Thursday, September 6, 2012

Indian Insiders' View of 1965 War

 "...a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance." 1965 WAR-The Inside Story by R.D. Pradhan                                    
As Pakistanis honor the memory of  their 1965 war heroes on Defense of Pakistan Day today, let us review some snippets of how the war looked from the other side. R.D. Pradhan and Harbakhsh Singh were both insiders who participated in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. While Pradhan was a civilian working for Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan, General Harbakhash Singh was commanding Indian troops on the front-lines. Both have written books drawing upon their first-hand knowledge of how the war started, unfolded and ended in September, 1965.

In Chapter 8 titled "Of Cowardice and Panic" of his book "1965 War-The Inside Story", R.D. Pradhan describes the cowardice of Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad, the Indian general commanding officer in Lahore sector.  When Pakistan Defense Forces counter-attacked the intruding Indian military and the general was fired upon on Sept 6, 1965, he "ran away".  Here's an excerpt:

"On learning that, Lt. Gen. Harbakash Singh and the corps commander drove in a Jonga (Nissan P60 Jeep) to the battlefront. Army commander found that the enemy (PAF) air attack had created a havoc on G.T. Road. (Indian) Vehicles were burning and several vehicles of 15 Division abandoned on the road, the drivers having run away, leaving some of the engines still running. Maj. Gen. Niranjan Prasad was hiding in a recently irrigated sugar cane field. As described by Harabakash Singh: "He (Prasad) came out to receive us, with his boots covered with wet mud. He had no head cover, nor was he wearing any badges of his rank. He had stubble on his face, not having shaved." Seeing him in such a stage, Harbakhash Singh asked him: "Whether he was the General Officer commanding a division or a coolie? Why had he removed badges of rank and not shaved? Niranjan Prasad had no answer." 

Chapter 12 of Pradhan's book is titled "Retreat to Beas" in which there is detailed discussion of Indian COAS's proposal for the Indian Army to retreat behind Beas in the face of Pakistan's fierce counter-attacks after India's attempted incursion in Lahore. Pradhan argues in this chapter that during the 1965 war with Pakistan, Indian COAS General Chaudhuri feared that "a major battle the west of the Beas would end in the destruction of the Indian Army and thereafter allow the enemy (Pakistani) forces to push to the gates of Delhi without much resistance".

Pradhan's book contains many different entries by Indian Defense Minister Y.B. Chavan. A Sept 9, 1965 entry reads:  

Had a very hard day on all fronts. Very fierce counter-attacks mounted and we are required to withdraw in Kasur area. COAS was somewhat uncertain of himself. I suggested to him that he should go in forward areas so that he will be in touch of realities. He said he would go next day.

In Line of Duty: A Soldier Remembers, according to Shekhar Gupta, the editor of Indian Express, Lt Gen Harbakhsh Singh reveals that not only "did Gen Chowdhury play a very small role in the entire campaign, he was so nervous as to be on the verge of losing half of Punjab to Pakistan, including the city of Amritsar. Harbakhsh describes, in clinical detail, how our own offensive in the Lahore sector had come unhinged. The general commanding the division on Ichchogil canal fled in panic, leaving his jeep, its wireless running and the briefcase containing sensitive documents that were then routinely read on Radio Pakistan during the war. Singh wanted to court martial him, Chowdhury let him get away with resignation".

According to Shekhar Gupta, Harbkhash Singh recounts that a bigger disaster struck a bit to the south where the other division cracked up in assault, just as it encountered a bit of resistance. Several infantry battalions, short on battle inoculation, deserted and Singh gives a hair-raising account – and confirmation of a long-debated rumor – that Chowdhury panicked so badly he ordered him to withdraw to a new defensive line behind the Beas, thereby conceding half of Punjab to Pakistan. Singh describes the conversation with Chowdhury at Ambala where he refused to carry out the order, asking his chief to either put it down in writing or visit the front and take charge of the battle.

 Beyond the Indian insiders quoted above,  here is how several non-Pakistani journalists have covered the war:

The London Daily Mirror reported in 1965:

"There is a smell of death in the burning Pakistan sun. For it was here that India's attacking forces came to a dead stop.

"During the night they threw in every reinforcement they could find. But wave after wave of attacks were repulsed by the Pakistanis"

"India", said the London Daily Times, "is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one in size of armed forces."

In Times reporter Louis Karrar wrote:

"Who can defeat a nation which knows how to play hide and seek with death".

USA - Aviation week - December 1968 issue:

"For the PAF, the 1965 war was as climatic as the Israeli victory over the Arabs in 1967. A further similarity was that Indian air power had an approximately 5:1 numerical superiority at the start of the conflict. Unlike the Middle East conflict, the Pakistani air victory was achieved to a large degree by air-to-air combat rather than on ground. But it was as absolute as that attained by Israel.

