In 1965, when India reached up to Lahore, why didn’t it take back PoK?

GS1 : history  :In-1965-when-India-reached-up-to-Lahore-why-didnt-it-take-back-PoK

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

India didn't get up to Lahore city, but held some parts of the Lahore district. While India took a sizable chunk of Pakistan's land (690 sq miles), Pakistanis did capture a part of India too (250 sq miles). To put that in context, Pakistan Administered Kashmir was 40 times the land size India was able to capture. It was simply out of question for India to capture 33,000 square miles back.

Some reasons why India had to end the war soon:

  1. Bad economy: India was barely recovering from 1962 China war and this was brutal. 1965-66 timeframe was among the worst for the Indian economy. Famines, hunger and high inflation wrecked India and the rupee.
  2. China angle: Pakistan had already become a protege of China & India was constantly afraid of China getting into the war too. Thus, a sizable chunk of air power was moved to the eastern borders. While China didn't overtly enter the 1965 war, there was a possibility. Had the war gone long enough, there might have been a uglier prospect of fighting both China & Pakistan at the same time.
  3. Pressure from the superpowers: Both US and USSR were breathing down India's neck to end the war, as it was the side with the upper hand [it was not that hard to convince Pakistan to do so, as it was quickly losing firepower]. The superpowers had a game to play elsewhere and this game was distracting them.
  4. Not piss off the UN: India was getting into a lot of trouble with UN Security Council at that time (invasion of Goa, Kashmir issue) and it was not prudent to piss off the big brother too much.
  5. Navy & Airforce weakening: India's massive coastline & China angle forced the Navy & Airforce to be spread out and have a reduced impact. While the Army was winning, Navy & Airforce were stuck in a stalemate. The Pakistan Air Force had more superior American Aircraft and their short coastline meant that they could go all in on Indian Navy. India's Navy was also unable to use INS Vikrant – the aircraft carrier.
  6. Achieved the outcome: Gen. Ayub Khan was the aggressor and he believed in a rapid attack that would burst the "Hindu morale". He also believed that the entry of Pakistani forces into Kashmir would make the local population rise in revolution against India. Both theses were laid to rest – the Kashmiris didn't care for Pakistan & the "Hindu morale" withstood a surprise attack. Not just that, the army was also able to easily get to the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore. India was happy with a moral victory, although technically it was a stalemate.

More information: Indo-Pakistan Wars. Chapter 6 Part 2  on Ode on a Grecian Urn

In 1965, when India reached up to Lahore, why didn't it take back PoK?


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