escalation.
The death of Burhan Wani blurred the lines between these two Kashmirs. Born during the height of the insurgency in 1994, Wani was instrumental in turning a fading quest for independence into a Kashmiri Intifada through the use of modern means of communication. His death catapulted the resistance to another level, one that is dynamic, strong, and indigenous. Even Pakistan, perhaps, is not yet cognizant of the transformation taking place, whereby this indigenized struggle—fed by hatred for all things Indian and likely fueled by an RSS-BJP Hindutva nexus—may not require Pakistan’s material or moral support in the years to come. The symbolic and strategic Kashmir are heading for a clash that is likely to shape the Indo-Pak nuclear rivalry if these dynamics are not understood.
India’s future responses to subconventional activities in J&K are likely to be made difficult by these changing realities on the ground. The indigenization of the Kashmiris’ struggle marked by rising anger and activity against Indian security forces could complicate Indian attempts to point the finger at Pakistan in order to justify escalation.
Misreading Pakistan’s Capability, Resolve, and Thresholds
The second part of this new reality has to do with Pakistan shedding ambiguity about its resolve to retaliate and its relatively low nuclear thresholds. In an interview in 2002, Pakistan’s first Director General of the Strategic Plans Division, Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, presented four red lines which, if violated, were to constitute Pakistan’s nuclear use scenarios. Since 2002, the ambiguity enshrined in these four thresholds has given India the comfort that as long as these red lines are not violated, it can push Pakistan.
The first Indian push came after the Uri attack in 2016. After militants attacked the 12 th Infantry Brigade on September 18 killing 17 Indian soldiers, India blamed Pakistan, which denied any involvement. India then launched surgical strikes across the LoC. Pakistan, however, did not acknowledge the strikes and thus claimed there was no retaliation. The details of what the strikes accomplished remain a mystery.
Pakistan’s non-retaliation post-Uri gave India the impression that it might be in Pakistan’s interest to continue denying Indian surgical strikes as a strategy of face-saving. It also gave India false confidence that it had set a new standard for both domestic and international audiences. That changed in February 2019. As detailed by Retired Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail in his article for Pakistan Politico, after the failed Indian Air Force (IAF) strike inside Balakot on February 26, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) put together a range of targeting options aimed at matching the IAF stand-off strike. PAF chose to strike near and around Indian military targets in the Poonch-Rajauri-Naushera Sector in Indian-administered Kashmir to showcase its capability and resolve, while stopping short of actually hitting Indian military targets. Escalation was not the purpose of the PAF’s strikes. In the dogfight that ensued, the PAF shot down an Indian MiG-21 Bison and captured the pilot. In a goodwill gesture, Pakistan returned the pilot to India, de-escalating the crisis.
Given India’s conventional superiority vis-à-vis Pakistan, demonstrating resolve through retaliatory strikes in itself was a strategic objective for Islamabad. Pakistan’s demonstration of its capability and resolve through retaliatory conventional strikes reinstated deterrence between the nuclear duo, indicated by the fact that a further round of escalation did not take place. What helped end the crisis, and which has received insufficient attention, was Pakistan’s rational decisionmaking, as exhibited by the early release of the captured Indian pilot and its careful choice of strike locations across the LoC.
The 2002 red-lines are no longer the benchmark of predictability associated with Pakistan’s nuclear behavior. Quid Pro Quo Plus, recently articulated by General Kidwai as Pakistan’s response to any attack in the future, is the new policy, with “Plus” being “the threat that leaves something to chance.” This marks a clear evolution in Pakistan’s strategic doctrinal thinking.
India-Pakistan Nuclear Rivalry in the Future: Deterrence Gains
It is important to learn the right lessons from the Pulwama/Balakot crisis. Indeed, it has important implications for the shape that the India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry could take in the future.
While there are concerns that both India and Pakistan can feel confident in playing rounds of escalation safely, the fear that either side may escalate is a deterrent in itself for any further escalation.
Vipin Narang has argued that “the prevailing narrative in South Asia is that escalation is easy, and easy to control. It appears that both sides believe they can now get significant kinetic shots in and walk away relatively unscathed. This is a dangerous misreading of Pulwama and its aftermath.” This is an oversimplification. Neither side in the crisis believed at any point that escalation was easy and controllable. Pakistan’s demonstration of its capability and resolve was rational and calculated. It needs to be appreciated that Islamabad’s response to India’s strikes—through its choice of targeted locations, the manner of their execution, and the release of the captured pilot—helped achieve crisis termination. Perhaps because Pakistan’s response was unprecedented and ran counter to most predictions that a conventionally-inferior, nuclear-armed state would escalate to the nuclear level relatively early on in a crisis, 1 it has been hard for many scholars to give credit to Pakistan.
One can, then, point to some positive takeaways from the Pulwama/Balakot crisis.
New information about Pakistan’s capability and resolve communicated during the crisis—and India’s knowledge of it—could strengthen deterrence in South Asia. This is primarily because mutual vulnerabilities at non-nuclear levels came to the fore during this crisis. Such a scenario releases pressure on the defender to expand the scope and intensity of the crisis in its initial stages.
Similarly, Pakistan’s awareness of India’s ability to quickly deploy its naval nuclear assets to pressure Pakistan in tandem with its land and air forces would change Pakistan’s calculus of the Indian capability and resolve. Either way, it is a win for deterrence.
It is also worth mentioning that with nuclear weapons added to the mix, the balance of resolve rather than the balance of forces is what matters. Both India and Pakistan realize that escalation can happen even if neither side wants it to. Ideally, the realization of this unpredictability, which is operative in every crisis, coupled with the present balance of resolve, should have a stabilizing effect in any future crisis.
Going forward, India and Pakistan must each believe that the other is willing to run the risk of escalation to defend its strategic interests, irrespective of the conventional and nuclear balance. Kashmir is a strategic interest for both. The next crisis would be determined by how both states are able to strategically manipulate the risk of nuclear war by arranging threats and exhibiting greater levels of resolve, which would clearly determine the outcome of the crisis. Given the high stakes and concomitant commitment traps involved, it may not be difficult to manipulate the risks of nuclear dangers. To quote Robert Jervis, “[e]ven a slight chance that a provocation could lead to nuclear war is sufficient to deter all but the most highly-motivated adversaries.” 2 While there are concerns that both India and Pakistan can feel confident in playing rounds of escalation safely, the fear that either side may escalate is a deterrent in itself for any further escalation.