India was the first to accept UN sponsored ceasefire (page 100 of RD Pradhan's book)  followed by Pakistan which brought the 1965 war to an end on Sept 22, 1965. As the ceasefire took effect, Indian Defense Y.B. Chavan wrote in his diary as follows:

"The ball is now in the political court again--where it should be--and not in the military one. I hope we have the vision and courage to (our) political leadership."
Alas, the core issue of Kashmir still remains unresolved 47 years since Mr. Chavan wrote his words of wisdom.

Related Link:

 Haq's Musings

Demolishing Indian War Myths 

Kashmiris Remain Defiant

India-Pakistan Military Balance

Assessing Pakistan Army Capabilities

Can India "Do a Lebanon" in Pakistan?

Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech


Wind said...

"Pakistan has been able to gain complete command of the air by literally knocking the Indian planes out of the skies if they had not already run away.
Indian pilots are inferior to Pakistan's pilots and Indian officer's leadership has been generally deplorable. India is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by a four and half to one in population and three to one in size of armed forces".

Peter Preston, The Guardian, London.
September 24, 1965.

"One thing I am convinced of is that Pakistan morally and even physically won the air battle against immense odds.
Although the Air Force gladly gives most credit to the Army, this is perhaps over-generous. India with roughly five times greater air power, expected an easy air superiority. Her total failure to attain it may be seen retrospectively as a vital, possibly the most vital, factor of the whole conflict.
Nur Khan is an alert, incisive man of 41, who seems even less. For six years until July he was on secondment and responsible for running Pakistan civil airline, which in a country, where now means sometime and sometime means never, is a model of efficiency. He talks without the jargon of a press relations officer. He does not quibble about figures, immediately one has confidence in what he says. His estimates proffered diffidently, but with as much photographic evidence as possible, speak for themselves. Indian and Pakistani losses, he thinks are in something like the ratio of ten to one.
"The Indians had no sense of purpose, the Pakistanis were defending their country and willingly taking greater risks. The average bomber crew flew 15 to 20 sorties. My difficulty was restraining them, not pushing them on".
" This is more than nationalistic pride. Talk to the pilots themselves, and you get the same intense story".

Patrick Seale, The Observer, London.
September 12, 1965.

"Pakistan's success in the air means that she had been able to deploy her relatively small army___ professionally among the best in Asia___ with impunity, plugging gaps in the long front in the face of each Indian thrust.
By all accounts the courage displayed by the PAF pilots is reminiscent of the bravery of the few young and dedicated pilots who saved this country from Nazi invaders in the critical Battle of Britain during the last war".

Roy Meloni, Correspondent of ABC,
September 15, 1965.

"I have been a journalist now for 20 years and want to go on record that i have never seen a more confident and victorious groups of soldiers than those fighting for Pakistan right now.
"India is claiming all out victory, i have not been able to find any trace of it. All i can see are troops, tanks and other war material rolling in a steady stream towards the front.
If the Indian Air Force is so victorious, why has it not tried to halt this flow?
The answer is that it has been knocked from the skies by Pakistani planes. These Muslims of Pakistan are natural fighters and they ask for no quarter and they give none.
In any war, such as the one going on between India and Pakistan right now, the propaganda claims on either side are likely to be startling, but if i have to take bet today, my money would be on Pakistan side.
Pakistan claims to have destroyed something like one third of the Indian Air Force, and foreign observers, who are in a position to know say that the actual kills may be even higher, but the PAF authorities are being scrupulously honest in evaluating these claims. They are crediting PAF only those killing that can be checked and verified from other sources.

Historian said...

Pakistan's soft belly in Panjab and Sindh is difficult to defend against 7-10 times larger army.

So in 1965, if an Indian general was talking about retreating to Beas, things had clearly gone wrong, very wrong for the Indian army.

The credit for this goes to the superior Pak Air force, and high morale of the troops.

Riaz Haq said...

Who attacked first and started 1965 war? Here's a BBC report on Sept 6, 1965:

1965: Indian Army invades W Pakistan

Indian troops have invaded West Pakistan, crossing the border at three points in an attack which appears to be aimed mainly at the city of Lahore.

Authorities in Delhi say their action was intended to prevent a direct attack by Pakistani forces against India.

On 25 August, Pakistani soldiers launched a covert operation across the ceasefire line, established in 1949 after the first Indo-Pakistani war, into Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

Since then there have been a number of clashes along the ceasefire line, but this is the first time Indian troops have crossed into West Pakistan in what is being seen as an act of war.

Anonymous said...

1.Operation Gibralter

2.Indian counterattack pointed at Lahore and Sialkot.

3.Pakistani counter offensive


1.Kashmir is still with India.
2.Begining of the end of PAkistani economic boom.

So who won the war?

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight.

The purpose of this post is to prove (if at all it can be called as proof) that Pak army is superior to Indian army. Fine let us assume that it is true. Now the big question is, why a country with a superior army can not get Kashmir for 65 years despite claiming that to be central point of their agenda in any talks with India. India never claims that any talks with Pakistan must include POK in the agenda because we don't need it. So, why Pak can not get one inch of Kashmir.

This is no different from Israel surrounded by 6 enemy countries and still holding on to it and also being one of the most developed country of that area.

What do you think the reason is?

rajesh said...

BBC reported that the war served game changer in Pakistani politics,[84]
The defeat in the 1965 war led to the army's invincibility being challenged by an increasingly vocal opposition. This became a surge after his protege, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, deserted him and established the Pakistan People's Party.

"A region in turmoil: South Asian conflicts since 1947" by Robert Johnson mentions[11] –
India's strategic aims were modest – it aimed to deny Pakistani Army victory, although it ended up in possession of 720 square miles (1,900 km2) of Pakistani territory for the loss of just 220 square miles (570 km2) of its own.

An excerpt from William M. Carpenter and David G. Wiencek's "Asian security handbook: terrorism and the new security environment"[85] –
A brief but furious 1965 war with India began with a covert Pakistani thrust across the Kashmiri cease-fire line and ended up with the city of Lahore threatened with encirclement by Indian Army. Another UN-sponsored cease-fire left borders unchanged, but Pakistan's vulnerability had again been exposed.

English historian John Keay's "India: A History" provides a summary of the 1965 war[86] –
The 1965 Indo-Pak war lasted barely a month. Pakistan made gains in the Rajasthan desert but its main push against India's Jammu-Srinagar road link was repulsed and Indian tanks advanced to within a sight of Lahore. Both sides claimed victory but India had most to celebrate.

Uk Heo and Shale Asher Horowitz write in their book "Conflict in Asia: Korea, China-Taiwan, and India-Pakistan"[87] –
Again India appeared, logistically at least, to be in a superior position but neither side was able to mobilize enough strength to gain a decisive victory.

Anonymous said...

sigh - something clearly changed in 1971 huh Riaz? :P

Hopewins said...

While we celebrate our brave Army and our world's best Air force, I think we should also take a moment to recognize the dedication and hard work of the brilliant people at our Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.


1) Bangladesh's Government has been running fiscal (budgetary) deficits from 1990-2012.

2) India's Government has also been running fiscal (budgetary) deficits from 1990-2012.

3) Our Government, however, has been running huge fiscal (budgetary) SURPLUSES for much of the period from 1990 to 2012.

The whole world is impressed with our outstanding performance.

Raj said...

To quote British media on India vs Pakistan is pretty much the same as to quote Pakistani newspapers!

You must remember that Britain lives to justify its imperial past and hence to insult and jeer India is the most core part of their national identity.

As yet another Indian rocket blasted into space today, with French and Japanese payloads on board, Britain and Pakistan can only bite their nails and shake their fists. least you two sister states: Britain and Pakistan have each others shoulders to cry on.

Anonymous said...

Not really Britain is US's poodle

In 65 the west was pro islam as they were allies against 'da evil communists'

Today the west is anti islam so cartoonishly pro India.

Quoting British newspapers is the same as us quoting Pravda!

But facts on the ground wise I don't see why Pakistanis celebrate this,it was sort of like Kargil on a bigger scale a 'liberation invasion' propelled by delusions of grandeur a swift repulsion and then a stalemate.The facts:

1.Objective of gaining Kashmir FAILED.

2. Economy stalled soon afterwards

3. Radicalization of society started soon afterwards.

4.Bhutto gained power which would prove to be weepingly expensive in 1971.

5. Convinced a certain Mrs. G (then a newcomer) that Pakistan needs to be 'sorted out' which she did in 1971.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

The Difa Pakistan Council often insists that we should not trade with India because of its evil intentions towards our country.

They observe that we have China, Afghanistan and Iran as neighbours besides India and we should preferentially deal with them and
not with India.

Even beyond the DPC, there is a general feeling in our country that we should focus our local trade toward these three friendly countries (i.e. China, Iran & Afghanistan) rather than focus on India.

But are China, Iran & Afghanistan really neighboring countries?

1) The Political Maps, which is what most people are familiar with, say "YES":

2) However, the satelitte images taken at night, which most people have not seen, say "NO":

What do you think, Dr. Haq?

Is China really our neighboring country or is it more an East-Asian country neighboring Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam et cetera?

Is Iran really our neighboring country or is it more an West-Asian country neighboring Iraq, Syria, Turkey et cetera?

Is Afghanistan really our neighboring country or is it more a figment of somebody's imagination since it barely shows up on the satellite image linked above?

What is your opinion on all this?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "What is your opinion on all this?"

There's a Pew Survey out today that says 64% of Indians and 64% of Pakistanis want to trade with each other...and I agree with them with a few caveats I expressed in my blog post on the subject.

ajmal said...

It is strange that Gen Harbakhsh is criticizing both his junior and his Chief of Army Staff. What is he trying to prove?
Gen Niranjan Parsad led his Division from the front. He risking his life was at BRBL home bank while Harbkhsh was sitting at Amritsar. Gen Niranjan rightly assessed the impregnability of BRBL and advised his Corps Commander to not reinforce failed attack along G T Road but Harbakhsh Singh wanted to please his Chief Of Army Staff who wanted to dine at LAHORE GYMKHANA. Perhaps it was Harbakhsh and not Niranjan Parsad who lacked guts a moral courage to give true battle assessment to his seniors.

Shahzad B. said...

Riaz sahib, I believe him that he will end corruption in 90 days... I think it can be done sooner if the person on the top is not corrupt...On the Malals thing he said that he condemned the attack on Malala, visited her in the hospital etc... He was making a general point afterwards that if he comes out too strongly against the Taliban after every act of violence by them and starts a confrontation with them, he will put his workers in jeopardy who will then be targeted by the Taliban... If the numbers he presented are correct about the militants being less than 20,000 out of 1 million people, then I think the solution he presented might work... I also agree with him that this cannot be solved militarily... If along with 1 terrorist 10 civilians are killed, the relatives of those civilians would try to find a way to avenge the deaths and the cycle would never end...

Riaz Haq said...

Shahzad: "I believe him that he will end corruption in 90 days... I think it can be done sooner if the person on the top is not corrupt.."

Indian PM Manmohan Singh is widely believed to be Mr. Clean. And Yet, Indian politicians and bureaucrats are among the most corrupt in the world. If the person on top really mattered so much, India would be free of corruption.

Riaz Haq said...

Shahzad: "He was making a general point afterwards that if he comes out too strongly against the Taliban after every act of violence by them and starts a confrontation with them, he will put his workers in jeopardy who will then be targeted by the Taliban."

It takes a lot of courage to deal with the killers when you have to risk your own life to do so.

If political courage to stand up to to the Taliban killers is an important standard by which to judge politicians, then Imran does not look very good when compared with ANP, PPP and MQM leaders. As Imran himself pointed out, the ANP members have paid a huge price with their lives for standing up to the Talibs...something Imran is unwilling to do.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece titled "Confessions of a War Reporter" by Barkha Dutt published in Himal Magazine:

I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black – it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw.

It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. “The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,” said the colonel, softly, but proudly. Before I could react, the show was over. A faded gunny bag appeared from nowhere, shrouded the soldier’s face, the brown of the bag now merging indistinguishably with the green of the leaves. Minutes later, we walked past the same tree where the three soldiers who had earlier unveiled the victory trophy were standing. From the corner of his eye, the colonel exchanged a look of shard achievement, and we moved on. We were firmly in the war zone.

It’s been two years since Kargil, but even as some of the other details become fuzzy, this episode refuses to fade from either memory or conscience. A few months ago, I sat across a table with journalists from Pakistan and elsewhere in the region, and confessed I hadn’t reported that story, at least not while the war was still on. It had been no easy decision, but at that stage the outcome of the war was still uncertain. The country seemed gripped by a collective sense of tension and dread, and let's face it – most of us were covering a war for the first time in our careers. Many of the decisions we would take over the next few weeks were tormented and uncertain. I asked my friend from Pakistan, listening to my anguish with empathy, what he would have done in my place? He replied, “Honestly, I don’t know.”

This then, is the truth of reporting conflict and wars. Often we just don’t know. And even more often, whether we like ourselves for it or not, our emotional perceptions of these conflicts are shaped by how our histories have been handed down to us. Whatever textbook journalism may preach, I think the time has come to accept that every story we do is shaped by our own set of perceptions, and thus prejudices as well. National identity is one of the many factors that add up to make the sum total of who we are and what we write or report. It sneaks up on us and weaves its way into our subconscious, often mangled and confused, but still there, determining what we see and how we see it. And, when I speak of national identity I do not mean chest-thumping, flag-waving nationalism. I mean years of accumulated baggage, what we read in school, the villains and heroes in our popular cinema – in fact the entire process of socialization.

The media may not be reduced to being a crude tool of the nation state, but it will always have to fight with itself to find a space that is honest. And sometimes we will make mistakes. At other times, we may never know whether we made a mistake or chose right. But so long as we hide behind the theoretical notion of objective journalism, as long as we believe that journalists are innately more enlightened than others of the human species, the search for that truthful professional space will be a dishonest one. The war taught me that – just how complex and ridden with contradictions this search can be.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's the BBC story from Sept 1965 on Indian military invasion of Pakistan:

1965: Indian Army invades W Pakistan
Indian troops have invaded West Pakistan, crossing the border at three points in an attack which appears to be aimed mainly at the city of Lahore.
Authorities in Delhi say their action was intended to prevent a direct attack by Pakistani forces against India.

On 25 August, Pakistani soldiers launched a covert operation across the ceasefire line, established in 1949 after the first Indo-Pakistani war, into Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

Since then there have been a number of clashes along the ceasefire line, but this is the first time Indian troops have crossed into West Pakistan in what is being seen as an act of war.

Air attacks

Since the first Indo-Pakistan war, both countries have continued to lay claim to the entire state of Kashmir. Currently Pakistan controls the smaller, northern sector of Azad Kashmir and the remaining area of Jammu and Kashmir, known commonly as Kashmir, is held by India.

Details of today's invasion are sketchy. There have been reports of the Indian Air Force in action, striking against military targets, including an oil tanker train, a group of military vehicles, a goods train carrying supplies, an army camp and some gun positions.

A spokesman for the Indian government said: "Our policy is that when Pakistan has bases from which it is mounting attacks on our territory we have to destroy those bases."

The Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan blamed recent attacks by Pakistani forces for the invasion.

Although there have been a number of air attacks against Indian installations in Punjab, these seem to have been mostly by single aircraft.

But Mr Chavan said: "It was quite apparent Pakistan's next move was to attack Punjab across the international frontier."

Reports from the Pakistani city of Karachi say forces have beaten back the Indian Army from Lahore.

They said advances at the border towns of Jasar, Wagah and Bedian had all been "fully stopped".

Pakistani officials say the number of Indian dead in the Lahore sector is 800, their own casualties are reported to be "very light".

The Pakistani President Ayub Khan has made an emergency broadcast to the nation saying, "We are at war".

He said the Indian attack was proof of the evil intentions which India had always harboured against Pakistan.

Reports from Delhi say Pakistani paratroopers have landed in the Punjab. Small groups have dropped in three places, Pathankot, Patiala and Ambala in an apparent attempt to damage military installations.

Samlee said...

Of Course Pakistan Won The War in 1965.Why Else Would Soviet Union Intervene.They Were Friends of India Not Pakistan and Besides Indians We Lost Because We Failed To Capture Kashmir Then The Same Question Can Be Asked To Them.They Claim The Entire Disputed Territory,If They Were So Comprehensively Winning The War Then Why Didn't They Capture It??

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Hindustan Times on Indian Army lies about the Battle of Logewala in 1971 in Rajhastan:

One of the most glorious moments of the Indian Army, the victory in the Battle of Longewala in the 1971 war with Pakistan, is based on blatant falsehood, claims an upcoming book by a general decorated in the same operations.

The battle was immortalised by the 1997 Bollywood blockbuster "Border", starring Sunny Deol as victorious army hero major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri. In a tell-all account of one of the first engagements in the western sector during the 14-day war, major general Atma Singh (retd) has alleged that the army's version of the battle is built on "exaggerated claims" when it had little to do with crushing Pakistani forces.

Atma Singh, then a major, has credited the Indian Air Force for saving the day for the country. He was commanding the No. 12 Air Observation Post (AOP) flight, tasked with directing close air support firepower toward enemy targets. AOP units were under the IAF. "If our own troops had vacated the post (Longewala) at first light on December 5, then when and where was the big battle of Longewala fought?" he questions in his book, "Battle of Longewala: The Real Story", which will hit the stands on December 3, the day the war began 42 years ago....

Riaz Haq said...

Mani-Talk: We Have Not Terrified #Pakistan Into Submission. #India #Narendramodi #Kashmir … via @ndtv

Arun Jaitley thumps his chest and proclaims that we have given the Pakis a "jaw-breaking reply" (munh tod jawab). Oh yeah? The Pakistanis are still there - with their jaw quite intact and a nuclear arsenal nestling in their pockets. Rajnath Singh adds that the Pakis had best understand that "a new era has dawned". How? Is retaliatory fire a BJP innovation? Or is it that we have we ceased being peace-loving and become a war-mongering nation? And Modi thunders that his guns will do the talking (boli nahin, goli). Yes - and for how long?


When a young band of Serbian terrorists slipped into Bosnia to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Government of Serbia did not know, even as it is entirely likely that the Government of Pakistan did not know that Ajmal Kasab and his gang had slipped into Mumbai to target the iconic Taj Hotel. But, as in India, so in Austria, the suspicion was so strong that there were rogue elements in the Serbian establishment that were backing the terrorists, no proof was needed: suspicion amounted to conviction. Therefore, when the Serbian terrorists struck, assassinating the heir-apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne, the Empire needed no conclusive proof that the Serbian government was behind the assassination. It knew, as India "knew", that 26/11 was master-minded by the Government of Pakistan. And even as the Pakistan government denied any involvement in such cross-border terrorism and undertook to set in train an investigation into the dastardly terrorist attack, so also, a hundred years earlier, did Serbia condemn the assassination and offer to investigate and bring to justice those responsible.

But Vienna would not be appeased. An eight-point ultimatum was sent to Serbia demanding full acceptance of the eight conditions within a month. Eventually, after much hemming and hawing, Belgrade accepted seven of the conditions but baulked at the eighth - that a joint Austrian-Serbian investigation be launched into the assassination. That was enough for Vienna to insist that if all conditions were not fulfilled, the far more powerful Austro-Hungarian forces would reduce Serbia to rubble in a matter of days.

The threat was meant to cow the Serbians. The Serbians went as far as they could, but baulked at abject surrender. In consequence, military plans began to roll - to the alarm of both Emperor Franz Joseph of Austro-Hungary as well as the German Kaiser whose belligerence was pushing Vienna further and further down the road to disaster. Their political misgivings were entirely understandable. For Russia had declared that any military action against her Slav cousin would invite Russian retaliation against both Austria and Germany. At the same time, Germany had made it clear that her first target was France. Treaty obligations made it incumbent for France to come to Russia's rescue and vice versa in the event of war. Britain was committed to entering the war in these circumstances. The very balance of power that was supposed to have kept the peace in Europe for a hundred years was now pushing the world to the brink.

To prevent this catastrophe, the two Emperors who had been the loudest in proclaiming a "munh thod jawab" to Serbia tried at the last moment to stop the guns from booming, but were over-ruled by their respective military hierarchies. War was launched. The mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire conquered Serbia but ended up losing the War and disappearing from the map of the world....

Riaz Haq said...

Retired #Pakistan pilot Sattar Alvi recalls how he shot down Capt Lutz flying a #Mirage in 1973 #Arab-#Israel war. …

They were closing in rapidly and there was no choice, but to turn and engage. No sooner had the leader ordered the turn, that the radio and radar signals were jammed, emitting unbearably shrilly noises. Just as I was turning to position myself during the turn, I got a glint of metal from behind and well below me. I simply could not ignore it and turned back to find two Mirages zooming up towards me from the valley beneath. By this time, my own formation had turned 180 degrees away flying at Mach 1.2 with no radio contact. ‘This was it’, I knew instinctively, and I was alone: Two Mirages against a single Mig-21. Instantly the fighter pilot’s training kicked in and all other thoughts left my mind. I proceeded to do what I had been trained to do.
A cardinal rule of air combat is knowing and using the limitations and strengths of your own and the enemy’s aircraft. A Mirage is good at high speeds and poor at slow speed combat. The Mirage leader made his high speed pass at me and as I forced him to overshoot he pulled up high above me. His wingman followed in the attack and I did the same with him; followed by a violent reversal and making the aircraft stand on its tail. The speed dropped to zero. The wingman should have followed his leader.
To my surprise he didn’t, and reversed getting into scissors with me at low speeds. That was suicidal and a Mirage should never do that against a Mig-21. But then, the game plan probably was for the wingman to keep me engaged while the leader turned around to sandwich and then shoot me. It was a good plan, but not easy to execute. The only difficulty in this plan was that the second Mirage had to keep me engaged long enough without becoming vulnerable himself. This is where things began to go wrong for the wingman because his leader took about 10 seconds longer than what was required.
The ‘Miraj’ effect
The wingman couldn’t just hang on with me and there was a star of David in my aiming sight after the second reversal. Seeing his dilemma and desperation to escape, the wingman attempted an exit with a steep high-speed dive. That in fact made my job easier and quicker. As soon as the distance increased and I heard the deep growl of the K-13, I fired. The missile takes one second to leave the rails and that was the longest second of my life. A second later there was a ball of fire where the wingman had been and I turned to face the leader charging towards me. We crossed but he had made a beeline for his home and thank God for that. I had only vapours remaining and no fuel. I hit the deck with supersonic speed.
Capt Lutz who was flying as the unfortunate wingman, was rescued by a helicopter and brought to the military hospital. He succumbed to his injuries later in the hospital before I could have a tete-a-tete with him. I have his flying coverall with me, presented to me as a war trophy by the Syrian air force commander-in-chief. I was awarded Wisam-e Faris and Wisam-e-Shujaat by the Syrian government, which are equivalent to Pakistani Hilal-e-Jurat and Sitara-e-Jurat.

Riaz Haq said...

From Eurasia Review:

Pakistan has played a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the current crisis in Yemen.

Pakistan's role of direct involvement with the Middle East is not usually the subject of much comment. Now there is reason to believe that Pakistan has played a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the current crisis in Yemen.

In the 1970s and 1980s, when many Gulf countries, flush with oil money, purchased state-of-the-art military hardware, they had also to buy the technical expertise and the training to operate it. They looked to the nearest Muslim country with the capacity to provide this – Pakistan. Over the years scores of Pakistani army and air force personnel have been posted to Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Pakistani naval officers also served in UAE, training local naval forces.

More recently, the turbulence affecting the Middle East has brought Gulf states even closer to Pakistan. External and internal threats have resulted in bilateral agreements between Pakistan and individual states that have provided security cover for them – for example, the recent military exercises conducted jointly by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-Pakistan relationship may go even deeper. There are reports that last year King Salman of Saudi Arabia – then Crown Prince – visited Islamabad and provided Pakistan with a $1.5 billion grant towards its nuclear programme, the other half of the deal guaranteeing the Saudis a nuclear weapon when, or if, needed.

This special relationship might have been expected to result in strong Pakistani support for Saudi Arabia’s recent military involvement in the chaos that is tearing Yemen apart. With the Houthi rebels installed as an interim government, the legitimate President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, fled to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, exasperated by Iran’s continued support for the rebels, instituted a series of air strikes against them in an operation it dubbed “Operation Decisive Storm”. At the same time it mustered a coalition of ten Middle East states that agreed to form a fighting force to defeat the Houthi take-over in Yemen and restore President Hadi to office. To support this effort, Saudi Arabia called on Pakistan to contribute troops, a warship and aircraft to its coalition forces. The first response of the Pakistani government was to agree to join the coalition, and to offer its assistance.

This reaction must have sent shock waves through the Iranian leadership. If Pakistan unleashed its formidable military capability against the Houthis, the Iranian-backed rebels could well be defeated. So Iran set in train a diplomatic effort designed to eliminate the possibility of direct Pakistani involvement in the conflict.

The diplomatic counter-attack began with an invitation from Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – on the face of it a surprising move, since Turkey had also initially declared itself in support of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen. Erdogan duly appeared in Tehran, no doubt wondering why the world’s leading Shi’ite Muslim state was seeking to hob-nob with the head of strongly Sunni Turkey.

Some sort of secret deal must have been concluded, for a few days later Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, flew to Islamabad. The London-based Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, reported from several sources that Zarif’s mission was to try to convince Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to join a coalition with Turkey – now apparently no longer in support of Operation Decisive Storm – against Saudi Arabia. The suggestion was rejected by both Sharif and Pakistan’s army commander, General Raheel Sharif. Nothing daunted, Zarif held a press conference at which he appealed over the heads of the government to members of the Pakistani parliament, which was just then debating the Saudi request for Pakistan’s assistance

Riaz Haq said...

#India Army ad admits its defeat at the hands of #Pakistan Army in 1965 war. …

A full-page advertisement published in major Hindi national dailies on Thursday came out with major blunders in its text. For instance, the text mentioned the role of the 15th Infantry division during an attack near west of Ichhogil canal, saying that Indian Army responded to the Pakistan attack with fear (darkar muqabala kiya). The English version of the advertisement, published in leading national dailies were no better. “Pakistan’s 1st Armoured division pushed an offensive towards Khem Karan and by 10 September nearly 100 tanks lay destroyed in what is now known as the Battle of Asal Uttar.” It takes away the credit of the Indian Army as there is no mention of the Indian Army’s role in the famous battle.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan Air Force pilot M.M. Alam among 7 of the Greatest Flying Aces in World Aviation History - … via @PopMech

A dogfight between two aircraft is perhaps the most fascinating type of combat. The technical knowledge and precision required to operate a fighter aircraft combined with the physical and mental strain of a dogfight make the fighter pilots who excel at them truly exceptional.

Unofficially, a flying ace is a fighter pilot who shoots down at least five enemy aircraft, though the number a single pilot can achieve has steadily decreased because anti-aircraft and tracking technology has made dogfights rare in modern warfare. From Erich Hartmann, the Nazi fighter pilot credited with the most aerial victories of all time, to Giora Epstein, the ace of aces of supersonic jet pilots, these men are among the most skilled fighter pilots to ever enter a cockpit.

Muhammad Mahmood Alam was a Pakistani Air Force jet fighter pilot in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. He was the last fighter pilot to become an ace in a day, shooting down five Indian Hawker Hunter fighter jets in less than a minute on September 7 1965, the last four of which he downed within 30 seconds. A national hero in Pakistan, Alam holds the world record for becoming an ace in the shortest amount of time. This bold feat also makes him the only jet pilot to become an ace in one day. Alam was already a respected leader and proficient pilot and gunner when the war started in April 1965. He piloted an F-86 Sabre and downed a total of nine Indian Hawker Hunters in the 1965 war, as well as damaging two others.

Top 7:

Manfred von Richthofen - World War I

Erich Hartmann - World War II

James Jabara - Korean War

Muhammad Mahmood Alam - Indo-Pakistani War

Charles B. DeBellevue - Vietnam War

Giora Epstein - Arab–Israeli Wars

Cesar Rodriguez - Gulf War

Riaz Haq said...

Return of Haji Pir Pass in 1965 – Myth and the Reality

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By Maj Gen Sheru Thapliyal, PhD
Issue Net Edition | Date : 29 Aug , 2015
In 1965 war, Indian Army had captured the strategic Haji Pir Pass. During the Tashkent talks between Indian and Pakistan, held through the good offices of Soviet Union, India agreed to return Haji Pir Pass, Pt 13620 which dominated Kargil town and many other tactically important areas. To add myster ..

One- had the pass been held by us, the distance from Jammu to Srinagar through Poonch and Uri would have been reduced by over 200 Kms. Two – later on Pak commenced its infiltration into J & K in 1965, through the Uri – Poonch Bulge which continues even today. They why did we commit this error of judgement?

Pak dagger into Indian heart in Chhamb Sector. Since Pakistani forces had already reached Fatwal ridge only four Kms. from Akhnoor, it could always resume operations for capture of Akhnoor. The author understood this implication better in 1987 when he was commanding his unit near Jauriyan, a few kilometers west of Fatwal Ridge. The Indian policy makers at that time did not

Riaz Haq said...

#Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney: Fighting tactical battles for one-upmanship. #Rafale and #S400 would certainly help Indian Air Force, but would not tilt the operational level balance in #India’s favor in conflict with #Pakistan via @thetribunechd

The issue, thus, is about tactics and operational level of war. The Pakistan military, learning from the Soviet Union, has always given importance to the operational level. This is why in the 1965 and 1971 wars, despite being more in bean-counting of assets, India never won in the western sector. Proof of this are the ceasefire line and the Line of Control, which otherwise would have been converted into international borders.

The situation, regrettably, remains the same today. Separate doctrines of the Army and the Air Force, and with each service doing its own training is evidence that no amount of modernisation would help if the focus of service chiefs remains on tactics. For example, after the Balakot operation, a senior Air Force officer told me that the PAF would not last more than six days. He believed in tactical linear success. What about the other kinetic and non-kinetic forces which impact at the operational level?

This is not all. Retired senior Air Force officers started chest-thumping about the Balakot airstrike having set the new normal. Some argued that air power need not be escalatory, while others made the case for the use of air power in counter-terror operations like the Army. Clearly, they all were talking tactics, not war. Had India retaliated to the PAF’s counter-strike, what it called an act of war, an escalation was assured. It is another matter that PM Narendra Modi had only bargained for the use of the IAF for electoral gains.

Talking of tactics, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa spoke about relative technological superiority. Perhaps, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would not have strayed into Pakistani airspace if his MiG-21 Bison had Software Defined Radio (SDR) and Operational Data Link (ODL). The SDR operates in the VHF, UHF, Ku and L bandwidths and is meant to remove voice clutter. The ODL provides the pilot with data or text, in this case from the ground controller. The officer, separated from his wing-man, and without necessary voice and data instructions, unwittingly breached the airspace and was captured by the Pakistan army. There are known critical shortages of force multipliers in addition to force levels in the IAF. Surely, the IAF Chief can’t do much except keep asking the government to fill the operational voids. But, he could avoid making exaggerated claims since his words would only feed the ultra-nationalists, and support the Modi government’s spurious argument of having paid special attention to national security.

The same is the case with Rafale and S-400. These would certainly help, but would not tilt the operational level balance in India’s favour. For example, the IAF intends to use S-400 in the ‘offensive air defence’ role rather than its designed role of protecting high-value targets like Delhi, for which it was originally proposed. For the protection of high-value targets, the Air Headquarters has made a strong case to purchase the United States’ National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS). This is ironic, because while S-400 can destroy hostile ballistic missiles, NASAMS can’t do so. It can only kill cruise missiles and other aerial platforms. The thinking at the Air Headquarters is that since there is no understanding on the use of ballistic missiles — especially with Pakistan — both sides are likely to avoid the use of ballistic missiles with conventional warheads lest they are misread and lead to a nuclear accident. So, NASAMS may probably never be called upon to take on ballistic missiles.

Given the direction of the relationship between the India and Pakistan, this assumption may not be the best to make when procuring prohibitively expensive high-value assets.